It was only a few years ago that Turkey's Middle East foreign policy, as orchestrated by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), showed so much promise. At one point, Ankara was mediating between Israel and Syria, negotiating a resolution to the standoff over Iran's controversial nuclear program and was involved in one way or another in helping resolve a host of other regional problems. As many analysts saw it, with its growing economy, strong democracy (at least compared to its Middle Eastern neighbors) and proactive foreign policy that focused on promoting "soft power" approaches, Turkey was set to play a defining regional role in the coming years.
Recent events, though, have raises some significant questions about whether Turkey can become the regional superpower it had set out to become. Writing in a Nov. 25 column in Today's Zaman, analyst Yavuz Baydar sums up Turkey's current position in rather uncharitable terms:
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