Columbia International Affairs Online: Policy Briefs

CIAO DATE: 02/2012

Turkey and democratization of the Arab world

Karol . Kujawa

August 2011

The Polish Institute of International Affairs


Turkey might seem like an optimal model to follow for the Arab societies. Perhaps crucially, Arabs themselves have been looking to Turkey with growing admiration, noting its economic success, a workable relationship between religion and politics, and an increasingly assertive foreign policy. The current Turkish leadership has succeeded in buttressing Turkey’s soft power vis-à-vis the Arab societies with an uncompromising stance on the Palestinian issue. The events of the so-called Arab Spring gave new prominence to the search for suitable linkages between Turkey’s experience and Arab aspirations. However, as the author argues, the extent to which the Turkish solutions can be applied in the Arab world is circumscribed to the ability of the Arab societies to overcome their mistrust towards democratic mechanisms.