Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Political Science

First Advisor

Thomas Lobe




Turkey, Middle East, Europe, sphere of influence, regional politics


The purpose of this thesis is to answer the question of whether Turkey is turning away from its traditional western allies and reorienting itself towards the Middle East. The first chapter examines Turkey’s past, particularly the legacy of the Ottoman era, the Kemalist period, and the Cold War era, in order to its historical foundations. The second chapter analyzes the changes on the Turkish domestic scene from 1950 up to today. The focus of this chapter is on the Kemalists’ repression of democracy and the social and political shift among much of the population in reaction to their suppressive ways. The third chapter assesses Turkey’s political and economic relations with the West, in particular its ties with the United States, the European Union, and Israel in order to understand how and why they have changed in recent years. Finally, the fourth chapter examines Turkey’s political and economic relations with the East, specifically Iraq, Iran, Syria, and the broader Arab world. The aim of this chapter is to understand the underlying reasons driving Turkey’s growing engagement with the Middle East and whether it contradicts its relations with the West. After this through examination of Turkey’s historical trajectory, its domestic situation, and its current political and economic relations with the East and the West, I have concluded that Turkey is not turning away from the West. Turkey’s relations with the Middle East have indeed improved and Turkey--for the first time it in its modern history-- is becoming a major player in the region. Furthermore, its active role in the East is not replacing, but complementing, its relations with the West.