Is Escalation Between France and Turkey in the Middle East and Beyond Inescapable? Geneva Center for Security Policy, Syria Transition Challenges Project, November 2020
In recent years, France and Turkey have been on opposing sides relating to Middle East concerns.
The countries’ disagreements over situations in Syria, Libya, the Eastern Mediterranean, and lately the Caucasus, have escalated significantly, generating fears of a proxy conflict with direct military confrontation between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) members. Attempting to rally widespread European support, France assertively challenges the Turkish “neo-Ottoman” ambitions; while Paris is anxious of Ankara’s acts outside of Paris’s expectations for a historically narrowly defined Turkish national interests. In the medium-term, the two countries appear to be testing each other to redefine their respective zones of influence, adapting their foreign policy objectives in the turbulent dynamics of the post-Arab Spring era. This power competition resonates domestically, as both the French and the Turkish public are receptive to the developing negative narratives of “the other.”
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This content is available in Arabic : هل التصعيد بين فرنسا وتركيا في الشرق األوسط وخارجه حتمي؟