PROBLEM: "… in the process of improving ties with Syria & Iran, Turkey will have to eschew its close relations with Israel …"
“… By implementing a new, sophisticated foreign policy theory called “strategic depth,” the AKP has taken another step to promote the rise of anti-Western nationalism in Turkey. The theory on its face is benign, with the premise being that Turkey sits amid a number of “geocultural basins,” such as the Middle East and the “Muslim world” (which are identical, according to the theory) and the West (Europe and the United States). Turkey can only emerge as a regional power, the thinking goes, if it establishes good ties in each of these basins and, hence, with all its neighbors.
The implications of such a policy are problematic, and in the Turkish context the new order has a counterrevolutionary strain. First, instead of considering Turkey’s membership in the West a given, it suggests that the country should deal equally with the West and the “Muslim world.” Turkey is thus severed from its traditional pro-Western orientation, which, according to the strategic depth concept, is considered a form of alienation. The ramifications of all this cannot be overstated: the drift away from the West is the most important paradigm change in Turkish foreign policy since the beginning of the Cold War.
A second problem with the strategic depth theory is that, in the process of improving ties with its neighbors, Turkey will necessarily have to eschew its traditionally close relations with Israel, which the theory likewise brands as a case of alienation. The beneficiaries of such distancing have included Syria and Russia, along with Iran, each of which has enjoyed warmer relations with the Turkish leadership. Alongside weakened ties with Israel, the Turkish relationship with Georgia and Azerbaijan has also suffered. In pushing its theory, the government has tried to brush aside past friction with neighboring states. The theory has suggested, for example, that any previous tensions between Turkey and Syria — such as anger expressed by Turks as a result of Damascus giving refuge to Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) members who committed terror attacks — were artificial. …”