Both Turkey’s and Italy’s strategic centers lie outside the Mediterranean, in particular the North Atlantic and Europe, where their major alliances, namely NATO and EU, are located. Their gravitation towards these centers has involved the two countries in policy frameworks in the Mediterranean initiated by those alliances, such as the NATO Mediterranean Dialogue, the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership and the Union for the Mediterranean. This situation has been altered by the end of the Cold War and the weakening of the alliances’ rationales and, even more so, by the post-September 11 American decision to intervene militarily in the Middle East. This intervention has shifted Turkey’s and Italy’s focus in their southern approaches from the Mediterranean to the Middle East. While Italy’s shift is peripheral with respect to its foreign policy strategy and is mostly an opportunistic move, Turkey’s shift may have a more structural significance and bring about changes in its strategic posture. Cooperation between Turkey and Italy in the Mediterranean and the Middle East involves less strategic-intense areas, such as developing structured economic cooperation in the area, support for small and medium sized firms, transport and energy security. In this sense, the Union for the Mediterranean, if duly reformed, could offer opportunities for expanding cooperation.
Paper prepared within the framework of the eight Ita-Turk Forum.
The Southern Approaches' Relevance to Turkey and Italy
b) Participation in Euro-Mediterranean Policy Frameworks
Shifts in the 2000s
The Euro-Mediterranean Setting
Conclusions: Turkish and Italian Cooperation in their Southern Approaches