The ease in the East-West tension towards the close of the 1980s and the subsequent changes are undoubtedly considered as the major and important development in the in the international political milieu. These changes led to the breakdown of the post-1945 power structure and remoulded the international system, particularly as seen in terms of ‘power’.1 In fact, these developments caused widespread changes in international and regional politics and reshaped the nature of relation among the various state actors and other non-state actors. With the end of Cold War and the resulting superpower competition in the 1990s, all states, large and small, sought to adjust to the new global realities. Viewed in this context, Turkey was one of the countries profoundly affected by these political and strategic transformations.
Against this backdrop, the present study attempts to assess Turkey’s external relations and its role and position in the changed environment of the post-Cold War era. And the present chapter, apart from discussing the meaning of regional power also highlights the declared policy and self-perception of Turkey to play a regional role. It will also briefly touch the perception of other countries of the region and outside. In the following chapters, however, the details about Turkey’s self-perception in the particular region and its relations with great powers, other regional challengers and neighbouring countries will be discussed.
However, before analyzing Turkey’s role in the various regions, it is quite necessary to take into consideration the very nature of the international system that emerged after the end of Cold War and how far the power relation among the various countries has been affected in the new environment.
1 The term ‘power’, one of the most crucial concets in the vocabulary of International Politics, is used here as the power of a state or national power. For a detail analysis of this connotation see Arthur Lee Burns, Of Power and Their Politics (Englewood Cliffs, 1968); and J M Rothberg, Defining Power-Forces and Influence in the Contemporary International System (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1993).