GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

Family Name:
Al Obaidli
First Name:
Title of Paper:
Paper Proposal Text :
During a 2008 meeting held in Jeddah on the sidelines of their 108th Ministerial Council session, foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states declared Turkey as a strategic partner, reflecting expanding economic and political cooperation between the two.

Several significant contributions have been made to illustrate the rising relationships between the GCC and Turkey, such as Bulent Aras’ “Turkey and the GCC: An Emerging Relationship”. In his journal article: “Turkey-GCC Relations: Is There a Future?”, Birol Baskan encourages Turkey to become an energy transit corridor between GCC states and other energy markets. Oxford Business Group has published a report entitled: “A win-win relationship: Recent years have seen a jump in trade with Gulf states” on rising economic relations between Turkey and the GCC. In January 2012 both sides signed a commitment to double trade and talks about a free trade agreement are ongoing. Nermina Biberovic emphasizes the fact of enhanced economic cooperation in her article “Turkey and the GCC States: A New Era of Bilateral Economic Relations”. She discusses the fact that Turkey and the GCC are looking to diversify into activities beyond commercial trade. Memorandums of Understanding have been signed and initiatives established to further expand the scope of their economic relations.

The “Arab Spring” has reinforced the growing potential for a Turkish role in the Middle East. Stephen Larrabeea discusses in his study, “Turkey and the Gulf Cooperation Council”; after the Arab Spring, relations between Turkey and the GCC have taken broader political dimensions. While in his article: “Arab’s “Spring” or Turkey’s “Rise”?” Naili Nabil emphasizes that Turkey’s Foreign Policy agenda has changed after the Arab Spring as it aims to redefine itself as a regional power with global ambitions. Saban Kardas in a proceedings report “Turkey and the Gulf Dialogue” accentuates that Turkey’s Foreign Policy agenda is entering a new phase, and both sides are taking steps through institutionalizing a political dialogue and agreements to each a position on regional issues. Presently, Turkey is widely accepted as a regional player within the Gulf.

Rather than the GCC as a whole, our main focus is Bahrain and its relationship with Turkey. The two enjoy strong economic cooperation. They are currently looking to diversify their relations to cope with imminent challenges, including: regional threats, rising ethnic and sectarian tensions within Turkey and various Arab states, Iran’s nuclear program, and evolving energy markets.

While there is a sizeable academic literature on Turkey’s relationship with the Middle East, a comparatively small amount of work has been done on Bahrain-Turkey relations. Using a diversified range of academic sources, books, and articles, this paper will analyze current Bahrain-Turkey relations. In addition, this paper builds on the literature by analyzing Bahraini-Turkish relations in light of the most recent events and by exploiting exclusive, personally-conducted meetings with officials. We also explore how the two countries can use economic cooperation as a springboard for greater political cooperation. Finally, we speculate about the future collaboration prospects between Bahrain and Turkey.