Obama’s agenda closely watched

Center for European Studies / Middle East Technical University
The presidential election on 4 November 2008 was watched carefully all over the world. New US President, Barack Obama, has been one of the strong opponents of the neo-conservatives and their hawkish methods in the conduct of foreign policy. In this sense, his election strengthened the hopes for a change in the United States’ unilateral approach to world politics as well as the re-vitalization of transatlantic relationships. During the Bush Presidency, the EU-US relations became estranged as a result of disagreements over issues ranging from the Iraq War to the Kyoto Treaty. On the other hand, the foreign policy openings of Barak Obama, though not yet clearly launched, are signalling revitalisation and the multilateralism both in foreign policy and economy. In Turkey, these entire developments assessed cautiously to deduce some conclusions from the effects of the revitalised transatlantic relations.
In Turkey, the Obama administration’s inclinations for dialogue and effective cooperation with the EU came into prominence. In this regard, the assessments gave the first priority to the prospective of intensified cooperation in the transatlantic relations. Secondly, it was underlined that the current economic crisis in the world economy, the results of the US invasion of Iraq, the deadlock in the isolationist policies towards Iran, the staggering war on terrorism in Afghanistan, have urged the new US administration to pursue multilateral foreign policy and for the cooperation with the EU.[1] In this regard, the assessments gave the first priority to the prospective of intensified cooperation in transatlantic relations. The crisis in the world economy and the emerging collective approach between the new US administration and the EU in struggling with the adverse effects of the crisis, constituted the second issue in Turkey. In the face of worsening and the spread of the economic crisis, both sides of the transatlantic worked in a harmonious manner.[2]
In Turkey, it was highlighted that over the expectations for an immediate change in the transatlantic relations, would result in disappointments. It is obvious that although the foreign policy agenda of Obama aimed at revitalisation of transatlantic relations, the economic and social crisis in the USA will take the priority over foreign policy issues.

[1] Özgür Gazete, available at: http://www.ozgurradyo.com/ (last access: 25 January 2009); Amerika’nın Sesi, Türkish, available at: http://www.voanews.com/turkish/ (last access: 25 January 2009); Millet Haber: ‘AB Yeni Başkandan Çok Şey Bekliyor’, 5 November 2008, available at: http://www.millethaber.com/47208-; NTV-MSNBC VE AJANSLAR, available at http://www.ntvmsnbc.com/news/default.asp AB_Yeni_Baskandan_Cok_Sey_Bekliyor_haberi.html (last access: 25 January 2009); Cumhuriyet Strateji: ‘Obama’nın olası politikaları’, 15 December 2008, available at: http://www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/?im=yhs&yer=yazar&aranan=Sait%20Y%FDlmaz (last access: 25 January 2009); Cumhuriyet Gazetesi, available at: http://www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/ (last access: 25 January 2009); Referans Gazetesi, available at: http://www.referansgazetesi.com/ (last access: 25 January 2009).

[2] See: http://www.tumgazeteler.com/?a=3955578 - 5k (last access: 25 January 2009); ansesNet Haber Ajansı, available at: http://www.ansesnet.com/goster_2.php?sira_no_e=9581 (last access: 25 January 2009); Cumhuriyet gazetesi, available at: http://www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/?im=yhs&kid=58&hn=25098 (last access: 25 January 2009).