"During a period of domestic political turmoil in spring and summer 2008, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government of Turkey continued to conduct a very active foreign policy aimed at portraying the country as a regional power and at improving relations with its neighbors. It has engaged Iraq in order to fight the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO); prevent the emergence of an independent Kurdish state in northern Iraq; and ensure the development of a stable neighbor. This engagement includes advances in both political and economic bilateral relations. Turkey also has been facilitating indirect Israeli-Syrian peace talks and improving political and economic ties to Syria. More controversially, the AKP has drawn closer to Iran, partly because Turkey believes that it would be harmed by a possible conflict over Iran's nuclear program and partly because it seeks to diversify its sources of energy. The AKP has continued to act on its EU ambitions and offers Turkey as a bridge between its neighbors and Europe. However, Turkey's policy toward Cyprus may impede progress toward EU membership, and its approach to the Cyprus settlement talks may not be as constructive as it was in 2004. Finally, Turkey's relations with Armenia have been troubled, ma inly because of its refusal to recognize the Armenian 'genocide' of the early 20th century and Nagorno-Karabakh issues."
CRS Report for Congress, RL34642