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Turkey's neighbors are partners, not foes, in proposed new security policy document

Turkey's neighbors are partners, not foes, in proposed new security policy document

Turkish officials are reportedly revising a key security document that has helped guide Ankara's foreign policy in past decades to reflect changing priorities under the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government. Reportedly, the document will now describe neighbors as partners, not enemies to be kept at bay. The highly confidential National Security Policy Document has long termed Greece, Iran, Iraq, Russia and Armenia as foes that could pose security threats to Turkey. But the AK Party government has sought closer links with all its neighbors in a bid to expand Turkey's influence in regional and global politics, thus clashing with the orthodox security doctrine, a Cold War holdover. Sources said the proposed changes to the document will highlight the potential for cooperation with neighbors, breaking from the previous emphasis on areas of conflict. If the planned changes to the document take effect, no act will be considered a threat to national security unless it is clearly defined as criminal under the Constitution or Turkey's laws. The revised National Security Policy Document continues to view the terrorist PKK as the biggest internal threat, according to sources. Other groups that carry out separatist activities parallel to the PKK's goals are also considered threats. The revisions, drafted by a team of experts headed by Prime Ministry Undersecretary Efkan Ala, are expected to take final shape at the National Security Council's next meeting in October and then to be sent to the Cabinet for approval.

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