Responding to Turkey’s request for protection against a possible attack from Syria, the NATO Council mobilized six Patriot missile batteries to assist Ankara in defending the south-east and south-central provinces.
With materiel and personnel support becoming increasingly operational over the coming days, Turkey is further shifting its ‘zero problems with neighbors’ policy in favor of a proactive response to regional issues, which affords Ankara the opportunity to forge a new path in its foreign policy initiatives. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu developed the ‘zero problems with neighbors’ policy in 2009 as a means to push Turkey into a more international position that fulfilled Ataturk’s desire for ‘peace at home, peace in the world.’ Intending to position the nation into a more centralized role in global affairs, the Turkish government sought out opportunities to mediate inter- and intra-state disputes as a means to broker regional peace.
Through these measures, Ankara attempted to promote stronger relations with its autocratic neighbors, and the policy was initially utilized to justify signing the Tehran Declaration, as well as voting against United Nations sanctions against Iran. The initiative was short-lived and began to be dismantled after a 2010 NATO Summit where Ankara agreed to a radar-defense system deployed in its territory. Prior to the agreement, Tehran believed Turkey was distancing itself from its Western allies; however, the NATO agreement severely soured relations between the two countries. The escalating chaos that manifested from the Arab Spring showed the Turkish leadership that the ‘zero problems’ policy was an over-simplified solution to broad, complex problems throughout the region.