Why did Turkish policies toward Syria and Egypt in 2011–15 largely fail? At the individual level, the leadership of Recep Tayyip Erdogan was plagued by populism in the sense that he uses foreign policy issues for the sake of domestic party politics without pursuing long-term international strategies. At the state level, Turkey's military and diplomatic capacity was not sufficient to shape the political transformations in Syria and Egypt. At the international level, Turkey could not effectively respond to the challenges of the Iranian-led and Saudi Arabian–led blocs. The former supported the regime of Bashar al-Assad and the latter backed the military coup in Egypt. Turkey needed the support of its North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies against these two rival blocs. However, Erdogan's populist discourse and tendency toward Islamist authoritarianism further deteriorated Turkey's relations with its Western allies.

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