There are many questions about Turkey’s Middle East policy and it’s repercussions. Turkey’s strategic steps regarding Syria are very important for the Middle East’s geopolitical future. To understand Turkey’s role in the Middle East it’s history needs to be understood. Turkey had been a regional hegemon in the Middle East for centuries, it has historical and cultural connections with communities living in Caucasia and The Balkans.Therefore, it’s normal for it to be interested in issues related to the Middle East. But it must avoid acting like hegemon of the region again. This is because the age of empires is ended long ago, Turks are significantly outnumbered by Arabs in the Middle East and there are other countries who attempted to become masters of the region like Egypt and Iran, they all failed. Due to it’s hydrocarbon deposits, the Middle East is a region of interest for major powers. External interference by other players such as regime changes and arming non-state actors have exacerbated the problems in the Middle East and made solutions to these problems increasingly difficult. These problems include the acceptance of Israel by Arabs and the uncertainty regarding the future of Kurdish people, which is of particular concern to Palestine and Turkey. The critical thing here is to calculate to which degree Turkey should be included in these problems as well.Due to it’s hydrocarbon deposits, the Middle East is a region of interest for major powers. External interference by other players such as regime changes and arming non-state actors have exacerbated the problems in the Middle East and made solutions to these problems increasingly difficultDuring the ‘Arab Spring’, which certainly wasn’t a spring for many people, Turkey stayed distant from the region and didn’t engage in any of the geopolitical games being played in the region. However, once the Syrian civil war started, Turkey changed its approach. It is my belief that since the west couldn’t directly interfere in Syria because of the presence of Russia and Iran, it used Turkey as it’s pawn. According to world policy analysts, Turkey “opens its borders to immigrants and dispatches weapons to opposing forces.” For the time being, it seems like Bashar al-Asad’s regime won’t be as easy to topple as the regimes in Libya, Tunis and Iraq. As such, it shouldn’t be forgotten that chess pawns rarely win the game. Is it possible that Bashar’s atrocities against his own people drove Turkey to act like this? Let’s remember, the Turkish government used to get on pretty well with Damascus. They even conducted a meeting of a council of ministers during which Bashar visited Turkey with his wife. I remember the partisan press praised them. Was Bashar acting better to his people then as compared to when the civil war broke out? Why did the practices of the Syrian government that formerly didn’t disturb the government in Turkey become so disturbing suddenly? It seems like Turkey’s position on Syria didn’t originate in Turkey. So, does this mean that Turkey should not support the Syrian opposition and support Bashar instead?If Turkey’s foreign relations are observed one see’s that Turkey is closer to countries which practice Islam more radically like Saudi Arabia and Qatar and stays distant from countries closer to the West. We can remember, Erdogan visited Qatar many times. His visits to Muslim countries in North Africa are much smaller in number. There are certain actors in Middle East that, it’s impossible to gain a place without opposing them, and Iran is most important of them. Besides foreign policy, we should evaluate Turkey’s economy as well. Now the world may think that Turkey cannot act with ease in the Middle East. Maybe they are thinking that it’s continuously being directed by Hegemon Powers? It is conceivable for some countries. Actually both of them are not completely true. But these questions exist. As seen in history, the answers lie economics. If Turkey had stronger economic ties in the Middle East, then its steps would have been different. As we estimate easily, it would have been more confident. So we should really accept the idea of Marxists that “Everything starts with economics, others are dependent variables”. Turkey, being one of the large economies of the world in terms of exported goods and services, does not distribute its income to its people well.There is also the European side to consider. Because Turkey’s Middle East Policy reflects its EU process. Is the reason Turkey couldn’t join the EU that it can’t solve it’s own problems with the Middle East? No, If the country’s membership of the EU had a chance to solve it’s internal problems, this question’s answer would be positive. Among the countries that are members of EU, there are ones who do not want membership of Turkey.At the top of their reasons comes the expectation that they will experience problems while assimilating the crowded population of Turkey with different religions. On the other hand, we shouldn’t forget that racism and fascism fearlessly show up in streets and politics of Europe in recent years. Let’s remember the Solingen scandal aiming Turks. Doubtlessly, Turkey with its internal problems solved can pass through gates of EU more quickly. It can become a more powerful regional actor.Whatever Turkey’s foreign policy is aimed at, it should take it’s regional situation into account, and remember the mistakes it has made in the past. Most importantly, it can’t allow itself to pursue dreams of becoming the kind of regional hegemon it once was. The writer is a freelance columnist from Turkey Published in Daily Times, October 15th 2017.