YNet News (Link) - Manfred Gerstenfeld (March 2, 2011)
For the moment, Turkey seems to be a major winner in the midst of the unrest in the Mideastern and North African Muslim world. This is not a result of anything it has done, but derives largely from the loss of power of other nations.
As far as population is concerned, there are three major nations in the Middle East – Turkey, Iran and Egypt, each with 70-80 million inhabitants. Saudi Arabia has a substantially higher Gross Domestic Product per capita than all three, but its population of 25 million is much smaller.
After Mubarak’s fall, it will take many years before another internationally relevant leader emerges in Egypt. In the meantime, Iran is trying to use an increasing power vacuum to raise its own profile. Sending warships through the Suez Canal to Syria is a small but visible sign of this. Iran also hopes to benefit from the partial shift away of Western focus upon it, as there are so many problems elsewhere in the Muslim world. At the same time, Iran is vulnerable as it has to cope once again with growing internal protests.