Master's Theses

Date of Award

2011

Document Type

Thesis

Department

International Relations

Keywords

Public Opinion, Turkey-US relations, Armenian Problem

Abstract

"This study is an analysis of the impact of public opinion on the foreign policy decisionmaking process in Turkish-American relations. The aim of the study is to understand the construction and the mobilization of public opinion, and its the impact on the decisionmakers. Turkey and the United States have a long history of friendship dating back to the late 18th century. Public opinion has had a substantial influence on Turkish-American relations. There are various actors, such as lobby groups and the media, involved in the construction and the mobilization of public opinion in both countries. Understanding how they work and how they interact with each other is crucial to comprehending influence of public opinion on foreign policy making. In this study, three cases are analyzed to highlight this influence: the Cyprus Problem, the Armenian Question and the Turkish accession to the European Union. In looking at these cases, it is argued that in the United States public opinion is generally constructed and mobilized by the elites on issues in which a subgroup of the nation has a special interest. On the other hand, in Turkey, public opinion is mostly a reaction derived from the relatively more nationalistic identity of the Turkish public which is also shared by the policy makers. Thus, in Turkey the flow of public opinion to the policy makers is comparatively more direct. The analysis concludes that my hypothesis is correct with respect to the United States but there are mixed results with respect to Turkey."

 
 

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