Master's Theses

Date of Award

2016

Document Type

Thesis

Department

International Relations

First Advisor

Professor Jean Krasno

Second Advisor

Professor Bruce Cronin

Keywords

Turkish Foreign Policy, Ottomanism, AKP (Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi - ), Justice and Development Party

Abstract

This thesis analyzes the changes and continuity within Turkish foreign policy since 2002, under the Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi - AKP). In order to understand modern Turkish politics, it is important to realize Turkey’s aspirations of becoming a full member of the European Union and its subsequent push for strategic alliances with the Middle East and former Turkic republics from the Soviet Union. The evidence shows that Turkey has consistently strived to improve its relationship with the EU in its effort to become a full member state, but the EU’s reluctance to accept Turkey as an equal member state has led to enduring obstacles and an unfinished journey since 1987. Turkey’s strategic geographical location (Afro-Eurasia) makes it possible to pursue a multi-dimensional foreign policy in the region. Furthermore, the thesis also examines the influence of national identity (Turkism / Turkishness) and religious identity (Islam for the Ottomanism) that play an important role in determining Turkish foreign policy in the Middle East, Balkans and Turkic states in Caucasus and Central Asia. Turkish foreign policy has shifted from a Hobbesian realism to a slightly more Kantian approach that espouses diplomacy, negotiation, and other civilian instruments such as economic and multilateral cooperation. This new approach was also adopted toward the Arab world, with which relations have significantly improved under AKP government. Relations with the West have been viewed as complementary to, rather than a substitute for, relations with the Islamic world.[1] In this context, during the Ottoman Empire, Islam was seen as the pillar of Ottoman society. This society was based on the millet system, - a system which was defined according to the society’s' religion rather than ethnic or national communities by the Ottoman Empire.[2] Islam and Ottomanism were meant to build continuity between Turkey’s foreign policy toward Europe and in the Middle East, Balkans, Turkic states in Caucasus and Central Asia.

 
 

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