File Name: turkish foreign policy and turkish identity a constructivist approach .zip
Relations between Turkey and the Southeast Asia region had not been much deeply researched or mentioned because of the geopolitical distance, resulting in a seemingly distant relations. However, the trend has shifted with an increasing interest and more studies on these two regions, covering both historical and relationship dimensions. Evidences show historical relations between the Ottoman and many countries in Southeast Asia since the formation period of Republic of Turkey, and especially during the Justice and Development Party.
DOI: Within the Middle East, various forces have tried to impose alternative orders. Turkey is among a number of key players in the region. This article accepts that there has been a change in Turkish foreign policy since and attempts to contribute to the previous studies on this issue.
Download Free DOC. Download Free PDF. Ediz Citak. Download PDF. A short summary of this paper. Introduction International relations is an interdisciplinary field of study since international relations theories cover a wide range of different approaches, some of which emerge within the discipline itself while others have been imported from other fields of study such as economics or sociology.
According to constructivists rules make agents and agents make rules and states are considered to be socially contingent rather than unified and homogenous actors.
As it is well known, the international relations theories are mostly contested in itself causing differentiated schools of thought emphasizing different variables.
However, constructivism is not a theory, but rather an ontology, a set of assumptions about the world and human motivation and agency Slaughter, Constructivists challenge rationalist framework with the focus on the social context in which international relations occur, leads them to emphasize issues of identity and belief. According to traditional schools of international relations the state comes first and precedes foreign policy.
Leading scholars of international relations claim that the central focus of foreign policy analysis is on the policies and actions of national governments oriented toward external world. Yet, identities are the basis of interests and an institution is a relatively stable structure of identities and interests Wendt, Introduction of identity to foreign policy studies enabled scholars to focus on how foreign policy produces, maintains and reproduces the state and its identity by practicing and consolidating the artificial border between inside and outside.
Not only dealing with state identities as a dynamic process that includes existing societal units, cultural mentalities and the patterns of societal life, but also dealing with the direct impacts on national interests and foreign policy making, allows constructivism to make sense for the study of 3rd world countries.
Considering that security is usually a domestic problem in the 3rd world countries, constructivism gets through by bringing cultural and historical facts into foreign policy analysis. Krasner, This paper is aimed to review Turkish foreign policy in the Middle East from a constructivist point of view.
Turkish state identity and domestic inputs to the foreign policy making process like culture, identity and norms are considered together with the external factors. External factors are current power distribution and power shifts in the world.
Today, power in the world is distributed in a three-dimensional pattern that are military power, economic power and the realm of transnational relations that cross borders outside of government control including diverse nonstate actors like bankers, terrorists and transnational challanges such as mass immigration, pandemics and climate change. Two great power shifts are occuring in this century power transition among states and a power diffusion away from all states to nonstate actors Nye, According to Nye the later is causing more and more things to get outside of the control of even the most powerful states.
According to Smith an historic territory, or homeland, common myths and historical memories, a common, mass public culture, common legal rights and duties for all members and a common economy with territorial mobility for members are fundamental factors of national identity.
The Ottoman Empire represents one of the largest imperial projects in human history, ruling vast territories in North Africa, the Balkans, and the Middle East over a period of some five centuries. During its history, it did much to sustain Islamic civilization over an area of about 5,5 milllion km2 at its height. The empire represented stability and security for non-muslim residents and towards the end of its existence it also embarked on a process of democratization.
However, the Ottomans were defeated at the end of the WW1. After the Turkish War of Independence — , the Republic of Turkey was founded on October 29, , from the remnants of the fallen empire. Turkish history is one of the main reasons Turkey has multiple, conflicting, and sometimes-contradictory identities. In Turkey state structure is laid upon the pre-existing nation of people. State identity can be understood as the corporate and officially demarcated identity linked to the state apparatus.
As a matter of fact Mustafa Kemal, in creating a state, also had to take an unconnected population, which had plenty of cultural and religious substance, but no real conception of identity as a group, and give them a packaged national identity.
Turkey as the state for the nation of the Turks. The conflicting identites that have broadest presence are Official, Islamist, Nationalist and Conservative identities. Therefore it is crucial to reveal the vast influence of these views over Turkish foreign policy Aras, Turkish foreign policy has always been conducted via cooperation between the military and the foreign policy elite.
The dominant identity of the elite establishment define themselves according to their own perceptions of national interest with respect to foreign policy. The foundational elements of the official identity are abandonment of the Ottoman past, termination of Islamic power in the public sphere, preventing the Islamic influence from functioning as a source of political legitimacy, Westernization and elevation of Turkey to the economic level of the developed world.
In addition, security concerns play a crucial role in conducting foreign policies in line with the military forces seen as the defender of the republic and the guardian of the secular regime. After the military intervention, the Turkish Armed Forces gained a strong voice in Turkish politics through the establishment of the National Security Council and enlarged its sphere of influence over security and foreign policy.
In comparison to the official identity, Islamists favor a more assertive foreign policy and clamor for solidarity with Islamic groups abroad assuming Turkey as a potential leader of the Islamic world.
In general, Islamists favor foreign policy goals that emphasize Islamic, rather than Turkish identity challanging the status quo in foreign policy making. Nationalist Identity and Conservative Identity are relatively less influencial. Nationalist identity seeks pan-Turkism favoring cooperation and integration of Turkish-speaking people ranging from Asia Minor far into Asia proper encouraging a more active Turkish policy in the Balkans and the ex-Soviet Turkish Republics.
However, Conservative identity manifests itself as an attitude to adopt a multiparty political system and places importance on the protection of certain ideas and institutions that were remnants of the past.
On the other hand, the Official identity has always maintained a foreign policy vision to secure the geographical location. Based on a constructivist approach to identity, international relations and foreign policy, it is obvious that Turkish foreign policy is continously slipping out of the control of the Official identity as a result of the societal developments. The key to understanding Turkish politics is the power struggle between the Official identity and the Islamist identity and the fact that foreign policy consolidate the differences and oppositional positions in domestic politics.
Therefore, it can be stated that Turkish state identity in an international system and at the Middle East regional level is the consequence of its own domestic reality. As far as the extarnal impacts are concerned, Turkish state identity is more resistant to change from power distribution and power shifts in the global arena than from the domestic struggles and societal altering. Turkish — Israeli — Iranian Relations and Jerusalem As any Middle East specialist would acknowledge Turkey has a significant role in the history of the region, and distinctive relationship with the Arab states and Israel.
Turkey is literally at the crossroads between the cultures of East and West. In fact Turkey belongs to each of these areas in some way. The Middle East has been protected since by Turkish forces ready to act in case of a possible Soviet aggression. Anyhow, during the Cold War the Soviets attempted to extend their authority into the Middle East taking advantage of regional problems like the Iran-Iraq conflict over access to the Persian Gulf, the 40 years of Arab-Israeli hostility over Palestine, the disputed status of Jerusalem, terrorism, refugees, the Suez canal crisis in , and the occupied territories seized by Israel in Sleiman, However, in the period since the Gulf War, Middle East politics have changed significantly, and with the greater autonomy of the Turkish speaking areas of the former USSR, interest has shifted towards the North.
A new competition field has brought disputes in this region and main actors of the new struggles are Iran, Turkey and Russia. Another important development since the Gulf War has been the events regarding Israeli- Palestinian peace process. The policies followed by Netanyahu reversed the positive developments that started with the Madrid Conference and the chance of normalization for Arab-Israeli relations are lost.
In the mean time Turkey and Iran went through fundamental changes. As democratic peace started to become dominant in Iran foreign policy, Turkey faced ups and downs with the European Union relations while developing relations with the U. However that concerns our approach is the tendency of elites in all three countries to dramatize threats originating from imaginary or real enemies in order to legitimize their domestic affairs.
The most important arguement here is the natural outcome of the mentioned situation that foreign policy becomes an extension of domestic politics and lose its way. Some of the Arab countries give priority to Islamic sensitivities and support the struggle against Israel until its depletion. Another attitude is to remain neutral or enhancing relations with Israel for military, economic and technological development which would also lead to good relations with the United States of America. Iran is taking the necessary measures and mobilize all resources available against Israel while Turkey is cooperating with Israel which causes the accusation for being distant from the Muslim world.
In addition, a regionally detached Turkey would be pivotal to transform the region into a positive peace environment creating new norms like democracy, human rights, the rule of law etc. Israel continously claims that nuclear weapons of Iran pose a fatal threat and Israeli government is taking measures to prevent China, the Russian Federation and North Korea from aiding Iran in the production of such weapons.
On the other hand Iran argues that the instability in the region is caused by the Zionist regime and American propaganda. It is also important to state the fact that Israel possesses a sizeable nuclear arsenal up to warheads.
On the other hand American support for Israel occasionaly violating UN resolutions regarding the status of Palestine creates a chance for Iran to justify its position in the international arena. From Turkish perspective a pro-Palestinian attitude is in place, Turkey became the first Muslim country to recognize Israel though.
However, Islamist identity favor a more assertive foreign policy to seek potential leadership in the Islamic world since they consider Developing Eight of Islamic countries as an alternative to European Union.
All in all, having a strong army, qualified man power and a promising market Turkey in cooperation with Israel still stands as a reliable ally for U. As far as the Jerusalem conflict is concerned, Turkish foreign policy shows clear signs of domestic impulses and expectations. The extraordinary symbolic importance of the city for three main religions, the Ottoman rule for a long time and common historical experiences create a societal resistance.
Therefore, in contrast to rationalistic international approach, the current Jerusalem policy of Turkey represents a major deviation from the Official identity. As a result the norms existing within Turkish society are in conflict with the official foreign policy and they tend to outweigh expert opinion on the issue of Jerusalem. On the other hand Jerusalem conflict have the potential to be a landmark for the Turkish foreign policy.
Undertaking the mediator role in the region might lead Turkey to become an influential player in the near future of the region. However, we also need to consider the consequences of relations with Israel over the Arab world and Turkish society. Therefore, it is expected that Turkish foreign policy will be influenced in constructive ways by the developments in Turkish society. Turkish — Syrian — Iraqi Relations and the Kurdish Question Kurds have a long history of marginalization and persecution, and, particularly in Iraq and Turkey, have repeatedly risen up to seek greater autonomy or complete independence.
According to CIA Fact Book, the total Kurdish population is estimated at about 35 million and this population mainly spread in four states. Kurdish populations are 4. The Kurdish tribes are internally diverse and there is no common loyalty among them in a region wide sense.
In another words,, not all Kurds envision a unified Kurdistan that would span the Kurdish regions of all four countries.
Most Kurdish movements and political parties are focused on the concerns and the autonomy or independence of Kurds in their specific countries. It is clear that one of the most important Middle Eastern issues and also significant for Turkish politics, is the Kurdish question. South eastern areas of Turkey are populated by Kurds and because of the poverty many Kurds are ambivalent in their stance toward the Turkish state.
The beginnings of s witnessed an increase in the intensity of the conflict and greater loss of life as a result of increased activity by the PKK. The Turkish state has attempted to deal with its Kurdish problem by the integration of Kurdish population into the economic and political life of the country, exclusion of Kurdish political violence and economic restoration in the southeast through the GAP project.
In addition to these measures neither military operations to impose security in the southeast nor hard line policy including collective punishment for the Kurdish rural have not been able to solve the Kurdish problem of Turkey. This common concern also creates an incentive for cooperation despite a number of problems among these states.
Access options available:. XXXV, No. National identity in a collective sense has been defined as a constructed concept which generates we-ness with reference to others, and has a close relation with history and traditions, as well as with political values. He was a visiting lecturer at University College Maastricht in Netherlands He published various articles on Turkish foreign policy and security studies. Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide. Forged from a partnership between a university press and a library, Project MUSE is a trusted part of the academic and scholarly community it serves.
Despite that, there is an proliferating literature about the growing role of Turkey in the Global South, especially related to the expansion of diplomatic networks, foreign aid, humanitarian assistance and quasi-interregional cooperation. This paper will address the southern dimension of the Turkish foreign policy by identifying the main international and domestic variables that have pushed for further activism in the Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. The main argument is that the political and economic emergence of the non-western world, next to the narrative promoted by the ruling JDP elite — especially connected to the quest for a global engagement and partially related to the identity nexus — helped to expand this strategic perspective formulated in the late s. As a matter of fact, Turkey is geographically interlocked between the European and the Asian continents, located at the crossroads of the Afro-Eurasia landmass. While issues such as economics, development cooperation and humanitarian aid become increasingly relevant, a broader agenda emerged in the international context, characterized by the reduction of the value of military power and territorial defense.
Justice and Development Party JDP , as the sole incumbent force for the last decade and a half, has proven to be an influential political actor with its power and capability to shape-shift the domestic and foreign policy of the Republic of Turkey. You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article. This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Don't have an account? Would you like to be regularly informed by e-mail about our new publications in your fields of interest?
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