Insight Turkey Volume 11 Number 1 - Winter 2009

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One needs to recognize that the formulation of national interests and foreign policy is a direct result of the internalization of identity preferences that are shaped by cultural mentalities and patterns of social and economic life. In this environment of pluralism in foreign policy-making, Turkey has acquired a new foreign policy identity, which led to the emergence of a self- confident, multi-dimensional and dynamic foreign policy approach.

Turkish foreign policy has been traditionally subordinate to the international systemic order and shaped under the constraints of domestic politics. Turkish policy- makers were designing foreign policy based on their interpretation of the international system and projecting their domestic concerns onto the foreign policy-making process.

Traditional bureaucratic — authoritarian foreign policy Turkish foreign policy long carried historical baggage as a legacy of the Ottoman Empire. The early republican elite experienced a difficult transformation from an Ottoman frame of mind to a new post-Ottoman Turkish mindset.

It was not certain in the beginning that this intellectual journey would be westward. While the Empire was disappearing on the warfront and at the post-war negotiating tables, the late Ottoman intellectuals were discussing different ideas of Islamism and Ottomanism. Their intellectual transformation occurred under the demise of the Empire and the emergence of a nation-state in the Anatolian Turkish heartland, which dictated a new geographical necessity to the new Turkish state upon which it should be formed. This new mindset was responsive and defensive, with serious concerns for the survival of the new nation-state.

Atay considers the Ottoman presence outside Anatolia, in particular in the current Middle East, as a useless endeavour and waste of resources. He refers to the devastating situation in Anatolia and holds the Ottoman Empire responsible for its deterioration. He blames the Ottoman administration for spending all the wealth of Anatolia in the Arab deserts.


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However, the new elite could not depart from the Ottoman bureaucratic tradition, particularly in foreign policy. Turkish foreign policy establishment was run by security elites who reserved foreign policy-making for experts, and sometimes totally isolated it as a national security issue. The international system, on the other hand, also played an important role in shaping the political and ideological choices of Turkey and its foreign policy.

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The end of the Second World War and the creation of the UN system had a similar impact on the transition to a multi-party system and democratization. While clamouring for increased modernization and Westernization so as to elevate Turkey to the economic level of the civilized world, at the same time, the official identity at home had been one of distrust and latent enmity towards the West inherited from the Ottoman administrative elite. Nationalist foreign policy followed a cautious and reluctant policy towards European countries, due to demands for increasing democratization and greater respect for human rights in Turkey.

First edition was published in Brown ed. On occasion, Turkey showed considerable daring in its foreign policy. The Sevres Syndrome regards the notion that the country is surrounded by enemies and constantly faces the danger of break-up or partition. This distinctively Turkish view of the world still plays a vital role in shaping the minds of nationalist foreign policy- makers. The regional rhetoric and language was built on the idea that the homeland was under continuous threat and, indeed, surrounded by enemies.

Foreign policies come to be extensions of domestic politics. In this regard, the Kurdish and Islamist rebellions during the establishment period gave the leaders of the republic an opportunity to silence the opposition. The threats of Kurdish separatism and Islamist rebellion shaped the cognitive map of the security elite and contributed to the creation of a harsh political culture whereby most serious subsequent opposition to government policies or comprehensive disagreement with its progress laid open the possibility that the disaffected groups would be labelled as traitors.

Conducting foreign policies in line with an understanding of mere security is in conformity with the growing role of the military in foreign policy formulation.

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In the end, ideological narrowing in domestic politics caused foreign policies to be harsher, less sensitive to change and less flexible in regional policies. Aras and G. The emergence of a new policy approach paved the way for a change in the perception of this geography. Turkish policy-makers are preparing the ground for a more active Turkish role in the region.

The Turkish case exemplifies proven ways of reforming politics, improving welfare and contributing to regional security. There is ample evidence that Turkish policy-makers exhibit a high degree of self-confidence and willingness to get involved in regional issues and even to pursue extensive and intensive diplomatic initiatives beyond the region. Societal forces are increasing their influence in Turkish foreign policy- making and competing with old bureaucratic — authoritarian tradition.

At the same time, foreign policy-makers are paying more attention to international legitimacy, values and norms. Security is, to a considerable extent, an internal problem and foreign policies are extensions of the domestic considerations in this geography. In some cases, there may be external causes for the problems, but political elites had a tendency to exaggerate them and to manipulate them to preserve their hold on power.

This new imagination places different assumptions about regional countries in the minds of policy-makers. The crux of the question lies within the aforementioned transformation, which reshaped foreign policy choices. In this sense, the new foreign policy has been shaped under the changing nature of the nation-state, with frontiers that have expanded beyond the homeland in the cognitive map of policy-makers. The territorial limits to Turkish involvement in neighbouring countries disappeared in this new mindset. Aras and R. The change could be understood in a multilateral framework that includes the changes in the domestic landscape and the bilateral interaction of each component of the political, economic and cultural transformation with the emerging foreign policy line.

For example, questioning the national security culture enters into a bilateral formative interaction with the geographic imagination, which re-configures the formulation of national security and integrates new factors into the foreign policy-making process. As argued by Ahmet Davutoglu, chief advisor to the Prime Minister and the intellectual architect of the foreign policy of the ruling Justice and Development Party AK Party : In terms of geography, Turkey occupies a unique space.

Like Russia, Germany, Iran, and Egypt, Turkey cannot be explained geographically or culturally by associating it with one single region. The physical distance and prior difficulties of getting involved in these geographies no longer make sense in policy circles and among the public. The changing meanings of Asia or Africa in the new rhetoric of foreign policy- makers are examples of the dynamic interaction between power and geography.

Turkey hosts Middle Eastern, Eurasian and African leaders as well as high-level politicians and officials from Western countries and facilitates platforms for the solution of conflicts in various geographies.

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Turkish policy-makers try to overcome differences between countries in conflict through confidence-building measures and by acting as a mediator and facilitator for the solutions to chronic regional problems. They try to initiate regional dynamics for peace-making and mobilize regional actors to create a new awareness of peace in a wide geography extending from the Middle East to the steppes of Eurasia. Turkey is considered a gateway to Europe and a country that knows how to accommodate differences within international society.

The deliberate establishment and strengthening of ties between Turkey and Syria holds promise for both. The signing of a free trade zone in between Syria and Turkey would 11 R. There is a decisive will on both sides to overcome obstacles in the interest of improving trade and business relations.

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During the latter visit, every aspect of bilateral economic relations was discussed with a view to overcoming any pending obstacles. In the new regional rhetoric of Turkish policy-makers, Syria is now a potential ally and friend. From their perspective, as former Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdullah Gul expressed, Turkey and Syria have legitimate concerns about the future of Iraq and should cooperate in every possible way, as they already have started doing, to enhance peace and stability.

While Turkey was blamed for cooperation with Israel and accused of forming a coalition against Syria in the s,16 a new, cooperative vision now prevails. The increasing levels of trust on both sides have made Turkey a potential mediator in the decades-long Syrian —Israeli conflict. Turkey pursues a multi-dimensional policy line, in part, to foster just such a role in the region, and has already enjoyed some degree of success.

This demonstrates the trust of Turkish policy-makers that Turkish—Syrian relations were in such good standing that Syria would respond positively to Turkish demands in regional matters. The most promising period for Israeli — Syrian negotiations was the era following the Madrid Framework signed in The framework provided channels for bilateral dialogue and the resolution of regional issues along multilateral tracks.

Despite its promise, however, this framework did not produce any improvement between Syria and Israel. The US-sponsored talks in at the Wye River and in in Shepherdstown likewise produced no result, as did the secret diplomacy initiative of The level of engagement, at the outset, was limited to conveying messages from each side and the process was extremely difficult.

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Spring Volume 16, Number 2. Winter Volume 16, Number 1. Fall Volume 15, Number 4. Summer Volume 15, Number 3. Spring Volume 15, Number 2. Winter Volume 15, Number 1. Fall Volume 14, Number 4. Summer Volume 14, Number 3.

Spring Volume 14, Number 2. Winter Volume 14, Number 1. Fall Volume 13, Number 4. Summer Volume 13, Number 3. Spring Volume 13, Number 2. Winter Volume 13, Number 1. Fall Volume 12, Number 4. Summer Volume 12, Number 3. Spring Volume 12, Number 2. Winter Volume 12, Number 1. Fall Volume 11, Number 4.

Summer Volume 11, Number 3. Spring Volume 11, Number 2. Winter Volume 11, Number 1. Fall Volume 10, Number 4. Summer Volume 10, Number 3. Spring Volume 10, Number 2. Winter Volume 10, Number 1. Editor's Notes. Editor's Note Summer The Turkish political scene did not witness a profound change with the local elections of March The ruling Justice and Development Party AK Party continued its strong electoral performance and maintained its status as the most popular political force.

In the foreseeable future, the international system will become one of multipolarity. This new Armenian-Turkish Rapprochement: Timing Matters. Can Islam and Modernity be Reconciled? Is Islam particularly inimical to modernity, and the two are never to be reconciled? Chief advisor to the This study examines the possible contributions of the critical perspectives and conceptual