The dynamic between national identity and foreign policy in Turkey
Bullen, William Joseph
Baylouny, Anne M.
Clement, Victoria S.
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Recently, Turkey's foreign policy has undergone some considerable changes. In order to understand why this has occurred, and where Turkey's foreign policy will likely go in the future, one must examine Turkey's national identity. Today, Turkey's dominant national identity reflects a blend between modern, secular, and western customs with traditional Ottoman and Islamic culture: a "neo-Ottoman" identity. This synthesis of traditional and modern identities grew out of the 1980s and was solidified when the Justice and Development party (AKP), a secular party with strong roots in political Islam, was elected in 2002 and then re-elected twice with the largest plurality. This revisiting of Ottoman-Islamic culture is reflected in Turkey's foreign policy. Now that Turkey has shifted back to a greater comfort in its Ottoman-Islamic identity, it has reopened better relations with the Muslim world, which significantly differs from Turkey's foreign policy prior to 2002. While Turkey will continue solid relations with the west, it will only do so as long as it is in Ankara's own interest.
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