What's driving foreign policy in Turkey?

A new policy report by London Met’s Dr Ahmet Erdi Öztürk argues that Turkey’s post-2016 foreign policy rests on ideas of militarisation, Islam, civilisation and power.

Date: 15 March 2021

A new policy report by London Met's Dr Ahmet Erdi Öztürk, Turkey's Post-2016 Foreign Policy Drivers: Militarisation, Islam, Civilisation and Power has been published by the Hellenic Foundation for European & Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP).

Dr Öztürk, a lecturer in Politics and International Relations, explained his argument, saying, "New Turkey's new foreign policy understanding rests on four inter-related parameters that pertain to the priorities of the country's ruling coalition: militarisation, Islam, civilisation and power.

"Turkey has become engrossed in a status in which it resorts to military force to an unprecedented degree, reflects religion in its foreign affairs in a multi-faceted manner, expresses itself in power terms and, moreover, views itself as superior and unique in terms of its civilisation. This results in Turkey's isolation from its historical allies in the international arena – to put it more bluntly, causing it to falter.

"But it is important to remember that these changes, though they appear in foreign policy, are steps taken for the domestic public, because the situation fully embodies the 'boomerang effect'. Nearly all the foreign policy choices Ankara produces today are based on domestic political cost-benefit analysis.

"Turkish foreign policy during the AKP era can be misinterpreted or difficult to analyse without understanding domestic political balances, actors and their multi-faceted, complicated relationships."

The report can be read in full on ELIAMEP's website.

President Erdogan sitting in front of Turkish flag

Pictured: Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President of Turkey