Activism in Turkish Foreign Policy: Balancing European and Regional Interests
International Studies Perspectives 15 (3) (August 2014): 257-276.
38 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 2012 Last revised: 17 Nov 2014
Date Written: July 13, 2012
This article argues that long-term changes in Turkish foreign policy are primarily due to the diversification of the country’s political and economic interests. Important international structural shifts such as the end of the Cold War or the broad fluctuations in oil prices have constituted the initial impetus for the changes that we have seen in Turkish policies.
Discussing alternative perspectives on new activism in Turkish foreign policy, the article gauges Turkey’s foreign policy affinity (based on voting patterns in the United Nations General Assembly) and trade with other states to place recent trends in the broader context of the past three decades. It shows that, as the “West” has become less coherent in its policies, Turkey moved closer to EU members and distanced itself from the U.S. The data also undermine “shift of axis” arguments as Turkey’s foreign policy affinity with Middle East countries has, in fact, declined. The trade data reveal a diversification of the country’s commercial interests that contribute to Turkey’s increasing regional activism. The country now balances its long term European interests with its recent regional ones.
Keywords: EU, Middle East, Turkey, foreign policy, trade
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