Multiple Faces of the “New” Turkish Foreign Policy: Underlying Dynamics and a Critique

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Series Details Vol.13, No.1, January 2011, p47-66
Publication Date January 2011
ISSN 1302-177X
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The “axis-shift” discussions on Turkish foreign policy activism over the last couple of years have attracted remarkable international attention. Some pundits have attempted to place Turkey’s increasing relations with its neighbors within the context of an ideological and identical reshuffling of Turkish foreign policy principles. While finding the “shift of axis” argument a rather crude characterization, the paper nevertheless argues that there are subtle shifts in Turkish foreign policy orientation. In this context, the paper aims to identify both the elements of continuity and rupture in the style and behavior of Turkish foreign policy. In fact, there are solid political economy fundamentals and legitimate reasons for Turkey to pursue a multidimensional and more assertive foreign policy in the emerging multi-polar world system. However, the present paper underlines that Turkey’s multi-dimensional foreign policy activism with no firm axis may have potentially counterproductive consequences regarding Turkey’s longterm national interests as well as its ability to play a stabilizing role as a pro-active and benign regional power.

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