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Turkey as a New Player in Development Cooperation

The past six decades have witnessed Turkey’s evolution from an aid recipient to an emerging donor country. Turkey’s aid volume now far surpasses Poland and is only slightly behind South Korea. Turkey’s aid policy has undergone fundamental changes since the collapse of the former Eastern block. Connected to this geopolitical transformation, Turkey’s bilateral aid has become an effective instrument in advancing Turkish foreign policy objectives in recent years. This article examines how Turkey reached the status of an emerging donor in terms of international development cooperation and how this shift of status has shaped Turkish foreign aid policy. This article also looks into the reorganization process of Turkey’s Official Development Assistance with a special focus on the Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA) and its ODA reporting policies. In addition, this article argues the political and strategic considerations as well as trade concerns with recipient countries are the main reasons motivating Turkey’s proactive foreign aid policy.

 

Turkey’s transition from single party rule to multi-party rule in the 1950s also opened the door for the flow of foreign aid to Turkey, among which the Marshall Plan was the most famous for its role in promoting a solid economic foundation for Western Europe. The Marshall Plan also marked Turkey’s first experience with the Official Development Assistance (ODA) as an aid recipient country. Since then, Turkey’s role in the international aid community has fundamentally changed, reflecting the transformations in Turkey’s foreign policy orientation. Although Turkey still receives aid at a symbolic level, its stronger economic position and sense of responsibility for promoting international peace and prosperity have enabled Turkey to emerge as a new donor. It is currently a net contributor to ODA.

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