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The Evolution of Turkey’s Foreign Policy under the AK Party Government

This article aims to explain the evolution of Turkish foreign policy through the search for a foreign policy role concept. It will argue that the AK Party government has already adopted two different foreign policy role concepts. Thus, the changes in Turkish foreign policy can best be characterized as the adoption of a foreign policy role with many traits of civilian power (2002-2005), subsequent limited change (2005-2010) and the adoption of a regional power role (from 2010 on).

The Evolution of Turkey s Foreign Policy under the AK
The Evolution of Turkey’s Foreign Policy under the AK Party Government
 

Evaluations of Turkish foreign policy have drastically changed over the past few years. The new policy of the incoming AK Party government had been almost unanimously applauded as a “paradigm change” from a “post-cold war warrior” or a “regional coercive power” into a “benign”, if not “soft” power,1 or as the (albeit incomplete) change from “securitized nationalism” to “desecuritised liberalism.”2 However, further analysis of the more recent Turkish foreign policy finds very divergent evaluations. Some authors within Turkey have described it as an unfolding of policy principles,3 whereas other studies have debated whether Turkey has become a “normative power” or could join the BRIC states.4 In contrast, European and American observers’ criticisms of Turkey’s “over-confidence”5 have turned into verdicts that “Turkey’s plan to be a standalone power in the region is nowhere near fruition.”6 Some pundits have gone as far as to claim that Turkey’s “foreign policy is falling apart victim to Mr. Erdoğan’s hubris.”7 

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