Received Date: 10/05/2020 • Accepted Date: 18/06/2020
Turkey’s Lobbying Power and Leader Diplomacy
One of the most salient features of the U.S.-Turkey relationship is that successive Turkish governments have been dealing with the executive branch with little ‘organic’ support from the legislative branch or the media. Turkey was supported by pro-Israel lobbying groups in the U.S. for many years as long as these groups saw Turkey as important for Israel’s strategic interests in the region. Their support weakened and eventually disappeared as Turkey started to raise serious concerns about Israel’s heavy-handed policies against the Palestinians. Another lobbying group with significant influence over Congress was the Gülenist network in the U.S., which turned out to be a putschist terrorist organization with the goal of overturning the government of Turkey. Having represented themselves as part of Turkey’s soft power around the world, this group leveraged its network in Turkey and in the U.S. for its own benefit. When Turkey took action against this organization, as their anti-democratic goals inside Turkey became clearer, their lobbying power was reduced and in fact turned against Turkey. These two ‘inorganic’ lobbying groups helped Turkey’s interests in the U.S. Congress for their own political aims, not only for the sake of Turkey’s interests. As Turkey lost these sources of influence over Congress, anti-Turkey resolutions started to have a much better chance of passage in the U.S. legislative bodies.