A New Phase in Turkish Foreign Policy: Expediency and AKP Survival

MENARA Papers. A New Phase in Turkish Foreign Policy: Expediency and AKP Survival

Publication date:
02/2017
Author:
Katerina Dalacoura, Associate Professor in the Department of International Relations at the LSE, London
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MENARA Future Notes,  nº. 4

The forced departure of Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu in May 2016 and the attempted coup d’état of July 2016 against the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government in Turkey were both turning points and catalysts for a new phase in the country’s foreign policy. The emphasis on the “civilizational” aspects of Turkey’s role in foreign affairs is diminishing and there is a concomitant move away from the ambitious promotion of Turkey as a “great power”. In its place, we can observe a more “transactional”, unplanned, ad hoc type of foreign policy, based on expediency. The ideological preferences of the AKP government are still significant but, as Turkey descends into internal crisis, and the Syrian war continues to take its toll, the interests and survival of the ruling party are increasingly paramount. This will have important and possibly harmful implications for the manner in which Turkey’s national interests are conceptualized and pursued abroad, and will shape Turkey’s role in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.