The Davutoglu Era in Turkish Foreign Policy

By Aras, Bulent | Insight Turkey, July 2009 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

The Davutoglu Era in Turkish Foreign Policy


Aras, Bulent, Insight Turkey


Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan appointed Ahmet Davutoglu as Turkey's new foreign minister on May 1, 2009. Davutoglu has been a close associate of Erdogan, and his chief advisor on foreign policy since 2003. Davutoglu is known as the intellectual architect of the Justice and Development Party's (AKP, Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi) foreign policy and has been influential in a number of major foreign policy developments. There is a consensus that it was Davutoglu who changed the rhetoric and practice of Turkish foreign policy, bringing to it a dynamic and multidimensional orientation. He set the vision and the style of the new foreign policy line and provided a framework for pursuing it. At first, Davutoglu's new vision and style were subject to much discussion; many wondered at first whether it would be suitable for Turkish foreign policy. After seven years, the discussion has mainly shifted to whether his policy would be sustainable without the AKP and himself in the advisor's chair.

Davutoglu's vision has proven successful on the ground and, although his approach continues to raise some criticism, his policy line has gained legitimacy in the suspicious eyes of critics in Turkey and abroad. Davutoglu's influence is mainly due to the former Foreign Minister and current President Abdullah Gul's and Prime Minister Erdogan's willingness to appropriate his vision in the implementation of foreign policy. He is well regarded in countries neighboring Turkey and with major players in the international system, as witnessed by French President Sarkozy's requesting that Turkey lend a hand to French diplomacy during the Gazan crisis. Davutoglu's appointment as foreign minister will have implications beyond Turkey, both in the neighboring regions and among the international organizations in which Turkey takes active part. The major media outlets in the US, Europe and the Middle East extensively covered his appointment, and it is likely that the media will be closely interested in Davutoglu's actions as foreign minister in the future.

Davutoglu's Vision in Foreign Policy

Davutoglu's foreign policy vision has Turkey's domestic transformation in the background, specifically the consolidation of political and economic stability in the country. Turkey's domestic reforms and growing economic power have enabled the country to emerge as a peace-promoter in neighboring regions. Prior to Davutoglu's rise to prominence, security in Turkey had been treated, to a considerable extent, as an internal problem. Foreign policies were seen as extensions of domestic considerations, and this attitude was traditionally accompanied by a visible tendency to externalize domestic problems and to search for foreign enemies as the root causes of security problems. In some cases there may indeed have been external causes for the problems, but political elites tended to exaggerate and manipulate perceived external threats to preserve their hold on power. Davutoglu developed his foreign policy on the basis of a novel geographic imagination which put an end to what he calls the 'alienation' of Turkey's neighboring countries. One essential component of Davutoglu's vision is to make negative images and prejudices, particularly those pertaining to the Middle East, a matter of the past. This shift has enabled Turkey to completely emancipate foreign policy from the chains of the domestic considerations. (1)

Davutoglu's vision paved the way for the emergence of a new imagining of foreign policy, one that places different assumptions about countries in the region in the minds of policymakers. The crux of the question lies within the aforementioned transformation that reshaped foreign policy choices. In this sense, Davutoglu's re-defining of Turkey's role in both neighboring regions and international politics changed the concept of 'strategic depth' and expanded the cognitive map in policymaker's minds beyond the borders of Turkey. The territorial limits to Turkish involvement in neighboring countries have disappeared in this new mindset.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

The Davutoglu Era in Turkish Foreign Policy
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?