Turkish Foreign Policy and Turkish Identity: A Constructivist Approach

Turkish Foreign Policy and Turkish Identity: A Constructivist Approach

Turkish Foreign Policy and Turkish Identity: A Constructivist Approach

Turkish Foreign Policy and Turkish Identity: A Constructivist Approach

Synopsis

By using the core insights of the constructivist approach in International Relations, this book analyzes the foreign policy behaviour of Turkey. It argues that throughout its modern history, Turkey's foreign policy has been affected by its Western identity created in the years following the War of Independence. It underlines the inadequacy of structural constructivism and offers an interactive model, which takes domestic and systemic factors into account. It also offers a critique of the rational-choice literature on Turkish foreign policy and argues that Turkish foreign policy has been, and still is, guided by identity considerations, which are analyzed in terms of three competing conceptions: Western, Islamic and Nationalist. Even though there is a massive amount of research on Turkish foreign policy, only has a small portion of it dealt with the effects of the Turkish identity on foreign policy. Furthermore, those who studied Turkish foreign policy from the perspective of identity lacked a solid theoretical foundation and analytical framework, which significantly weakened their argument. This book endeavors to fulfill the gap in the existing literature by offering an alternative constructivist approach to the study of Turkish foreign policy.

Excerpt

Political realism has dominated international relations theory for a long time. This tradition became more prominent especially in the post-World War II era due in most part to the emergence and persistence of the Cold War.

Realism has been criticized frequently during the last few decades and “demands for a 'new paradigm' have been made.” Liberals have been the major participants in the critiques against realism. As Alexander Wendt puts it,“…the debate is more concerned today with the extent to which state action is influenced by 'structure' (anarchy and the distribution of power) versus 'process' (interaction and learning) and institutions.”

Along with neoliberals, critical social theorists called constructivists have joined the debate. Constructivists have contested the most important neorealist assumption that “state egoism in anarchy begets self-help.” In other words, “while neorealist pessimists assume international politics will always consist of self-regarding and relative-gain-seeking states, constructivist optimists assume that what is, need not always be.” According to constructivists, the causes of state egoism do not justify always treating it as given. Their main argument is that the fundamental structures of international politics are social rather than material; and these structures shape actors' identities and interests. They suggest that collective identity could emerge endogenously at the systemic level and such a process would generate cooperarion.

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