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Title: The interplay between international and domestic factors in Turkey's grand strategy-making : activism, disappointment, and readjustment
Author: Sonmez, Goktug
ISNI:       0000 0004 6422 1152
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2017
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With the end of the Cold War, Turkey's grand strategic behaviour gradually shifted from isolationism and reluctance to activism. This thesis primarily focuses on the peak period of this activism under the Justice and Development Party governments, covering a period from 2002 (the JDP's first election victory) up to late 2016. This thesis explores the motivations behind Turkey's grand strategic activism and why the JDP era witnessed its zenith. I argue that fluctuations in Turkey's relative power position in response to the changes at the international level stand out as key factors in making sense of this shift, while domestic transformations enabled the country to pursue an activist grand strategy more effectively. The thesis positions itself against primordialist accounts - which attribute this shift to ideological and ethno-religious motivations in the form of 'Islamism' or 'Neo-Ottomanism'. At the same time, it also rejects strict 'third image' theoretical approaches such as Waltzian realism and incorporates the domestic level into its realist analysis. Taking a neoclassical realist approach, international and domestic levels are investigated in terms of their effects on the configuration and implementation of Turkey's new grand strategy. In order to explore and evaluate the primary catalysts behind the behaviour reflecting Turkey's grand strategic shift, three case studies will be analysed in this thesis: the Turkish-Iranian, Turkish-Israeli and Turkish-EU relationships. These particular cases, which are more usually analysed through primordialist lenses, act as useful battlefields on which to compare the explanatory powers of primordialism and neoclassical realism (NCR). This thesis is expected to open up a significant area for future research on the concept of grand strategy, theoretical approaches to it and the explanatory power of NCR within the context of rising powers and Turkish foreign policy. In theoretical terms, the thesis not only offers a comprehensive approach to NCR itself (which is currently an amalgam of several different approaches) but also extends NCR's empirical reach and offers a middle ground between realist analysis and culturalist readings of Turkey and its grand strategy.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral