Before I start with penning the topic of “Conceptual Architecture of Turkish Foreign Policy”, I would like to structure my essay in three categories. First category is the introduction part that sheds light on the basis and historical background of the topic given. Second category is about stages/factors that formed current Turkish Foreign Policy within the framework of the topic provided. Third category is the conclusion part in the context of the essay question.
To start with, when the concept of foreign policy is analyzed, it should be said that only after the First World War the concept of “foreign policy” has begun to be seriously considered. Prior to that, the monopoly of the monarchs or a few of the most privileged foreign policy issues was a “taboo”. In parliamentary tradition, like in Britain, foreign policy was the least debated area. Because “the supremacy of the empire” was so ordered, there was not much to argue about foreign policy. Again, as we have seen in Britain that political parties often did not have conflict over foreign policy although they might have disagreed on other issues. At the beginning of the century, Andrew Carnegie in the United States set up a fund to destroy the war. However, at the end of the investigations, a report prepared in 1911 revealed that it had to be known in order to be able to do so:
– The factors that motivate the nation to act,
– The development of the methods and objectives of these movements,
– Historical development of relations between nations.
Turkish Foreign Policy
In addition to that, when we calibrate the progress of Turkish Foreign Policy, the successes achieved in the field of foreign policy in the first years of the Republic are the result of Ataturk’s policy to analyze the period well and to be able to favor the situation by expecting the conditions to mature and to act in cooperation with all the countries in the frame of interest. The Republic of Turkey was able to provide an external environment to allow comprehensive reforms carried out so that the inside of the roots of the revolution and was able to use energy and resources in this direction. Again, this is a result of an empire able to focus on the future rather than stay stuck in the nature Republic of Turkey and history ash, could determine the interests dispassionately and in a discreet manner and steps required of them was able to take a bold way. Thanks to these characteristics and the success it has achieved in practice, Ataturk’s foreign policy has set an example for many other countries and has created a successful model in which the basic security of independence and prosperity constitutes peace rather than war.
Notwithstanding the fact that during those times, there were two main pillars of Turkish foreign policy, some of which have been controversial in recent times and are even tried to be opposed: Westernism and Status-Quoism. Moreover, approaching a bit closer in the timeline, the Turkish foreign policy, which is generally shaped by the “wait-and-see” approach, has faced regional and international problems during and after the Cold War but has failed to play an effective role. There is an important transformation in the Turkish Foreign Policy after the September 11, and this transformation is done with the guidance of an architect; Ahmet Davutoglu.
Professor Ahmet Davutoglu’s strategic approach gives important clues about the main parameters of the new Turkish Foreign Policy. Davutoglu frequently stated that the new norms of Turkish Foreign Policy should be on the basis of a new link between freedom and security, zero problems with neighbors, a multidimensional multi-layered foreign policy, a new diplomatic style-search for content and a rhythmic diplomatic transition. Turkey, in the near future, will develop these new insights to solutions, with close collaboration with international organizations and will become a “regional power”. Turkey has long worked to develop the region where the neglect of diplomatic relations “global actor” carries the claim to be. With the help of these norms and targets, new political possibilities were opened not only by traditional diplomacy, but also by field-opening politics, regional peace and stability seeking, founder-dialogue methods, and problems related to neighboring countries such as Iraq and Iran in the first place.
Turkish Foreign Policy during Atatürk Period
Ataturk’s views on foreign policy understanding are obviously in their own words. These basic principles can be summarized as follows:
- Atatürk era Turkish foreign policy is the main act of maintaining the full independence of the country.
- First, a peaceful attitude in the face of any nation without the security of Turkey and on the basis of a national policy will be monitored. This principle will then be summarized as “Peace at Home, Peace at World.” According to Atatürk, “If there is a disturbance in anywhere of the world or something, we should not regard it as none of our businesses. If there is such a disturbance, we should be related to it just as it happened between us. No matter how far away the incident is, we need not leave this basis. “
- Colonialism and imperialism harm international harmony and business unity. When their end is over, a new harmony and business association will become a major judge.
During the period of 1923-1938, Turkish Foreign Policy was formed within these basic principles. It is explained by Atatürk, the aim of the Turkish foreign policy that takes shape in this way: “We have no other choice than to respect the right to life and independence, as we do not want to extend the hand of anyone. This legal right of the non-aiming Turkish nation to be free from all civilized nations as far as the civilized nations, away from the involvement of strangers in our national borders, will eventually be accepted in the world of humanity and civilization. The government of our assembly and our council is far from being fascinated by war and adventure. On the contrary, they prefer peace and well-being. They are especially true of the realization of humanistic and civilized countries.”
Here, in line with these principles, they seek good relations and friendship ties with the Eastern and Western worlds. “ Turkey has fully expected him to equal treatment as an independent and sovereign state, above all in this period. By following a politics based on peace and balance politics, which did not bear the historical process and its incongruity, it kept relations with regional states and international powers at a certain level.
Turkish Foreign Policy during Cold War Period
An overview of Turkey’s foreign relations shows that the single most important development had been the transition from the Cold War, which dominated relations between the East and the West in the 1950s, to the process of detente. Another important factor in the making of Turkey’s foreign policy has been the Cyprus issue, which became a permanent problematic of Turkey’s foreign relations since its inception. In the mid-to late 1960s, it was the continual Cyprus crisis which gave impetus to a process of reconsideration of the basic orientation of Turkish foreign policy. And in the 1970s, it was another Cyprus crisis which led to fundamental changes in foreign policy, though not as dramatic as pulling the country out of the Western states system. Other important factors which caused some considerable changes in Turkey’s attitudes to certain groups of states, have been the constitutional and political development of the country, together with its economic ambitions and problems; the different views of political parties and groups which came into existence after the 1960 military intervention; the 1961 Constitution, together with social and political evaluation it embodied; and the changes in attitudes of certain states towards Turkey.
In addition to these progresses, as Sabri Sayarı discloses; “The end of the Cold War and the resulting superpower competition has had major repercussions on global and regional politics. In the 1990s, all states, large and small, sought to adjust to the new international realities resulting from the tides of change that swept through Eurasia. Turkey is one of the countries that were most profoundly affected by the disintegration of the former Soviet Union, the transformation of the political and strategic landscape of Eastern Europe and Central Asia and the eruption of violent ethno-national conflicts in the Balkans and the Caucasus. These developments radically altered Turkey’s foreign policy environment, creating opportunities to expand its role while also posing new risks and challenges. Moreover, these changes have occurred during a period when the growing visibility of political Islam and the intensification of the Kurdish problem increased strains on the country’s political and social order. The combined impact of these external and internal developments may have made the difficult task of adjustment to the post- Cold War international system even more challenging for Turkey than for most other countries. They also underscored the growing importance of the linkages between Turkish foreign policy and domestic politics.”
As a result of the controversial policy of neutrality in the Cold War, followed by exposure to criticism by the victors of the war, after the war in the ruling circles, particularly against the threat of Soviet expansionism Inonu created worries that Turkey remains alone. Inonu, multiparty democratic world in order to position the side of Turkey was forced to develop inward and outward-looking policies such as the transition to life. In a sense this was a continuation or necessity of Atatürk’s modernization and security-oriented policies. The main objective of the prevention of threats to the Soviet Union at the start of Turkey’s foreign policy in the Cold War and the consequent Inonu Western political leadership is to be able to improve the cooperation in economic and military fields. We see that the foreign policy of the Democratic Party (DP), which came to power on May 14, 1950, was similar, but a more active and dynamic foreign policy was followed in this period. DP did not hesitate to take the initiative to become an important player in the regional sense of the Cold War politics, in the sense that it has cooperated with security in the western and regional pacts to defeat the threat of communism. Turkey’s policy of seeking an assurance on behalf of the Soviet threat to the money supply went bad economy can be seen as an effort to find as shown. This two-fold obligation and sometimes exaggerated Soviet threat spurred Turkish foreign policy to be in line with Washington or facilitated Washington’s penetration into Turkish foreign policy. For Washington to perceive the Soviets as a threat to the region, to create the legitimate ground for the physical presence of the region in the region was also important.
Turkish Foreign Policy in the last decades
At the forefront of the principles that have led the Turkish Foreign Policy in recent periods is multidimensional and dimensional diplomacy. In multilateral diplomacy debates in Turkey, the impact of a multi-polar world system discussion is felt clearly. With the unexpected collapse of the Soviet Union, the bipolar world system turned into a unipolar structure during the 1990s. However, since the end of the 1990s, polarity has been on the agenda this time, because the interstate relations have been forced to redefine the foreign policy visions of the countries with a much more complex structure than the Cold War political understanding.
The development of new and alternative relationships, rapidly increase strategic partnerships and national energy and resource needs of suppliers in a period of diversification, the cold war the two-block structure and more accustomed to a foreign policy linked to the capitalist block Turkey’s partial understanding and corresponding relationship to the events that took place in The development of networks has only come about in the 2000s, when unipolarity began to be questioned and overcome. In the new era of Turkish foreign policy understanding, “proactive foreign policy” in the face of developments is another principle adopted. It is often said that the foreign policy applied before 2000 is pro-status. Theoretically, pro-status foreign policy is not itself problematic, because the status quo is often the preferred political attitude for those countries that are in an advantageous position. Some analysts, bipolar world system throughout and that immediately after Turkey’s steadily continued stated that the best position in terms of the conditions of the day of the current state of conservation strategies (Özdal et al. 2009). This, however, has caused later TDP to assume a cumbersome structure and to follow up on developing / developing events. Moreover, Turkey in this period, it is often not profitable situation in the country to sustaining the status quo.
The understanding of zero problems with neighbors is the most known of the principles that give direction to TDP. It is observed that the states that are bordered in the history of the countries are disputed for various reasons or that there are more problems in the bilateral relations of the neighboring countries. This is almost the case in all parts of the world, but there is a much more fragile and quickly escalating tension line in Mesopotamia, which has a high geopolitical / economic importance. With these changes that have occurred in the area of foreign policy in Turkey after 2000, basically “soft power”, he wanted to take the principle of life. The concept of soft power was first introduced by Joseph S. Nye in 1990, and developed in 2004 and incorporated into international literature. This concept refers to a kind of power (hegemony) that is not economic or military power, and is not based on rough force. Most of these developments Turkey, addressed the audience to be able to give preference to the direction, ensuring that they have a positive convictions against Turkey, or Turkey could easily be said to intend to make an attractive center of attraction.
As a result, as an MA IR student, I strongly defend the idea that the Turkish Foreign Policy should be put into a multidimensional context and sustainable relations should be maintained within the context of constructivist approaches. Conjunctural policies or domestic policies shouldn’t be part of international relations in terms of Turkish Foreign Policy. To illuminate, there may be some determinations about the Turkish Foreign Policy after all these evaluations. Overall the history of Turkey’s foreign policy, Turkey’s foreign policy today is seen clearly that there is an ongoing process of transformation. Because this process is still ongoing, it is possible to avoid making generalizations possible in this article, as it may make the reader misleading to be in the final judgment. However, some assessments of the Turkish Foreign Policy are possible. One of the most important elements that should be put into equilibrium is the structure of the international system is undisputed when the principles based foreign policy applications are taken into consideration. When states or statesmen pursue a number of policies on behalf of their countries, they often want to choose the most lucrative for their own nation and observe this concern in the steps they take. However, the dynamic and variable nature of the international system may sometimes make these moves useless. In spite of all this, the global influence of the most important actors of the international system, the states and the heads of state or the prime ministers as the most influential persons in the country, is limited to certain conditions. States in the same way can often be inadequate, as they are in heads of state, for different reasons to control regional affairs or to determine their course. This is not the case in the Middle East, which has been selected as the model region for the study. Turkey’s “zero problems with neighbors” project and from neighboring especially as seen in the Syrian issue and that Turkey pursue a path in terms of Turkey’s own national interests as a way to follow rational and profitable gains is voiced by local and foreign researchers. Despite all these, Turkey’s relations with neighboring countries indicate that the project didn’t work properly and rather got even worse. When this is examined in the first place, Turkey may be regarded as a completely failed one as a result of these policies; however, when the case was thoroughly investigated “zero problems” policy failed because of a regional development that was also called as Arab Spring. To illustrate: result-oriented approaches in foreign policy evaluations are less descriptive than process-oriented approaches.
Cihad Furkan ELİAÇIK
- Atatürk’s Lectures and Statements I-III (eds. by Ali Sevim, Akif Tural, İzzet Öztoprak), Atatürk Research Center, Ankara, 2006.
- AYDIN, Mustafa, “Determinants of Turkish Foreign Policy: Changing Patterns and Conjunctures during the Cold War”, Middle Eastern Studies, Vol. 36, No: 1, 2000, p. 104.
- BAYRAKTAR, Bayram, Atatürk’s Middle East Policy, http://www.ayk.gov.tr/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/BAYRAKTAR-Bayram-ATAT%C3%9CRK%E2%80%99%C3%9CN-ORTA-DO%C4%9EU-POL%C4%B0T%C4%B0KASI.pdf, Accessed on 29.12.2017.
- ÇELİK, Edip, Türkiye’nin Dış Politika Tarihi, Gerçek Pub., İstanbul, 1969, p. 70.
- ERDAĞ, Ramazan & KARDAŞ, Tuncay, Türk Dış Politikası ve Stratejik Kültür, http://www.kardas.sakarya.edu.tr/sites/kardas.sakarya.edu.tr/file/1387670250-TuncayRamazan.pdf.pdf, Accessed on 30.12.2017.
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- GÜDER, Süleyman & MERCAN, Muhammed Hüseyin, 2000 Sonrası Türk Dış Politikasının Temel Parametreleri ve Orta Doğu Politikası, https://www.academia.edu/2346078/2000_Sonras%C4%B1_T%C3%BCrk_D%C4%B1%C5%9F_Politikas%C4%B1n%C4%B1n_Temel_Parametreleri_ve_Orta_Do%C4%9Fu_Politikas%C4%B1_-_S%C3%BCleyman_G%C3%BCder_Muhammed_H%C3%BCseyin_Mercan?auto=download, Accessed on 01.01.2017.
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- Özdal et al, Mülakatlarla Türk Dış Politikası, Ankara: USAK Pub., 2009, p. 46.
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- See: ATHANASSOPOULOU, E., “Ankara’s Foreign Policy Objectives After the End of the Cold War: Making Policy in a Changing Environment”, Orient, Vol. 36, No: 2 (1995), pp. 269-85; M. Aydin, “Turkey and Central Asia: Challenges of Change”, Central Asian Survey, Vol. 15, No: 2 (1996), pp. 157-177.
- SOYSAL, Mümtaz, Foreign Policy and Parliament, A Comparative Analysis on the Relations to the Law on Foreign Policy, A.Ü. SBF Publications, No. 183-165, Ankara, 1964, p. 44.
 SOYSAL, Mümtaz, Foreign Policy and Parliament, A Comparative Analysis on the Relations to the Law on Foreign Policy, A.Ü. SBF Publications, No. 183-165, Ankara, 1964, p. 44.
 RANSOM, Harry Howe, International Relations, Political Science, Advance or the Discipline (eds. by Marian D. Irish), Prentice-Hall Inc., N.J., 1968, p. 55.
 KÜRKÇÜOĞLU, Ömer, “What is ‘foreign policy’? Yesterday and Today in Turkey”, Ankara University SBF Journal, Vol. 35, Issue: 1, 1980, pp. 310-311.
 MFA (Ministry of Turkish Foreign Affairs), “Turkish Foreign Policy During Atatürk’s Era”, http://www.mfa.gov.tr/ataturk-doneminde-turk-dis-politikasi.tr.mfa, Accessed on 29.12.2017.
 ORAN, Baskın, “Turkish Foreign Policy: Notes On Basic Principles And Cold Wars”, Ankara University Political Science Faculty Journal, Vol. 51 Issue: 1, 1996.
 ERDAĞ, Ramazan & KARDAŞ, Tuncay, Türk Dış Politikası ve Stratejik Kültür, http://www.kardas.sakarya.edu.tr/sites/kardas.sakarya.edu.tr/file/1387670250-TuncayRamazan.pdf.pdf, Accessed on 30.12.2017.
 Atatürk’s Lectures and Statements I-III (eds. by Ali Sevim, Akif Tural, İzzet Öztoprak), Atatürk Research Center, Ankara, 2006.
 ÖZERDİM, Sami, Atatürkçünün Elkitabı, Turkish Language Institute Pub., Ankara, 1981, p. 80.
 ÇELİK, Edip, Türkiye’nin Dış Politika Tarihi, Gerçek Pub., İstanbul, 1969, p. 70.
 HALİL Ali (Gevgilili), Atatürkçü Dış politika ve Nato ve Türkiye, Gerçek Pub., İstanbul, 1968. p. 30.
 KARAL, Enver Ziya, Thoughts from Atatürk, Çağdaş Pub., İstanbul, 1991, p. 173.
 BAYRAKTAR, Bayram, Atatürk’s Middle East Policy, (http://www.ayk.gov.tr/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/BAYRAKTAR-Bayram-ATAT%C3%9CRK%E2%80%99%C3%9CN-ORTA-DO%C4%9EU-POL%C4%B0T%C4%B0KASI.pdf, Accessed on 29.12.2017.
 See: ATHANASSOPOULOU E., “Ankara’s Foreign Policy Objectives After the End of the Cold War: Making Policy in a Changing Environment”, Orient, Vol. 36, No: 2 (1995), pp. 269-85; M. Aydin, “Turkey and Central Asia: Challenges of Change”, Central Asian Survey, Vol. 15, No: 2 (1996), pp. 157-177.
 AYDIN, Mustafa, “Determinants of Turkish Foreign Policy: Changing Patterns and Conjunctures during the Cold War”, Middle Eastern Studies, Vol. 36, No: 1, 2000, p. 104.
 SAYARI, Sabri, “Turkish Foreign Policy in the Post-Cold War Era: The Challenges of Multi-Regionalism”, Journal of International Affairs, Vol. 54, No: 1, 2000, p. 169.
 GÖKTEPE, Seydi, “Turkish Foreign Policy at the beginning of Cold War”, Journal of Social Sciences of the Turkic World, 2015, Vol. 72, p. 198, http://bilig.yesevi.edu.tr/yonetim/icerik/makaleler/159-published.pdf, Accessed on 01.01.2018.
 GÜDER, Süleyman & MERCAN, Muhammed Hüseyin, 2000 Sonrası Türk Dış Politikasının Temel Parametreleri ve Orta Doğu Politikası, https://www.academia.edu/2346078/2000_Sonras%C4%B1_T%C3%BCrk_D%C4%B1%C5%9F_Politikas%C4%B1n%C4%B1n_Temel_Parametreleri_ve_Orta_Do%C4%9Fu_Politikas%C4%B1_-_S%C3%BCleyman_G%C3%BCder_Muhammed_H%C3%BCseyin_Mercan?auto=download, Accessed on 01.01.2017.
 Özdal et al, Mülakatlarla Türk Dış Politikası, Ankara: USAK Pub., 2009, p. 46.