Expanding Perspective: Reaching Out to China and the East
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This article aims to shed light on the Turkish government’s public diplomacy vision and activities geared toward the Asia-Pacific region in the twenty-first century. The first decade of the century is associated with the rise of the conservative Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, AKP, or JDP) in Turkish politics. Progovernment circles often highlight the economic growth and political stability associated with the JDP era, as opposed to the 1990s when Turkey was afflicted with financial crises and weak coalition governments. Main domestic transformations under the JDP rule (2002–2014) include the declining influence of military circles in decision making, and the prospect of a resolution for Turkey’s long standing Kurdish problem. In the foreign policy realm, JDP remains committed to its promise of granting Turkey its full EU membership, although it may be difficult to reconcile this ideal with the growing emphasis on Islamic solidarity and Ottoman nostalgia. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s governments criticized previous administrations for adopting a strict pro-Western orientation and turning their backs on Turkey’s Middle Eastern neighbors. Turkey’s “zero-problems with neighbors” policy succeeded in changing this image, at least until the complications brought about by the Arab Spring.
KeywordsForeign Policy Southeast Asian Country Soft Power Turkish Culture Public Diplomacy
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