Construction of New Turkey

Turkish Identity in Transition: From Kemalist Hyper-Modernism to Religious Conservatism

by Orhun Cem Karsavuran (Author)
©2020 Monographs 328 Pages


Justice and Development Party (JDP), as the sole incumbent force for the last decade and a half, has proven to be an influential political actor with its power and capability to shape-shift the domestic and foreign policy of the Republic of Turkey. Within this context, this work analyses the transformation of the Turkish society through a constructivist perspective in the context of a «transformational shift» from the «traditional» experienced throughout the JDP tenure. JDP’s «new» policy orientation is scrutinized through a constructivist lens to examine the entrenched «clash of identities» between the Islamists and the secularists in Turkish politics.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title Page
  • Copyright Page
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • Citability of the eBook
  • Contents
  • List of Abbreviations
  • Introduction
  • 1 Contending Approaches to Foreign Policy: Constructivism as an Explanatory Framework
  • 1.1 Introduction
  • 1.2 International Relations and Contending Paradigms: Realism, Idealism, Constructivism and Foreign Policy
  • 1.2.1 The Realist-Idealist Contention
  • 1.2.2 Social Constructivism as a Critical Reading
  • Two Perspectives of Constructivism: Wendt and Onuf
  • Wendt’s Constructivism
  • The Role of Norms-Values and State Interaction
  • The “Self” and the “Other” Axis
  • The Issue of “Cultures of Anarchy” and the Role of Socialisation Process
  • Inter-Subjectivity, Social Interaction-Learning and the Role of Identities
  • 1.3 Conclusion
  • 2 Constructivism and Foreign Policy Nexus: Factors, Dynamics, Processes and Turkish Foreign Policy
  • 2.1 Introduction
  • 2.2 Aspects of Constructivism and the Convergence of Domestic Politics and Foreign Policy
  • 2.2.1 Constructivism and Foreign Policy: The Structure-Agent Issue
  • 2.2.2 Foreign Policy: Factors, Perceptions and Variables
  • 2.2.3 Corporate Actors as Agents in Foreign Policy
  • 2.2.4 Nature and Dynamics of Foreign Policy Making Process
  • 2.2.5 Role of Leaders as Agents in Foreign Policy
  • 2.2.6 Systemic Forces – Domestic Factors Influencing Turkish Foreign Policy
  • 2.3 Conclusion
  • 3 Transitions in Turkish Domestic Politics and Foreign Policy: JDP in Turkish Political Life
  • 3.1 Introduction
  • 3.2 Transitional Shifts in Turkish Domestic Politics: Emergence of JDP as a Political Agent in the Structure
  • 3.2.1 JDP’s Ideological-Identity Roots: National View Movement
  • JDP’s Political Identity: The Idealised Self
  • 3.2.2 JDP’s Ideology-Identity and Foreign Policy
  • 3.3 Clash of Identities in Turkish Domestic Politics and Foreign Policy
  • 3.3.1 Impact of Ethnic and Nationalist Separatism on Turkish Politics
  • 3.3.2 A Backlash to the Kemalist Establishment and Its State Identity
  • 3.4 Foreign Policy as an Instrument of a “New” State Identity Construction
  • 3.5 Role of Leaders in JDP’s “New” Turkish Domestic Politics and Foreign Policy
  • 3.5.1 Davutoğlu’s Re-constructionist Foreign Policy Vision
  • 3.5.2 Foreign Policy, JDP and Davutoğlu as an “Organic Islamic Intellectual”
  • 3.5.3 JDP’s Civilisational Project as an Instrument of Legitimation and the Role of Leaders
  • Ideational Aspirations in JDP’s “New” Foreign Policy
  • 3.6 Foreign Policy as an Area of Legitimacy and Domination: The March 1st Motion Exemplar
  • 3.6.1 In Search of a Global Reach: A Constructivist Instrument in Turkish Foreign Policy: TCCA (TİKA)
  • 3.6.2 Criticisms Directed at TCCA
  • 3.7 Conclusion
  • 4 Transitional Shifts in Turkey’s National and State Identity: From Kemalist Hyper-Modernism to Religious Conservatism
  • 4.1 Introduction
  • 4.2 The “Traditional” Turkish Foreign Policy versus the “New”: “Transformational Shifts” in Identity-Ideology: From Ottomanism to Kemalism
  • 4.2.1 The Self and the (In)significant Other Within (Itself)
  • 4.2.2 The Republican Protector: The Role of the Kadroists in Construction of a “New” National and State Identity
  • From the “Other” to the “Significant Other” and the Alternative Avenues of Identity
  • JDP’s Ideals and a “New” Identity Construction
  • 4.3 Conclusion
  • 5 Reconstructionist Aspects of JDP’s “New” Foreign Policy: An Alternative National and State Identity: “Transformational Shift”
  • 5.1 Introduction
  • 5.2 A Policy of Re-engagement and Multi-Dimensionality: An Alternative Civilisational Reading
  • 5.2.1 JDP’s Re-constructionist Approach to Conception of Civilisation
  • 5.2.2 In Search of a Re-discovery of the “Muslim Atlantis”: The Andalusian Experience: A Kantian “Culture of Anarchy”
  • 5.3 Temporal Shift from Real-politik to Ideology and Identity in JDP’s “New” Foreign Policy
  • 5.3.1 “Transformational Shifts” in JDP’s “New” Foreign Policy Formulation
  • Social Interaction-Internalisation and the “New” Turkish Foreign Policy
  • JDP’s “New” Foreign Policy Formulation in the Process of Identity Construction
  • 5.4 JDP, Discourse and Legitimation
  • 5.4.1 JDP’s Populist Discourse and Reflections on Its “New” Foreign Policy
  • Ideational Shifts in Domestic Arena and Reflections on the “New” Turkish Foreign Policy
  • 5.5 Conclusion
  • 6 The Causal and Constitutive Effects of JDP’s “New” Domestic Politics and Foreign Policy Praxis
  • 6.1 Introduction
  • 6.2 Contending Ideologies-Typologies
  • 6.2.1 The Republican “Homo-Lastus” Versus the Ummahist One
  • 6.3 The Ahmet Davutoğlu Effect: JDP’s Ideational Efforts for Legitimation and Vindication from the Significant Others and the Other Within
  • 6.4 Feeding from Historical Legacy and a “New” Identity Construction
  • 6.5 Identities in Transition: Ottoman, Republican and JDP Periods
  • 6.5.1 Complexities and Contradictions in JDP’s Ideational Foreign Policy Orientation
  • 6.6 Conclusion
  • 7 Impact of the International and Regional Developments on JDP’s “New” Foreign Policy
  • 7.1 Introduction
  • 7.2 Post-9/11 Milieu and JDP’s Temporising “New” Foreign Policy
  • 7.2.1 International and Regional Trends, Challenges and Shifts
  • 7.2.2 JDP’s “New” Foreign Policy as an Instrument of Identity Politics for Regional Domination
  • 7.2.3 From Strategic Partner to Model Partnership with JDP’s “New” Turkey:A “Model Country”
  • 7.3 Impact of the Systemic Forces on the “New” Turkish Foreign Policy:The “Arab Spring” and Beyond
  • 7.3.1 The “Arab Spring” and Its Regional Implications; the Ideational Involvement with the “Other from Within”
  • 7.4 Effects of the “Transformational Shift” in Domestic Politics on JDP’s Ideational Foreign Policy
  • 7.4.1 JDP’s Foreign Policy Orientation Towards the Arab World: Role of the Leaders
  • 7.4.2 JDP’s Hegemonic Aspirations in the Region
  • 7.4.3 JDP’s Foreign Policy Towards the Syrian Crisis and the Greater Middle East
  • JDP and the Syrian Crisis: Discourse and Practice
  • 7.5 Conclusion
  • Conclusion
  • Final Remarks and Projections
  • Bibliography
  • Book Chapters
  • Books
  • Articles
  • Online articles
  • Editorials
  • Newspapers
  • Internet Sources
  • Speeches-quotes-meetings
  • JDP Election Manifestos (AK Parti Seçim Beyannameleri)
  • JDP Government Programmes (AK Parti Hükumet Programları)
  • JDP Vision Documents
  • Symposia and Conference papers
  • Online broadcasts-TV Programmes
  • International and National NGOs
  • Official statements-reports
  • Encyclopedias-Magazines
  • Think-tanks
  • Policy papers-reports
  • Biographies
  • Theses


JDP managed to form government with a majority with the first general elections (03 November 2002) with a significant majority of 34.6 % of the votes. It has since formed seven governments and proved to be a powerful political entity unprecedented in modern Turkish political life. JDP claims to be the “progressive” wing of the traditional (religious conservative) “old-school”, the Islamist Welfare Party led by Necmettin Erbakan. More importantly, it has maintained its hold on the Turkish political scene in an incremental fashion, transforming the Turkish society internally and reaching out beyond the ideological and ideational boundaries of the nation-state in foreign policy, the parameters and doctrinal principles of which were laid out by the Kemalist-[Atatürkist, secular-democratic] Turkish nation-state.

This work seeks to identify the casual and constitutive relationship between the identity and interests of the Turkish nation-state under the JDP governments with particular emphasis on the interplay between its domestic politics and foreign policy. In so doing, it attempts to shed light on the nature and dynamics of the “transformational shifts”1 in Turkish domestic politics and in Turkish foreign ←15 | 16→policy, by tracing its evolutionary path from the late Ottoman period to the JDP administration.

In this respect, the convergence of domestic politics and foreign policy under JDP tenures will be of particular attention. The phases and the critical fault lines in this convergent socio-political process, an analytical investigation into the ongoings of JDP’s foreign and domestic policy orientations, with regards to its political identity and interests will also be made. As it is [still] an ongoing process, the difficulty of determining the outcomes of JDP’s “new” foreign policy practices, will, for the sake of academic ethics and objectivity, be treated on a critical but also on a tentative basis.

The methodological account of this study will essentially be periodisation and interpretation based on critical analysis of the material at hand. The study will commence, in earnest, with the late Ottoman era and work its way through WWI and the War of Liberation and the Republican period setting out the main tenets of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s foreign policy. Next will be the inter-war period under İsmet İnönü which follows with the Democrat Party up to the Turgut Özal period which essentially covers the Cold War era. Following on from the unsettling coalition periods of the post–Cold War period [1990s], the study will take on board the JDP period for a detailed, critical analysis. The transitional and the transformational periods will be presented by way of periodisation and interpretation. The study will, therefore, be conducted in separate periodised sections within a holistically devised thematic foundation in order to reach a comprehensible understanding of Turkish foreign policy and its interplay with the domestic politics from the late Ottoman period up to the JDP’s tenure of office. As the study covers a relatively long stretch of historiography, the bi-lateral relations of Turkey with other states will be left out.

The main focus of the thesis being the “transformational shifts” and the transitional nature of JDP’s domestic and foreign policy orientation and practice, the evolution and transformation prior to the JDP administrations will provide an historical perspective that can provide a deeper grounding to understand and explain the JDP’s domestic and foreign policy in terms of its material conditions and its ideational orientation.

The material for this study was collected from numerous books, book chapters and articles. Additionally, various research centres such as The Washington Institute, foreignpolicy.com, researchgate.net, globalresearch.com, stratfor.com, nationalinterest.org, mideast.foreignpolicy.com, frontpagemag.com, whitehouse archives, insightturkey.com, all-monitor.com were used.

Amongst the libraries used are The US Library of National Congress, Yeditepe University library, İstanbul University library, Boğaziçi University library with the books, articles and online libraries such as Whiley, London University research papers, conference papers and the YÖK, YSK, online BYGEN, TBMM archives. The international newspaper archives such as The New York Times, Financial Times, The Economist, The Guardian, Daily Mail, Cumhuriyet, Hürriyet, Taraf, Radikal, Habertürk, Sabah, Yeni Şafak, Resmi Gazete were benefitted from.

←16 |

In addition, the author also benefited from online sources such as ORSAM, TESEV, MÜSİAD, TÜSİAD, TİKA, SETA, USAK, RETHINK, JDP party programmes, election declarations, brochures and speeches made by heads of state at various times and locations. Amongst the international online sources used are the un.org, amerikanınsesi.com, ISIS.org, Ikhwan.com, OIC.org, bbc.com, amnesty.org, unchr.org, cnn.com, aljazzera.com, all-monitor. The local online sources benefitted from are the AK Parti.org, tccb.gov, mfa.gov, mevzuat.gov, anayasa.gov, başbakanlık.gov, dergipark.gov, necmettinerbakan.net, avrupa.info, Haber 7, Oda TV, t5 haber. Also, the author attended a two-month long series of conferences at Bahçeşehir University (İstanbul) on the thematic papers and seminars presented on Turkish domestic politics and its foreign policy.

There exist numerous studies on Turkish foreign policy, be it as book chapters, books, articles and also a few research works at Ph.D and M.A. levels next to the main texts on foreign policy and foreign policy analysis. Rosenau’s work is a scientific treatment of foreign policy.2 Goldstein and Keohane’s edition provides an analytical framework on the ideas and foreign policy.3 Hill’s focus is on the changing politics of foreign policy.4 Hudson’s work5 concentrates on the connection between the history and the trends in a conceptual framework. Books covering the Turkish foreign policy include Çakmak’s work which is a comprehensive, historical account of Turkish foreign policy.6 Similarly, Arı covers the subject matter in the context of International Relations.7 Oran’s account provides a more critical rendition of the Turkish foreign policy.8 Davutoğlu’s book determines the parameters of Turkey’s “new” outlook on Turkish foreign policy and its aspirations.9

Adler’s article sets the stage for constructivism in world politics.10 Wendt’s rigorous work on the central claims relating to the social construction of the international system.11 Davutoğlu asserts that Turkey is a pivotal state.12 Davutoğlu also ←17 | 18→concentrates on the civilisation and the self-perception nexus.13 Davutoğlu sets the main principle of the “new” Turkish foreign policy.14 He also draws distinctions between the competing civilisations relating to the clash of interests.15

Bozdağlıoğlu analyses Turkish foreign policy from an identity perspective, drawing attention to the clash of the secularist and the Islamist identities as the main determinants.16 Similarly, Bozdağlıoğlu, merging the domestic and the foreign spheres, ruminates on the Turkey’s long-running adventure with modernity and the conflicting identities [Kemalist elites and the religious conservatives] and its impact on Turkey’s foreign policy.17 Danforth, on the other hand, separating the domestic and the foreign arenas, refutes the ideological/identity-laden nomenclature on Turkish foreign policy, adding that the actual drive is pragmatism which is linked to responding to the strategic realities and the needs of the conjunctural developments just as Atatürk’s dis-engagement and JDP’s re-engagement with the Middle East.18

Uzgel and Duru draw attention to the transformation in Turkish politics and Turkish foreign policy.19 Yavuz looks into the dynamics of change in Turkey under JDP.20 Yenigün and Efegil’s work observes the changes in Turkish foreign policy.21 Onuf’s focus is on the efficacy of rules and legal order in the international system from a constructivist perspective.22 Wendt lays the foundations of the systemic-constructivist approach based on values and norms.23 Wendt also draws attention to the socially constructed political international system perceived by the neo-realists to be anarchical and hierarchical per se.24

←18 | 19→

Waltz’s seminal work, Theory of International Relations, presents a neo-realist rendition of international politics that elaborates on the agents’ struggle for power [and position driven by self-help, interest, in relation to their material power and capability] within the anarchical international structure.25 In the Man, the State, and War, Waltz examines the causes of war. 26 Hudson’s article covers the history and evolution of foreign policy analysis.27 Aras analyses the Davutoğlu era in Turkish foreign policy.28 Davutoğlu sets out the “new” vision of Turkey’s foreign policy.29 He also establishes the principles of the “new” Turkish foreign policy and regional political structuring.30 Kirişçi observes the transformation of Turkish foreign policy: from a securitising state to a trading state.31 Altunışık and Martin attempt to make sense of JDP’s foreign policy in the Middle East.32 Fisher’s work analyses the neo-Ottomanistic tendencies in the “new” Turkish foreign policy.33

The theses written on Turkish foreign policy are as follows: Tamer Ağca focuses on the economic foundations of Turkish foreign policy during AK Party era.34 Suat Beylur’s study looks into Turkey’s Balkan policy under AK Party and claims for neo-Ottomanism.35 Yusuf Ziya Bölükbaşı investigates the role of nationalism in the process of foreign policy analysis.36 Fecri Arslan studies the state-mind of the Kurdish problem and the AK Party.37 Tuba Kalçık’s work is a comparative analysis ←19 | 20→on 1983 ANAP and 2002 AK Party’s political campaigns in the Turkish political and social conversion process.38 Süleyman Sezgi Mercan’s work focuses on the impact of military on Turkish foreign policy during the European Union accession process: Continuity and change.39 İsmail Erkam Sula makes a poliheuristic analysis of Turkish foreign policy in the AKP period.40 Abdülkadir Tartılacı handles liberalism in Turkey: Policies and Implementations During AK Party Era (2002–2011).41

This work sets itself apart from the previous works on a number of points. It provides an extensive and an interpretive treatment of the reflexive nature and the evolution of the Turkish domestic politics and foreign policy with special focus on JDP and its “new” foreign policy praxis. Overall, it draws on from developments and foreign policy practices at various levels, through a constructivist lens. It also focuses on the convergent nature of domestic politics and foreign policy arenas in the post-positivist world and the predominance of norms and value-based orientations and interactions of agents in the structure. This study attempts to analyse the nature and the dynamics of the “transformational shifts” in Turkish domestic politics and foreign policy [from the Atatürkist “traditional” Turkish foreign policy in relation to the “new” Turkish foreign policy under JDP administrations]. This comprehensive and historical account will critically be examined in a new light, using constructivism as a theoretical tool, with a focus on the identity-interest of the agents-actors within the structure-system. Moreover, the nature of the internal and the external dynamics, interactions and conflictual propensities will have been extracted for further research. In so doing, it attempts to fill a gap in the analysis of Turkish domestic politics and Turkish foreign policy, as this study sheds light on the transitional nature of Turkish political life, with a focus on the critical turning points in the process of the “transformational shifts”, since the late Ottoman, the Republican periods, through to the present JDP tenure of office.

On theoretical grounds, the realist and the liberal paradigms view foreign policy as a state-centric phenomenon leaving little room for interpretation for the non-/sub-state elements in play. In the post–Cold War period, these two mainstream paradigms (neo-realism in particular) were no longer effective in understanding and explaining the domestic and the foreign policy issues or the newly emerging international milieu. However, with the end of the Cold War, there emerged alternative voices as to the interpretation of the new developments that the mainstream ←20 | 21→approaches fell short of providing adequate academic insight into. In this sense, the neo-realist and the neo-liberal paradigms had to give way to critical theory in varying degrees. The constructivist approach clambered out of the ongoing inter-paradigm debates of the time, gaining a degree of validity in the academia as an alternative to the existing paradigms.

Despite the liberal school’s re-assertion of itself as a more explanatory paradigm in the context of interdependence,42 regarding the relevance of “soft power” replacing the “hard power” instruments in IR, in the 1990s critical theory by virtue of its focus on any particular area of International Relations (IR) or foreign policy cannot be used as a theoretical tool to deal with the subject matter. As a consequence, constructivism, embodying the social and material aspects of the reactions between the agent and structure without the restrictions and the deficiencies of the realist, liberal and the critical schools, presents itself as a viable theoretical tool for this study.

Notwithstanding the conceptional relevance of the realist and liberal perspectives in analysing the “traditional” Turkish foreign policy, the “new” Turkish foreign policy43 can, however, be analysed more objectively using a constructivist framework. In this work, Alexander Wendt’s social constructivism relating to the plurality of actors in foreign policy formulation in the post–Cold War period 44 is deemed a more suitable theoretical tool to analyse the Turkish foreign policy, as the transformational and the transitional nature of Turkish politics seems to have more ideational and identity-oriented elements than material or systemic. In this sense, social constructivism carries more pertinence for the purpose of this study. The constructivist paradigm with its identity, value-norm-laden characteristics, first surfaced with the world of our making and developed later into a more comprehensive IR theory by Wendt who contended that the international society and system are all products of human thought processes. Therefore, foreign policy decisions and implementations are structured and constructed through multitude of social interactions of agents (states) in the international structure (system). Concepts such as the fixed givens: anarchy, hierarchy, sovereignty, identity and interest are all what states as actors (agents) in IR make of them45(Anarchy is What States Make of It). Contrary to the neo-realists’ claims as regards to the anarchical and hierarchical nature of the IR system as theorised by ←21 | 22→Waltz (Theory of International Politics) or indeed the clear separation of levels of analysis [and neo-liberal school accepts the permanency of these main claims], the constructivists shift the perspective from the material to the non-material aspects of human condition [as being the driving forces behind the claimed material elements and institutions], and also dislodging the pre-acceptance of the claims with regards to the levels or the unit of analyses by the mainstream paradigms.

From levels of analysis perspective, the shift, therefore, is from the structure to the agent, yet, essentially, both interact, socio-politically constructing and re-constructing one another.46 As a systemic constructionist, Wendt is closer to neo-realism and pays attention to the social identity of a state than its institutional identity. As a social constructivist, Wendt sees the social construction to be more relevant for the identity construction process than its institutional and physical one. The three strands of constructivism can be categorised as the systemic that negates the domestic structures, focusing on the system. The actor-centred version concentrates on the interaction of the agents within the domestic environment. However, the holistic thread encompasses both, bringing the international and domestic together with their institutional and the social aspects also. By the same token, all three strands agree that identity and interests [of agents within the structure] are the main determinants of the social-political structures and that they are mutually produced through social interaction [of agents] forcing actors (states) to act on the process accordingly.47

Turning to the subject matter, the research is qualitative, based on an interpretive method. Essentially, JDP’s domestic and foreign policy practices will be evaluated with its own party political programmes and its election declerations. In so doing, this study will probe into the “transformational shifts” in the “new” Turkish domestic and foreign policy under the JDP administrations, by juxtapositioning the phenomena with the “traditional” [Atatürkist] era. This work, whilst paying heed to Alexander Wendt’s rendition of social constructivism, will not limit itself to the systemic interpretation, because the nature of social interaction process in the Wendtian terms, goes beyond the parameters of the corporate and collective identities, as agents in the structure play an active, thus a transformative role. Therefore, for a more comprehensive examination of the nature of the “transformational shifts” in Turkish domestic politics and Turkish foreign policy, a more holistic rendition of constructivism that covers a wider area [next to the individual, domestic, system, other factors, units and levels] is carried out, enabling a more objective perspective for analysis.

Methodologically, JDP’s domestic politics and foreign policy praxis will be scrutinised [keeping in mind the internal and the external determinants and the developments on the ground] through a constructivist lens, irrespective of the unit ←22 | 23→or the levels of analysis categorised by the positivist schools as the individual, domestic and the systemic.48

In theoretical terms, the study will employ the constructivist approach as a framework. In so doing, the neo-realist and the neo-liberal schools of thought will critically be analysed in light of the constructivist approach as a constitutive, middle-ground paradigm to understand and explain the interplay between the structure and the agents at various levels and units. In addition, the exogenous and the endogenous factors that shape and determine the nature and the direction of Turkey’s “new” domestic and foreign policy orientation [in relation to the “traditional” under JDP tenure] will be observed in the context of socio-political, ideational determinants and the mutual effects in Turkish political tradition since the late Ottoman and the Republican periods, in particular.

To this end, this work sets out to critically analyse the inner-workings of the Turkish domestic and foreign policy, under JDP, with specific reference to its ideational aspirations relating to the establishment of an religious conservative commonwealth, using its identity, with the “strategic depth” doctrine and neo-Ottomanism as the underlying ideational threads. The main tenets of the Turkish domestic politics and foreign policy, from the late Ottoman period, through the Republican era, up to the transformational period under the JDP governments, will be the focus of analysis, within the theoretical framework of constructivism, identity and social construction processes being the main points of reference. Also, the contending arguments on JDP’s domestic politics and foreign policy will critically be examined in order to objectively evaluate and reach a tenable conclusion on the subject matter.

Aside from the introduction and the conclusion, the study consists of seven chapters. In the first chapter, there are four main sections. The first one deals with the main strands of IR theories: realism and liberalism. The second handles the debate between these theories. The third deals with the “middle-range” constructivist paradigm, which will be the framework used for a critical analysis of the subject matter, and the fourth one focuses on the foreign policy and foreign policy analysis. Based on this, it will lay the theoretical groundwork for the main research question of the thesis, which essentially attempts to look into the causal and the constitutive determinants of the “transformational shifts” in the “new” Turkish domestic politics and foreign policy under the JDP rule (2002–2016), compared with the “traditional” (1923–2001) period. Defining the main tenets of the constructivist paradigm in relation to neo-realism and to a lesser extent neo-liberalism, there will also be a critical review of these approaches and their impact on international relations and the international system. Within this context, in line with the increasing inter-relationship between the international and the domestic, the evolution and the plausible “transformational shifts” in Turkish domestic and foreign policy will be the focal point of analysis to set the stage for the succeeding chapters.

←23 | 24→

Chapter two will analyse the main constructivist concepts such as ideas, identity of the “self” and the “other”, along with the factors and the models that influence the domestic politics and the foreign policy o Turkey. Furthermore, the dynamics of the “transformational shifts” [that have been evident throughout the Republican period], pertaining to the JDP’s role identity in the Turkish domestic politics and its foreign policy, in the construction of a “new” national and state identity process is examined. This will be handled from a constructionist perspective, paying specific attention to the ideational aspects and the identity construction process and the dyadic interaction between the agents in the structure. In line with this framework, the chapter will track the transformational changes in the Turkish domestic and foreign policy in light of the systemic forces and domestic factors in the context of constructivist parameters.

Chapter three will concentrate on the transitions in Turkish political life and the emergence of JDP as a political actor. In this context, the chapter will trace the endogenous and the exogenous factors and developments that gave rise to JDP’s prominence to power and its role in the transformation of Turkish domestic politics and foreign policy. Furthermore, there will be an examination of JDP’s Islamic party political identity that challenges the established Kemalist-secular identity [that develops into a clash of identities, resulting in JDP’s ideational expectations for the reconstruction of a “new” religious conservative national and state identity that can displace the Kemalist one] in Turkish political life, using the instruments of constructivism. More specifically, JDP appears to be a catalyst as a political agent that facilitated change in the transitional period, transforming the nature and the direction of Turkish politics.

In this sense, the “transformational shift” during the JDP period is seemingly the second most critical one since the transition from an Empire to a nation-state in Turkish political life both in domestic and foreign policy terms. To observe this phenomenon, the critical factors and the general elections that paved the way for JDP’s rise to power and its transformational properties in Turkish political life will be the focal point of analysis with specific reference to JDP’s party political identity and its constructionist approach to create a “new” national and state identity. In this context, the legacy of the National View Movement (NVM), the Erbakan factor and the 1997 military memorandum, a “displacement coup”, [more popularly dubbed as the “February 28 Process” or the “post-modern coup”]49 that led to a break from the past will be dealt with. The internal political and economic instabilities throughout the 1990s played a critical role in shaping the direction of ←24 | 25→Turkish domestic and foreign policy. The external factors which were determined mainly by the post–Cold War developments in general and the 9/11 attack, in particular, will be critically evaluated with specific focus on their influence on the “transformational shift” in Turkish domestic and foreign policy under JDP. TCCA will be analysed as a case study to illustrate JDP’s ideational aspirations towards reconstruction of “new” corporate and national identity.


ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2019 (December)
New Turkey Identity Matrix Transformation Islamist State Erdoğanism Kemalism
Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2020. 328 pp.

Biographical notes

Orhun Cem Karsavuran (Author)

Orhun Cem Karsavuran is a lecturer in International Relations and Political Science at the Hasan Kalyoncu University (Turkey). He holds a degree from the University of London, MA from the University of Kent and PHD from the Yeditepe University (İstanbul). His interests include Int Rel theory, foreign policy, populism, turkish politics, political theory and modernisation-democratisation process.


Title: Construction of New Turkey
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