Authors' Note: Authorship is equal. An earlier version of this article won 2nd prize at the Sabanci International Research Award in 2011. The authors thank Jessica Mecellem and Sara McKeever for their competent research assistance.
Activism in Turkish Foreign Policy: Balancing European and Regional Interests
Article first published online: 5 APR 2013
© 2013 International Studies Association
International Studies Perspectives
Volume 15, Issue 3, pages 257–276, August 2014
How to Cite
2014) Activism in Turkish Foreign Policy: Balancing European & Regional Interests. International Studies Perspectives, doi: 10.1111/insp.12004and . (
- Issue published online: 29 JUL 2014
- Article first published online: 5 APR 2013
- foreign policy;
- Middle East
This article argues that long-term changes in Turkish foreign policy are primarily due to the diversification of the country's political and economic interests. Important international structural shifts such as the end of the Cold War or the broad fluctuations in oil prices have constituted the initial impetus for the changes that we have seen in Turkish policies. Discussing alternative perspectives on new activism in Turkish foreign policy, the article gauges Turkey's foreign policy affinity (based on voting patterns in the United Nations General Assembly) and trade with other states to place recent trends in the broader context of the past three decades. It shows that, as the “West” has become less coherent in its policies, Turkey has moved closer to EU members and distanced itself from the US. The data also undermine “shift of axis” arguments as Turkey's foreign policy affinity with Middle Eastern countries has, in fact, declined. The trade data reveal a diversification of the country's commercial interests that contribute to Turkey's increasing regional activism. The country now balances its long term European interests with its recent regional ones.