Populism in the Foreign Policy of the Turkish Republic

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The paper explores the role and peculiarities of the populism in the modern foreign policy of the Republic of Turkey. Populism became especially popular in Turkey’s foreign policy discourse when the Justice and Development Party came to power in 2002 and R.T. Erdoğan as President in 2014. Special attention is paid to R.T. Erdoğan’s populist statements made in the context of the key foreign policy ideologies - Neo-Ottomanism, Neo-Panturkism and Islamism. The propaganda of Neo-Ottoman ideas is aimed at restoring Turkey to its former Imperial greatness. The ultimate goal of Turkey’s populism in Turkic states is to form a new Turkish-centric subsystem of international relations - the “Turkic world”. Turkey’s Islamic populism within the country is primarily aimed at the conservative part of the population and at the world Islamic community on the international arena. The main task of such populism is the gradual abandonment of the principles of M.K. Ataturk and the secularism, as well as the formation of public opinion that Ankara is the center of the Islamic world. The author comes to the conclusion that Turkey’s populism is quite effective and assists the ruling elite in achieving its foreign policy goals. In many ways, the success of Turkey’s populism depends on the competent policy of its implementation by R.T. Erdoğan - a classic example of an Eastern politician with a charismatic type of leadership. However, the situation may change significantly in case of the power change in Turkey, emergence of a new leader and, consequently, new populist mechanisms.

About the authors

Vladimir Alekseevich Avatkov

Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences; Diplomatic Academy of the MFA of Russia

Author for correspondence.
Email: v.avatkov@gmail.com
ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6345-3782

PhD in Political Science, Senior Research Fellow, Center for post-Soviet studies, Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO RAS); Associate Professor, Department of International Relations, Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation

Moscow, Russian Federation


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Copyright (c) 2021 Avatkov V.A.

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