Below you may find the abstract of my PhD thesis, completed in 2014, on Turkish foreign policy in the Middle East under the AKP. The thesis was recently released online by the University of Warwick. You may reach the full document here.
The following is a review of my PhD thesis, written by Dr. George Kyris (University of Birmingham) for Dissertation Reviews:
A review of Turkish Foreign Policy towards the Middle East under the AKP (2002-2013): A Neoclassical Realist Account, by Zenonas Tziarras.
This thesis seeks to explain Turkish foreign policy towards the Middle East under the AKP (Justice and Development Party) government. Drawing on neoclassical realism debates and focusing on foreign policy towards Syria and Israel during the period from 2002 to 2013, the author seeks to offer a “comprehensive and systematically integrated approach which analyses drivers, causal chains and foreign policy behavior.” Continue reading
The article was first published on Changing Turkey, 06 May 2015.
The presentation I delivered during the 6th Changing Turkey workshop at Warwick University sought to explore Turkish foreign policy change under the Justice and Development Party (AKP) towards the Middle East from a Neoclassical Realist (NcR) perspective and it was based on my PhD thesis.[i] It was argued that systemic changes in Turkey’s geopolitical environment have been primary in driving Turkey’s foreign policy behaviour with domestic politics being secondary. Within this NcR framework the system level comprises of three independent variables (international power changes, external threat perceptions, international economic interdependence) and two intervening variables (elite ideology and domestic interest groups). The dependent variable is essentially the foreign policy outcome – Turkey’s foreign policy behaviour – with the possibility of variation between status quo and revisionist foreign policy behaviour. To trace the change in Turkish foreign policy (TFP) since the AKP’s election to power (2002) I briefly evaluate the domestic and systemic context of the 2002-2011 and 2011-2013 periods. When it comes to the domestic level I remain focused on one of the two intervening variables (i.e. the AKP elite ideology) for brevity purposes. Continue reading
While presenting my paper on a Neoclassical Realist theorization of Turkish foreign policy, yesterday (28/03/2014), I was “accused” of being wrong that systemic-geopolitical factors and national security considerations were the primary factors that turned Turkey against Syria (from friend to enemy) in late 2011. Some scholars (including Turkish ones) were saying that Turkey’s regional image, model, and legitimization (i.e. to be a promoter of democracy and “on the right side of history”) were more important.
Well, in the leaked tape (attached below) regarding Turkey’s Syria policy, you can see that national security, including the Kurdish (PKK) threat (which was one of my points), is central to Ankara’s decisions with regard to Syria. It is also clear that they have been wanting to do more (i.e. intervene) all along – which is, again, one of the arguments I make in articles and my PhD. However, a number of factors, which I will not mention here, led Turkey to adopt only an indirect involvement (e.g. supporting the rebels and sanctions). As occurs from the tape, they are today regretting the fact that they did not take more drastic measures in the recent past, although they do acknowledge the practical, tactical and logistical difficulties. Continue reading