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Queen's University
 

Centre for International and Defence Policy

Turkey under the AWP: A Democratic Islamic Power

Wayne S. Cox

 

This research project examines the changes to Turkish foreign policy under the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) since 2002.  As a political party based partly upon an Islamist orientation, and one that identifies itself as an alternative to Turkey’s pro-secularist political parties along with the traditional role of the Turkish military as a defender of Kemalism and secularism, the AKP has sought to redefine Turkey’s role in world affairs into one in which the Turkish state continues to foster close working relations with the West (NATO countries, the EU, the US and Israel) while at the same time seeking to play a significant leadership role as an Islamic and partially Middle Eastern country.  It is through this special position as a bridge between “East” and “West” that the AKP aspires to rebuild Turkey into a significant regional and international power.  Domestically, the continued popular support for the AKP (especially for its foreign policies around issues like the US in Iraq and Afghanistan, Israel’s Gaza policies, the crisis in the EU, etc.) has changed the dynamics of the political landscape inside Turkey into one in which the AKP as a partially Islamicist party now represents the strongest voice in support of secular democracy (both inside Turkey and perhaps throughout the Middle East), while the traditional right political parties are generally viewed as pro-military and its tendencies towards authoritarianism in Turkey.  Internationally, Turkey under the AKP is widely viewed as a stable and democratic government by EU members, other NATO countries and the US, and at the same time it viewed as one of few governments that Islamic societies (like Iran and Syria) can ‘trust’ because the AKP can view world politics through the lens of Islam.  In the end, Turkey under the AKP has become a key ally for significant players in both the East and the West, and as such, it has become an important regional and international factor in world politics.  For more information, contact Professor Cox...

 

Robert Sutherland Hall, Ste 403
Tel: (1) 613.533.2381
Fax: (1) 613.533.6885
cidp@queensu.ca