Günter Seufert

Foreign Policy and Self-image

The Societal Basis of Strategy Shifts in Turkey

SWP Research Paper 2012/RP 12, September 2012, 31 Pages



Turkey’s new foreign policy skilfully escapes self-depletion in an altered foreign trade strategy as well as exclusive definition by a specific ideology of the ruling government. It is the result of an irreversible process, during which a new economic elite successfully advanced new political and academic elites, its close ideological allies, and the self-perception of state and society underwent a fundamental transformation.

The supplanting of the political elite and integration of major conservative groups within the economic and academic elites has resulted in a new normality in the population’s perception of the country and its approach to foreign policy. Today, not only the government and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu view Turkey as the region’s potential political and economic centre; the majority of Turkish citizens has also warmed to this image of their homeland. This has a far more lasting impact on Turkey’s position in relation to Europe than on its connection to the USA.

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