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Regular version of the site

Article

Турция как новый актор политики «мягкой силы»

Сафонкина Е. А.

This article provides a historical background and analysis of Turkey soft power policy, its concept and tools. Turkey’s use of soft power in Eurasian countries is facilitated by its history and position at the intersection between Europe and Asia, as well as ethnic, religious and linguistic communities on its territory. Over the last two decades, complex internal and external factors have transformed its soft power policy and enhanced its influence in the countries where it has geopolitical interests, especially in Caucasus and Central Asia. The main external factor was the formation of new independent states after the collapse of the USSR in 1991. Turkey’s foreign policy approach was transformed by the rise to power of the centre-right conservative Justice and Development Party in 2002. Democratic reforms reduced the military’s influence over foreign policy, strengthened civil society and increased the active participation of actors such as business and civil society organizations in foreign policy. In addition foreign affairs minister Ahmet Davutoğlu’s new approach of “Zero Problems with Our Neighbours,” based on the doctrine of strategic depth (Stratejik Derinlik) and using political dialogue, economic interdependence and cultural harmony, reinforced Turkish soft power. Moreover, protests in the Middle East and North Africa led to a consideration of the Turkish state model as an example to be followed. Another important factor was Turkey’s participation in various international institutions.

The efficient use of soft power strategies, tools and activities in language promotion, education and scientific cooperation, business collaboration and development assistance by Turkish diplomats and experts in international relations has resulted in a positive and attractive international image of Turkey. Turkey implements its soft power policy through bilateral and multilateral cooperation. For example, it established the Cooperation Council of Turkic-Speaking States (CCTS), the Parliamentary Assembly of Turkic-Speaking Countries (TURKPA) and the Joint Administration of Turkic Culture and Art (TÜRKSOY) to increase collaboration with target countries.

Despite of the positive outcomes from soft power, Turkey needs a multidimensional strategy to promote its influence abroad that takes into account key foreign policy objectives such as negotiations with the European Union and decreasing tensions with Syria and Cyprus.