Make Turkey Great Again! Neo-Ottomanism: Was It Really Anti-West?

Özbey, Ömer
This thesis examines the so-called Neo-Ottomanist foreign policy approach over two different periods in the history of Turkey: the Özal period (1980-1993) and the AKP period (2002-09). Despite the common perception that the Neo-Ottomanism was an anti-West foreign policy approach, it is argued that, Neo-Ottomanism as a foreign policy approach was Turkey's effort to integrate into the Western-led world order with a different form and content under changing global conditions. In the Özal period, first due to the re-escalation of the Cold War in early 1980s, then, due to the end of it, Turkey was expected to engage in regional relations with an emphasis on its Islamic/Turkic identity in line with the Western interests. In the AKP period, because of the radical Islamic challenge culminating in the September 11 attacks, this time the West expected Turkey to play the moderate Islamic role model towards the Middle East. Turkish foreign policy in both periods were deemed Neo-Ottomanist due to the unusually diverse and deep relations with the countries of the region and the use of Muslim and/or Turkic identity in the foreign policy language. This thesis challenges this view and claims that this foreign policy approach in both periods were due to a qualitative change in Turkey’s relations with the West under a different global conjuncture.
Citation Formats
Ö. Özbey, “Make Turkey Great Again! Neo-Ottomanism: Was It Really Anti-West?,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2023.