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A constructivist criticism of neo-realist conception of “state” in international relations: Turkey’s five motions on military involvement in Iraq (2003–2007)

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2009
Apar, Altan
The thesis makes a constructivist criticism of neo-realism’s particular conceptualization of state through a comparative analysis of Turkey’s five motions (2003-2007) on military involvement in Iraq. Firstly, neo-realism and constructivism with regards to the concept of state are explored. Then, through the lights of the theoretical discussion, Turkey’s five military motions are examined. In the case study, parliamentary minutes are used as the primary historical evidences. In the parliamentary discussions, three themes appeared significant-“institutional identity”, “legitimacy” and “interest”- which provided the ground for a constructivist criticism of neo-realist understanding of state. These three themes obtained from the discussions are tapped under four major topics which have been the main issues for the constructivists: “agency”, “norms”, “identity” and “interest”. Thesis argues that foreign policy behavior is a political product and “state” is a social actor whose behavior can only be understood from the social, cultural and historical context in which the state-society relations are embedded. Hence, for the purpose of making a structural analysis, separation of the domestic and the international realm of state is a fallacy with which neo-realism is badly plagued. Constructivism, on the other hand, has the potential to bridge this gap and understand the foreign policy behavior of states more accurately since it gives credence to the inner diversity of states through problematizing the ideational elements in foreign policy making and in international politics.