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Turkey’s New Foreign Policies

Public Diplomacy Activities in Turkey

Public Diplomacy Activities - Introduction

The proposed study is about new directions in Turkey’s new foreign policy and public diplomacy activities. The topic has caught the attention of the world as Turkish politics has experienced a significant domestic development that has altered its balance. Hence, there is a need to systematically and comprehensively illustrate these developments so as to portray the domestic dimensions with respect to continuities and discontinuities in Turkish foreign policy (Ataman, 2003). In this respect, according to Ernest Petri, “the foreign policy of any country is the self interest strategies chosen by a nation to safeguard the national interests and achievement of the goals within the international relationship” (Petri, 2013: 8).

Public diplomacy is defined as the varied means by which governments, private groups as well as individuals influence the opinions and attitudes of others and the respective governments with a sole aim to bring a significant influence on the decisions related to foreign policy. In recent times, there has been the presence of a deepening level of globalization and transnational concepts along with interaction of state with non-state actors[ Non-state actors – They are those entities that participate in the process of maintaining international relations by a country. They possess sufficient power for influencing and causing a change even though they may not belong to any established institution of a state. ]. In this respect, special emphasis has also been given on linking up the professional practice and position with respect to theories and concepts of public diplomacy (Kalin, 2011).

There has been a presence of many key drivers and motivators that has led me to start this report. This project will be based on professional and ethical principles of good diplomatic and consular practice. The Project will explore new foreign policy in Turkey and its public diplomacy activities that have undergone a drastic change in the recent years. In doing so, there will be an assessment about the main features of Turkey’s current foreign policy. I will also critically engage with the recent approaches undertaken by the nation in terms of foreign policy as well as the public diplomacy, official and civil features (Kirişçi, 2009).

I hope that the final report will play a key role in understanding the various dimensions of Turkey’s new foreign policy and public diplomacy activities along with making an essential link to my own professional practice (Mermod and Dömbekci, 2011).

Non-state actors – They are those entities that participate in the process of maintaining international relations by a country. They possess sufficient power for influencing and causing a change even though they may not belong to any established institution of a state.

This is a suitable topic as it would help me in building up my practical experience as a Head of Mission at the Turkish Consulate General. It will further allow me to integrate the new theoretical knowledge which I will acquire through engagement with secondary literature within a comprehensive strategy (Oğuzlu, 2007). I also believe that the learning encountered through this report will help me in reflecting about the various dimensions of my future professional plans along with bringing an improvement in the ones that I have accomplished. My WBS 4510 Review of Learning themes have also acted as a springboard towards developing a deep understanding on the public diplomacy as well as the set of activities linked to it. It has further aided in the development of a better image about consulate working.

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1.2 Key drivers for my proposed Project

There has been growing interest towards the Turkish foreign policy among the scholars of international relations over the last few years. Issues have been raised by many scholars in this field with respect to questioning of the direction of the Turkish foreign policy. The interest has been on account of the unique geographical location of Turkey and historical experience both of which have which has left an enormous impact on Turkey’s foreign and domestic strategies for policy-making. The nation has faced hundred years of struggle with respect to the definition of its own identity that was sandwiched between west and east (Putman, 2008). Turkey has always been pulled in dual directions between the liberal values of Europe related to democracy, human rights and good governance against the hard-power and [ Hard power is a description about the ability of a nation or political body to use incentives or military strength for influencing behavior of people. ]security-dominated politics of the Middle East. However, many changes have been observed after the current government of AK Party (AKP) came to power since 2002 elections (Fırat, 2006). From then on there has been a manifestation of this duality in a rigorous manner. Whatever is being observed today in Turkey is a result of long standing and dualistic nature of Turkey’s politics. Hence, it is essential to understand that the Turkish foreign policy making has not undergone a great change. It is still represented by the power struggle between west and east (Simon, 2006).


2.1 Aims and objectives

The ultimate aim of the research report is to analyze Turkey’s new foreign policy and how this impacts upon public diplomacy activities, and further how this knowledge will in turn influence my professional judgement and practice. Special emphasis has been given to explaining the relevance of theories and concepts related to public diplomacy with respect to my own professional practice and position (Meet the diplomats, 2012). In order to achieve the desired aim specific objectives have been designed which are as follows:

    To analyze the current foreign policy orientations of Turkey.
  • To understand the concept of public diplomacy in context of Turkish foreign policy developments and in terms of my own professional practice.

2.2 Research question

The research questions that have been formulated for the purpose of dealing with the topic Turkey’s new foreign policy and public diplomacy activities is as follows:

  • What is new in the foreign policy of Turkey?
  • What has been the public diplomacy activity that has been carried out in context of the new Turkish foreign policy?
  • What is its applicability to my own functions and evolving practice?

2.3 Chapter abstract and plans

While undertaking any research study on a given topic, I believe it is beneficial to retain with a particular structure where there is an adherence towards a well defined as well as sequential flow of pattern. This is a key requirement for the purpose of proper assessment in terms of various steps that have been undertaken. The research study helps in the provision of an appropriate composition. The proposed report is primarily aimed at Turkey’s new foreign policy and public diplomacy activities. The research will begin by understanding the concepts of foreign policy and public diplomacy activities followed by linking it to Turkey along with their relevance as well as application in professional practice. In this respect, the overall plan can be represented by a series of chapters that has been made a part of the study. Various chapters are being discussed in the upcoming sections.

  • Introduction - This chapter serves as the starting point and context for research on the new foreign policy of Turkey as well as the public diplomacy activities. It will help in the direction of providing a general idea towards the research study. In present case, there should be an increased awareness about the concepts related to foreign policy as well as public diplomacy especially in context of foreign policy observed by Turkey (Javalgi, Gross, Joseph and Granot, 2011). There will also be a discussion about the key drivers and professional motivators that has led in the direction of selecting the topic. They have been discussed in the light of professional and ethical principles. A brief overview about the current professional practice as well as the position has also been discussed which happens to be Head of Mission at the Turkish Consulate General (Alakavuklar and Parker, 2011).
  • Chapter 2: Aims, objectives and literature review: The aims, objectives as well as research questions have also been formulated for the same so as to help in the direction of smooth flow. They are related to current foreign policy of Turkey and the concept of public diplomacy in context of Turkish foreign policy and in terms of professional practice. In the literature review section, there has been an in depth analysis about Turkey’s foreign policy, public diplomacy activities as well as the related concepts. In the first subsection, the meaning of public diplomacy which is the communication done with the foreign publics so as to establish a dialogue session with an aim and objective of informing and influencing has been studied (Tatoğlu and Demirbağ, 2008). Here in the relevance of the theories and concepts of public diplomacy has been explained in context of my professional practice and position. A discussion on my own ontological position has been carried out in order to highlight any the biases and reservations that are associated with the given position. In the next subsection, there is a discussion about the current foreign policy of Turkey. Concepts pertaining to complex interdependence, non state actors, channel of communication and participatory diplomacy have been focused on. These concepts pertain to the foreign policy and diplomatic activity undertaken by Turkish government. There is also a discussion about how there has been a blurring of foreign and domestic policy boundaries due to the emergence of Turkish speaking transnational communities, ethnic groups etc (Kandil and Dinçer, 2008). Emphasis has also been given on how the emergence of transnational communities has influenced the practices of the public diplomacy in the Turkish diplomatic missions abroad and in London based on my own mission. The next topic deals with the soft power approach adopted by Turkey. There has also been a discussion about soft diplomacy approach in terms of Turkey’s relations with Middle East, the pertaining issues and what mediation techniques can be undertaken so as to resolve the differences (Kalyoncu and Yücel, 2006).
  • Chapter 3: Research methodology: The given section has explained the various tools and techniques that have been adopted in response to the current topic on Turkey’s new foreign policy and public diplomacy activities. The chapter starts with an introduction about the research methods and how the tools and techniques will help in achievement of the purpose in context of research study. There has been a general discussion about research philosophy, approach and design that has been made the part of research (Sobh and Perry, 2006). The authors have further been discussed in context of the approaches used in the present research study and how they would benefit in direction of the achievement of purpose. Special emphasis has been laid on the data collection measures that happen to be secondary in nature. The books, online references, journal articles etc. written on the current foreign policy of Turkey and the public diplomacy activities have been used. Newspaper articles have also been given a special focus (Atherton and Elsmore, 2007). Other than the data collection measures, there is also a discussion about the justification of chosen measures, relevancy as well as the significance of data. The limitations of research study in context of limited access to websites, no generalized study, long process of data collection and lack of adequate and required information has been discussed (Black Stone, 2013). In the last section, there is a discussion about ethical considerations that have been considered while working on the research topic.

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2.4 Literature review

The theoretical framework for the given research has been presented in form of a literature review which is defined as the collection of previous works done by authors on Turkey’s New Foreign Policy and Public Diplomacy Activities. In present report focus has been on varied dimensions of Turkey’s New Foreign Policy in context of changing scenario that has been witnessed by the nation. The section will also cover the key areas of Public Diplomacy Activities. The underlying concepts of descriptive and contextual observations of public diplomacy have been further linked to my own professional practice so as to gain a practical understanding about the report (Mermod and Dömbekci, 2011).

2.4.2 Turkey’s Current Foreign Policy

Turkey has been successful enough in attracting the attention of the global community through its new approach to foreign policy. It has started maintaining an active participation in the international arena. There also has been an increased desire to interact with foreign peoples Moreover, on the basis of my professional experience, I have found it clear that the presence of varied channels of communication has lead to creation of space where the country can engage with different groups across the world (Javalgi, Gross, Joseph and Granot, 2011). It is also clear that Turkish foreign policy is the product of two fundamental processes. These are inclusive of new geopolitical thinking and the security as well as economic-based priorities of Turkey. It is obvious that there is a presence of different features that characterizes the current foreign policy of Turkey. Altunışık, argues that the main characteristic of Turkey’s foreign policy is its complex interdependence (Altunışık, 2006). In this respect, the complex interdependence has been reflected in the operations of the newly formed public diplomacy. Turkey has prioritized the issues related to security, trade, human rights issues as well as resolution of conflicts. After all, human rights are all about working for the betterment of people (Public diplomacy, 2013). In this context, an essential role is being played by government along with the public diplomacy to fight for the defence of human beings.

2.4.3 Recent Approaches to Turkish Foreign Policy

The foreign policy of Turkey has undergone a significant number of changes in the last ten years. This has been necessitated by the desire of Turkey to be involved in the process of globalization. Hence, it has adopted a participatory approach that involves the active engagement of the neighbouring states. In the present times, it seems that it is worth unpacking the concept of ‘participatory’ diplomacy as the concept would definitely lead to a consolidation of Turkey position in Global foreign policy (Kandil and Dinçer, 2003). However, on a negative front it seems that Turkey may suffer due to lack of sufficient resources for participating in the international cooperation projects, missions and other initiatives. Hence, there would be a requirement on the part of Turkey’s public diplomacy to determine its own priorities before setting things into action.

2.4.4 Soft Power in Turkey

Gonesh and Melissen, (2002), defined soft power as that social human capital which helps in defining a nation other than military or economic power. In this respect, Joseph Nye has also argued that goals can be achieved via threats, buying out the opponent and persuading the opposite party. Soft power hence focuses on the third factor (Gonesh and Melissen, 2002). The soft power of Turkey has emanated from historical and cultural developments of the country. This concept has widened over time and has covered Middle East, the Caucasus, and Balkans. There is presence of a less doubt that Turkey considers Middle East as business partner, a cultural and a destination for political mediation (London A chance for Turkish women to gain recognition, 2012). But the region emerged as source of instability and acted as a threat to the national interest as well as sovereignty of Turkey.

2.4.5 Turkish Public Diplomacy Instruments

The primary aim of bringing changes in the public diplomacy activities of Turkey is based on making the world aware of Turkey in a new manner. Hence the new policy makers have resorted to elements of political and social thinking which is based on Turkey’s democratic, historical, and geographical developments. It is further pegged on pillars being equality, justice, legitimacy in public relations, diversity, respect and religious freedom for all as well as accountability and transparency in public operations (Güngör and Tansel, 2008). It is the presence of above mentioned pillars that has made Turkey attractive to other nations of the world. In this respect, there has been an increased role of government, Turkish Consulate General and other agencies to reach out towards the international audiences in a better manner (Tatoglu and Demirbag, 2008). For this purpose, there has been a widespread usage of communication channels via my office in form of radio programme, programs broadcasted on television social networks such as twitter and Facebook etc. This has been shown in form of anonymous queries, incoming calls and instant messages from the audiences (The Role Non-State Actors in Public and Cultural Diplomacy, 2012).


In order to achieve the mentioned aims I have tried to carry out the following set of activities. In the light of above literature review I have tried to critically reflect my own professional practice. These have been meant to develop new and innovative ways of so as to engage myself in the professional practice. In this regard, it is clear that my public diplomat office has been following a foreign policy approach so as to maintain long standing relations of with the west and with the other nations. This approach has definitely led to enhancement of peace and maintaining stability at international as well as regional level (Alakavuklar and Parker, 2011). After critically engaging myself with the literature on public diplomacy related concepts and good practices to further my own professional practice I have found that there has been a usage of communication channels through my office in form of radio programme, programs broadcasted on television social networks such as twitter and Facebook etc. There has also been a like response to anonymous queries, incoming calls and instant messages from the Turkish people living in London (The Role Non-State Actors in Public and Cultural Diplomacy, 2012).


On the basis of my thorough reading and reflection I have found out that public diplomacy is one of the most essential features with respect to the operational strategy of foreign policy for any country including Turkey. With the advent of adopting a new approach comprising of elements related to strategic depth and zero problems with neighbours’ policy, Turkey has changed the mechanism by which it copes with the changing world. In this respect, the new policy approach of Turkey is laudable in terms of strengthening its relations with the neighbours (Abramowitz and Barkey, 2009). Hence, it can be interpreted that it is essential to follow a foreign policy approach that helps in maintaining long standing relations with the west and with the other nations. This approach will help in the enhancement of peace and maintaining stability at international as well as regional level (Alakavuklar and Parker, 2011). It is also required to follow some ethical practices which are further based on the elements of professional excellence, high standards in terms of ethical code of conduct to be kept in mind while carrying out the public diplomacy activities.

The ethical practices are based on the elements of professional excellence, maintenance of high standards with respect to ethical code of conduct as well as diplomatic discretion. The Project will be informed by my own personal practice in the field of popular diplomacy as Consul General in Britain where hundreds of thousands of Turkish-speaking dual nationals live. There has also been consideration of benchmarks related to transparency of data, effectiveness, proper representation, accountability (Davutoğlu, 2013).

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  • Alakavuklar, O. N., and Parker, M., 2011. Responsibility and the local: the prospects for critical management in Turkey. Critical perspectives on international business. 7(4). pp.326 – 342
  • Altunışık, M., 2006. From Distant Neighbours to Partners? Changing Syrian-Turkish Relations.Journal of Security Dialogue. 37(3). 44-53.
  • Archetti, C., 2010. Explaining News: National Politics and Journalistic Cultures in Global Context. New York: Palgrave.
  • Ataman, M., 2003. The impact of non-state actors on world politics: A Challenge to Nation- States. Turkish Journal of International Relations 2(1).
  • Atherton, A. and Elsmore, P. 2007. Structuring Qualitative Enquiry In Management And Organization Research: A Dialogue On The Merits Of Using Software For Qualitative Data Analysis. Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal. 2(1). pp.62-77.
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