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Confrontational Civilizational Identity in the Making? The New Turkey and the West

  • Toni AlarantaEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

The chapter analyses the way in which the incumbent Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi (Justice and Development Party, AKP) has embarked on an Islamic-conservative state transformation project in Turkey during the last ten years, and how this has changed Turkey’s relationship with the ‘Western world’. The chapter first outlines the main contours of competing nation-building paradigms during the republican history, including the place of liberalism in each of them. After this, it analyses how the AKP leadership, intellectuals close to the party, and columnists in the pro-government media and think tanks have recently defined the AKP’s Islamic-conservative state transformation project. The core question here concerns to what extent these actors have simultaneously constructed a confrontational civilizational identity within which the West is increasingly conceptualized as the ‘other’ to the allegedly authentic Turkish-Islamic ‘self’. The chapter detects key features of the ruling AKP’s political narrative, demonstrating how both the domestic state transformation project as well as Turkey’s new foreign policy discourse uses civilizational identity narrative as a central tool in order to build a collective political actor. The final section discusses the position of ‘New Turkey’ in terms of the wider debate on the so-called liberal international order.

Keywords

Turkey Civilizational identity Foreign policy discourse 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Finnish Institute of International AffairsHelsinkiFinland

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