Are Turkey’s new hegemons, the conservative elites of the Justice and Development Party and their allies, following a ‘neo-Ottoman’ foreign policy geared at recreating the Empire? Is Turkey steering away from the “West” and into the troubled waters of Middle Eastern conflict politics? How seriously do we need to take the allegations of Turkey’s “change of axis”? And what does this mean for Turkey’s neighbours in the West and East?
The authors of Another Empire? address these burning questions from different conceptual and political points of departure. Their answers are varied, but they agree on one thing: There is certainly no reason to panic, and no “change of axis”, even though there is a need for a critical discussion.
Another Empire is a comprehensive and timely exploration of Turkey’s foreign policy and changing place in the world. Focusing on the decade of Justice and Development Party (JDP) rule from 2002 to 2012, this collection of essays seeks to explain the domestic foundations of Turkey’s international relations and relations with the United States and the European Union.
Furthermore, Turkey’s key symbolic and historic conflict in the eastern neighbourhood has been successfully addressed: The borders with the Republic of Armenia remain closed, as a global campaign for genocide recognition gathers pace. Turkey’s relations with Iran are “a delicate balancing act” (Akkoyunlu), and the Arab public and decision makers, waver between “cautious engagement” (Abou El-Fadl) and concern over an increasingly assertive Turkey with regional ambitions that benefits from the current phase of uncertain leadership in the Arab world.
The authors of Another Empire offer provisional answers, inspirations and starting points for further inquiry from a wide range of disciplines and regional backgrounds. There is certainly no reason to panic, and no “change of axis”, even though there is a need for a critical discussion of the current state of affairs! And this, precisely, is Another Empire’s contribution to the debate.
Kerem Öktem - Oxford, May 2012