Populism and foreign policy in Turkey under the AKP rule

ÖZPEK B. B., Yasar N. T.

TURKISH STUDIES, vol.19, no.2, pp.198-216, 2018 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 19 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2018
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/14683849.2017.1400912
  • Journal Name: TURKISH STUDIES
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.198-216
  • Keywords: Populism, AKP, Turkish foreign policy, Islamism, nationalism, DOMESTIC POLITICS, DEMOCRACY
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


A revisionist tone that has created several crisis has become more pronounced in Turkish foreign policy. This trend has been particularly evident after 2010 when the AKP consolidated its power base, the military's tutelage over politics subsequently disappeared and the Arab Spring opened a new window of opportunity for Turkey in the Middle East. This has been surprising because de-militarization of political space was envisioned to produce more cooperative stances in the globalized post-Cold War world. This trend has occurred alongside what many would argue has been the AKP's authoritarian and Islamist agenda. Such an argument suggests that earlier the AKP had pragmatically used democratic values and integrationist policies to weaken the military, and then adopted Islamism in foreign policy and authoritarianism in domestic politics. This study aims to explore the common characteristics of the AKP in domestic and international realms while the extant paradigm tends to divide the AKP period into two categories, which are democratic/pro-western and authoritarian/Islamist. In order to suggest a common characteristic to identify the AKP's domestic and foreign policy in a holistic manner, this article applies the term populism' to describe a number of AKP policies and positions.