A Historical Materialist Analysis of Turkish Foreign Policy: Class, State, and Hegemony

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Yalvaç F.

ULUSLARARASI ILISKILER-INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, vol.13, pp.3-22, 2016 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 13
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Doi Number: 10.33458/uidergisi.463081
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.3-22
  • Keywords: Historical materialism, Turkish Foreign Policy, Class and State, Hegemony, Hegemonic Projects, Accumulation Strategy, CRITICAL REALIST ANALYSIS, TURKEY, ACCUMULATION, DEMOCRACY, AUTONOMY, UNEVEN, LIMITS
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


This article aims to develop a historical materialist analysis to analyse Turkish Foreign Policy (TFP) as part of what I refer to as critical foreign policy studies. The paper utilises a critical political economy approach to TFP based on the Gramscian concept of hegemony and extends it to analyse different foreign policy strategies as hegemonic projects developed by ruling capital classes to sustain their rule. The paper also presents the concept of hegemonic depth to resolve the antinomies involved in understanding foreign policy projects as the outcome of a dialectical interplay between structures and agencies. The concept of hegemonic depth is then used to understand the dynamics of TFP in terms of the state-capital nexus. Hegemonic depth implies the extent of the embeddedness of capital fractions in controlling the state apparatus and the functioning of the state. The article also argues for the replacement of the geopolitical concept of strategic depth with the sociological concept of hegemonic depth to describe this process of deepening of the neoliberal principles of globalization, the concomitant development of hegemonic projects and their reflection on TFP. The final section argues that there are always limits to hegemonic depth and that the current Justice and Development Party government may have difficulties in extending the penetration of its hegemony.