Turkey's Evolving Role in the Security of Afghanistan and Central Asia since 9/11: Sources and Limitations of Ankara's Soft Power


NATO Advanced Research Workshop on NATO the Fight Against International Terrorism in Afghanistan and Security Situation in Central Asia Since 9/11, Ankara, Turkey, 10 - 11 April 2011, vol.106, pp.155-170 identifier

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Full Text
  • Volume: 106
  • Doi Number: 10.3233/978-1-61499-179-3-155
  • City: Ankara
  • Country: Turkey
  • Page Numbers: pp.155-170
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


This chapter seeks to examine Turkey's contributions to the security of Afghanistan and Central Asia since the beginning of the fight against international terrorism in the aftermath of 11 September 2001. The paper identifies that Ankara's security policy towards Afghanistan and the Central Asian states has been characterized by the use of soft power rather than hard power since 9/11. Previously, Turkey's security policy towards Afghanistan and Central Asia had been guided by its ambitious and unrealistic desire of becoming a hegemonic power of the region, replacing Moscow. The main argument of the paper is as follows: although Ankara seems to be garnering a significant level of political support for its soft power policies towards Afghanistan and Central Asia from its global and regional partners, Turkey's soft power has significant limitations due to Ankara's lack of a comprehensive strategy towards the region, its shortcomings in coordinating its policies with its NATO allies as well as the gap between its expectations and capabilities. The paper also notes that Turkey's engagement in the security of Afghanistan and Central Asia is a long term commitment that is very likely to continue even after the successful realization of NATO's ISAF mission in Afghanistan in 2014.