Turkish Foreign Policy Towards Central Asia: An Unfolding of Regionalism and Soft Power

Kuşçu Bonnenfant I.

All Azimuth, vol.12, no.2, pp.195-218, 2023 (Peer-Reviewed Journal)

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 12 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.20991/allazimuth.1310530
  • Journal Name: All Azimuth
  • Journal Indexes: TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.195-218
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


The end of the Cold War brought about new challenges and opportunities for
Turkey in redesigning its foreign policy. The independence of the Central Asian
countries, with which Turkey shares common cultural, historical, and linguistic
features, prompted Turkey to rapidly adapt to the new environment in the post-
Cold War world order. After three decades, Turkey’s engagement with the Central
Asian republics has gradually increased and reached a level at which Turkey
is capable of effectively combining its soft and hard power capabilities within
regional parameters. This article critically analyzes 30 years of Turkish foreign
policy in Central Asia with a focus on its regionalism and soft power elements. We
argue that Central Asia has provided a unique opportunity for Turkey to reshape
its foreign policy on regional terms by utilizing its soft power resources for the
first time, the experience later serving as a model for other regions.