Doctrines, Strategies, and Tactics in Turkish Foreign Policy
Citation: Aydın Mustafa, "Doctrines, Strategies, and Tactics in Turkish Foreign Policy", Turkish Foreign Policy II, Anadolu University, 2020, p. 2-31
Although most of the activities of states in the international arena consist of day-to-day reactions to other countries’ moves, they also try to implement coherent and unified long-term strategies to achieve their national interests. While some countries publish or declare their national strategies, most of them either avoid it as a principle or simply do not do it. Nevertheless, through actions and statements made by decision-makers, it is possible to discern various strategies of any country in its foreign policy.Foreign policy strategies or doctrines of countries would normally reflect the perceptions of decision makers about international and domestic developments, their views on their country’s place in the world, a summary of what is perceived as national interest of the country, and the ways to achieve them. These strategies could either be elaborate analyses with supporting expert opinions, or short explanations of the views of decision makers either orally or in written format. What is important is that it reflects a contemporary understanding of a given country of its international relations, informs practitioners and observers about its priorities, and determines the general context of day-to-day diplomacy.Turkey has never published a full-scale official “foreign policy strategy” or doctrine paper in the academic sense of the concept, although various versions of unpublished and secret National Security Policy Document have contained indications of such strategy. Similarly, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey has not developed a tradition to regularly share its policy directions and more importantly its overall foreign policy framework with public. Moreover, as Turkey on occasion had foreign ministers with less than 3 months in office, it has been difficult for some ministers and sometimes for governments to articulate their different policy visions before they were ousted. Even with the longer serving ministers, prime ministers, or presidents, it has not been a regular Turkish state practice to prepare or declare doctrines/strategies in foreign policy as is the tradition in the U.S. for example.
Although these practices make it difficult to determine and/or denote various foreign policy strategies or doctrines of Turkey, it is possible with a certain simplification and academic largesse to identify certain stratagems, schemes, tactics, and policies of various governments and/or ministers from their statements, actions, and academic analyses. As such, this chapter will present domestic and international environments of foreign policy making during identifiable sub-periods of Turkish Republican history and will present the main tenants of specific foreign policy strategy or doctrine of the period, linking them with policy practices of the period.