عنوان مقاله [English]
Over the last decade, some scholars began to argue that the Turkish foreign policy is experiencing a pivotal change. In a general look, their contributions are largely influenced by three major trends directing Turkey's foreign policy approaches: First, there is an unprecedented development in Turkey's relations with Eastern rising powers, especially Russia and China. At the same time, Turkey's relations with Western allies, especially the United States and European powers, are in a state of instability and tension. Third, Turkey has played an active and relatively independent role in the regional developments, especially in the Middle East, that present its leader’s assertiveness to consolidate Turkey's position as an emerging regional power in the changing Eurasian geopolitics. Accordingly, the mainstream ideas maintain that the geopolitical vision of Turkish foreign policy has shifted away from transatlantic alliance to Eurasianism. Is Eurasia becoming a geopolitical alternative in Turkey's new foreign policy? By reassessing these contributions, this article seeks to explain the geopolitical mechanisms of Turkish foreign policy pivot to Eurasia in a systematic way.
This research method is descriptive-analytic, and the data gathering procedure is based on library findings. In order to diversify the research literature, this article employs a variety of literature and data in Persian, Turkish, and English.
Results and discussion
Contrary to the prevailing arguments manifesting Eurasianism as an international shift in Turkish foreign policy and its reorientation from the West, this paper argues that the rise of Eurasianism is a pragmatic reaction to the changing structural, regional and domestic politics environments rather than a shift of axis in Ankara's geopolitical vision. Accordingly, by the conceptualization of Eurasianism in Turkish foreign policy, this article contributes that the global power shift with the rise of Eastern powers and institutions in the structure of global governance, crisis in transatlantic relations, changing regional geopolitics, and domestic political dynamics, especially in the post- 2016 coup, have led Ankara to pursues multilateralism and diversification of geopolitical vision. In such a context, Eurasianism or pivot to Eurasia is not perceived as a geopolitical alternative to Turkey’s traditional Western orientation. Hence, a pragmatic discourse of Eurasianism in Turkish foreign policy is being formulated. In the light of this pragmatic approach, the Erdogan government is consolidating its power and securing its political regime at home and expanding its influence in the changing regional and international sphere. Although Erdogan's regime security concerns play a meaningful role in the growing tendency of Turkish leaders to pursue the Eurasianism in the foreign policy, a pivotal turn to the East does not make sense in the absence of convergent geopolitical and economic interests with Eastern powers. For the time being, Ankara has significant differences with Moscow and Tehran over the developments of Syria and the future of Bashar al-Assad's government, Middle East conflicts, the Caucasus, the Black Sea and the eastern Mediterranean, which are not easily reconcilable. However, Eurasianism is a pragmatic tactic to strengthen Turkey's leverage in the transatlantic alliance and political bargaining with Western allies to recognize its security concerns and strategic interests.
For Ankara, the Eurasianist discourse is not an ideology or a roadmap for pursuing Turkey's grand foreign policy goals, but a means to meet emerging political and security challenges and seize economic opportunities in the shifting the international system. Turkey's strategic thinking is to strengthen its geopolitical position as a "bridge" between Europe and Asia by balancing Ankara's strategic relations with the West and the East. In this context, Eurasianism pursues to maximize geopolitical influence in the neighboring regions. Accordingly, Turkey's strategic partnership with Russia, China, Iran, and its desire to play an active role in Eastern institutions, including the SCO, does not mean severing strategic and institutional ties with the West and redefining Turkey's international position as an Eastern power. Given the main argument of this article, the prospect of Turkey’s Eurasianism will primarily influenced by the dynamics of its relations with the Western allies and the Eastern powers will play a secondary role. Rather than having decisive ideological and structural roots, Turkish Eurasianism is mainly based on personal ties and changing regional and international balances. Given the asymmetric partnership between Turkey and Eastern powers, Turkish leaders are still unsure that to what extend pivoting to the East can provides Ankara's strategic autonomy in pursuing an independent foreign policy. In the foreseeable future, Turkey is likely to remain in the transatlantic alliances, maintaining a level of strategic partnership with the EU and the United States, while expanding its economic and diplomatic ties with Eastern powers.
Zarif, MJ; Sajjadpor; Molaei, A. (2016). Transition in International Relations of Post-Western World, Center for International Political Research, Tehran. [In Persian]