Turkish Foreign Policy under the AK Party


Insight Turkey Volume 19 No. 2, 2017

Several important developments stand out in terms of Turkey’s foreign policy orientation during the rule of the AK Party todate. In general terms, we can say thatduring the AK Party rule (2002-2017) Turkey has increasingly focused on neighboring regions along with the traditional alliance relationships. AK Party governments have aimed to increase their contacts in political, economic and cultural terms with neighboring regions, namely the Middle East, the Balkans and the Caucasus. In tandem with the will on the side of the political authority, the economic development of the country during the last 15 years enabled the AK Party governments to pursue their projects of engagement with those regions. In that regard, beginning with neighboring countries, Turkey established High Level Strategic Dialogue mechanisms with 20 countries and signed 513 agreements, i.e. memoranda of understanding to further relations in different issue areas.

If we divide the AK Party rule of 15 years in two, we can easily say that in the first half, the European Union (EU) was an important priority and hence had an influential impact on Turkish foreign policy. This trend began right after the AK Party came to power in 2002 and continued until the blocking of some of the negotiation chapters, along with negative signals from some members countries like France and Germany about Turkey’s eligibility for full membership. Turkey’s ‘EU vacation’ accelerated during the early years of the AK Party rule and then stalled in the last couple of years.

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