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Ideas as Building Blocks of a Path: Islamic Challenge to the pro-Western Turkish Foreign Policy, 1996-1997
Unformatted Document Text:  policy. What follows, however, is not a detailed discussion of Turkish foreign policy, but a brief illustration of its general path (i.e. its Western orientations). 4 The Pro-Western Ideational Path in Turkish Foreign Policy Although the Turkish Republic is located on the borderline between ‘North vs. South’ and ‘East vs. West’; the Republic has identified itself with the West and adopted openly pro-Western foreign policy since its establishment in the early 1920s (Bozdağlıoğlu 2003, 4). As Aydın rightly observes: About 97 percent of its land mass lies in Asia, yet Turkey’s progressive elite consider their country as part of Europe. About 98 percent of its population is Muslim, and yet Turkey is a secular country by choice…Culturally, most of the country reflects the peculiarities of the wider Middle Eastern culture, and yet it, with an equal persistency, participates in European cultural events” (1999, 152-153). This orientation towards the West (i.e. Europe) was partly a legacy of the late Ottoman period (Toprak 2005, 169). Defeats in wars against rising European powers in the 18 th and 19 th centuries formed an exogenous shock to the Empire. After recognizing the military superiority of Europe in the early 1800s, the Ottomans first began to modernize their army following the European structures. Thus, the initial motivation of reforms in the late Ottoman era was to re-establish military parity with the rising European powers (Lewis 1979, 84; Rustow 1981, 59; Ahmad 1993, 22; Karaosmanoğlu 1994, 118; Akman 2004, 34). In the later periods of the 19 th century, Ottomans continued reform efforts and also adopted certain parts of the European administrative system, arts and sciences, law and education (Allen 1968; Karal 1981, 24; Rustow 1981, 59; for a good historical analysis of reform efforts see Lewis 1979, 75-129). In other words, the reference point for the Ottoman reform efforts to survive was simply European 4 If interested in more on Turkish foreign policy, see Çelik 1999; Larrabee and Lesser 2003; Robins 2003; Hale 2003; Bozdağlıoğlu 2003. 14

Authors: Sarigil, Zeki.
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policy. What follows, however, is not a detailed discussion of Turkish foreign policy, but
a brief illustration of its general path (i.e. its Western orientations).
The Pro-Western Ideational Path in Turkish Foreign Policy
Although the Turkish Republic is located on the borderline between ‘North vs.
South’ and ‘East vs. West’; the Republic has identified itself with the West and adopted
openly pro-Western foreign policy since its establishment in the early 1920s
(Bozdağlıoğlu 2003, 4). As Aydın rightly observes:
About 97 percent of its land mass lies in Asia, yet Turkey’s progressive elite consider their
country as part of Europe. About 98 percent of its population is Muslim, and yet Turkey is a
secular country by choice…Culturally, most of the country reflects the peculiarities of the
wider Middle Eastern culture, and yet it, with an equal persistency, participates in European
cultural events” (1999, 152-153).
This orientation towards the West (i.e. Europe) was partly a legacy of the late
Ottoman period (Toprak 2005, 169). Defeats in wars against rising European powers in
the 18
th
and 19
th
centuries formed an exogenous shock to the Empire. After recognizing
the military superiority of Europe in the early 1800s, the Ottomans first began to
modernize their army following the European structures. Thus, the initial motivation of
reforms in the late Ottoman era was to re-establish military parity with the rising
European powers (Lewis 1979, 84; Rustow 1981, 59; Ahmad 1993, 22; Karaosmanoğlu
1994, 118; Akman 2004, 34). In the later periods of the 19
th
century, Ottomans continued
reform efforts and also adopted certain parts of the European administrative system, arts
and sciences, law and education (Allen 1968; Karal 1981, 24; Rustow 1981, 59; for a
good historical analysis of reform efforts see Lewis 1979, 75-129). In other words, the
reference point for the Ottoman reform efforts to survive was simply European
4
If interested in more on Turkish foreign policy, see Çelik 1999; Larrabee and Lesser 2003; Robins 2003;
Hale 2003; Bozdağlıoğlu 2003.
14


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