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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:  persistence of patterns and continuities (i.e. path maintenance) while remaining limited in explaining shifts in those patterns (see Hall and Taylor 1996, 942; Hay and Wincott 1998, 955; Peters, Pierre and King 2005; Dobrowolsky and Saint-martin 2005). Thus, there is a need to increase our understanding of this under-developed issue in the path dependence approach. In order to illustrate the theoretical arguments, the case study section first presents the pro-Western path of Turkish foreign policy and then discusses Refah’s failed attempt to divert the pro-Western foreign policy from its path. The concluding part restates the main arguments of the study and discusses some implications for theorizing about political continuities and shifts in the institutional world. Theoretical Discussion and Hypothetical Expectations Before discussing its materialist bias, it would be useful to have a brief look at the defining premises of the path dependence approach (PDA). The basic idea behind this approach is that “what happened at an earlier point in time will affect the possible outcomes of a sequence of events occurring at a later point in time” (Sewell 1996, 262- 263). Using a similar definition, path dependence denotes that “once a country or region has started down a track, the costs of reversal are very high. There will be other choice points, but the entrenchments of certain institutional arrangements obstruct an easy reversal of the initial choice” (Levi 1997, 28). Thus, “history matters” because “where we go next depends not only on where we are now, but also upon where we have been” (Liebowitz and Margolis 1999, 981). According to PDA, paths emerge out of some contingent, brief, accidental occurrences, either initially or at critical junctures/moments that lead to the creation of new paths (Arthur 1994, 37, 44, 45; Pierson 2000, 253; Mahoney 2000, 511; Gains, John 4

Authors: Sarigil, Zeki.
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persistence of patterns and continuities (i.e. path maintenance) while remaining limited in
explaining shifts in those patterns (see Hall and Taylor 1996, 942; Hay and Wincott 1998,
955; Peters, Pierre and King 2005; Dobrowolsky and Saint-martin 2005). Thus, there is a
need to increase our understanding of this under-developed issue in the path dependence
approach.
In order to illustrate the theoretical arguments, the case study section first presents
the pro-Western path of Turkish foreign policy and then discusses Refah’s failed attempt
to divert the pro-Western foreign policy from its path. The concluding part restates the
main arguments of the study and discusses some implications for theorizing about
political continuities and shifts in the institutional world.
Theoretical Discussion and Hypothetical Expectations
Before discussing its materialist bias, it would be useful to have a brief look at the
defining premises of the path dependence approach (PDA). The basic idea behind this
approach is that “what happened at an earlier point in time will affect the possible
outcomes of a sequence of events occurring at a later point in time” (Sewell 1996, 262-
263). Using a similar definition, path dependence denotes that “once a country or region
has started down a track, the costs of reversal are very high. There will be other choice
points, but the entrenchments of certain institutional arrangements obstruct an easy
reversal of the initial choice” (Levi 1997, 28). Thus, “history matters” because “where we
go next depends not only on where we are now, but also upon where we have been”
(Liebowitz and Margolis 1999, 981).
According to PDA, paths emerge out of some contingent, brief, accidental
occurrences, either initially or at critical junctures/moments that lead to the creation of
new paths (Arthur 1994, 37, 44, 45; Pierson 2000, 253; Mahoney 2000, 511; Gains, John
4


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