Islam and foreign policy: Turkey’s ambivalent religious soft power in the authoritarian turn

Öztürk, Ahmet Erdi (2021) Islam and foreign policy: Turkey’s ambivalent religious soft power in the authoritarian turn. Religions, 12 (1). pp. 1-16. ISSN 2077-1444

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Abstract / Description

Although the pro-democracy agenda of Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, AKP) gained significant domestic and international credibility throughout the early 2000s, the party has, since approximately 2010, experienced a dramatic process of democratic decline. The AKP has intensively used Islamist policies at home and abroad to consolidate its base of support under the leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Weaponised in foreign policy, Islam has become both an instrument and an objective of the repressive AKP, and Turkey has emerged as a front runner in a race among countries increasingly using religion as a foreign policy tool. This new role for Turkey has created a slew of disparate perceptions among foreign countries. While some are content with Turkey’s religiously fuelled policies and designate Turkey as an influential actor which can use Islam as a soft power tool, others refuse to define Turkey’s policies within the boundaries of soft power due to its extra-territorial authoritarian practices. This study defines Turkey’s Islamic soft power as ambivalent and scrutinises the reasons behind this ambiguity by exploring examples from other countries in South-eastern and Western Europe.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: ** From MDPI via Jisc Publications Router
Uncontrolled Keywords: Islam; foreign policy; soft power; authoritarianism; Turkey
Subjects: 300 Social sciences > 320 Political science
Department: School of Social Sciences (to June 2021)
School of Social Sciences and Professions
SWORD Depositor: Pub Router
Depositing User: Pub Router
Date Deposited: 12 Feb 2021 10:51
Last Modified: 12 Feb 2021 10:51


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