MANIFESTATIONS OF ISLAM IN TURKEY’S FOREIGN POLICY: ISLAMIC INTERNATIONALISM AND TURKISH ISLAM
Słowa kluczoweTurkey foreign policy, Islam, Islamic internationalism, Turkish Islam
The incumbent government of the Justice and Development Party (Turkish - Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi – AKP) has often been accused of pursuing an Islamic agenda, particularly in its foreign policy, due to its concern shown for restoring Turkey`s bonds with the Muslim countries broken off by the Kemalist regime. The post-Arab spring political developments in the neighbouring countries and Turkey embarking on religious discourse in approaching them, particularly in the cases of Egypt, Palestine, and recently Syria, have further solidified such arguments. Keeping these debates in mind, this paper aims to elaborate the actual weight Islam carries in Turkey’s AKP era of foreign policy and what such policy entails. This paper argues that Turkey’s confident use of religion in foreign policy cannot be simply defined as an “Islamic foreign policy’”, and neither can its foreign policy be disassociated from religion’s constitutive role. From the Turkish perspective, Islam manifests itself as two distinct but partly overlapping and sometimes contradictory practices, namely Islamic Internationalism and Turkish Islam. While the former refers to Turkey`s responsibility towards Muslim communities on the basis of the ummah, the latter refers to promoting the performance of Ottoman/Turkish Islamic practices abroad against the expansion of extremist ideology. In the first instance, Turkey is blamed for supporting religious extremists, yet in the second Turkey fights against extremism. Therefore, “Islamic foreign policy” being used to equally describe these two distinct policies is not helpful but rather blurs the issue and is based on a biased position.
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