Turkey’s Volte-Face Politics: Understanding the AKP’s Securitization Policy toward the Syrian Conflict

Hossein Aghaie Joobani, Umut Can Adısönmez


Throughout its Republican history, Turkey has attempted to formulate a “non-interventionist” foreign policy toward its neighbouring countries. Since the onset of the Arab Uprisings, however, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has abjured the traditional policy of “non-military engagement”, adopting instead an assertive and security-oriented foreign policy that has paved the way for the securitization of the Syrian conflict in terms of its Kurdish component and of wider geopolitical aspects. This article aims to explore why and in what ways this abrupt shift toward securitization has occurred while discussing its broader implications on Turkish domestic politics as well. 

Using the Copenhagen School’s securitization theory, the article will unpack and analyse the internal and external dimensions of threat construction and otherization processes underlying Ankara’s securitization policy toward Syria to make the case for the obsolescence of Turkey’s traditional non-interventionist policy, which, we argue, results from an ontological insecurity approach toward the Syrian conflict. The article finds that Turkey’s securitization policy (i.e. interventionist approach) was chiefly driven by the fear of Kurdish autonomy and the growing Russo-Assad-Iranian alliance in Syria; and by the grand ambition of bringing the Muslim Brotherhood into power in Syria and consolidating Turkey’s agential importance in Western security architecture under the aegis of the US. 



Turkish Foreign Policy; Syrian Civil War; AKP; Securitization Theory; Kurdish Issue

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.29311/nmes.v8i1.2897


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