The Internal-External Dialectic: The Political and the Economic in the Foreign Policy of Turkey’s Refah Party

Akif Avcı


The primary objective of this study is to examine the dialectical relationship between internal and external factors which shaped the foreign policy approach of the Welfare Party (Refah Partisi, the RP) in Turkey in the 1990s. To grasp the class characteristics of the RP, the relationship between the RP and the state within the power bloc, and its relations with global capitalism, this study addresses the connection between neoliberalism and political Islam in Turkey. To achieve this goal, the study focuses on social relations of production, relations at the state level, and international relations which shaped the foreign policy of the RP. Accordingly, it examines the dialectical relationship between the political and the economic which shaped the material basis of the RP and its foreign policy. The study concludes that the analysis of the RP’s foreign policy requires some form of a combination of internal and external factors which form essential extra economic and political conditions for social cohesion. Finally, it demonstrates that there was neither a shift nor a change in Turkish foreign policy under the RP-led coalition government during 1996 and 1997.


Turkey; Islamism; Refah Party; Social Relations of Production; State-Capital Relations; Foreign Policy; Neoliberalism

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