Constructing Turkish Foreign Policy: From the “Grand Strategy” to the “Strategic Depth”

Sinem Uca


The Grand Strategy in the conventional Turkish foreign policy has been built on the defensive, secularism/security-based, pro-status quo and Western-oriented pillars while rejecting the Ottoman legacy since 1923. The Kemalist elite holding power in many institutions defined Turkey’s place strictly in the Western bloc in line with their identity, ideology, and quest to modernize and industrialise the country during the Cold War. However, from the 1980s onwards, several dynamics have opened new windows for change in both domestic and international politics including economic liberalisation, end of global bipolarity, new governmental initiatives abroad, de-securitization, democratization, and Europeanization. The JDP (Justice and Development Party) came to power in 2002, set a new orientation, goals, priorities, and tools for foreign policy within the guideline of the Strategic Depth Doctrine. An identity and ideology-driven, Middle Eastern-oriented, and pro-active foreign policy fuelling from the aspirations to utilize the Ottoman legacy to make Turkey a leading geopolitical actor in regional and global affairs was pursued until the collapse of the vision with the 2011 Arab Spring. In this article, firstly the characteristics of the conventional Turkish foreign policy and the factors that have constructed it, then the transition period, and finally the radical shift in JDP’s first decade will be critically assessed.


Turkish Foreign Policy; Kemalism; Grand Strategy; Strategic Depth; Justice and Development Party

Full Text:




  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2024 New Middle Eastern Studies

We use both functional and performance cookies to improve visitor experience. Continue browsing if you are happy to accept cookies. Please see our Privacy Policy for more information.

New Middle Eastern Studies

ISSN: 2051-0861