Myths, stereotypes, prejudices and images increasingly exert their influence in international politics and transnational relations. Socially and politically constructed myths and stereotypes about the ?others? are being re-produced and re-circulated by the forces of globalization and used to legitimize policy options more than ever. In this context, increasing role of the public opinion and popular choices are being paid a special attention as ?images? become invisible actors in the international environment and in the making of alliances based on social, political and cultural approximation among the nation states. Growing use of myths, stereotypes, prejudices and images, whether historically rooted or recently constructed, in political and popular discourse, which is facilitated by the media and educational material, requires a closer attention. Derived from these considerations, this Policy Report focuses on the image of Arabs in modern Turkey. It explores the roots of prevailing and dominant perceptions, investigates how the media and popular culture contribute to the construction of images pertaining to Arabs and examines the current public opinion drawing upon a nation-wide survey.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and his wife Emine Erdogan, chairman of the Bosnian three partite presidency Haris Silajdzic and Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, from left to right, pray near the coffins of the Srebrenica victims, in Potocari, 120 km northeast of Sarajevo, Bosnia, on Sunday, July 11, 2010. Tens of thousands of people are expected in the eastern Bosnian town of Srebrenica to bury hundreds of massacre victims on the 15th anniversary of the worst crime in Europe since the Nazi era.? Read more » (AP Photo/Amel Emric)
On May 31 Israeli soldiers, attacked in the international waters of the Mediterranean the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara, part of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza with over 600 people from 33 countries on board, and killed nine and injured 19 Turkish citizens.
Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew says he has a promise from the prime minister and Turkish authorities that the Halki seminary will reopen next year. He says he has been asked many times why he has not moved the patriarchate outside of Turkey to serve under better conditions. ?As Turkish citizens, we are loyal, we love our country and we don?t want to leave?
Turkey?s foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoğlu, has had an influence over Turkish foreign policy that extends well beyond the just over one year he has been in office. He had been the key advisor to the senior echelons of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and it would be no exaggeration to say that he has been the main architect of their two terms in government. The buzz words of his academic writings — ?strategic depth? and ?zero problems? — have become popular coinage and are commonly used to characterize the more expansive and global outlook of AK Party foreign policy.
I have been in the United States for the past 10 days teaching a summer course at an American university. Here, I had the opportunity to socialize with American elites, including former American ambassadors, NATO commanders, journalists, academics, businessmen, lawyers, etc. The issue of the day to discuss was Turkey. One of the ambassadors told me that they had been thinking for some time of organizing an informal meeting to discuss where Turkey is heading. Then, on short notice, 30 high-profile figures came together to discuss Turkey.
Tensions between Turkey and Israel escalated yesterday (5 July), as Ankara warned it would cut ties with the Jewish state unless it apologises for a deadly attack on a humanitarian flotilla on its way to Gaza or accepts an international inquiry into the incident. EurActiv Turkey contributed to this report.
Prof. Dr. İhsan Bal, USAK Center FOR Security Studies
Recently there is the question that we frequently see in columns and headlines of the Western media: Has Turkey shifted towards the East from the West? Has the axis of Turkish Foreign Policy really shifted?
Report of TESEV (The Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation) on Turkey?s perception in the Middle East, underscored that Turkey, with its democracy and freedom, is admired and modeled by the Arab countries. Turkey?s shift to the Middle East, which seems a popular belief recently in both national and international media, is not as prominent as the Turkification of Arabs.
Turkey has been charged with changing axis for a while, but the question is, whose axis is shifting? Turkey?s confidence is rising as it gains in respect due to its recent initiatives. Only in foreign policy is there really a change of direction: it is apparent that Turkey, from now on, will act more autonomously. If necessary, it will define its interests separately from its traditional allies. Turkey will be less open than it was in the past to unilateral requests from the European Union and US. In short, Turkey will not now do whatever it?s asked to do.