Security, trade, and externalities: Explaining change in Turkish foreign policy behavior (1977--1997)

Date of Completion

January 2001


Political Science, General|Political Science, International Law and Relations




The goal of this work is first to identify and document the change in Turkish foreign policy and, then, explain the causes of that change using a new model. Current models of policy change consider either systemic or domestic level interactions, with little or no connection between the two. The model I propose links the two levels through the use of a set of independent variables called negative externalities. Through their use in this model, the systemic/domestic divide is surmounted and a more comprehensive view of change can emerge. ^ I present two basic arguments: that change in Turkish foreign policy behavior over time is a result of negative externalities created by the policies Turkey pursued under the bipolar structure of the international system, and that tensions between existing domestic institutional imperatives and alternative worldviews, with differing opinions over the proper course of foreign policy, have also created immense pressure for change in behavior. ^ Change in behavior in this work means percent change in the level of interaction toward certain countries, change in the dimension of interaction, change in the trade share of certain countries, change in the scope of interaction, and domestic restructuring. Three sets of variables are used to explain change in foreign policy behavior: variables external to the Turkish political system, negative externalities, and variables internal to the political system. ^ This study examines two aspects of Turkish foreign policy: European and Middle Eastern policy. This study shows that since 1977 the Middle East has become a primary area of interaction for Turkish Foreign Policy. Turkish-European relations in the same study period have turned increasingly negative. The analysis shows that the primary causes of change have been the existence of negative externalities in the economy, which manifested themselves as trade, debt, military and energy dependencies. The sources of negative externalities were the structure of international system, a particular understanding of geographical location, and path-dependent security policies of the elite. ^