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Kinship and Diasporas in Turkish Foreign Policy: Examples from Europe, the Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean
Abstract and Figures
From the moment it came to power in 2002, Turkey's Justice and Development Party (AKP) began to change the direction of Turkish foreign policy (TFP), making it more dynamic and multileveled and giving it a wider geographical scope and a more focused ideological drive. As the country's regional influence grew, the Turkish state began successfully to emphasize its historical and cultural links to countries or minorities throughout Europe, Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Middle East. One of the main ways in which the country achieves this influence is by courting its diaspora and playing 'big brother' to ethnic or religious groups that it perceives as kin communities – i.e. akraba topluluklar. Against this background, the papers of this collective report investigate the dynamics of perceived kinship in TFP. The authors examine: the roots of this foreign policy approach and its particularities under the AKP; the ways in which Turkey demonstrates and builds power for akraba topluluklar; the extent to and ways in which this policy regarding diaspora and perceived kin communities increases Turkey's influence; the effects that the policy has on the politics, economy and social life of the diaspora communities and their relationship with host countries; and the kind of fractures or divisions that are created within the communities due to Turkey's attempts to maximize its presence and influence over them.
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