Beyond soft power: The stakes and configurations of the influence of contemporary Turkey in the world

Mise en ligne : 09 janvier 2014
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Turkish sport diplomacy as a tool for a renewed power ? Success and limits to Turkish “soft power"

Descriptif

Workshop

This project consists in the organization of 3 half-day research workshops on the theme of Turkish political and cultural influence in the world at the French Institute for Anatolian Studies (IFEA) in January 2014. The language used will be English.

Today Turkey differentiates itself by its growing diplomatic and cultural influence. This influence, even if it is not comparable with that of China or the USA, has been expanding for several decades in the Balkans, the Middle East, Central Asia, even in Africa and is also noticeable in Ankara’s involvement in international organizations. This increasing influence has been highlighted by the Arab Spring, which has created an environment conducive to the idealization of Turkey’s model of governance (the « Turkish model ») and to its promotion by Western powers. Turkey’s attractiveness is also based on its substantial economic development contrasting with the economic crisis European countries are suffering from, and on its increasing cultural presence in the media (notably through the broadcasting of TV shows outside Turkey), especially in neighboring countries who share cultural affinities with Turkey. However, this influence used by Ankara within the framework of a self-promoting discourse has started to be questioned in the past few months due to both regional and domestic developments. Indeed, the degradation of the situation in Syria and in Iraq has limited the influence of Ankara on neighboring actors while the Gezi park demonstrations and its repression are casting doubts on Turkey’s ability to be a source of inspiration for the region.

How can analytical tools help us characterize today’s Turkey’s influence and its limits? The concept of “soft power” created by Joseph Nye in 1990 was an attempt to theorize mechanisms and conditions of this kind of influence, contesting the idea that war was the only source of power of the nation-states. It was highlighting the use by states of non- coercive means in conflict resolution, in decision-making in the international sphere, or in order to gain economical attractiveness. This concept was widely used in academic research, media, and in the public sphere. Yet, this concept received several types of criticism among which two can be emphasized concerning our case study. Firstly, the core of the concept of “soft power” mainly focuses on the role of the State, in particular because the theory, at the time it was created, applied to the USA. Thus the State is considered as the main actor and beneficiary from such an influence, and makes “soft power” dependent on the ability of the State to use diverse tools in order to expand its influence. This state-centered perspective, in which the State remains the only instigator of the interest of the country, has been strongly criticized. Such an analysis denies both the role and the capacity of private initiative and transnational dynamics to influence international relations. The second criticism addressed to the concept of soft power concerns the consequences of its success: the term “soft power” is now used to characterize tools, practices, or groups of actors through multi or antagonistic meanings. Therefore its interest as a concept would be undermined by its own polysemy.

The methodological and analytical consequences we could draw from these statements are that such uses of the concept of “soft power” tend to maintain and create shortcuts where the limits between concept and ideology become blurred, where the labelization of a dynamic as “soft power” becomes a political stake, and where analysis, causes and effects, actors and vectors, scales and contexts, theoretical and empirical dimensions are not distinguished. This workshop project intends to answer the need for a redefinition of the concept of “soft power” and its value as an analytical concept. It will also be an opportunity to characterize the different types and modalities of Turkey’s influence, which could lead to the production of new conceptual tools, more adapted to Turkey’s current situation.

This workshop aims at raising several questions: To what extent is the concept of “soft power” adequate to characterize Turkey’s influence and its weaknesses both on the international stage and towards its neighboring countries? Reciprocally, how can the analysis of the different patterns of Turkey’s influence help us question the concept of “soft power”, and to come up with other notions?In the framework of this workshop, we will propose to explore the influence of Turkey through several axes (which are not exhaustive):The discourse of soft power within Turkish diplomacy and para-diplomacy;
State institutions promoting Turkey’s influence abroad;
The role of private actors and civil society in Turkish influence abroad;
The territorial logics of Turkish soft power: the role of infranational and supranational entities;
The economic dimension of Turkish “soft power”;
Various instruments of Turkish “soft power”: education, culture, media...;
Religion in Turkish foreign policy;
Regional and domestic limits of Turkey’s “softpower”

SCIENTIFIC AND ORGANIZING COMMITTEE :

Élise Massicard (CNRS/IFEA/OVIPOT)Gabrielle Angey (EHESS/IFEA)Julien Paris (EHESS/IFEA)Jérémie Molho (Université d’Angers/IFEA)Elshan Mustafayev (Sciences Po Grenoble/IFEA) Yohanan Benhaïm (Paris I/IFEA)

Vidéos

Turkish sport diplomacy as a tool for a renewed power ? Success and limits to Turkish “soft power"
Conférence
01:09:01
Turkish sport diplomacy as a tool for a renewed power ? Success and limits to Turkish “soft power"

3rd PANEL :   Diversity of the Turkish soft power's vectors Présentation 5. Jean-Francois POLO / Sciences Po Rennes - CRAPE - Galatasaray University  : "Turkish sport diplomacy as a tool for a

Conférence
Turkish series exportation market and its counterflow ‘soft power’ effects
Paris
Julien

3rd PANEL : Diversity of the Turkish soft power's vectors Présentation 3.Julien PARIS/ EHESS – IFEA “Turkish series exportation market and its counterflow ‘soft power’ effects” Through the example of

An illusionary ‘power of seduction’: an assessment of Turkey’s soft power capacity in the Arab World
Conférence
00:35:00
An illusionary ‘power of seduction’: an assessment of Turkey’s soft power capacity in the Arab World

 3rd PANEL :   Diversity of the Turkish soft power's vectors   Présentation 2. Janna JABBOUR / Sciences Po – CERI : "An illusionary ‘power of seduction’: an assessment of Turkey’s soft power capacity

Magnificent Century: Turkish Soap Opera as a Source of Soft Power
Conférence
00:33:01
Magnificent Century: Turkish Soap Opera as a Source of Soft Power

3rd PANEL :   Diversity of the Turkish soft power's vectors  Kimberley BOWEN ÇOLAKOĞLU / Istanbul Technical University :  “Magnificent Century: Turkish Soap Opera as a Source of Soft Power” Suleiman

Major assets for Turkish diplomacy in the Caucasus and question of the "background
Conférence
00:17:04
Major assets for Turkish diplomacy in the Caucasus and question of the "background

 2d PANEL :    Diffusion, circulation and backfires of Turkey’s influence  Présentation 4.  Elshan MUSTAFAYEV  / Sciences Po Lyon – IFEA : “Major assets for Turkish diplomacy in the Caucasus and

Conférence
Regional networks in an emerging art market area : positionning Istanbul as a Hub
Molho
J.

2d PANEL :    Diffusion, circulation and backfires of Turkey’s influence      Présentation 3 Jérémie MOLHO  / Angers University – IFEA : “Regional networks in an emerging art market area :

The Hizmet Movement as a softpower tool in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq:  between foreign policy and domestic politics
Conférence
00:24:35
The Hizmet Movement as a softpower tool in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq: between foreign policy an…

2d PANEL :    Diffusion, circulation and backfires of Turkey’s influence   Présentation 2. Yohanan BENHAIM / Paris 1 University – IFEA :"The Hizmet Movement as a softpower tool in the Kurdistan Region

Conférence
African students' mobilities in Turkey: A Challenge for the Gülen Movement
Angey
Gabrielle

2d PANEL : Diffusion, circulation and backfires of Turkey’s influence Gabrielle ANGEY (EHESS – IFEA ),  “African students' mobilities in Turkey: A Challenge for the Gülen Movement” Our paper

Conférence
The rising role of businessmen in Turkish Foreign policy: case of Turkey’s influence in Iraqi Kurdi…
Özdemirkıran-Embel
Merve

1st PANEL :   Private actors producing and receiving Turkish soft power : relationships to the Turkish state Présentation 3. Merve ÖZDEMIRKIRAN (Sciences Po Paris – CERI),  "The rising role of

Two dimensions of soft-power politics: Turkish involvement in the Balkans
Conférence
00:28:13
Two dimensions of soft-power politics: Turkish involvement in the Balkans

1st PANEL :   Private actors producing and receiving Turkish soft power : relationships to the Turkish state Présentation 2. Jan MUŚ (Center for Eastern Studies - Catholic University of Lublin -

The Amity International school network in Cameroon
Conférence
00:32:17
The Amity International school network in Cameroon

1st PANEL :   Private actors producing and receiving Turkish soft power : relationships to the Turkish state Présentation 1. Charly DELMAS TSAFACK (International relations institute of Cameroon),  

Intervenants

Turquie
Merve ÖZDEMİRKIRAN-EMBEL is Assistant Professor at Marmara University, Faculty of Political Science (Istanbul). She obtained her PhD degree from Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po Paris) in June 2013. Her research is focused on transnational actors, formation of diasporas, role of non state actors in international politics, state building process, foreign policy decision making and feminist IR. She thaught as lecturer at Sciences Po Paris between 2010-2013 and worked at Bahçeşehir University (Istanbul) between 2013-2015 before joining her current institution. She speaks Turkish, French, English, and has basic command on Arabic.