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Political Science in Europe

Avoiding or Triggering War: Crisis Management Strategies in Turkish Foreign Policy

Conflict Resolution
Foreign Policy
International Relations
Policy Analysis
Political Leadership
Panel Number
Panel Chair
Fuat Aksu
Yıldız Technical University
Panel Co-Chair
Aydin Sihmantepe
Yıldız Technical University
Panel Discussant
Gençer Özcan
Istanbul Bilgi University

10/09/2016 09:00 - 10:40
Building: Faculty of Arts Floor: 2 Room: FA201
In the crises of the post-1990 era that arouse in regional sub-systems, the operational codes and leadership qualities of the national decision-makers were remarkably effective, alongside the structural changes and conditions in the system. Focusing on the foreign policy crises that Turkey has been involved, this panel aims to consider the discussions regarding the role and impact of parameters in the shaping of foreign policy decisions of states. Relying on the framework proposed by Neoclassical Realism, questions about how the foreign policy preferences of states are shaped, through which instruments and methods the decisions taken are implemented, according to which norms and principles the decisions are justified and how their impact is observed are analysed through contemporary cases.
In the escalation of crises, whether horizontal or vertical, the personality traits of the political decision makers are influential –as well the material power capacities of the actors, or whether they have justifiable excuses. In defining crises, scholars including Hermann (1972), Brecher ve Wilkenfeld (2003), George (1991), Lehman (2011) and Williams (1976) emphasize how the statement and/or actions that trigger a crisis constitute a threat with regard to the basic values and priorities of the decision makers, compelling them to take measures. The process of forming a reaction to the situational change that triggered the crisis, therefore, is shaped by the meaning that the decision maker attributes to the crisis. In George’s definition, when forming a reaction to the crisis the decision maker is mostly focused on avoiding war, and states try to prevent crisis evolving into war by following defensive crisis management strategies. In contemporary international crises, however, a certain deviation from this is observed. While foreign policy (micro) or international (macro) crises are regarded as triggering wars, some reluctance and/or inability exists in preventing limited or total war.
The papers in this panel discuss how the crisis management strategies (defensive and aggressive) are formulated and evolved in the foreign policy crises of Turkey. The strategic choices made in Turkey’s foreign policy crises are considered in historical and original cases of crises. The first paper will discuss the characteristics of the crisis management culture with regard to the evolution of foreign policy crises throughout the Republican period. The second paper will focus on Süleyman Demirel as an original political personality, analysing the features of his leadership in crises. The other presentations deal with recent crises that involved Turkey in 2000s and are currently subject to crisis management. The topics to be discussed in these papers include the crisis between Syria and Turkey that started in 2010 and eventually became internationalized, evolving into a multilateral and systemic crisis; the relocation of the Süleyman Şah Tomb–the only exclave of Turkey- and how it caused a further crisis; the leadership discourses of Putin, Erdoğan and Davutoğlu in the crisis between Russian and Turkey involving the rules of engagement and the shooting of the Russian SU-24 jet; the place-power relationship in territories where no state authority exists; and the issue of partnership in crises.

Paper List

Title Details
A Brief History of Turkish Foreign Policy Crises View Paper Details
A Political Decision Maker in Foreign Policy Crises: Süleyman Demirel View Paper Details
Comparative Study of Foreign Policy Behavior of Putin and Erdogan on SU-24 Crisis Between Turkey and Russia View Paper Details
Status of Turkey’s Exclave Territory in Syria: The Relocation Crisis of Suleyman Shah Tomb View Paper Details
Turkey’s Crisis Management Process in the ISIS-Turkey Hostage Crisis: The Challenge of Armed Non-state Actors in Iraq and Syria View Paper Details
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