Continuity through change: populism and foreign policy in Turkey

Hakkı Taş (2022) ‘Continuity through change: populism and foreign policy in Turkey,’ Third World Quarterly, DOI: 10.1080/01436597.2022.2108392. (Full Text)

Abstract: Through a discourse-theoretic approach, this paper problematises the under-theorised chameleonic quality of populism. While populist politics is often expressed as construction of the people against the elite, this paper argues that the political should rather be sought in how populism revives itself despite (and through) constant discursive shifts. It examines the interrelations between populism, identity and foreign policy, inserting ‘dislocation’, the transitory moment of disruption in the discursive field, as the main enterprise of populist politics. Empirically, the paper scrutinises how Turkish President Erdoğan switched from conservative democratic to Islamist to nationalist discourses, each with repercussions in the field of foreign policy, and sustained the populist moment through successive dislocations. In particular, it focuses how the ‘Ottoman’ myth spelled different populisms and foreign policy discourses in different periods of the Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi – AKP) rule.

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