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Continuity Through Change: Populism and Foreign Policy in Turkey

Third World Quarterly | 2022

  • 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.


    Third World Quarterly







    GIGA Focus Global | 5/2022

    Driving the Wheels of History: The World after China’s 20th Party Congress

    Just in time for President Xi Jinping’s return to the world stage, from which he had been absent for nearly three years of pandemic, the 20th Party Congress has set China’s ideological course. The paper analyses the foreign policy and security agenda Xi has in store.

    Prof. Dr. Heike Holbig

    Senior Research Fellow / Editor GIGA Focus Asia


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