Economic growth and foreign policy of regional powers - a case study of Turkey in the Middle East



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The aim of this thesis is to explore the relationship between economic growth and the foreign policy of regional powers. It is a single case study of Turkey in the Middle East region. This thesis uses the regional level of analysis and explores different conceptualizations of regions in international relations. Mainly it focuses on the regional security complex theory formulated by Barry Buzan and Ole Waever. Hypothesis for the analysis is that economic growth experienced by regional powers enables them to spend more resources to increase their capability of power projection. Increased amount of resources together with the desire to strive for regional hegemony, pushes regional powers to adopt a more active and asserting foreign policy in their own region. The conducted analysis about Turkey reveals that economic growth correlates strongly to the amount of available resources Turkey has for conducting foreign policy. To analyze Turkish foreign political engagement and activity in the region, press releases from the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs were used. The analyze based on them indicated that during the years following a fast economic growth Turkish officials undertake more trips to countries in the Middle East and the number of mentioning of Middle East countries in press releases increase. That indicates that economic growth correlates positively with regional foreign political activity. Qualitative analysis of the press releases reveals that Turkey has adopted a more assertive and critical foreign policy towards Iraq, Syria and Egypt compared to 10 years ago. Therefore, the hypothesis of this thesis is considered to be true.