Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, Vol. 8, No. 2, Summer 2009 24 Turkey s New Activism in Asia Bülent Aras*, Kenan Dac **, M. Efe Çaman*** Abstract This article aims to analyse Turkey s foreign policy towards Asia, which is part of Turkey s emerging universal foreign policy vision. The notion of geographic imagination is provided to theorize Turkey s emerging policy attitudes and behaviors. Turkey s involvement in Asia will focus on the development of economic relations, security cooperation, supporting Asian political schemes for a multilateral world order and playing a facilitator role in Asia s encounter with the West. This new foreign policy orientation links the reform and change in the domestic landscape and Turkey s new activism in Asia, which has opened new horizons in its relations with Asian states and has encouraged policy-makers in their search for a central role in a number of regions ranging from Africa to Asia. Keywords: Turkey, Asia, regional politics, critical geopolitics, geographic imagination, Introduction Recent years have witnessed considerable change and reform in Turkey s political, economic and foreign policy. Turkish politicians are proud of this transformation, and they promise to contribute to security, stability and prosperity in a wide range of territories, which go beyond Turkey s immediate neighbourhood, namely to distant geographies in Asia and Africa. Turkey s newly formed interest in these territories is the result of putting its house in order, gaining self-confidence in international relations, developing a universal vision of foreign policy, and searching for a way to play a central role in world politics. We argue that a comprehensive understanding of Turkey s activism in Asia requires discussing the changing domestic dynamics and the rhetorical and practical connotations of the formative relations between power and geography in the mindset of policy makers in
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