Public Diplomacy and Democratic Backsliding in Turkey: A Retrospective Look at Government Investment in Soft Power


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DOI:

https://doi.org/10.29333/ejecs/2017

Keywords:

puplic diplomacy, soft power, authoritarianism, Turkey, democratic backsliding

Abstract

This paper discusses the development of public diplomacy policies and their implementation by the Turkish government through aggregate investment data and within the broader regional and global context in which the country’s policies evolved. Its main aim is to show how regime type is interrelated with foreign policy in general and public diplomacy as a branch of it. Turkey is a fruitful case because the country has experienced significant democratic backsliding since 2011, unlike the first period when the Justice and Development Party (henceforth AKP) came to power in 2002. The discussion over the data on budgets of various institutions responsible for adopting public diplomacy policies shows that cultural and educational public diplomacy received a major increase in investment, especially within the last six years, whereas the budgets for other institutions have fluctuated over the last ten years. Although the paper’s purpose was to provide a comprehensive picture of Turkey’s public diplomacy throughout the AKP rule since 2002, its main data source remains limited to the last decade. Thus, the availability and transparency of the data and its indication of the relationship between regime qualities and public diplomacy policies are also noted.

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Author Biography

Vedat Demir, Freie Universität Berlin

Vedat Demir is an Einstein Guest Researcher in the Social and Political Department at Freie Universität Berlin. Previously, he served at Universität Potsdam as the Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung Philipp Schwartz Initiative fellow until 2021. Prior to that, he worked at Istanbul University as a communication professor until his dismissal by a government decree in 2016. Dr. Demir obtained his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Marmara University and his Ph.D. from Istanbul University. He also served as the former general secretary of the Turkish Press Council. His research focuses on political communication and public diplomacy.

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Published

2024-04-06

How to Cite

Demir, V. (2024). Public Diplomacy and Democratic Backsliding in Turkey: A Retrospective Look at Government Investment in Soft Power. Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Studies, 11(2), 42–57. https://doi.org/10.29333/ejecs/2017

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Original Manuscript
Received 2024-02-14
Accepted 2024-03-23
Published 2024-04-06