This proposed research will explore a number of topics that are directly relevant to the use of “soft power” by Norway in the Middle East. Turkey as an Example for the Arab Spring
This proposed research will explore a number of topics that are directly relevant to the use of “soft power” by Norway in the Middle East. The research will take as a starting point the interviews conducted with Turkish leaders by Heradstveit in 1997, but it will be elaborated and deepened in collaboration with experts in Turkey, including Turkish scholars who are involved in a unique academic program at Bahçeşehir University, “The Road to Democracy in the Islamic World.” These scholars will work with Heradstveit and his colleagues to develop an instrument to explore systematically the way Turkey views itself, as well as the reputation of Norway in the Middle East as a potential partner in peacebuilding. The interview sample will consist of as many of the original 1997 interviewees, plus political leaders who have played an active role in the development of the new discourse and diplomatic style of Prime Minister Erdogan and Foreign Minister, Professor Ahmet Davutoğlu. The research could be an additional fertile step in the direction of collaboration between Turkey and Norway, and it will provide extensive background-knowledge about Turkish domestic politics, as well as its foreign policy strategy.
Issues to be explored:
- What success factors underlie Turkey’s handling of the domestic tug-of-war between secularism and Islamism?
- What are the characteristics of Prime Minister Erdogan’s statesmanship? What is his view of the world? How does Turkey fit into that world view? Useful knowledge in this connection might be a clearer picture of Prime Minister Erdogan’s leadership style – his vision and strategies.
- What are the characteristic features of Turkey’s foreign policy in the Arab Middle East?
And what is the potential for more cooperation between Turkey and Norway on
peace building and democracy in the Arab region?
- How is the United States perceived in the region and how might relations between the United States and Turkey develop over the next few years?
- What are the implications for peace building and the implementation of democratic reform?
In association with Matthew G.Bonham (Maxwell Institute, University of Syracuse, USA).
The project is financed by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and by the Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre (NOREF).