Assessing Turkey's "Soft Power" Role: Rhetoric versus Practice
Turkey's proactive foreign policy directed at assuming a regional or even global "soft power" role has created heated debate. This development may be explained as the result of the Europeanisation of Turkish political culture and its impact on foreign policy behaviour, as a globalisation trend, as a bargaining card towards the West or even as an alternative foreign policy option. Arguably, the ideas of Ahmet Davutoglu, Turkey's new foreign minister, have contributed at the level of rhetoric; meanwhile, the emphasis of the country's foreign policy on its Eastern neighbourhood seems to have less to do with the ruling party's religious premises, than with a rational choice towards the development of an independent foreign policy agenda. It remains to be seen whether this change in rhetoric in Turkish foreign policy will develop into a substantial shift in practice.