Erdogan and the Ambivalent Nature of Turkey’s Religious Soft Power

A Conversation with Ahmet Erdi Öztürk

September 29, 2020
12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. EDT
Location: Online Zoom Webinar

The Geopolitics of Religious Soft Power (GRSP) project represents a multi-year, cross-disciplinary effort to systematically study the use of religion in foreign affairs. In Turkey, under the ruling Justice and Development Party of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, this includes the use of Islam visibly and impactfully in its foreign policy, sparking a diverse range of responses. Countries with Muslim and Turkish diasporas that are more economically and politically influential than Turkey tend to be troubled by Turkey’s political actions. Nations that are politically and economically equal to or less developed than Turkey appear satisfied by the very same activity.

In this conversation, Dr. Ahmet Erdi Öztürk, assistant professor of politics and international relations at London Metropolitan University, discussed the findings of his newly published policy brief, “The Many Faces of Turkey’s Religious Soft Power.” Topics included the recent Hagia Sophia decision and how Turkey’s increased focus on religion domestically and internationally has been viewed with heightened skepticism among its Western European partners. Öztürk also looked back at the history of Turkey’s multidimensional use of religious soft power and how President Erdoğan’s efforts to eradicate the global movement linked to former imam Fethullah Gülen have become a significant factor in Turkey’s external relations.

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Participants

Related Publication

Policy Brief August 26, 2020

The Many Faces of Turkey's Religious Soft Power

In this policy brief, Ahmet Erdi Öztürk argues that Turkey, under the ruling Justice and Development Party of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has sought to use Islam visibly and impactfully in its foreign policy, sparking a diverse range of responses.