Turkish Vision of Regional and Global Order: Theoretical Background and Practical Implementation

By Prof. Ahmet Davutoglu | 01 June 2010



ahmetdavutogluWe, as members of CESRAN, attended the conference entitled “Turkey’s foreign policy in a changing world” held at the St Antony’s College of University of Oxford in which the Minister of Turkish Foreign Affairs Prof. Dr. Ahmet Davutoğlu delivered a speech (a keynote lecture) on “Turkish Vision of Regional and Global Order” on 1 May 2010. The participant/speaker profile of the three-day long conference was giving clues about how eloquent and powerful the keynote lecture of Mr Ahmet Davutoğlu would be. However, before the conference, we were planning to issue just an observation paper or short report. Nonetheless, after listening to Mr Davutoğlu, we decided to publish the whole lecture which, we believe, is very valuable.


His speech was devoted reasserting the historically-rooted and seemingly irresolvable problems, however, showing care not to touch a nerve. Prof. Davutoğlu smoothly positioned his (as he called) humble opinions on the side of reconciliation and dialog with the neighbouring zones. He talked about two foreign policy measures in his speech; historical and geographical continuity and zero-problem aim, driven by a motivation that acknowledges Turkey as the successor state of Ottoman Empire. In this, Turkey is meant to shoulder responsibilities towards neighbouring regions, but excluding Neo-Ottomanist intentions as Davutoğlu claimed. Undertaking so-called formidable problems, with the motivation of reconciliation and negotiation, seemingly brought into existence a unique and friendly-oriented Turkish foreign policy reading; consistent with the traditional foreign policy implementations of Turkey to date.


On the other hand, it should also be mentioned that his zero-problem aimed political approaches are in some cases radically at odds with some of the barely conservative scholars’ interpretations of Turkish foreign policy; such seen in the relations with Armenia. This is probably due to the hesitations and critiques which reflect the embedded perceptions and conceptualizations of the threat that neighbouring countries are claimed to pose for decades in Turkey.


Regardless of any political and ideological comprehension, Prof. Davutoğlu alleged to be capable of securing his name to be given to the era of his occupancy. We hope his result-oriented foreign affairs vision will lead to a well-integrated and securely-bonded neighbourhood as he argues.


In the transcription we stuck to the original speech without attempting to alter the expressions, except in some cases where the meaning tends to shift. We embarked on a categorization of the keynote lecture to facilitate the reading of the speech with respect to the own course of the speech and to the signposting language used by Mr Davutoğlu.


Husrev Tabak

Managing Editor of JGA and PR

Postgraduate Student at SSEES, UCL



Turkish Vision of Regional and Global Order: Theoretical Background and Practical Implementation

By Prof. Ahmet Davutoglu

In my presentation, firstly I would like to mention and underline certain issues about the historical transformation of global world order… Then I will try to underline the main problems, today we are facing about global governance, in political economy and cultural fields. Thirdly I will focus on Turkish position within the context of global and regional order. And then I will try to give some issues [which have] impacts on Turkish foreign policy…


1. Historical Transformation of World Order


When we look at the long term historical transformation of the search for global order I can say [that] there are four different stages and now we are at the fourth stage. It is important to understand the shift of the concept of the order. Of course this is just a general framework of conceptualisation in order to understand the existing problems… In the history we had geopolitics of world order. Let me say [firstly] the traditional one.


a. Traditional World Order and Geopolitics

… In that geopolitics of traditional world order there was a geographical continuity and economic centrality, and different cultural presence of certain locations… When we look at the Empire of Alexander the Great, for example, it emerged right at the centre of Afro-Eurasia and there was a geopolitical continuity from Macedonia up to Afghanistan or Egypt. Even before that, when we look at the Persepolis, the Persian Empire, its geographical continuity was the main imagination of the leaders or imperial structures. They had a centre and geographical zone of control/order and there were certain cities and centres which were able to transact in economic and cultural sense. The cities in the name of Alexander was formation of this character of the traditional world order; geographical continuity, political centre, economic order and cultural centres of transaction. This continued until 18th-19th century and almost all traditional imperial structures had this structure after the Roman Empire like Han Empire in China from the East, …

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