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Ahmet Erdi Öztürk: Delectation or Annoyance: Turkey’s Foreign Policy via the Diyanet in the Balkans and Its Impacts

21.03.2017 13:00 - 14:00
Brownbag Seminar

This research project deals with Turkey’s increasing involvement and activism in the Balkan Peninsula between 2002 and 2017, under the rule of the Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi –AKP). The central focus is the Presidency of Religious Affairs (Türkiye Cumhuriyeti Diyanet İşleri Başkanlığı – hereinafter the Diyanet), and its activities in three different Balkan countries – the Republic of Albania, the Republic of Bulgaria, and the Republic of Macedonia. The Diyanet is a secular administrative unit of the Turkish state, which was established in 1924 to oversee the Islamic faith and its practices. While it has been a crucial actor in Turkey’s domestic and foreign policy since the 1980s, its political position has expanded significantly since the AKP came to power. To date, the role of the Diyanet as a tool deployed by the Turkish state to increase its sphere influence specifically in the Balkan Peninsula has attracted little critical scholarly attention. This project, therefore, seeks to shed much needed light on this aspect of Turkish relations with its Balkan neighbours in the context of the broader shift in Turkish foreign policy under the AKP from a realist orientation to one driven more by ideological and identity factors. In order to analyze how religion has been utilized in this way via the Diyanet and how its presence has been received locally, this project will draw principally on primary sources of both Turkish actors and local actors in the three country cases. This project breaks new ground not only in shedding much needed light on an understudied foreign-policy actor in the region, but also its conceptualization of the Diyanet as a fundamental ideological state apparatus, and its focus on the reception of its policies by local actors in the three country cases.

Zentrum für Südosteuropastudien
[015B030037] Seminarraum SR 15.33, Universitätsstraße 15 Bauteil B, 3.Obergeschoß, Universitätsstraße 15, Universitätsstraße 27
Beate Hainschek
Zentrum für Südosteuropastudien
E-Mail: beate.hainschek(at)
Telefon: 6823

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