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Is Turkey Realigning? A three dimensional Investigation of Turkish-Iranian Security Rapprochement

Ekici, Behsat (2011) Is Turkey Realigning? A three dimensional Investigation of Turkish-Iranian Security Rapprochement. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This study investigates the underlying reasons for Turkish-Iranian security rapprochement during the Erdogan Administration, and attempts to discover whether the ongoing rapprochement indicates Turkey's realignment in the international system. It employs a rigorous qualitative analysis to explore the perceptions of the key decision makers throughout the intergovernmental partnership process with Iran on three major security policies: counterterrorism, nuclear proliferation and energy security. It counterposes the threat perceptions and major arguments of the pro-status quo and revisionist elites. The data has been collected through extensive elite/expert interviews and content analysis of the Turkish and international media. Findings of this research indicate that the Turkish and Iranian governments cooperate in counterterrorism policy because both are mainly concerned with the spillover effect of micronationalist independence movements in the post Iraq War security landscape. The Erdogan Administration supports the Iranian nuclear initiative mainly because the key political actors believe that Iran is not developing nuclear weapons and Iranian nuclear program poses no significant threat to Turkey's national security. In addition the Erdogan Administration forged an energy partnership with Iran not only to meet increasing domestic energy demands but also to promote Turkey's strategic interests through development of trans-regional pipeline networks. The investigations revealed that Turkey's growing security partnership with Iran does not indicate realignment from the West to the Muslim world. Turkey's rapprochement with Iran is driven by practical and rational calculations rather than Islamic identity or aspirations. Even though many key actors in the Justice and Development Party government comes from religious social networks, their statements indicate that the Erdogan Administration does not seek to align itself with the Muslim World at the expense of the existing pro-Western orientation. Instead, Turkey's rapprochement with Iran is an integral part of the Strategic Depth doctrine of Foreign Minister Davutoglu to expand Turkey's interrelations with the East in line with national interests. In so doing, the Erdogan Administration not only addresses the practical security interests but it also attempts to regain the strategic superiority in the Near East.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairKeller, William
Committee CoChairBrenner,
Committee MemberHarris,
Committee MemberWilliams,
Date: 28 January 2011
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 6 September 2010
Approval Date: 28 January 2011
Submission Date: 6 November 2010
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Graduate School of Public and International Affairs > Public and International Affairs
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Counterterrorism; Energy Security; Foreign Policy Change; Iran; Nuclear Security; Turkish Security Policy
Other ID:, etd-11062010-042404
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 20:04
Last Modified: 28 Jan 2016 06:15


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