As Ahmet Davutoglu mentioned, the Gezi Park protests have an impact on Turkish reputation in the international arena (link in Turkish). But as the debunked urban legend goes, the Chinese word for crisis includes two characters: one for danger, another for opportunity. This post argues that the Turkish state has failed to use the Gezi Park protests to boost its image. Yet, it is not too late. Turkey can still use these protests as a way to increase its reputation as a strong modern capable state.
Last Saturday, countries from across the European continent came together for the 58th time, for the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest in Malmö, Sweden….but not Turkey!
Turkey explicitly expressed its concerns about the fairness of the contest – a concern that has not been voiced by any other country before. Therefore, Turkish decision is indeed a symbolic action that has implications for its reputation (or brand) as part of the European society.
As seen in the video above, it is quite difficult to take Eurovision seriously and discuss its fairness. But Turkey did it. What was Turkey thinking?
With its geographic location between Asia and Europe, and with its identity as a predominantly Muslim yet secular-democratic country, Turkey has established its role as a bridge between the East and the West for years. Changes in the domestic political landscape in the last decade have put Turkey in an even more prominent position in the international arena. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the country is an aspiring power in the greater Middle East region. With the AKP (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, Justice and Development Party) government, Turkey has seen unprecedented institutional changes done in the name of democracy, witnessed the decreasing influence of the military over civilian politics, and enjoyed impressive economic growth. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu’s introduction of a well-devised “zero-problem with neighbors” policy, has aimed to strengthen relations with neighboring countries and to increase Turkish presence in parts of the world that has been long ignored by previous administrations.
This article is cross-posted from e-IR Journal. The original article can be accessed here.
Around two years ago, (and I cannot believe it has been two years already!), I tried to outline the obstacles and challenges for Turkish public diplomacy. During the last two years, several think-tanks, non-government organizations, as well a governmental institutions started working on understanding, discussing, and implementing the concept of public diplomacy in the Turkish political scene. Based on what I learned during my own public diplomacy practice, and my studies, I have a couple of recommendations to ensure Turkish public diplomacy is built on strong grounds.
Another Eurovision season is over! Sweden’s Loreen won the title, and is bringing Eurovision back to Sweden after over a decade (and unfortunately around a month after my fellowship in Stockholm ends!) I don’t think I ever hid my love and appreciation for the Eurovision Song Contest. It is more than a song contest, it is indeed a part of European identity and politics. After reading a great post on politics of Eurovision by Yelena Osipova, and an incredibly awful post written from an American exceptionalism point of view, I want to say a couple of words on European brand and Eurovision.
After the Turkish government’s most recent attempts to redesign national commemoration day celebrations, and some encouragements from several colleagues, I decided to revisit an article I wrote on the ethics of place branding last year, entitled “Thinking about Place Branding: Ethics of Concept“. I did so conceptually in Place Management and Branding blog.
I want to expand on the Turkish experience and my concerns about the “ethics” (as well as viability) of Turkey’s brand in this post.
There is a new campaign (well now a couple of months old), Conflict of Pinterest that makes use of social media, citizen involvement, and some kind of measurement metrics that aims to find the answer for the million dollar question: “What is the most beautiful country in this world?” The campaign brings all the buzzwords of public diplomacy studies – therefore requires a closer look!
For the last couple of months, I have been working on the latest project of Turkayfe.org – our online coffeehouse project. The website, which started out as an online “social diplomacy” / place branding project is going offline, and meeting people on the street with “Mobile Turkish Coffee House” project.
Turkayfe.orgstarted out as an idea in May 2009, and the website went live in May 2010. From our very early days, we did our best to learn from our mistakes, and to improve our project. As a doctoral candidate studying public diplomacy, and a dilettante practitioner; I tried to use my practical experience in my academic studies and vice-versa.
I, as a research, do not study Turkey. I even don’t do case studies. My current research is more at a conceptual level, where I try to map the current actors and subject in international relations. But thanks to my current government’s perfect understanding of aid diplomacy, public diplomacy, and nation branding; I find myself writing about Turkey quite often. When my PM decided to visit Somalia during Ramadan and take his mustache, family, friends, several businessmen, members of the parliaments, and Turkish celebrities – in short everything the Somalians wanted to see -, I had to write…
Last year, I wrote a short post about Turkish public diplomacy where I practically claimed AKP and Erdogan were the biggest obstacles to a robust PD strategy. Yesterday, AKP won its third consecutive elections, and will be governing the country for another term. And I still have the same concerns about Turkish PD.