Field and river

20th International Conference of Ethiopian Studies (ICES20)
Mekelle University, Ethiopia

"Regional and Global Ethiopia - Interconnections and Identities"
1-5 October, 2018

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Volkan IPEK, Yeditepe University
Eyüp ERSOY, Independent Researcher

The process of the emergence of new centers of prosperity and power in international relations is frequently associated with their increasing activism in different regions of the world. Turkey, in particular, has carried out three ‘openings’ in its foreign policy in the post-Cold War era, first to the Central Asia, and more recently to the Middle East, and to Africa. This study presents an empirical analysis of Turkey’s ‘Africa Opening’ drawing on a case study of Turkey’s relations with 15 East African countries on the basis of selected political, economic, military, and social parameters. This study in particular contextualizes Turkey’s relations with Ethiopia in the general framework of Turkey’s ‘opening’ to East Africa. This study seeks to answer three questions: First, what is an ‘opening’ in foreign policy? Specifically, how do foreign policymakers conceive the requirements of an ‘opening’ in foreign policy, and implement it in practice? Second, to what extent an ‘opening’ is reciprocated by the other side, and why? And third, what are the material and ideational factors that impinge on the realization of intended outcomes in an ‘opening’ policy? This study presents a detailed case study of Turkey’s relations with Ethiopia to seek analytical answers to these questions. In consequence, this study contends that Turkey’s foreign policy ‘opening’ to Africa is inchoate and partial, is reciprocated only to a certain extent, and has endured material and ideational setbacks in its formulation and implementation frustrating its efficacy and sustainability. Furthermore, it argues that these setbacks have adversely influenced the progress of Turkey’s relations with Ethiopia.