Another Last Eurasianist: Davutoğlu’s Eurasianist Rhetoric
This article examines the concept of Eurasianism in relation to Turkey’s Foreign Policy during the Ahmet Davutoğlu era. It argues that in the post-2005 era, Turkey has pursued a proactive foreign policy course under Davutoğlu’s leadership, and that this foreign policy has a whiff of Eurasianism, even if Davutoğlu’s interpretation emphasizes a different aspect of Eurasianism with different policy implications. However, both interpretations have similar instrumentalist nature. While Classical/Neo-Eurasianists attempt to justify Russia’s Great Power status, Davutoğlu undertakes to put forward Turkey’s actual potential and strategic importance for the rest of the continent.
Turkey is a rapidly developing country and the largest economy in Central and Eastern Europe. Thanks to its $772 billion GDP, it is the sixteenth biggest economy among the 30 OECD countries . Much of the credit for this progress goes to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his government, who have gradually liberalized the economy since coming to power in 2003. In addition to its economic success, Turkey has also come into prominence as a bridge between Europe and the Middle East, a strategy developed and pursued by Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu in recent years. However, it would be naïve to think that the ambitions of Davutoğlu’s Turkey are restricted to becoming a bridge. Given its a unique potential, Turkey would like to become a middle power; even a regional power. Once an underdeveloped country without a significant role in world politics, it is now an enthusiastic and prominent actor in the international arena. Turkey’s economic and diplomatic success over the past decade has yielded impressive results.
During this time, Turkey has been repeatedly accused of changing its axis. In this sense, Davutoğlu has been charged with being a Neo-Ottomanist and even a Eurasianist. This paper, following a short introduction to the Eurasianist school of thinking, will analyze the ways in which Davutoğlu’s rhetoric overlaps with Eurasianist discourses.
Eurasianist School of Thought: Since the Beginning of the 20th Century
Eurasianism is a political concept which first emerged in the 1920s among Russian émigrés in various European countries such as Poland, France, Bulgaria, Germany, etc. The main aim was to make Russia’s domination of Eurasia possible and enable its imperial ambitions. It would be logical to say that Eurasianism has inherited the notions of benevolent imperialism and Orthodox messianic features, and that and a ‘third way’ of economic development between capitalism and communism is possible.
Three of the minds behind the school were Prince N. S. Trubetskoy, P. N. Savitsky, and P. P. Sucvhinsky. The principal fathers presented four principles of Eurasianism in order to explicitly articulate what is Eurasianism. According to them, first principle was Anti-Westernism. At that time, the West was perceived, aside from United States of America, as Western Europe. In this context, the creators of Eurasianism eschewed Western civilization and sympathized with nonEuropean cultures. The second principle was the uniqueness of Russia and Russian culture.
How to Cite:
TUFEKCI, O. (2013), “Another ‘the Last Eurasianist’: Davutoğlu’s Eurasianist Rhetoric”, Caucasus International, 2(3): 101-109.