Erdogan's flying 'Neo-Ottoman' diplomats: A holistic analysis of 'Bayraktar Diplomacy'
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From being reliant on foreign military technologies to developing domestically produced hardware, Türkiye – in the last decade – has developed a burgeoning drone industry that seemingly provides the country international leverage. This thesis analyzes in what respect Türkiye utilizes its newly acquired drone industry to reach its ‘Neo-Ottoman’ inspired foreign policy goals. The thesis starts off with a description of the foreign policy evolution of the Turkish Republic from its founding in 1923 till the present day. It analyses the drivers behind the country’s move from Kemalism to Neo-Ottomanism and moreover the deteriorating effect this has on Türkiye’s relationship with its traditional allies in the West. This dynamic is connected to Türkiye’s domestic drone industry by stating the country’s growing assertiveness and deteriorating relationship with the West, stimulated Ankara’s motivation to cultivate its domestic drone industry – and autonomize its arms industry as a whole. Türkiye’s drone warfare capabilities allow the country to independently conduct successful military interventions with a relatively favorable ‘risk to reward’ ration. By internationally providing its drone technologies – and concomitant strategies – Ankara is capable of ‘exporting’ military success to the nations it favors. Hence, Türkiye’s drone industry increases Ankara’s direct and indirect, military and non-military interventionist capabilities. This in turn, stimulates the foreign policy assertive of Türkiye which stems from Ankara’s goal to present itself as a Neo-Ottoman regional power, capable of rivaling major brokers. Hence, from a (neo-)realist perspective, the cultivation of Türkiye’s drone industry can – on the medium to short turn – be seen as a real foreign policy asset. This thesis concludes with a discussion of the possible negative ramifications of Türkiye’s current drone policies on its international standing, thereby adding a more critical note to the success story that is predominantly presented in this thesis.