Dr. Sahand E.P. Faez, PhD.

Research Fellow, CSSAME.

Mainstream international relations definitions commonly assume that states are identical units in a constant state of competition for survival to increase their power. Yet, such a one-sided approach fails to fully consider that the internal structures and contexts of states at different times and under different leaders exert considerable effects on how states act in the international arena and on the foreign policies that shape their identities, priorities, and thus relations with other states. We begin by questioning such theoretical assumptions and then apply a more appropriate reformulation to the case of Turkey’s changing trade policy with the European Union (EU). Examining Gül’s administration (2007–2014) and Erdoğan’s (2014–2020), we look at whether a change in Turkish leadership resulted in a significant change in trade policy and led to a change in the dynamics of its foreign relations approach. Turkey’s relations with the members of the EU are assessed (via panel data estimations) as the volume of trade between Turkey and EU members. The data consists of 25 European states’ GDP, Exchange Rate, and Inflation Rate for 2000–2020. We find a significant difference in Turkey’s behavior in terms of trade with the EU members between the two administrations under study. This suggests the need to rethink some central theoretical assumptions in certain mainstream international relations perspectives.

This is the abstract of my latest publication which puts doubt on what the mainstream IR holds constant and as a given. For reading the full text one could try the journal’s website:

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/00438200221111793

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