The rise of transactionalism in international relations: evidence from Turkey’s relations with the European Union
journal contributionposted on 03.03.2020, 00:00 authored by Galib BashirovGalib Bashirov, Ihsan YilmazIhsan Yilmaz
This paper's main objective is to explain the concept of transactionalist foreign policy in detail and to demonstrate how it applies to a real-world case in Turkish foreign policy towards the EU under the AKP rule. We define transactionalism as a foreign policy approach that favours bilateral to multilateral relations, focuses on short-term wins rather than longer-term strategic foresight, adheres to a zero-sum worldview where all gains are relative and reciprocity is absent, rejects value-based policymaking, and does not follow a grand strategy. This paper also provides a new layer to the existing periodisation of AKP's EU policy through framing the EU as ‘a foreign policy actor’ in Turkey-EU relations. Scholars divide Turkey's EU policy under the AKP government into three broad periods: Europeanisation, selective Europeanisation and De-Europeanisation. We complement this literature by adding another layer of analysis that focuses on Turkey's foreign relations in its broader region, including the EU, and argue that Turkey's relations with the EU were characterised by the zero-problems doctrine during the selective Europeanisation period, and by civilisational competition with the EU during the de-Europeanisation period, and by transactionalism since 2016.