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Exploring Turkey’s Energy Relations with Sub-Saharan Africa

USLU, SAFA (2018) Exploring Turkey’s Energy Relations with Sub-Saharan Africa. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



After its electoral win in 2003, AK Party government have stamped its mark on Turkey’s domestic and international politics. In domestic politics, a strong parliamentary majority after a decade of unstable coalition governments, allowed AK Party to establish its presence, form its government and claim is identity in political arena. Most significantly, this victory was symbolising the move of periphery to the centre stage. Such a move was supported by significant democratisation efforts, improving relations with the EU and favourable global economic conditions to achieve significant results in a very short period of time. On the other hand, Turkey’s foreign policy had undergone significant changes, as well. Diverting from the traditional reactionary foreign policy, AK Party has introduced new concepts, such as “multi- dimensional foreign policy”, “pro-active diplomacy”, or “humanitarian diplomacy” to the Turkish foreign policymaking process in a short amount of time.
As a result of these changes, Turkey had begun to revitalise its historical and cultural connections to its broader geographical region. Furthermore, during the same time civil society organisations have also started to participate in humanitarian aid programmes in various regions of the world, and develop a positive public image in foreign countries. Their activities were in line with the “Multi-dimensional Diplomacy” and “humanitarian diplomacy” aspects of the foreign policy reformulated by the AK Party government. The government also recognised the potential of these policies, and soft power in establishing relations, and various government institutions or agencies started to organise or participate in humanitarian diplomacy, further improving Turkey’s soft power.
These successes in domestic and international politics were also supported by strong economic growth, industrial investments, higher employment, and improvements in welfare. However, these developments, while all desirable, were also creating a potential threat for the future of the country. With its strong economic growth and industrial production, Turkey’s energy consumption increased significantly during the very years of AK Party government and sustained this increase until the start of the global economic crisis. However, such increases in energy demand has put Turkey’s energy supply security in jeopardy, and as an energy deprived country, Turkey has started to explore opportunities for obtaining sustainable and feasible energy resources, both for supply security, and also for diversification of its resources. With these developments, energy relations have stated to become a priority area within Turkish foreign policy during this period.
Combining its soft power and energy diplomacy Turkey has entered Sub-Saharan Africa to search for alternative energy resources. However, the results from this initiative were mixed and limited in materialising ability of the developing relations. Consequently, the capability of soft power to secure Turkey’s energy supply security became questionable. As a result, a study investigating this capability is long overdue. This study attempts to fill this important gap by reviewing and critically assessing the development of Turkey’s energy relations with the Sub- Saharan countries.
Employing a series of unstructured and semi-structured interviews with policy makers, market regulators, politicians, diplomats and market technicians, this study utilises a unique set of primary data to assess the capability of soft power in Turkey’s energy relations. Moreover, these findings are further scrutinised by the statistical information, as well as three detailed country case studies. The results of these analyses suggest five important results: First, soft power, consists of both historical and cultural connections, and activities, such as humanitarian diplomacy, aid programmes, and cultural interaction. Second, soft power is a useful tool to initiate international relations by creating positive image of its user, which eventually makes establishing more formal relations easier. Third, specifically in terms of energy relations, soft power is a useful instrument, but unless supported by a detailed business framework that answers the needs of all related parties, can only be a facilitator for future developments in energy relations, but its capabilities alone are limited. Fourth, developing business frameworks that are based on ethical values and aiming for sustainable relations by answering the needs of all parties have significantly positive impact on energy relations. Fifth, given these business frameworks provide mutually beneficial outcomes, they can in turn be used to increase the soft power of their implementers.
The content and the results of this study will be of interest to particular interest to political decision makers, diplomats, market regulators, academic researchers, and energy market participants alike.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Turkey,Sub Saharan Africa, Africa, Energy, Soft Power, Turkey Business Modal
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Government and International Affairs, School of
Thesis Date:2018
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:19 Dec 2018 08:15

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