A Divided Government, an Ideological Parliament, and an Insecure Leader: Turkey's Indecision about Joining the Iraq War
Social Science Quarterly
217 - 241
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Taydaş, Z., & Özdamar, Ö. (2013). A Divided Government, an Ideological Parliament, and an Insecure Leader: Turkey's Indecision about Joining the Iraq War*. Social Science Quarterly, 94(1), 217-241.
Please cite this item using this persistent URLhttp://hdl.handle.net/11693/13121
Objectives On March 1, 2003, the Turkish parliament rejected a government motion that would involve Turkey in the Iraq war and allow U.S. forces to use Turkish territory in an offensive against Iraq. This decision has been considered as a significant departure from traditional Western-oriented Turkish foreign policy. We investigate the reasons behind this rather unexpected foreign policy decision. Method To systematically examine the decision-making process and the outcome, we utilize the decision-units framework. We present primary and secondary evidence from government and media sources and utilize interviews conducted with some of the high-level decisionmakers that were involved in decision making at the time. This article combines traditional methodological tools, such as elite interviews and process tracing, with novel approaches in foreign policy analysis studies. Results The nature of the decision-unit, decision-making rules, the extraordinary circumstances surrounding the AKP (Adalet and Kalkinma PartisiJustice and Development Party) leadership, and the absence of a strong and decisive leader shaped the outcome. Conclusion The Turkish parliament's decision on its role in the Iraq war is an interesting and informative case for foreign policy studies. It challenges the conventional wisdom on parliamentary influence in foreign policy making in parliamentary regimes. Under certain circumstanceseven when a single-party enjoys parliamentary majorityparliaments can be major players in foreign policy decision making.