Different paths to regional hegemony: national identity contestation and foreign economic strategy in Russia and Turkey
Review of International Political Economy
726 - 752
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IPE scholars have extensively studied regionalisms in various parts of the globe. However, little has been done to explore the role that countries with regional leadership aspirations have played in fostering regional integration. Why do regional powers pursue different forms of leadership to exert economic influence over their neighbors and achieve regional hegemony? Through a comparison of Russia and Turkey, I argue that elite national identity conceptions construct national economic interests and shape foreign economic policies of these regional powers. In both countries, ruling elites have embraced national identity conceptions that were in stark contrast to the national identity conceptions of their predecessors. Russia under Putin has pursued a coercive hegemonic form of leadership in Eurasia contrary to the Yeltsin era. Conversely, Turkey under Erdogan has pursued liberal regional economic leadership in the Middle East as opposed to the coercive and isolationist policies of Westernist elites. In both cases, the consolidation of political power and international developments have strengthened the prevalent national identity conceptions at home, and reinforced regional economic leadership strategies. As it highlights the domestic ideational sources of the pursuit of regional hegemony, this study has implications for the study of regional powers, regionalism and economic nationalism.