Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Political Science

First Advisor's Name

Mohiaddin Mesbahi

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Ronald Cox

Third Advisor's Name

Markus Thiel

Fourth Advisor's Name

Benjamin Smith


Democracy Promotion, Democracy Assistance, Transition, Arab Middle East, Turkey, Foreign Aid, the US, BMENA Initiative, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Arab Spring, the Gezi Park Protests

Date of Defense



The dissertation documented the degree of Turkey’s involvement in the promotion of democracy in the Arab Middle East (ME). Initially, I investigated why and under what conditions Turkey promotes democracy in the ME, and then I explained strategies through which Turkey promotes democracy in the region. I applied the neo-classical realist theoretical framework and a mixed methodology in the research, and I provided evidence from two sources: face-to-face interviews with the Turkish and foreign officials and common citizens, and the statistical data from institutions, such as the OECD, Turkish Statistical Institute, and World Bank.

My research indicates that Turkey promotes democracy through seven channels. These channels are official development assistance (ODA), mentoring, demonstrative effect, normative pressure, conditionality, military power, enlargement, and civil society organizations. Turkey promotes democracy in the ME for three substantial reasons: first, to advance its security and economic interests; second, to improve the political, social, and economic conditions of people living in the region; and third, to create long-term regional stability, crucial for cooperation in economic and security realms.

I attempted to engage in debates with two distinct, but interrelated fields of comparative politics and international relations. My most important contribution to the field is that I documented Turkey’s case of democracy promotion regarding the degree of Turkey’s involvement in this endeavor, its strategies, specificities, and effectiveness in the region. I also contribute to the field as I explained the difference between democracy promotion policies of a regional power, such as Turkey, and global powers, such as the US. I further engaged in discussions that illuminate some aspects of the interplay between the identity and strategic interests in states’ foreign policy decisions.





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