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Saudi Influence on Islamic Institutions in Turkey Beginning in the 1970s

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This article investigates the influence of Saudi Arabia on aspects of Islamic social, political, and economic life in Turkey. Since the 1970s, long before the rise of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) of today, Turkish-Saudi Arabian relations have been characterized by an increasing degree of cooperation, solidarity, and partnership centered on certain economic, diplomatic, social, and cultural activities with a good deal of Islamic content. Turkey's orientation toward the Middle East in general and Saudi Arabia in particular traces to the global oil crisis that started in 1973 and its severe effects on the Turkish economy; it also stems from some of Turkey's foreign policy goals with regard to the Cyprus issue and its relations with regional and global actors. Examples of Saudi influence have included the involvement of Saudi-based non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and multinational corporations (MNCs) in Turkey, Turkey's membership in the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), and Turkish labor migration to Saudi Arabia, with a spillover effect in a wide range of other arenas. This particular aspect of Turkish-Saudi Arabian relations is analyzed using the theory of complex interdependence, which underscores the importance of economic, social, and cultural issues in international relations in addition to that of traditional political, diplomatic, and military goals.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 2012

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