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Transnational identity claims, roles and strategic foreign policy narratives in the Middle East

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The question of identity, not only framed within the context of the nation state, but also in terms of wider transnational identities, be they religious, ethnic or political, remains a key feature in the politics of the Middle East. Drawing on contributions from Foreign Policy Analysis and the concept of strategic narrative, this paper explores how identities beyond state borders are utilised as justification for a state’s foreign policy decisions. The states under investigation are Turkey and Iran. The paper shows how appeals to transnational identities have been used by each state in terms of their longer-term cultural diplomacy and ‘soft power’ initiatives, and then at the more immediate or ‘hard’ sense as seen in their recent, ongoing military engagements. It demonstrates how multiple and overlapping identities articulated at the transnational level serve as a vector in which to pursue strategic foreign policy narratives in each country’s perceived sphere of influence.
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Keywords: Iran; Turkey; foreign policy; strategic narratives; transnational identities

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: The Open University, UK

Publication date: November 2019

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  • Global Discourse is an interdisciplinary, problem-oriented journal of applied contemporary thought operating at the intersection of politics, international relations, sociology and social policy. The Journal's scope is broad, encouraging interrogation of current affairs with regard to core questions of distributive justice, wellbeing, cultural diversity, autonomy, sovereignty, security and recognition. All issues are themed and aimed at addressing pressing issues as they emerge. Rejecting the notion that publication is the final stage in the research process, Global Discourse seeks to foster discussion and debate between often artificially isolated disciplines and paradigms, with responses to articles encouraged and conversations continued across issues.

    The Journal features a mix of full-length articles, each accompanied by one or more replies, policy papers commissioned by organizations and institutions and book review symposia, typically consisting of three reviews and a reply by the author(s). With an international advisory editorial board consisting of experienced, highly-cited academics, Global Discourse publishes themed issues on topics as they emerge. Authors are encouraged to explore the international dimensions and implications of their work.

    All research articles in this journal have undergone rigorous peer review, based on initial editor screening and double-blind peer review. All submissions must be in response to a specific call for papers.

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