National Identity Contestation and The Varying Paths to Regional Economic Leadership in Russia and Turkey

Dr. Seçkin Köstem

Day &Time: October, 13, 16.30
Room: A326

The literature has paid considerable attention to regional powers, yet little has been done to investigate the differences among them. While the goal of establishing regional economic preponderance is common among these states, strategies of regional leadership are various. Relying on primary source materials and elite interviews conducted in Russia and Turkey as well as process tracing, I argue that national identity conceptions of ruling elites shape foreign economic strategies of these two regional powers. In this process, domestic political contestation is the key causal mechanism. In both countries, ruling elites have embraced national identity conceptions that were in stark contrast to the national identity conceptions of their predecessors. While Russia under Putin has re-oriented Russia’s foreign economic policies towards Eurasia, it has pursued a coercive hegemonic form of leadership contrary to the Yeltsin era. Conversely, Turkey under Erdogan has pursued liberal regional economic leadership in the Middle East as opposed to the isolationist policies of Westernist elites. As it highlights the underexplored process of the construction of national economic interests in regional powers, this study will have implications for the future of global economic order.

Bio: Seçkin Köstem has Ph.D. from McGill University, Department of Political Science. His research interests include International Political Economy with a specific focus on regional and rising powers, as well as Russian foreign economic policy, and the post-Soviet space. His doctoral dissertation investigates how national identity conceptions influence foreign economic policies of Turkey and Russia. Before joining the Department of International Relations at Bilkent, he was a research fellow at the Center for Foreign Policy and Peace Research, visiting researcher at the Russia Institute of King’s College London and the Moscow State Institute of International Relations. Köstem’s articles have been published in Foreign Policy Analysis and Global Policy. Köstem is also the managing editor of Review of International Political Economy.