Turkey’s geopolitical importance enables Turkey to use its soft power to establish prosperity in neighbouring regions and to create win-win situations. Aside from actively engaging in international organizations, Turkey has also promoted its “conservative democracy” as a model for transforming Arab societies throughout the Middle East.

Turkey’s public diplomacy has gained increasing prominence in the news over the past month, even in the weeks prior to the earthquake that hit Eastern Turkey. Changes in the political landscape have resulted in significant changes to Turkey’s international standing in the world. The theme that dominated news from Turkey’s Today’s Zaman throughout the month of October was this Muslim-majority nation with a secular democratic government and a vibrant Islamic culture.

The recent developments the world has been witnessing leave no room for doubt that Turkey is an exceptional and indispensable player on the regional and global stage. Turkey, with its vital geopolitical position, cultural and historical wealth, economic potential, secular democracy and political influence and efficiency, is among a few countries that can play such a critical role. In this global arena, one of the most important keys to Turkey’s success has been the country’s new foreign policy and public diplomacy strategies.

October 13, 2011

Sherine B. Walton, Editor-in-Chief
Naomi Leight, Managing Editor
Tracy Bloom, Associate Editor
Sarah Myers, Associate Editor

Turkish educational institutions in the Balkans have a longer history than Turkish state agencies, in both pre-university and university levels....The schools have managed to gain the confidence of both locals and foreigners by promoting peace and tolerance... In this way, these schools have become a number one choice of the people.

Citizens also appreciate the principles on which his foreign policy agenda is founded - openness to all, excluding so called diplomatic tourism, turning deeds into actions, public diplomacy, economic segment of his foreign policy and most importantly, credibility of his diplomatic engagement.

While one basketball team was touring China this summer, former Georgetown University men's and women's basketball players joined together with the United States Embassy in Montenegro to bring the Fourth Annual Basketball Diplomacy program to underprivileged youth in the Balkans.

Whether one approaches Turkish sponsorship skeptically or not, the soft power approach of Turkey seems to have won the hearts of the people of the Balkans, who openly expressed the sentiment that without leadership, they would never have come this far.