Date of Award

Spring 5-17-2020

Document Type

Honors Thesis


Middle East Studies

First Advisor

Ed Webb




This research analyzes the role of nationalism in Turkey’s foreign policy toward Russia from the establishment of the Republic of Turkey until the present. Existing research examines the role of nationalism in Turkish foreign policy in the general sense, but few little scholarship specifically considers the role of Turkish nationalism in relations with the Soviet Union and Russian Federation. The growing and complex rapprochement between Turkey and Russia in the last two decades suggests a need for more research about their relationship. I begin this research by surveying the relationship between the late Ottoman and Russian Empires, comparing their transitions to secular states in the early twentieth century. I then assess Turkey’s relations with the Soviet Union and Russian Federation in the Foundational Period (1923-1939), Early Cold War (1949-1960), Post-Cold War Period (1989-2003) and Contemporary Period (2011-2020). I conclude that a constructivist account of foreign policy generally, though not always, explains the interaction between Turkish nationalism and foreign policy. Thus, giving greater consideration to Turkey’s nationalistic foreign policy interests will be beneficial to the Western foreign policy establishment if it hopes to better understand Turkey’s interests and its relations with Russia.