Analysing The Debates At The Turkish Parliament During The Kosovo Conflict (1998-1999): Impact Of Geography, History And Identity
Demirtaş , Birgül
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The Turkish foreign policy towards the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia was carried out in cooperation with its Western allies. However, as different from its policy during the Bosnian War, Turkey assumed a more careful attitude with regard to the Kosovo issue. During the Kosovo War, Turkey did not undertake any guardianship role for the Kosovo Albanians to the extent that it had done for the Bosniaks during the Bosnian War. Different dynamics had an impact on Turkey's Kosovo policy, its internal problems, the Cyprus issue, Balkan diaspora in Turkey and the presence of the Turkish minority in Kosovo. The presentation will provide an analytical overview of Turkey's approach towards Kosovo based on the proceedings of the Turkish Grand National Assembly. During that period Turkey was mostly governed by coalition governments. How the governing parties and opposition parties reacted to events in Kosovo during the parliamentary sessions will be analysed through conceptual frameworks. The perceived Ottoman history, the existence of "relative communities" and the Turkish minority, and the fear of the spread of the Kosovo issue to neighbouring countries became important factors affecting the construction of the Turkish foreign policy. The presentation will examine the proceedings of the Parliament in 1998-1999 focusing on concepts like "Ottoman legacy", "identity", "interest". It will analyse how Turkey's commitments to the Western alliance, how its identity construction as a regional power and how its political, economic and cultural interests became effective in the formulation of Turkey's attitude towards the conflict in Kosovo.