by Asa Lundgren
Asa Lundgren explores Turkish policy towards northern Iraq from the beginning of the 1990s to the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and draws important conclusions about the relation between nation-building and foreign policy. The author argues that there is a crucial interplay between the protection of state borders, foreign policy practice and the construction of national identity. Turkey's policy towards northern Iraq during the last decade can be described as a balancing act where the integrity of the Turkish-Iraqi border was firmly defended by Ankara, while at the same time it was consistently violated through Turkish military incursions against a perceived Kurdish threat and by the permanent military presence of the Turkish army on Iraqi territory. The paradoxes of Turkey's policy can only be understood in the light of an ongoing struggle over the definition of Turkish national identity. The author's highly original proposition is that Ankara's policy opposition to all attempts to break up Iraq along ethnic lines was a mirror image of a concern with the unity of the Turkish nation state.