Analyzing the effects of American foreign policy on Turkish public opinon toward the United States in the post-9/11 era
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The fact that public opinion matters in foreign policy decisions has been a matter of general consensus in the literature. Yet, the existing research on the interaction between domestic politics and international relations remains inconclusive. Still, most of the existing studies are based on the research conducted during the Cold War, and the effects of American foreign policy on the views of foreign publics about the United States have been rarely investigated. Today, in the post-911 era, where threats are no longer emanating only from the nuclear arsenals of the superpowers, and when the streets of developing countries have the potential of breeding future terrorists, the perception of the United States abroad has become an element of American security more than ever before. Hence, studying the means of how the United States can influence the views of foreign publics about the United States has gained an unprecedented importance. This research explores the relationship between American foreign policy and Turkish public opinion about the United States since 9/11. Specifically, I examine the effects of American military and economic aid, foreign direct investment, as well as bilateral trade between the United States and Turkey on the Turkish public opinion about the United States in the post-9/11 era. American aid and bilateral trade have been used to promote American values and interests, such as democracy and liberal economy. Thus, in general, it is expected that an increase in the values of these indicators to be associated with an increase in favorable Turkish public opinion toward the United States. Yet, the findings of this research suggest that it is impossible to take this projection as given for all independent variables in the post-9/11 era. While a strong positive association between U.S. military assistance to Turkey and favorable Turkish public opinion toward the United States does exist; the limited scope and inconsistency of other independent variables prevent them of having any major effect on Turkish public opinion toward the United States in the post-9/11 era.