SETA Research Report, No. 1, June 2010
Turkish-Arab relations are getting closer on the level of state policies and consolidated by cooperation agreements, strategic alliances, high level exchange of visits and expansion of trade volume. Although a promising future is ahead of Turkish-Arab relations, civil and human dimensions on the level of public perception on each side seem to be lagging behind political developments.
Today, public support is increasingly sought in foreign policies as it provides legitimacy and confidence in pursuing a certain direction. Mobilization of public support in Turkey and the Arab world will boost Turkish-Arab relations on the basis of mutual trust. In order to achieve this goal, both sides should work together to eliminate biased views, stereotypes and negative images held towards each other.
Although this Research Report focuses on Turkey, one can argue that, despite improved relations, there is still work to be done to eliminate prejudices, ill informed images and monolithic perceptions produced and propagated by nation state ideologies of the past. As far as the image of Arabs in Turkey is concerned, several sites emerge as more important sources of image making such as history textbooks, elite discourse, films and the press.