“Economic nationalisms” and the immediacy of war: Turkey’s Syrian policy
This article examines the current politico-economic developments in Turkey through the lens of the effects of the Syrian war. The empirical focus of my discussion is an export city bordering Syria, Gaziantep. The city has been radically shaped by not only the migration waves from Syria in the wake of the Syrian war but also the broader re/structuring effects of the Iraqi war and a low-intensity war in the last 30 years. In Turkey, wars have always been essential reference points for local and national economic agents to build different nation-framed economic discourses. In the last decade, we observe a new form of economic nationalism that is expansionist and outward-oriented – contrary to discussions associating the term with inward-oriented economic policies. Turkey’s assumed role in the reconstitution of the Syrian economy and its aspired position in the Middle East as a political and economic center constitutes a crucial symbolic horizon in this nationalist economic discourse. By comparing this new expansionist economic nationalism with other dominant forms, the article concludes that economic nationalisms of the political center resonate strongly in local economies. They re/define not only the desirable migrant but also economic subjects, in general, creating novel sources of accumulation and dispossession.
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