عنوان مقاله [English]
Introduction: After the disintegration of the USSR, Central Asia as an important part of this political system was exposed to serious changes and developments. Bankrupt economies, the persistence of outdated patterns and traditions of political action, and fragmented identity foundations plagued the Central Asian republics in the early 1990s. Regarding the issue of identity, during the Soviet era, Moscow worked to suppress the emergence of any ethnic (Turkish, Persian) or religious (Islamic) identities that would pose a threat to the ideology of Communism. But with the collapse of this union, the Central Asian republics were in a position in which Iran and Turkey were trying to use identity-based foreign policies to invest in new geographies.
In the meantime, the political elites of the Central Asian countries decided to accept the models presented by the international actors to get out of this impasse. The Islamic Republic of Iran and Turkey were two neighbors that were mentioned more than others in the minds of the leaders of these republics. Considering some common cultural-identity heritages of these two countries with these republics, both of these powers tried to penetrate this region by using cultural elements.
But the cultural policies of Tehran and Ankara gradually faced serious obstacles.
Research Question: What is the main challenge facing the cultural diplomacy of Iran and Turkey in Central Asia?
Research Hypothesis: For Iran, the securitization of its cultural agendas and for Turkey, the whisper of Ottomanism and fear of Turkey's regional dominance is the main challenge for their cultural diplomacy toward Central Asia.
Methodology (and theoretical framework if there are): This research is applied based on purpose and descriptive based on data collection. Also, this research was done after the event. This means that the researcher studies the possible cause of the dependent variable and the independent and dependent variables that occurred in the past. In this article, Public and cultural diplomacy have been selected as the theoretical framework and will be explained subsequently.
Results and Discussion: With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Central Asian republics underwent serious changes. The fundamental question is "Who am I?" Or, to be more precise, the identity crisis has been raised as an important challenge for these republics. Moscow could not give them a new identity, and therefore the identity crisis was formed in parallel with the political, economic, and security crises in the new republics. In this situation, these countries sought to create an identity from the very beginning of their independence, so that it would be a solid foundation for them to form a nation-state. The near horizon of these republics was Iran and Turkey, with whom they had identity and cultural affinity more than others. With the knowledge of the elites of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of Turkey about this loss, the revival and consolidation of cultural relations along with political, economic and security relations were put on the agenda of Tehran and Ankara. Iran entered into cultural relations with these republics based on categories such as cultural, linguistic (in a more limited dimension), religious and historical commonalities. But the main issue for Iran was the security perspective.
Turkey defined Central Asia as a land for its cultural influence due to some important factors such as extensive linguistic and religious commonalities and pursued diplomacy and cultural efforts towards this region in the 1990s. Turkey also faced challenges in the way of advancing its cultural policies. Turkish imperialism and the arrogance of Central Asian Turks is the key to understanding Turkey's cultural challenges in this region. Iran's cultural foreign policy officials should be aware of the sensitivities and security concerns of Central Asian leaders and remove the perception of "other" from Iran in all their cultural activities in these republics. To improve the status of Iran's cultural diplomacy in Central Asia, this article suggests that Iran should follow strategies at three national, regional, and global levels.
Conclusion: With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the countries of Central Asia faced deep identity crises and were unable to establish their nation-states. Also the Central Asian republics were exposed to serious changes and developments. The basic question "Who am I?" Or to put it more precisely, the identity crisis has emerged as an important challenge for these republics. With these developments, the arena was available for actors like Iran and Turkey more than others. Because both Iran and Turkey had characteristics that made it possible for them to be active in Central Asia. However, due to the lack of proper understanding of the Central Asian environment, Iran and Turkey made some strategic mistakes. Ultimately, they failed to capitalize on the Central Asian identity crisis. However, Turkey was a little more successful compared to Iran.
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