Turkey’s policy can be described as one of ‘sentimental self-interest’ because the ‘sentimental’ identification of elements of Turkish society with the Bosnian Muslims did not contradict the ‘self-interested’ raison d’État calculations of the Kemalist ‘guardian state’
The post-Cold War period was a time of great political and strategic uncertainty for Turkey. Since the introduction of democratic elections in the 1940s there had been considerable ideological competion over domestic issues, primarily the role of religion in Turkish society, but in the 1980s, with the rise of a moneyed class of socially conservative Anatolian business-owners, combined with wider popular disenchantment with the corruption and statism of the Kemalist elite and secular ruling parties, the ‘Islamist’ movement gained the financial and electoral clout to challenge the ‘Kemalist’ state. (White, 2008, p369-70)
A dramatically changing strategic environment exacerbated this challenge to the Kemalist worldview. Whereas ‘during the days of Cold War friction and the perception of an imminent military threat it was possible to hold a broad consensus behind the idea of NATO membership and close military relations with the United States’, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the apparent liberation of Turkey from the straitjacket of the Cold War bipolar order meant that ‘the old consensus on foreign policy was breaking down just at a time when an ideological competition over the strategic direction of the country should take was both emerging and becoming more intense’ (Robins, 2003, p155).