Japan and Turkey Relations

Essay by bcaglar83 May 2007

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Japan is the World’s largest aid donor, and Japan provides much of this aid to Turkey. It invests in Turkey because in the Middle East, Turkey is the only democratic country. Turkey is a developing country with a stable government so it is a good investment. Further, Japan does not have a strong army; therefore, Japan wants Turkey’s partnership because Turkey has strong military power. However, to specifically understand the reasons for Japanese aid to Turkey, one must first analyze Japan’s aid policy and then specifically her aid policy towards the Middle East and Turkey.

Long (1999) argued that conventional wisdom views Japanese economic assistance as either a response to foreign (primarily US) pressure or her desire to expand export and investment markets for Japanese firms. Some have suggested that Japanese aid reflects a security dimension as part of her pursuit of a comprehensive security. Comprehensive security includes economic security, access to raw materials and energy and the overall maintenance of peace and stability, especially in the regions of greatest concern to Japan.

As Dowty (2000) shows, the Middle East is perhaps the most important area concerning Japan’s prosperity considering her navy dependence on Middle East oil. Infact, Japan is the World’s largest oil importer. Nevertheless Japan’s level of involvement in the Middle East has been relatively low. Considering that Japan remains the World’s largest aid donor basically because Japan has few other mechanisms for pursuing its national security interests, as pointed out by Long (1999). For instance, foreign aid to the Middle East after peaking at 24,5 percent of Japan’s total overseas developmental assistance budget in 1977, declined to around to 10 percent in the 1980s, and to 6,8 percent in 1995.

Moreover, reasons cited by Dowty (2000) include lack of any background of historic ties of domestic pressure...