Reconsidering Britain’s Soft Power: Lessons from the Perceptions of the Turkish Political Elite

Yaprak Gursoy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Enhancing Britain’s soft power has been a policy objective of the Conservative–led governments in the past few years. Policy relevant research on the matter mostly measures the positive perceptions of other countries’ publics toward the UK. This article proposes to dig deeper into the attitudes of foreign decision–makers in an unobtrusive manner to supplement these previous studies. As an illuminating case study, it investigates the views of the Turkish politicians by using data from the parliamentary proceedings of 2011–2018. This analysis reveals that the strongest soft power asset of the UK in Turkey is its exemplary political values, government and democracy. The biggest challenge is historical experiences of animosity that leads to inherent mistrust. Evidence also demonstrates that the UK is seen more positively in conjunction with other countries and more negatively on its own. This finding stresses the significance of multilateral cooperation to augment UK’s soft power.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
JournalCambridge Review of International Affairs
Early online date24 Oct 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Oct 2020

Bibliographical note

© 2020 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons AttributionNonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (,
which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided
the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.


  • Turkish National Assembly
  • Anglo-Turkish Relations
  • Trust
  • Attraction
  • Multilateralism
  • Soft Power


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