n the age of information and communication, image and visuality have become much more significant than ever. The visualization of life with information technology was reflected in politics and thus a new style of politics called as image politics emerged. In image politics, states need to present their foreign policy with attractive image. That is to say, concept, discourse and image through which foreign policy is interpreted became much more important than the way foreign policy is implemented and how successful it is. This is only possible if the countries present themselves with a story that attracts the international society and the public opinion. States have developed public diplomacy because the classic diplomatic style that follows the secret conventional diplomacy can no longer adapt to this new situation. Whereas the new emerging diplomatic order wants politics and diplomacy to take place in front of the media and public instead of closed-door diplomacy in digital age.
Public diplomacy that emerged in the context of information-communication technology and the rise of influence and importance of public opinion in global politics is a politics based upon the construction of an image that attracts states to the people of other countries by explaining their culture, art, values, ideals, institutions and foreign policies. Put it differently, public diplomacy is an image and perception management in narrow sense. States primarily aim to restore negative or damaged image and then aim to build a new attractive image by means of public diplomacy’s method of image management. With public diplomacy, negative images are corrected through accurate information by means of mass media and new social media tools. Later, states implement the policy of building an attractive image with a new country story. Therefore, countries try to create an attractive image by promoting their culture, art, values, institutions and foreign policy.
However, the images of the countries are directly related to the domestic situation. Particularly, components such as democratization, reform, development, economic growth, welfare level, progress in science and technology in the country constitute a large part of country’s story. For that reason, the success of public diplomacy is directly proportional to the domestic situation at the outset. Thus, it is time for Turkey to write a new country story once again after the controversial referendum process.
Primarily, restoring the international image of Turkey and building a new attractive image requires intensive reform process, giving acceleration of development, and R & D activities in science and technology. Because creating successful image inside the country will also be reflected upon the international arena as an attractive image.
On the other hand, the international images of the countries are shaped by the relations with neighbors, the foreign policy and its perception. This requires a new foreign policy discourse and new rhetoric. Turkish foreign policy needs to be reformulated and launched with new discourses and concepts under new metaphor. In particular, a new foreign policy and discourse on the Syrian crisis, which affects the image of Turkey the most negatively needs to be determined. The branding Turkey as a country seeking solution in the Syrian crisis with humanitarian diplomacy may positively affect the image of Turkey in the eye of international society and public opinion. Beyond that Turkey’s harmonization of its interests with the parties of the Syrian crisis, especially with the United States, could also improve its negative image and create a positive image at the same time. Hence, it is essential for Turkey to restructure its relations with the Trump administration.
To sum up, it is time for Turkey to produce new politics inside and write a new attractive country story outside. Thus, Turkey may create an attractive image in the international scene while at the same time restoring its damaged image.