Cultural diplomacy research – Term Paper

Turkey and Israel Relationships

The objective of this research paper is to explore how musical and cultural diplomacy have influenced political relationships between Turkey and Israel. Cultural diplomacy encompasses the exchange of ideas and information for the purpose of promoting mutually benefitting understanding between different cultural groups. Cultural diplomacy involves both intercultural exchanges and cultural relations. Music diplomacy is the use of songs to promote respect, cooperation and understanding. A key aspect of music is the ability to transcend political and cultural boundaries to foster supportive relationships between people from different belief systems and backgrounds. Due to the ability to appeal to the masses, both musical and cultural diplomacy present best chances of eliminating biases, hatred, misunderstandings and prejudices between nations. The paper reports that although Israel and Turkey have had lowest moments in terms of diplomatic relations, they have utilized the power of music and cultural exchanges to maintain friendly ties. Relations between the two countries deteriorated to unprecedented levels in 2010 when Israel navy attacked a group of Turkish civilian ships. Amid the ensuing diplomatic crisis, musicians from both countries took on the roles of peace ambassadors and helped to mollify the masses through performances and concerts. It is expected that more such performances will be staged in future as relations between the two countries continue to normalize. Using the constructivist theory of international relations, this paper argues for promotion of culture and music as crucial diplomatic instruments for improving cooperation and communication between countries across the world. The constructivist theory fits well within this subject because it is concerned with the manner in which international structures are constructed. The core premise of the constructivist theory is that international structures can be transformed by thoughts, ideas, discourses and beliefs because they are socially constructed.  Therefore, it is crucial for Israel and Turkey to find optimal ways of capitalizing on musical and cultural diplomacy to their fullest potentials while at the same time respecting each other’s cultural uniqueness.

Music and Culture Relationship between Turkey and Israel

Cultural diplomacy is a concept that is widely used in international relations and politics. It refers to the process of exchanging information, ideas, art and other elements of culture among groups of people and nations to create an environment of mutual understanding. At the basic level, cultural diplomacy entails any activity or process that leads to the exchange of values, ideas, traditions and identity for the purpose of enhancing cross-border cooperation, strengthen relationships and advance national interests for the long-term benefits of a nation and its people (Einbinder, 2013). As an integral factor in the increasing globalization and interconnectedness between the various global communities, cultural diplomacy is founded on several key principles. These include recognition and appreciation of cultural diversity, intercultural dialogue, protection of human rights, international peace and stability, interdependence and equality.

Closely related to the concept of cultural diplomacy is musical diplomacy. It refers to the use of music to promote mutual understanding, respect and cooperation between communities and nations. Being one of the most important aspects that distinguish the various cultures in the world, music has the unique ability to reach beyond the common mediums of political diplomacy and unite cultures regardless of differences in traditions, norms, and values (Mathias, Oliver & Stetter, 2008). Music can improve understanding across cultures and serve as a medium of intercultural communication. As such, musical diplomacy can contribute immensely to peace building and management of conflicts among nations. By providing a platform for a country to showcase its culture to the citizens of another country, musical diplomacy serves the important purpose of enabling a country to make its internal and foreign policies more appealing to a larger audience.

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Cultural Diplomacy Definition

There are many theories in international relations that attempt to explain the concepts of cultural and musical diplomacy. These include liberalism, realism and constructivism.  This paper will focus on the constructivist view of international relations (Einbinder, 2013). The basic premise of the constructivism theory is that international relations are a platform for interactions through which a state’s identities are molded. International relations is a complex phenomenon that encompasses human values, beliefs, and consciousness (Einbinder, 2013). Constructivists post that ideas and norms influence relationships between states and that these relationships depend on how states (as the primary actors) define their identities and interests about other states (Mathias, Oliver & Stetter, 2008). Thus, the constructivist theory commends the potentials that state ideals and values have in harmonizing political relations at the international level.

According to Ronit, Assaf, Schmerz and Ayela (2008), the primary purpose of culture is to promote an organized system of human values. Thus, the effect of musical and cultural diplomacy on political relationships between nations can be understood through the lenses of the constructivist approach. The approach argues that the study of relationships (economic, political, cultural or otherwise) between states must focus on the beliefs and ideas that inform states at the international stage, as well as, the common aspirations between them. Essentially, each state has a unique system of values and beliefs, which it attempts to project in international politics. One way of achieving this objective is through the use of culture and music to communicate the beliefs and values.

This paper presents critical analyses of how musical and cultural diplomacy has influenced relationship between turkey and Israel. The paper uses the constructivist theory of international relations to underscore the fact that music and cultural diplomacy can enhance intercultural communication and improve cross-cultural understanding. As such, music and culture have potential for peace building and depends greatly on the efforts of the artist as a cultural diplomat. The current research is based on an analysis developed through experiential, grounded studies involving interviews, fieldwork, performance analysis, interviews and participation in music performances.