1 February 2013 by charlotteyoung
On Friday a suicide bomber detonated an explosive directly outside of the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey. The explosion killed himself and a guard at the gate.
While this blast is not as chilling as the tragic loss of the consulate and U.S. ambassador in Libya, it certainly sends a message. There are those who hate the ideals and presence of the U.S. and Western society so much that they are willing to die for it. This is not new, but in this past year the message has been amplified.
The importance of public diplomacy was realized once again after 9/11, and new initiatives have been put in place but will public diplomacy and soft power ever be enough to calm the hearts and minds of extremist groups? When it comes to extremism, PD and soft power may not be able to immediately assuage problems, but the next steps the State Department and the U.S. Embassy in Turkey take can be crucial to furthering the overall goals.
Take Robin Brown’s article “Building a Framework for Comparative Government External Communications Research” as an example for how public diplomacy can be used in Turkey. Brown states the four ideal types of diplomacy are as an extension of diplomacy, instrument of cultural relations, instrument of conflict, tool of national image construction.
In this time of conflict, the message communicated to the foreign media and subsequently to the public will demonstrate how the U.S. continues to be seen in Turkey. Maintaining a firm stance against terrorism that does not hinder U.S. initiatives and development work in Turkey show U.S. as strong but still a partner of the country. In addition continuing to speak to culture in Turkey with an attempt to engage and turn differences into similarities “will enrich the human experience.” (pg. 6)
Ultimately, the success of the U.S. mission falls under the successful implementation of State Department’s 2010 Diplomacy Review to create “complex, multi-dimensional public engagement strategies” and “forge important bilateral, regional and global partnerships.” (pg 4).