Airline Diplomacy: Turkish Airlines as an Actor of Public Diplomacy

Kurtuluş Abdulhayoğlu B.

ISA Annual Convention 2019, Toronto, Canada, 27 - 30 March 2019, pp.1

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • City: Toronto
  • Country: Canada
  • Page Numbers: pp.1


Airlines can mean more than a means of transportation, they can also be a part of diplomacy. As public diplomacy evolves, we see various forms of public diplomacy that includes new international actors. Airlines, which represent the national images of countries, can engage in diplomatic work and contribute to the soft power of a country. We can call this as airline diplomacy. Turkish Airlines, the national flag carrier of Turkey, is a great example of airline diplomacy. In parallel with Turkey’s current foreign policy, Turkish Airlines plays a significant role in nation-branding and expanding the country’s soft power. It initiated flights and opened new routes to new countries and regions, where the Turkish government has tried to be influential via diplomatic missions and foreign aid. For instance, Turkish Airlines’ new flights have been an important dimension of Turkey’s opening up in Africa and establishing relations with this region. In 2017, Turkish Airlines responded to the call of the celebrities on social media for taking aid to famine-hit Somalia, thus operated as a humanitarian diplomacy actor. This paper will analyze how Turkish Airlines serves as an actor of Turkey’s public diplomacy and the contributions of Turkish Airlines to Turkey’s soft power.


Diplomacy; Africa; Turkey; Public Diplomacy; Somalia