The secret to successful public diplomacy for a state may sound like a surreptitious potion whose recipe lies with the magicians. However, it is the art of devising and executing strategies just in the accurate proportion to transform the way local and international public perceives a certain state. So where does this recipe come from? It comes from the human mind. 

Public diplomacy is instrumental in shaping perceptions and wielding influence. It requires the ability to think and to have an aim together with the right road map and institutions. But above all it calls for acknowledgement of the fact that a state has that potential. 

States today are not measured by their military strength but by the strength with which they attract the international audience and bridge the gap between nations. States aim to promote their people, culture, and history across borders in hopes of generating a positive country image. It is the development and promotion of this positive image that states today prioritize. 

As Turkey overcomes its old fears and builds a new identity for itself, the process of transformation will have a deep impact on the domestic and foreign policy. Some analysts might misread these efforts but, since Turkey belongs to the continents of Europe and Asia, the dynamics, aims and ambitions of the country are versatile as a matter of geopolitical necessity. However, Turkey does face the challenge of gaining credibility in the pursuit of nation-branding in order to be able to ‘attract’ people to the idea, as Joseph Nye would say. It has to overcome cultural prejudices and strengthen policies, refine concepts, and settle the ethnic conflicts on its land. Problems such as democracy, human rights and transparency form the ‘great Turkish debate’, especially when it comes to the question of the Kurds and non-Muslim Turks. By conquering these shortcomings, not only will Turkey stand out for its attempts but also become an example of unprecedented resilience and triumph, leading to an enduring sensation for the rest of the world. 

MAHRUKH SARFRAZ,  

Rawalpindi, March 28.