Author Biography

Brendon J. Cannon is an Assistant Professor of International Security at the Institute of International and Civil Security at Khalifa University of Science and Technology in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Dr. Cannon holds a Ph.D. (2009) in political science with an emphasis on comparative politics and international relations from the University of Utah and an M.A. in Middle East Studies and history from the same institution. He regularly performs research and writes about Turkish foreign policy, the international political economy of eastern Africa and the Middle East, as well as securitization and alliance building in the western Indian Ocean region.

Mikiyasu Nakayama is a Professor of the Department of International Studies at the Graduate School of Frontier Sciences of the University of Tokyo in Japan. Dr. Nakayama holds a Ph.D. (1986) in simulation model for urbanized areas. He then served for the United Nations and the World Bank, working on hydropolitics in internationally shared rivers and lakes.

Daisuke Sasaki is an Assistant Professor of International Research Institute of Disaster Science (IRIDeS) at Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan. Dr. Sasaki holds a Ph.D. (2015) in international studies and also has expertise in statistical analysis including text mining.

Ash Rossiter is currently an Assistant Professor in International Security at Khalifa University of Science and Technology after a multi-faceted career across the Middle East and North Africa, spanning the private, government and military sectors. Dr. Rossiter holds a Ph.D. (2014) from the University of Exeter. Ash Rossiter’s academic specializations are in the changing character of war and conflict, the use of military force both historically and in the contemporary world, and technology and international security.



Subject Area Keywords

Foreign policy, International relations, Methodology, Regional conflict, Security management, Space and security, Strategic communications, War studies


Turkish policy towards the Syrian civil war, as operationalized in relation to the implementation of no-fly zones, safe zones or buffer zones, has been the subject of much debate among scholars. As the number of foreign states acting in Syria has steadily increased since the onset of the crisis, Turkish policies have similarly shifted. In order to make sense of Turkey’s actions and reactions in the first five years of the Syrian civil war, this article attempts to draw lessons from quantitative methods and methodologies such as text mining, cosine similarity and cosine normalization of content from the Anadolu Agency (AA), a Turkish state-owned press. These methodologies are utilized in support of content analysis and qualitative analysis that hindsight allows. In doing so, we are able to show that these seemingly inexplicable shifts may adhere to a logic and, in some cases, could have been anticipated. Utilizing such methodologies therefore offers a potentially significant contribution to the literature by defining politically feasible outcomes related to foreign or domestic policies.


This work was supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number JP15H02864.