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Chinese Vaccine Diplomacy in the Eastern Mediterranean:  Continuities and Rupture in Beijing’s Soft Power Prospects

Çağdaş Üngör


This article examines China’s vaccine drive in Eastern Mediterranean countries of Türkiye, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, and the Palestinian territories during 2020–2021 from a soft power angle. Although Chinese COVID-19 era health diplomacy is presented as a major breakthrough in the West, this study argues that continuities are more visible in the Eastern Mediterranean context with regard to China’s discourse and diplomatic practices. Beijing invested in the existing notions of propaganda, such as solidarity with developing countries, anti-Americanism, and economic partnership. In assessing the impact of Chinese vaccine diplomacy in the Eastern Mediterranean, the study investigates major diplomatic events and concludes that China could not improve its image in Türkiye in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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pp. 62–83