After more than 50 years of migration history, the recognition of Turkish migrant immigrants as “diaspora” took place only recently, illustrating the changes in the Turkish state’s strategies towards embracing these populations. In the early 2000s, the government needed the Turkish diaspora to refurbish the image of Turkey and boost the stale EU membership agenda, and realized that the diaspora could be used as a tool for public diplomacy to exert “soft power”. In this article, we argue that the new Turkish diaspora policy was shaped by the recognition of an emerging transnational Turkish diaspora and the re-orientation of Turkish foreign policy after 2002 when the AKP (Justice and Development Party) came to power. We also argue that the institutionalization process targeting the diaspora went hand in hand with a shift in ideology and political atmosphere as well as other relational factors.