Winning Turkey

Winning Turkey: How America, Europe, and Turkey Can Revive a Fading Partnership

Philip H. Gordon
Omer Taspinar
Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 115
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  • Book Info
    Winning Turkey
    Book Description:

    Turkey has always been a crossroads: the point where East meets West, Europe meets Asia, and Christianity meets Islam. Turkey has also been a close and important American ally, but a series of converging political and strategic factors have now endangered its longstanding Western and democratic orientation. In Winning Turkey, two leading analysts explain this worrisome situation and present a plan for improving it. The stakes are clear. Turkey is the most advanced democracy in the Islamic world, bordering a number of the world's hotspots, including Iraq, Iran, and the Caucasus. It occupies the corridor between Western markets and Caspian Sea energy reserves. A stable, Western-oriented Turkey moving toward EU membership would provide a growing market for exports, a source of needed labor, a positive influence on the Middle East, and an ally in the war on terror. The picture has darkened, however, as rising anti-Americanism, deflated hopes for EU accession, civil-military tensions, and terrorist threats have destabilized an already volatile Turkish political system. Winning Turkey designs a plan to ease tensions in this critical part of the world. In addition to proposing a "grand bargain" between Turkey and the Kurds, it advocates greater support for increased liberalism and democracy, a renewed commitment by both Europe and Turkey to promote EU membership, a historic compromise with Armenia, and greater Western engagement with Turkish Cypriots.

    eISBN: 978-0-8157-0193-4
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. CHAPTER ONE Introduction: Who Lost Turkey?
    (pp. 1-6)

    IMAGINE THE FOLLOWING scene at a possible presidential debate focusing on foreign policy, in the late fall of 2012. The moderator, Jim Lehrer, poses the question:

    For over fifty years, the Republic of Turkey was a staunch American ally and important partner in the Middle East. But over the past several years it has decisively distanced itself from the West. A few years ago the Turkish military overthrew the elected Islamist-leaning government, which it accused of promoting a hidden Islamic fundamentalist agenda and selling out Turkey’s national interests. In response to U.S. and European sanctions, the new military regime angrily...

  5. CHAPTER TWO Kemalists, Islamists, and the West
    (pp. 7-24)

    COUNTRIES SEEKING MEMBERSHIP in the European Union do not usually come to the brink of a military coup. Yet that is precisely where Turkey found itself on April 27, 2007, after weeks of mounting tensions between the country’s generals and the AKP.

    The AKP, a conservative populist party with Islamic roots, had announced its decision to nominate Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, a well-respected politician and the architect of the party’s ambitious drive to get Turkey into the EU, to the prestigious post of president.¹ The media and the business community welcomed the choice as a conciliatory sign; they were relieved...

  6. CHAPTER THREE The Crisis with the United States
    (pp. 25-37)

    IN A WIDELY publicized poll taken in Turkey in 2002, Turks were asked which country in the world was Turkey’s “best friend” in the international arena. The United States placed a respectable second: 27 percent of Turks called America their best friend. Less encouraging was the news that first place went to “nobody,” at 33 percent.¹ The poll results said a lot about the Turkish tendency—dating all the way back to the country’s isolation in the dying years of the Ottoman Empire—to feel aggrieved in a world in which nobody takes Turkish interests into account. But it also...

  7. CHAPTER FOUR Europe’s Closing Door
    (pp. 38-48)

    THE CRISIS IN U.S.-Turkey relations would perhaps be less dramatic if Turkey’s relationship with Europe were stable or improving. Instead, however, Turkey’s prospects for joining the European Union—a long-standing dream—seem to be fading at the very time that its relationship with Washington is also coming under strain. The coincidence of these two factors hardly bodes well for the future of Turkey’s Western orientation.

    Turkey’s quest to become part of Europe predates the EU, and even the establishment of modern Turkey. This may seem surprising, because the Ottoman Empire was the traditional enemy of Europe, the external threat that...

  8. CHAPTER FIVE Turkey’s Eurasian Alternatives
    (pp. 49-60)

    THE PROSPECT OF Turkey’s turning away from the West should not be exaggerated. Turks on both sides of the secular-religious divide still value their relations with the United States and Europe and understand the costs of isolation and the limits of their geopolitical alternatives. But Turkey’s close relations with the West should not be taken for granted either. As we have seen, deep resentment of America’s Iraq policy and fading hopes of EU membership have increased Turkish frustration with the West and provoked a nationalist reaction across the Turkish political spectrum. Many conservative AKP supporters resent America’s Middle East policy...

  9. CHAPTER SIX Winning Turkey
    (pp. 61-84)

    TURKEY IS NOT “lost,” but it could be unless recent trends are reversed and Turks are given a reason to believe, as they have for more than eighty years, that their future is best assured as part of the Western world. How can Turkey’s Western and democratic orientation be preserved? What can the United States and Europe do to overcome the growing estrangement between themselves and Turkey? What can Turkey itself do?

    There are many possible answers to these questions, and a comprehensive agenda on the full set of issues is beyond the scope of this short book. But here...

  10. Afterword: Turkey’s Western Trajectory
    (pp. 85-100)

    The theme of Philip Gordon and Omer Taspinar’sWinning Turkeyis that country’s relations with the West. In a carefully delineated argument they present their case as to why Turkey is important for the West and propose (five policy) steps for the United States to take that will secure Turkey’s commitment to the Western alliance while consolidating its democracy. One of their persistent themes is that Turkey’s Western orientation should not be taken for granted, and can be most safely secured if sustained by a domestic liberal democratic order. In other words, a “bon pour l’orient”type of democracy—one...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 101-108)
  12. Index
    (pp. 109-116)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 117-118)