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What does Turkey think? 7 juin 2011

Posted by Acturca in Middle East / Moyen Orient, Turkey / Turquie, Turkey-EU / Turquie-UE.
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European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR/35) June 2011

Edited by Dimitar Bechev

“What does Turkey think?” is a collection of nine essays by Turkish experts and political figures from different backgrounds – Islamists, secularists, Kurds and liberals. The essays examine how questions of identity, democratisation and Ankara’s evolving foreign policy are seen from within the new Turkey.

The authors of “What does Turkey think?” are Dimitar Bechev, Mustafa Akyol, Ayşe Kadıoğlu, Orhan Miroğlu, Şahin Alpay, Hakan Altinay, Osman Baydemir, Ibrahim Kalın, Atila Eralp, Zerrin Torun, Suat Kınıklıoğlu, Soli Özel and Ivan Krastev.

“What does Turkey think?” was made possible by the support of Stiftung Mercator, and is a collaboration between ECFR, Stiftung Mercator, the Sofia-based Centre for Liberal Studies (CLS) and the Istanbul-based Centre for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies (EDAM).

There are three key areas of public discussion:

1. Can the new Turkey deal with its internal diversity, reconcile historical tensions and heal deep wounds?

2. Is Turkey moving in the direction of consolidating democratic achievements, or is it threatened by a populist tyranny of the majority or even authoritarian rule?

3. Why is Turkey acting independently of the West, and is it a partner or rival for the EU and US, particularly in its own neighbourhood?

Many Turks feel alienated by the EU’s increasing reluctance to admit Turkey as a member. As a result the EU is absent from many internal Turkish debates, although it still matters in crucial ways:

  • In identity politics the EU may help Turkey reconcile its internal differences, for instance in finding a peaceful solution for the Kurdish issue.
  • The EU has helped to anchor domestic Turkish democratisation and now has the potential to allay fears that the power of the AKP is unchecked as a new constitution is drafted.
  • The EU remains vital for Turkish economic success, thanks to its proximity and the heavy connectedness with Europe’s massive internal market. Although Turkey has been growing quickly, it cannot compete with East Asian labour costs and needs Europe as it tries to move up the value chain and develop a modern knowledge-driven economy.
  • Turkey’s attractiveness to neighbours in the Middle East benefits from its close economic and political ties with Europe.

Download the PDF of “What does Turkey think?” here


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