Only a decade ago, Turkey seemed an oasis of tranquility and Western-style liberalism in the Middle East. No longer. These days, under Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey is as a belligerent force, and certainly no friend of Western values. Erdoğan could change, writes Turkey expert Kemal Kirişci, but such a dramatic about-face seems unlikely. In this study – written before the election of June 2018, which saw Erdoğan win another five-year term – Kirişci laments Turkey’s turn toward authoritarianism as a missed opportunity. The Untied States and the European Union were tantalizingly close to having a like-minded ally in the Middle East, a secular Muslim nation that could show the rest of the region how to run a democracy and a free-market economy. Alas, Kirişci writes, that dream now seems farfetched. Erdoğan has cracked down on Kurds, journalists and other foes, and anti-Western conspiracy theories circulate widely. getAbstract recommends this study to readers seeking insight into Turkey’s politics and the rise of populist nationalism.
About the Author
Kemal Kirişci is a senior fellow and director of the Center on the United States and Europe’s Turkey Project at Brookings, where he focuses on Turkish foreign policy and migration studies.