CHICAGO – Turkey has recently been at the forefront of international economic and political debates. On the one hand, despite the economic crisis engulfing neighboring Europe, Turkey remains the world’s second-fastest growing economy, after China. On the other hand, there is almost no issue on the global agenda – from Iraq and Afghanistan to Somalia, Iran, and the Arab Spring, and from sustainable development to a dialogue among civilizations – on which Turkey is not playing a visible role.
This is a rather new phenomenon. Until a decade ago, Turkey was regarded as no more than a staunch NATO ally. That began to change in 2002, when an era of political stability dawned, giving rise to a vision for a stronger Turkey – and a firm commitment to realizing that vision.