The Global Cost of Turkey’s Crisis

Turkey's government has avoided a constitutional crisis by calling an early parliamentary election, but the country's latest bout of political instability has damaged its foreign policy and international standing. Given Turkey's strong potential to demonstrate the compatibility of liberal democracy and Islam, its current travails are particularly worrisome for Europe and the West.

Turkey will hold its parliamentary election in July, four months earlier than scheduled, thereby narrowly avoiding a constitutional crisis over the choice of the country’s next president. Nonetheless, Turkey’s bout with political instability has damaged its foreign policy and international standing.

At the center of the storm are Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, head of the moderately Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP), and Yasar Buyukanit, Chief of the General Staff of the Turkish military, which regards itself as the guardian of the secular republican tradition established by Kemal Ataturk. When Erdogan contemplated moving from the prime minister’s job to the presidency earlier this spring, the military and secular political parties indicated profound dissatisfaction. General Buyukanit said in April that the country’s new president must be secular “not just in words, but in essence.”

Having met and conversed with Erdogan on more than one occasion, I found him a moderate and reasonable man. Moreover, the AKP has broad support among Turkish voters and an admirable record of economic growth, human rights legislation, and improvement in the treatment of Turkey’s Kurdish minority. Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, a close associate of Erdogan in the AKP, pressed Turkey’s application to join the European Union. So when Erdogan decided to nominate Gul as the AKP candidate for the presidency, I was surprised by the strength of the secularist opposition.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.

required

Log in

http://prosyn.org/AWM81lp;
  1. Patrick Kovarik/Getty Images

    The Summit of Climate Hopes

    Presidents, prime ministers, and policymakers gather in Paris today for the One Planet Summit. But with no senior US representative attending, is the 2015 Paris climate agreement still viable?

  2. Trump greets his supporters The Washington Post/Getty Images

    Populist Plutocracy and the Future of America

    • In the first year of his presidency, Donald Trump has consistently sold out the blue-collar, socially conservative whites who brought him to power, while pursuing policies to enrich his fellow plutocrats. 

    • Sooner or later, Trump's core supporters will wake up to this fact, so it is worth asking how far he might go to keep them on his side.
  3. Agents are bidding on at the auction of Leonardo da Vinci's 'Salvator Mundi' Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

    The Man Who Didn’t Save the World

    A Saudi prince has been revealed to be the buyer of Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi," for which he spent $450.3 million. Had he given the money to the poor, as the subject of the painting instructed another rich man, he could have restored eyesight to nine million people, or enabled 13 million families to grow 50% more food.

  4.  An inside view of the 'AknRobotics' Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

    Two Myths About Automation

    While many people believe that technological progress and job destruction are accelerating dramatically, there is no evidence of either trend. In reality, total factor productivity, the best summary measure of the pace of technical change, has been stagnating since 2005 in the US and across the advanced-country world.

  5. A student shows a combo pictures of three dictators, Austrian born Hitler, Castro and Stalin with Viktor Orban Attila Kisbenedek/Getty Images

    The Hungarian Government’s Failed Campaign of Lies

    The Hungarian government has released the results of its "national consultation" on what it calls the "Soros Plan" to flood the country with Muslim migrants and refugees. But no such plan exists, only a taxpayer-funded propaganda campaign to help a corrupt administration deflect attention from its failure to fulfill Hungarians’ aspirations.

  6. Project Syndicate

    DEBATE: Should the Eurozone Impose Fiscal Union?

    French President Emmanuel Macron wants European leaders to appoint a eurozone finance minister as a way to ensure the single currency's long-term viability. But would it work, and, more fundamentally, is it necessary?

  7. The Year Ahead 2018

    The world’s leading thinkers and policymakers examine what’s come apart in the past year, and anticipate what will define the year ahead.

    Order now