Who Lost Turkey?

Turkey’s secular, pro-Western elites may still consider the EU and the US important, if not indispensable, allies, and they may view the forces of Islamic fundamentalism as a real or potential threat. Yet they are also convinced that Europe has behaved improperly toward Turkey, through a combination of short-term populist reflexes and the absence of a long-term strategic vision.

PARIS – “Who lost Turkey?” That question, often raised in the past, has been heating up in the aftermath of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s emotional outburst during the recent World Economic Forum 2009 in Davos, when he abruptly left a panel he was sharing with Israeli President Shimon Peres. And the Turkish question matters greatly, because it touches on some of the most unstable and unsettling of the world’s diplomatic disputes.

If Turkey has indeed been “lost,” those responsible include the European Union, the United States, Israel, and Turkey itself. The EU’s growing reservations about Turkey’s membership have been expressed unambiguously by French President Nicolas Sarkozy. In the US, former President George W. Bush gets some of the blame because of the war in Iraq. Israel, too, has played its part in Turkey’s alienation from the West, as a result of the Lebanon war of 2006 and its recent military operations in Gaza.

All of these events have disturbed and disoriented Turkey, and are magnified by the domestic impact of worst global economic crisis since the 1930’s.

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

To access our archive, please log in or register now and read two articles from our archive every month for free. For unlimited access to our archive, as well as to the unrivaled analysis of PS On Point, subscribe now.


By proceeding, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, which describes the personal data we collect and how we use it.

Log in


Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.