Turkey: East, West or Erdogan?

May 16, 2012

Dr. Anthony Rusonik

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erd


The complex dynamics of Turkey’s geographical position and cultural uniqueness have always defied easy explanation.  But in the decade since Tayip Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) were first elected, change within Turkey and between Turkey and the world has erupted in a number of different directions. Consequently, the word “enigmatic” is perhaps the best way to describe Turkey’s foreign policy over the past ten years, says Anthony Rusonik of Geopoliticalmonitor.com.

Turkish society has shown conflicting signs of drift towards East and West under Ergodan’s rule. On one hand, we witness continued restrictions on press freedoms, trumped-up charges against rivals in the secular defense establishment, and a slow but deliberate injection of political Islam into the primary educational system. On the other, there is the 2010 Constitutional package that elevated an independent judiciary, encouraged freedom of association, and was designed to promote Turkey’s EU bid, albeit without success.  One day Erdogan makes a personal apology to the Kurds for historic wrongs, the next day the Turkish army increases operations against the PKK in Northern Iraq, and Erdogan bristles at French and American recognition of the Armenian genocide.


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  • Mark

    It doesn’t surprise me that Turkey has now become the country of a single politician: Erdogan.

    Democratization is never an easy transition and I’m not surprised that the country seems to mirror the personality of its head of state.

    Given time, Turkey will stabilize itself and lose its leader-focused traits and become a country led by government institutions.

    A lot of effort and energy went into trying to enter the EU, but now that the EU’s health is faltering, Turkey needs a new direction.

  • daz

    Ataturk created a very centralized state. But civilion power was always difuse because of weak fractured coalitions and much power was in the hands of the military complex. Erdogan is the head of a single party government, is the most popular person in turkey, and has stripped the miltary of power. Democracy is still the same. People mention the press situation but forget that during the 90’s hundreds of jounalists were murdered as well as imprisoned.

  • The article states twice that the US has recognized the Turkish genocide of the Armenians as genocide. The US has not yet officially used the term genocide to describe the Turkish state-sponsored extermination of the Armenians.


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