Turkey's Political Identity: East vs. West?

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As a secular Islamic nation, Turkey has not only been an ally of the West but also the bridge to relations with the East. Turkey's secular nature is attributed to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk's political, economic, and cultural reforms, which took place during the establishment of the Turkish Republic in the early 1920s. Since then, the Turkish army has been the resilient guardian of Kemalist ideology, ensuring the strict separation of politics and religion. Recently, the country's Western orientation has come under scrutiny in Turkey as relations with the United States and the European Union have greatly deteriorated due to the War in Iraq and stalled EU accession talks. Turkey's increasing diplomacy and engagement in the Middle East, disillusionment with the EU, as well as alarming negative perceptions of the United States by the Turkish populace has analysts speculating whether Turkey will disengage itself from the West and orient itself more with rising Eastern powers. The objective of this research project will be to explore the context of Turkey's current conflict with both the United States and the EU, and to analyze to what extent will this transform or challenge Turkey's political identity in the 21st century.


Larry Caldwell




Support provided by:The Paul K. and Evalyn E. Cook Richter Trusts-International Fellowship

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