Turkey is in the midst of a deepening political crisis with far-reaching consequences. That is worrisome not just at home but also for outside actors, especially the EU.
Throughout the Middle East, the overthrow of Egypt’s Mohamed Morsi has heightened Islamist-secularist tensions and pushed actors toward zero-sum politics.
An influential Islamic social movement has advanced Turkey’s soft power for decades, but an emerging power struggle between the movement and Ankara could change all that.
Turkey’s greatest influence among the Turkic populations of the post-Soviet world derives not from their common ethno-linguistic roots, but from the success of Turkey’s religious outreach.
The current conflict between Prime Minister Recep Erdogan and religious authority Fethullah Gülen, if not stopped, has the potential to damage Turkey’s image and soft power in the world.
Turkey’s authoritarian drift is undoubtedly complicating relations with the United States. However, Washington should not allow this to undermine an invaluable alliance.
The bonds between Turkey and the EU are reaching a critical moment. Vision, and not local politics, should guide upcoming talks between Erdogan and his EU counterparts.
The sooner the Turkish political class is able to reach a consensus on the indispensability of a reform agenda, the sooner the country can return to long-term political stability.
The Syrian refugee crisis is mostly being addressed as a tragic outcome of the violence in Syria. However, it is not separate from politics and could well result in the redrawing the region’s political map.
Tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran will become more acute in the years ahead. It is in this context that Turkey’s role as a secular power will become more important than ever.