Conflict, Institutional Change, and Development in the Era of Globalization
New Thinking in Political Economy series
Edited by Joachim Ahrens, Rolf Caspers and Janina Weingarth
Chapter 4: The Role of Turkey: Secular Statehood and Islam
GiiIistan Giirbey 1. INTRODUCTION Turkey is still a very important longstanding ally of the USA and Europe. During the Cold War it played a role as a guardian of the Southeastern flank of the Atlantic alliance and it contributed to the effective containment of the communist world. Turkey's strategic importance changed after the Cold War, but it has not diminished. It is widely shared by the Turkish and foreign analysts that Turkey is facing a new foreign and security policy environment because of the international changes in the aftermath of the East-West conflict which is influencing the redefinition of Turkey's strategic position and role. In the new international political order Turkey's strategic importance is still continuing for the USA and Europe. Today Turkey has a strategic position at the crossroads of the Caucasus, the Balkans, the Middle East, and Central Asia. It could play an important role in developing the energy resources of the Caspian Sea region and it could be a moderating element in the many regional conflicts. After 11 September 2001 Turkey's strategic importance increased within the alliance against international terrorism. Today a transformation process in Turkey's politics and society is going on due to external and internal factors. The worldwide globalization process and the prospect of joining the EU are the most important external factors which have an influence on that transformation process. Internal factors are, above all, the evolving civil society, the increasing presence in the media of politics and society as well as the parts...
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