Where is Turkey heading?

Burak Bekdil (Ankara) about Turkish Domestic- and Foreign Policy under Erdoğan’s AKP

October 19, 2011, 6.30 pm

Robert-Koch-Saal, Dorotheenstr. 96, 10117 Berlin


While Turkey is often portrayed as an example for an “Islamic democracy“ and as a model for the changing Arab world, there are many developments that do not fit into the positive picture of an economically successful country ruled by a moderate and modernizing government.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) just won the third consecutive elections in June 2011, and it continues to transform the country with the rewriting of the constitution as the next big project. As the AKP succeeded in curbing the influence of the military and modernizing the country, its own rule turned increasingly authoritarian and intolerant. Press freedom has been restricted and dozens of journalists have been imprisoned. Many secular Turks warn of a continuous “Islamization” of state and society. The success of Turkish movies like “Valley of the Wolves” shows that aggressive nationalism, anti-Western and anti-Semitic resentments and conspiracy theories are popular in Turkey, but also among Turkish immigrants. And instead of being solved, the conflict with the Kurdish PKK has violently re-escalated.

The foreign policy of the NATO member Turkey caused serious concerns in the West. Turkey acts increasingly as a “Neo-Ottomanian” hegemonic power. It formed close ties with the Islamic Republic of Iran, while the relation with the longtime ally Israel has drastically deteriorated, especially in the aftermath of the Mavi Marvara incident in 2010. Then again, the upheavals in the Arab world shock the “zero problems” strategy of foreign minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, and the government recently seemed to move closer to the West again.

Regarding Turkey, most things are more complicated then they seem, and we are thus happy to invite you to a debate with a Turkish expert who closely follows the developments in his country.

Burak Bekdil lives in Ankara and writes among others for the Hürriyet Daily News. He is one of Turkey’s most outspoken commentators and critics of internal developments and foreign policy. His latest columns can be read here: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/c.php?c=burak-bekdil

Moderator: Ralf R. Schumann, M.D, chairman and speaker of the board of "Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME) Germany e.V.".

Event in English!

Contribution: 3€.

Reception with wine & cheese after the debate.

Please register at info@mideastfreedomforum.org

Please also invite your contacts via facebook!

A Berlin Middle East Talk (B'EMET) by Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME) and the Mideast Freedom Forum Berlin (MFFB).