Turkey at the Centennial – Part II: A Nation at the Crossroads of Continuity and Change

Read Part I of this series here.

Photo Credit: sulox32

By Shawn Rostker
Editor in Chief

It is from the rise of the AKP that Turkey’s current president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, ascended to power. Erdogan’s emphasis on the horizontal ties of solidarity that bound together the people of Turkey rather than the vertical ties of obligation that bound society to state helped elevate him to political prominence. During his time as Prime Minister (2003-2014), the AKP pursued an aggressive reform agenda aligned with its contemporary vision. Economic stabilization programs continued, and ties between foreign commercial and private industry were expanded. Steady declines in the rule of law and fiscal health have led to a running five-year decline in overall economic freedom, and Turkey’s economy has consistently ranked near the bottom of regional and global indexes. It has rebounded from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, growing by 11% in the past year. Still, it remains plagued by inefficiencies across its vital sectors and susceptible to long-term effects of the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Continue reading “Turkey at the Centennial – Part II: A Nation at the Crossroads of Continuity and Change”

Turkey at the Centennial – Part I: A Product of Dyadic Interaction

Read Part II of this series here.

Photo Credit: sulox32

By Shawn Rostker
Editor in Chief

The year 2023 will mark the centennial anniversary of the Republic of Turkey. The nation has seen staggering growth, transformation, and absorption into the international community over the past century, as well as expanded influence over both regional and global affairs. Turkey has changed markedly from the Western-leaning and largely secular state that it was in its earliest days and has experienced several transformations spanning its political, social, economic, and religious dimensions. The battle between secularism and politicized religion has defined its social and political development, and the recent acceptance of a Muslim distinction within the concept of Turkishness has fueled an ongoing identity contest. Though still maintaining linkages to the Western world, Turkey has gradually cultivated relationships with Eastern powers such as Russia and China. These bidirectional ties have begun to manifest in ways that challenge both its domestic and foreign policies. It has experienced multiple coups d’état and has struggled to reconcile its outward democratic aspirations with its internal authoritarian shifts. Part I of this two-part series will explore Turkey’s foundational ideological dyad: Kemalism and Islamism, and probe how this relationship influenced Turkey’s political, social, and religious development over the course of the 20th Century in the face of economic turbulence and internal strife to produce the state that it is today.

Continue reading “Turkey at the Centennial – Part I: A Product of Dyadic Interaction”

The Long Game: Why Protraction Continues to Underpin Moscow’s Strategy to Reclaim Ukraine

Photo Credit: Ministry of Defense of Ukraine

By Shawn Rostker
Editor in Chief

Conditions were cloudy with a chance of showers as the sun rose over Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, on Thursday, February 24. The literal fog of war had set in across the nation of roughly 43 million people, and for residents in and around the cities of Kharkiv, Kramatorsk, Kherson, Dnipro, and Odessa, the showers raining down took the form of high-powered ordnance. In the waning hours of Russia’s Defender of the Fatherland Day—a holiday commemorating the inauguration of the Red Army—Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a national address stating that Russia would execute a “special military operation” in eastern Ukraine to “demilitarize” the nation. Though framed as an obliged response to Ukrainian aggression and ambitions of strategic capabilities, the actions amount to a deliberate invasion of Ukraine and a blatant violation of its sovereignty. A costly and protracted war is now likely to be in the forecast for the foreseeable future, but this has always been the Kremlin’s plan. Putin has always played the long game when it comes to regional ambition, and the strategy for reclaiming Ukraine has always been one of protracted conflict resulting in long-term economic strangulation. The storm of violence currently pummelling Ukraine is one of historical vendetta—one with the potential to threaten the prevailing security arrangements that have underpinned Europe and the international order for over a generation.

Continue reading “The Long Game: Why Protraction Continues to Underpin Moscow’s Strategy to Reclaim Ukraine”