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.

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The Historical and Modern Antecedents to the Russo-Ukrainian Conflict

Pictured Above: The People’s Friendship Arch, built in 1982, symbolized the political and cultural unity between Russia and Ukraine. Following significant deterioration over the following decades, Ukrainian activists painted a crack on the arch to resemble this rupture.

Photo Credit: Timon91

By Manuel Aguilera-Prieto
Contributing Writer

The political circumstances surrounding Ukraine have been marked by a series of tumultuous events that have considerably impacted the international stage. Considering its potential outcomes, the most recent of said events has proven itself to be the most precarious one. Russian proxy forces have occupied the eastern Donbas region after the annexation and incorporation of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014. With the Russian invasion of Ukraine in late February, an already dangerous situation has escalated into total war. As of March 4, Moscow’s forces have made substantial headway on the Black Sea front. However, the Northern front has seen the Russian military unable to penetrate its heavy fortification. The port city of Kherson became the first major city to succumb to Russian forces, while Kyiv and Kharkiv have been able to hold their ground and repel the ongoing siege. To understand why this conflict has transpired, it is worth analyzing the relevant historical aspects of the crisis.

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