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Engagement or Coercion?

Weighing Western Human Rights Policies towards Turkey, Iran, and Egypt

By Katerina Dalacoura

This study analyzes the impact of U.S. and European states’ human rights policies on Turkey, Iran and Egypt. It concludes that, contrary to conventional wisdom, cooperative engagement with these countries yields greater results than the more intrusive policies and coercive instruments in the Western foreign policy arsenal, such as aid tied to conditions, economic sanctions, and diplomatic isolation. The book places the human rights issue in the wider context of foreign relations between the Western and Middle Eastern states and demonstrates that the effectiveness of human rights policies cannot be assessed in isolation from the broader political relationships between them. Katerina Dalacoura argues that working with governments to achieve human rights reform has been more effective because these cooperative attempts have coincided with domestic trends towards greater liberalization. The book also demonstrates that the more discreet instruments of Western human rights policy, such as exercising political pressure, voicing criticism, and expressing concern in a consistent but low-key manner, have likewise influenced the human rights situation in the target countries in a more favorable manner than imposed mandates.

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