Turkey has always been a crossroads: the point where East meets West, Europe meets Asia, and Christianity meets Islam. Turkey has also been a close and important American ally, but a series of converging political and strategic factors have now endangered its longstanding Western and democratic orientation. In Winning Turkey, two leading analysts explain this worrisome situation and present a plan for improving it. The stakes are clear. Turkey is the most advanced democracy in the Islamic world, bordering a number of the world’s hotspots, including Iraq, Iran, and the Caucasus. It occupies the corridor between Western markets and Caspian Sea energy reserves. A stable, Western-oriented Turkey moving toward EU membership would provide a growing market for exports, a source of needed labor, a positive influence on the Middle East, and an ally in the war on terror. The picture has darkened, however, as rising anti-Americanism, deflated hopes for EU accession, civil-military tensions, and terrorist threats have destabilized an already volatile Turkish political system. Wi nning Turkey designs a plan to ease tensions in this critical part of the world. In addition to proposing a “grand bargain” between Turkey and the Kurds, it advocates greater support for increased liberalism and democracy, a renewed commitment by both Europe and Turkey to promote EU membership, a historic compromise with Armenia, and greater Western engagement with Turkish Cypriots.
Philip H. Gordon is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and former director for European Affairs at the National Security Council. His books include Winning the Right War: The Path to Security for America and the World (Times Books, 2007) and Allies at War: America, Europe, and the Crisis over Iraq (McGraw Hill, 2004). Ömer Taspinar is a professor of national security studies at the National War College as well as the director of the Turkey Project and a nonresident fellow at the Brookings Institution. He is the author of Kurdish Nationalism and Political Islam in Turkey (Routledge, 2005). Soli Ozel is a professor of international relations at Bigli University in Istanbul and a columnist for the Turkish daily Sabah.