Turkey's Relevance Continues to Grow

By Arthur I Cyr, Carthage College | Telegraph - Herald (Dubuque), November 21, 2015 | Go to article overview

Turkey's Relevance Continues to Grow


Arthur I Cyr, Carthage College, Telegraph - Herald (Dubuque)


Bloody terrorist attacks in Paris have dominated the discussions of top representatives of the Group of 20 (G20) nations held Nov. 15-16 in Antalya, Turkey. Related to providing effective security, the gathering has devoted focused attention to helping the massive flow of refugees from the Middle East, stemming primarily from the Syrian civil war.

Turkey is G20 President for 2015, and events preliminary to the summit have been held throughout the year. Finance ministers, and labor and employment ministers, met in early September in the capital, Ankara. The organization began in 1999 to further coordination of monetary policies in the aftermath of the enormous Asia financial crisis. The members account for approximately 85 percent of the world's gross economic product.

Turkey represents the complexity of a traditional society undergoing rapid industrial development. At times, news is dominated by controversial President Recep Tayyip Erdo and conflict with the Kurd minority. Historical context, therefore, is especially important. Since the 1920s revolution led by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Turkey has had constitutional government.

Three aspects of history are especially germane. First, in contrast to other Muslim states, Turkey has been actively engaged with both Europe and Central Asia.

Second, since World War II, Turkey has been able to maintain reasonably good relations with most of the nations in Europe, plus the United States, despite both the failure of the European Union (EU) to approve membership and the disastrous U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Third, Turkey represents a unique marriage of firmly rooted Muslim religious and cultural traditions with Western governmental institutions and social practices. This draws on the nation's Ottoman tradition of combining religious and secular dimensions. Incentives to reconcile the Orient and the Occident, already powerful in Eastern Asia, are becoming more important in Europe and Western Asia as well. …

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