For these analysts, Turkey’s recent ambitious domestic and international overtures are bound to doom for one overarching reason: Turkey is ruled by an “Islamist” party—Justice and Development Party (known as AKP)—and, because of its ideological identity, whatever initiative the government would advance will only help further Islamize the Turkish nation, undermine the secular political structure, and distance Turkey from the West. I believe that this outlook is not only reckless in assessing
One recent and—one of the most representative—example of this view was illustrated by David Schenker (The Wall Street Journal, November 5, 2009). The title of his essay says a lot: “A NATO Without Turkey?” According to Schenker, the Turkish government “is increasingly pursuing illiberal policies at home…while aligning itself with militant, anti-western
Both these views are part of a misguided approach based on the erroneous—or imprudent—reading of
Some assessments of the recent assertiveness of the Turkish foreign policy also suffer from similar one-sided and misguided reading of the events. Seeing AKP as an Islamist party with an arguably hidden Islamic agenda can provide emotional satisfaction for some. But this view is seriously missing the point.
To conclude, reading