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Turkish External Orientation and Political Culture CHRISTODOULOS K. YIALLOURIDES* AFENDOULIS TH. LANGIDES**

1. Introduction Eighty-seven years after its foundation, the Turkish Republic is facing perhaps the most severe challenge to its post-Ottoman existence; and Turkish elites have begun to feel insecure and uncertain about the country’s orientation and the direction the country should be following. Today what is being questioned are the basic structure and institutions of the state, rising from the ashes of the Ottoman Empire, the Greek-Turkish war of 1919-1922, the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923, and, most of all, from the cultural, social and political revolution of Mustafa Kemal (Atatürk), to which the neo-Turkish state became irrevocably attached.I Turkey now appears to be attempting to choose whether it belongs to the West or to Asia, to a secular state or to an Islamic one. The Kemalist state, which for decades assumed a decidedly nationalist garb and, since 1947, an unequivocally pro-western strategy as regards its security and foreign policy, is no longer stable; its political system is vacillating between Islam and Europe, raising doubts about the strategic goals established by Mustafa Kemal and his successors.II Since the Islamist, Necmetin Erbakan, became prime minister in June 1996, the country has entered a period of crisis which appears to be of uncertain duration and resolution. The results of the elections of November 2002 appear to have added to this crisis. Uncertainty and insecurity with regard to the direction or external orientation of the state are not new to Turkey. These have been ongoing issues in the country’s foreign relations over the last half century. Due to the crisis in Cyprus, national interests have dictated a tactical change or adjustment in Turkey’s commitment to the West. * Professor of International Politics, Dept. of Communication, Media and Culture, Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences. ** Doctor of International Relations.


Turkey on the European Doorstep  

A Publication based on the International Conference organised at the European Parliament/Brussels by Dr. ELENI THEOCHAROUS, Member of the Eu...

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