Turkey Without the Hype

If you’re looking for a clear-eyed, non-alarmist assessment of Turkey and the bilateral U.S.-Turkey relationship in advance of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to Washington on Monday, I recommend Hugh Pope’s brief monograph (.pdf, via Yigal Schleifer). Pope argues that the suspicions that Turkey labors under (hidden Islamist agenda and a “neo-Ottoman” shift to the East) are largely overblown. He recommends that President Barack Obama avoid the many potential issues of conflict between the two countries, and instead focus on two central policy objectives that he says will test Turkey’s true intentions: getting Ankara to recommit to its EU accession process and prove the sincerity of its rapprochement with Armenia.

Meanwhile, Schleifer himself has a good rundown of the ways in which, for all of Turkey’s recent accomplishments in the international arena, the greatest obstacle to its regional ambitions remain its bitterly divided domestic politics. It’s part of a Majalla magazine special issue on Turkey after seven years of AKP rule. I haven’t read the other articles yet, but it looks like good stuff.