Erdogan's war wounds

Conflict in Syria has soured Turkey’s relations with the West, writes Hannah Lucinda Smith

The World Today
Published 26 July 2019 Updated 6 November 2020 4 minute READ

Hannah Lucinda Smith

The Times correspondent in Turkey, and author of 'Erdogan Rising: The Battle for the Soul of Turkey'

As he cosies up to Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, and picks fights with Europe and the United States, it can be hard to recall that Recep Tayyip Erdogan was once the West’s poster boy for Islamic democracy.

At the beginning of his nearly 17-year reign, Erdogan was touted as a Turkish progressive, who was loosening the army’s anti-democratic grip while taking steps towards peace with the Kurds, and even hinting at a reconciliation with Armenia and recognition of the 1915 massacres. For nearly a decade, he and his country were heralded in the West.

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