Turkey does its own thing

Hugh Pope and Nigar Goksel profile a country deemed too autocratic, too Muslim and too wayward to join the European club

The World Today
Published 1 December 2020 Updated 4 December 2020 6 minute READ

Hugh Pope

Director of Communications & Outreach, International Crisis Group

Nigar Göksel

Senior Analyst, Turkey, International Crisis Group

Type ‘Who lost Turkey?’ into a search engine and you will find that many pundits are searching for a culprit.

Versions of this question show up in a myriad newspaper headlines, mostly from American publications but not solely: Qui a perdu la Turquie?, Le Monde, 2020; Europa hat die Türkei verloren, Der Spiegel, 2017; ¿Quién ‘perdió’ a Turquía?, El Pais, 2010.

Yet the question tells us more about those asking it than it does about today’s Turkey. Those posing it count on Ankara to follow the lead of Washington or Europe’s capitals, something a quick glance at the history books shows is improbable. It is time to reset expectations.

Turkey has always done things its own way: building bridges one moment, bridgeheads the next.

Subscribe to read all issues

Articles from the current issue are free to read by all, the archive is exclusive to magazine subscribers and our members. Subscribe or become a member to view articles from the archive.