Diane's Reviews > The New Turkish Republic: Turkey as a Pivotal State in the Muslim World

The New Turkish Republic by Graham E. Fuller
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's review
Jun 26, 2012

it was amazing

Written by a scholar and political commentator on the Middle East, this book is a good introduction to contemporary Turkish foreign policy. The author begins with a brief history of Turkey, from Ottoman times to the present, with an emphasis on how Turkey viewed its regional role. Then, the author discusses in depth Turkey's relationship with each of its neighbors. Finally, he discusses alternative futures for Turkish foreign policy, and provides American policy makers with advice on how to deal with them.

The book is well-written overall, scholarly but not too hard for the average reader with an interest in history or contemporary politics. The author does a good job of trying to get inside the head of the protagonist (in this case Turkish politicians and foreign policy makers), which is useful for a Western audience likely unfamiliar with Turkish history and domestic policy and prone to see every change in policy as the direct result of American policies. The author helpfully breaks Turkish society down into ideological and institional groups (ie Islamists, leftists, the military, etc.) and discusses how each group sees foreign policy.

I did think the author went a little too far in his support of the current Turkish government. While it is all very well to understand their concerns, the author seemed to go overboard in justifying every decision that the government made. Also, I thought the book would have been improved if it had focused more on domestic politics. Although there was some discussion of domestic politics in the course of talking about Turkey's foreign policy, I thought the book could have easily added a chapter just on domestic policy (and at less than 200 pages, the book could have easily accomodated another chapter). In another minor point, the author had an annoying habit of referring to Turkish political parties by their English initials, rather than the more common practice of referring to them by their Turkish initials.

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