Magazine October 17, 2011, Issue

The Trouble with Turkey

Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, May 10, 2010. (Murad Sezer/Reuters )
A nation that once aspired to be European now curries favor among Islamists

‘We stand together on the major issues that divide the world,” Pres. Dwight D. Eisenhower declared in Ankara while preparing to depart Turkey, on a cold and windy day in December 1959. “And I can see no reason whatsoever that we shouldn’t be two of the sturdiest partners standing together always for freedom, security, and the pursuit of peace.”

It took almost a half century, but Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s prime minister, has succeeded in ending that partnership. Certainly Turkey no longer stands for freedom. Like his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, Erdogan roughs up and imprisons those who challenge him. In

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Michael Rubin is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, senior lecturer at the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Civil-Military Relations, and a senior editor of the Middle East Quarterly.

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