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A confident Turkey aspires to a larger role

Henri Barkey, the Bernard L. and Bertha F. Cohen Chair in International Relations, appeared in the national media twice in the past week to share his views on Turkey and on the significance of recent meetings between the country’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and President Barack Obama.

Barkey, who is on leave from Lehigh while serving as a visiting fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, was interviewed on Dec. 7 by reporter Deborah Amos for National Public Radio’s Morning Edition. In “Turkey’s Ties Raise Concerns in Washington,” Barkey talks about Turkey’s efforts to institute a more forceful foreign policy, engage its Middle East neighbors and establish itself as a powerbroker in the region.

On the same day, an op-ed, “Talking to Turkey,” written by Barkey and Morton Abramowitz, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation and American ambassador to Turkey from 1989 to 1991, appeared in The National Interest online. The two scholars say Obama and Erdogan need to address the growing gap between their public rhetoric, if not their actual positions.

“A growing view in the United States—more outside than inside the government—holds that Turkey is drifting away from the West. In Turkey, the United States remains very unpopular and Erdogan sees little political benefit in trying to change that,” the op-ed states.

In October, Barkey and Abramowitz wrote an article titled “Turkey’s Transformers,” for the journal Foreign Affairs, which is published by The Council on Foreign Relations. They said Turkey hopes to be a global power, but has not yet become the regional player that the ruling Turkish political party declares it to be.

Barkey is an expert in international relations of the Middle East, particularly Turkey, and international political economy. His latest book, Preventing Conflict Over Kurdistan, was published in January 2009.

 

Story by Sally Gilotti

Posted on Friday, December 11, 2009

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