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Where Turkey is headed

Via A Fistful of Euros:

A long and well-written article in the New York Review of Books, about the progress made by Turkey's prime minister Erdogan towards democracy and qualifying for EU membership. Short version: there's a long way to go, but the country's becoming freeer and wealthier.

What's noticeable about this is that Erdogan is an Islamist. Contrary to expectations at the time and popular belief in much of Europe, this has not stopped him from proving himself

more committed to democracy than any of the self-proclaimed "secular" leaders who misruled Turkey during the 1990s. He has secured passage of laws and constitutional amendments abolishing the death penalty and army-dominated security courts; he repealed curbs on free speech, and brought the military budget under civilian control for the first time in Turkish history. He authorized Kurdish-language broadcasting, swept aside thirty years of Turkish intransigence on the Cyprus issue, and eased Greek–Turkish tension so effectively that when he visited Athens in May, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis proclaimed that the two countries now enjoyed "a relation of cooperation based on mutual trust."

I don't really know that much about Turkey, but it will be interesting to read this article again in December and see how things have gone since it was posted.


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