About the Book
Since its re-emergence as nation-state in 1923, Turkey has often looked like an odd appendix to the West situated in the borderlands of Europe and the Middle East, economically backward, inward looking, marred by political violence, yet a staunch NATO ally, it has been eyed with suspicion by both 'East' and 'West'. The momentous changes in the regional and world order after 1989 have catapulted the country back to the world stage. Ever since, Turkey has turned into a major power broker and has developed into one the largest economies in the world. In the process, however, the country has failed to solve its ethnic, religious and historical conflicts peacefully.
At this historical turning point, Kerem Oktem charts the contemporary history of Turkey, exploring such key issues as the relationship between religion and the state, Kurdish separatism, Turkey's relationship with Israel and the ongoing controversy over Turkey's entry into the EU. Readable but comprehensive, this is the definitive book on the country's erratic transformation from a military dictatorship to a maturing, if still troubled, democracy.
Praise for the Book
'Since the end of the Cold War, the world order has been redefined with many countries renegotiating their foreign and domestic politics. Kerem Öktem's meticuolus analysis provides valuable insights into the difficult process the Republic of Turkey has underwent since 1989, a course dictated by ruptures, missed opportunities, new syntheses and gradual erosion through it all of the state control over civil society. Öktem captures this arduous and very complex two decades of Turkey's recent history extremely thoroughly andeven-handedly: he carefully maps out all the public discourses and significant key moments in excellent prose, making frequent references to the interviews he conducted with significant public intellectuals. I too join Öktem's concluding wish that Turkey transform into a more liberal, self-confident state of its citizens.' — Fatma Müge Göçek, The University of Michigan
'This book provides an unusually lucid and well-structured account of developments in Turkey since the end of the Cold War. In a fluent and accessible style, the author addresses the most significant events of the last two decades. The new actors and the challenging issues of this era in Turkish politics are explored against the backdrop of the emergence of modern Turkey since the 19th century. The author is part of a new generation of critical scholars in Turkish studies, for whom cultural issues related to Alevis, Kurds, and Armenians are as important as issues of power politics.' – Professor Elisabeth Özdalga, Director of the Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul
'Turkey's rapid development over the last three decades has added new layers of complexity – political, social, legal, religious, ethnic – to an already formidable mix. This makes Kerem Oktem's forensic and engaging analytical portrait of Turkey since 1980 all the more welcome. In five deft, lucid chapters the author deploys intimate knowledge and illuminating detail to examine the forces shaping the country and contesting its future. The result is a brilliant, assured overview that plunges into a maelstrom of issues surrounded by passionate argument and makes sense of them with cool judgment and an acute sense of balance. Kerem Oktem has written a compelling book about an indispensable nation – and done both scholarship and modern Turkey a true service.' – David Hayes, openDemocracy
'An admirably clear and well-researched account of the recent history of a complex, conflict-ridden and fascinating country. While Kerem Oktem is uncompromising about the dark side of Turkey's recent past, he also argues persuasively that social, economic and political changes are creating a new, outward looking country capable of playing a key role in an increasingly important part of the world. Essential reading for anyone interested in a country which is, in several senses, at a critical crossroads.' – Professor Margaret MacMillan, St. Antony's College, University of Oxford