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The New Sultan: Erdogan and the Crisis of Modern Turkey Hardcover – June 27, 2017
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This is a brave and balanced narrative of Turkey’s mercurial President Erdogan. Soner Cagaptay explains how ‘the new sultan’ built a modern and prosperous Turkey, but how his ‘autocratic, illiberal side’ undermined these achievements and throttled democracy. Turkey is now at a crossroads, and Cagaptay provides a clear roadmap. Nobody tells Erdogan’s story better or more honestly. (David Ignatius, columnist, Washington Post 2017-03-30)
About the Author
Soner Cagaptay is the Beyer Family fellow and director of the Turkish Research Program at The Washington Institute. He has written extensively on U.S.-Turkish relations, Turkish domestic politics and Turkish nationalism, publishing in scholarly journals and major international print media, including the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, New York Times, Foreign Affairs, Atlantic, New Republic, and Newsweek Türkiye. He has been a regular columnist for Hürriyet Daily News, Turkey's oldest and most influential English-language paper, and a contributor to CNN's Global Public Square blog. He appears regularly on Fox News, CNN, NPR, Voice of America, BBC, and CNN-Turk
Top customer reviews
So, who is Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and how has he risen to be the most powerful leader in the Turkish republic since Mustafa Kemal Ataturk? What does this mean for both Turkey and the rest of the world?
In this book, Dr Cagaptay writes of the factors that shaped Erdoğan’s early life, his introduction to politics, his rise in the AKP, and how he has consolidated his power over the last 15 years. The contrast with the direction in which Ataturk wanted to lead Turkey couldn’t be greater: Ataturk’s vision was for a secular, Westernised nation, while Erdoğan seems to want a conservative, Islamic state. The crisis of modern Turkey is the culmination of a number of different issues: Turkey has become polarised. Erdoğan has played off different groups against each other to achieve his political aims while consolidating Turkey as a regional power. But can Erdoğan’s approach work in the longer term? And at what cost? Turkey is a diverse country, with a number of different ethnic, political and religious groups. In the meantime, journalists and some high-ranking military officers have been arrested, and some academics have been banned from leaving the country.
One of the reasons why I chose to read this book was to try to understand how Turkey has changed in the past 20 years. This book gave me some answers, while raising more questions and issues to consider. Not all that long ago, Turkey was considered to be a wonderful (albeit somewhat flawed) example of a middle eastern democracy. Is it possible to still consider Turkey as a democracy? Of what value are democratic institutions if a president has (almost) unfettered power?
What will happen next?
Note: My thanks to I. B. Tauris and NetGalley for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes.