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By Heinz Kramer

Turkey is a longstanding best friend of the us and Europe. After the death of the Soviet empire, Turkey's strategic significance has replaced yet now not decreased. this day Turkey is dealing with a very varied overseas and safety coverage atmosphere. notwithstanding, Turkey is additionally present process amazing inner switch. Many tested political truths of the Republic's seventy-five-year-long culture are more and more puzzled by way of a transforming into a part of its humans. exceptionally, there's the increase of political Islam and the resultant conflict of ideologies among "secularists" and "Islamists" in addition to the controversy approximately Turkey's "Kurdish reality." Turkey's allies must reply to this improvement through adapting their rules. not anything below a re-assessment and, finally, a re-orientation in family with either the USA and Europe is needed if Turkey is to stay anchored within the West. This ebook undertakes a accomplished assessment and research of Turkey's inner and exterior adjustments and offers components of a brand new ecu and American coverage towards a key strategic accomplice.

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Extra resources for A Changing Turkey: The Challenge to Europe and the United States (Studies in Foreign Policy)

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28 This incident did not prevent the state prosecutor from opening a case against Birdal for having made separatist propaganda in two speeches. He was sentenced to a prison term that he started to serve on June 3, 1999, after having barely recovered from the assault. 29 Nevertheless, slow progress has been made, and any government that is ready to start enforcing the observance of human rights by state institutions can rely on the backing of a developing civil rights movement. 30 Although Turkey's Greens and the Turkish branch of Greenpeace remain fairly small groups concentrated in the big cities, their activity has contributed to a continuous increase in public awareness of environmental issues.

The constitution of 1982 was devised for guiding political dynamics that never occurred in the intended manner because the generals underestimated the extent of politicization that Turkish society had reached after three decades of parliamentary democracy. Consequently, the new constitution was hardly useful in guiding the political process that emerged after the 1983 elections. Turkey's political system after the establishment of multiparty parliamentary democracy in 1950 tended toward a bifocal configuration, with the political parties and their leaders forming one focus and the military leadership (plus the state elite) the other.

Votes were split across the political spectrum, leaving no party with more than 25 percent of the total. Today, no party or leading politician can claim to have majority support from the Turkish electorate. Veteran politicians and new party leaders alike show great difficulties in interpreting these socioeconomic changes and adapting party politics and party programs. The only exception seems to be the Welfare Party and its successor, the Virtue Party, which, according to the results of the local elections of 1994 and 1999, successfully established themselves as representatives at the local level of the masses in the urban shantytowns (gecekondu).

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