Turkey Reforming Itself: Constitutional Change and Democratization A Panel Discussion Organized by The Floersheimer Center for Constitutional Democracy at the Cardozo School of Law and the World Policy Institute Wednesday, April 13, 2011 - 6:00pm Panelists: Emiliano Alessandri, Transatlantic Fellow, German Marshall Fund of the United States; Associate Fellow, Istituto Affari Internazionali; Editorial Board Member, The International... Continue Reading →
Political demonstrations in Tunisia and Egypt have sparked a century old discussion: Is Turkey a model for the Middle East? Two contemporary examples of the "Turkey-as-a-model" debate show how this issue can play out: Turkey was presented as a moderate Islamic, democratic model for the Middle East as part of George W. Bush's "freedom agenda," and more recently as part of Barack Obama's democracy promotion efforts in the Middle East. It is ironic that in 2010 the debate revolved around concepts such as a "shift of axis," "torn country," and "drifting away," but now Turkey has transformed from a "lost" ally to a "model" country.
The immediate political consequence of the referendum will be a serious relaxation of domestic political tensions, which have been undergirded for over 50 years by the one constant in Turkish politics: the ever present threat of military coup.