Turkey, which has always held an important position in global affairs, has become even more prominent on the international stage as an economic power and a harbinger of political Islam.
During more than ten years in power - an unprecedented tenure - Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) have expanded Turkey's trade, diplomatic ties, and cultural exports to transform the country from an economically disadvantaged secular state into the first large Muslim nation with a middle-class majority. Erdogan has asserted Turkish influence in high-stakes, high-profile foreign issues from Gaza to Egypt to Syria, often breaking ranks with his NATO allies. Today, from the cafs of the Arab world to the boardrooms of the G-20, Turkey suddenly matters.
The Rise of Turkey: The Twenty-First Century's First Muslim Power is a guide to the country's changes, both in its inspiring national potential and in the grave challenges it poses to regional affairs. Structured as a travelogue, each chapter opens on a different Turkish city and captures a new theme of Turkey's transformation. From the Kurdish issue to foreign policy, Soner Cagaptay argues that Turkey needs to successfully balance its Muslim identity with its Western orientation in order to solidify its position as a regional and global power.
Soner Cagaptay is the Beyer Family fellow and director of the Turkish Research Program at The Washington Institute. A historian by training, Dr. Cagaptay has written extensively on U.S.-Turkey relations, Turkish domestic politics, and Turkish nationalism. He has taught courses at Yale University, Princeton University, Georgetown University, and Smith College on the Middle East, Mediterranean, and Eastern Europe. From 2006 to 2007 he was Ertegun Professor at Princeton University's Department of Near Eastern Studies. Dr. Cagaptay's work has been published regularly in scholarly journals and in major international print media, including the New York Times, Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal. He has been a regular columnist for CNN-GPS and Hrriyet Daily News, Turkey's oldest and most influential English-language paper, and he appears frequently on radio and television in the United States and abroad.