Turkey - The New Ottomans [world Service]

Episodes

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01The Documentary2013082720130901 (WS)

In a three-part series, Allan Little charts the re-emergence of Turkey in the Muslim world, and the growth of a new internationalism there.

He begins with the birth of the republic and the rigid military-backed secularism of Kemal Ataturk. This was a period when the history of the Ottoman past was downplayed in school textbooks and Turkey looked West towards Europe. Outward displays of religion were suppressed, despite a rise in Islamic conservatism.

These pressures were part of the rise to power in 2002 of the Islamically inspired AK Party under Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The AKP has led Turkey to astonishing economic success and has started to address the longstanding demands of the country’s Kurdish minority. The country has started to spread its influence internationally, building strong links with many of the former nations of the Ottoman Empire. However, as one historian observes, Erdogan has promoted a democracy, but an illiberal one, which does not recognise the views of those who oppose it.

The mass demonstrations in Istanbul and other Turkish cities were born of the frustration of an educated middle class – a class ironically created by the AKP’s own economic success.

What factors have propelled change in Turkey and how is it affecting the politics of this volatile region?

Picture: Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan under a Turkish flag and portraits of himself and Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Credit: Adem Altan/AFP/Getty Images

Allan Little charts the re-emergence of Turkey as a force in the Muslim world, and the.

Allan Little charts the re-emergence of Turkey as a force in the Muslim world, and the growth of a new internationalism there.

02The Documentary2013090320130904 (WS)
20130908 (WS)

Over the last two decades Turkey’s sustained economic growth has transformed the country. Now it is pursuing a foreign policy agenda to match its growing regional and global significance. No longer content to simply mirror and support the interests of its traditional ally the US, it is forming new relationships, or rather it is re-forging old alliances broken in the early 20th Century.

Allan Little analyses the growth of a new internationalism within Turkey, one that is creating a powerful commonwealth of co-operation with neighbouring countries in the Balkans, North Africa and the Middle East - the former lands of the Ottoman Empire. What factors have propelled this change and how is it affecting the politics of this volatile region? Turkey is back as a major international player for the first time since the late 18th Century and it is helping to shape the world that is emerging. Are the heirs of Ataturk the 'new Ottomans'?

Allan delves further into the emerging international influence of Turkey, looking across North Africa and the Middle East. The AKP promoted itself as a model of how an Islamically inspired party could govern a democracy. The turmoils of the Arab Spring and Taksim Square have now challenged that optimistic vision. In recent years Turkey had turned away from a close alliance with Israel towards greater involvement with its Arab neighbours – but that involvement is creating as much suspicion as gratitude.

Picture: Protesters in Taksim Square hold a Turkish flag, Credit: Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images

Allan Little charts the re-emergence of Turkey as a force in the Muslim world, and the...

Allan Little charts the re-emergence of Turkey as a force in the Muslim world, and the growth of a new internationalism there.

03 LASTThe Documentary2013091020130911 (WS)
20130915 (WS)

How does Turkey's relationship with Europe now stand?