Lecture & Book Signing “Where is Turkey Headed?”
“Where is Turkey Headed?” is probably one of the most prominent questions that scholars resume to investigate in foreign affairs. Unfortunately, there is no definite answer to this question due to issues there are still happening in Turkey. Therefore, on Thursday, January 29, 2015, Turkish Cultural Center New York held a Lecture and Book Signing by Rainer Hermann, Op-Ed Editor and Former Middle East Correspondent for Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Aydogan Vatandas, an Investigative Journalist and Media representative of the Turkish Cihan News Agency moderated the program.
Dr. Rainer Hermann began to speak about how the ruling system in Turkey started to change. Dr. Herman first elaborated his thoughts about the dynamics that shaped the ‘old Turkey’ under the Kemalist state structure, military establishment and ‘white Turks’ sociology after fall of Ottoman Empire.
In the second part of his presentation, Dr. Hermann, talked about how the ‘new Turkey’ was formulated by the AK Party under –then- Primer Minister Erdogan’s leadership between 2002-2007 with its commitment to democratization and EU membership process.
Dr. Hermann praised AK Party’s success in Economy management. He also mentioned how the AK Party accomplished to have huge savings in education and health system agendas by generating a civil society, which significantly improved Turkey’s relationship with the European Union during these years.
However, Mr. Herman continued to explain how Erdogan and his party started to experience more disagreements as the high growth rate became challenging and the rate of growth began to decline. Dr. Herman then focused on authoritarian tendencies in Erdogan leadership and how Erdogan and AK Party focused to sideline their domestic opponents. Mr. Herman argued that Erdogan wants to build a regime according to his whishes.
On future aspects of Turkey, he said that it seems uncertain to predict what kind of path Turkey will follow after the radical shift in Erdogan’s policies and his strong ambitions to build his own regime.