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Turkey and the West: Fault Lines in a Troubled Alliance

Turkish-American relations are currently witnessing their deepest crisis. Even in 1975 when the U.S. put an arms embargo on Turkey, Ankara had some supporters in Washington. Then President Gerald Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger opposed the embargo and did their best to convince the Senate and Congress to change the decision. Four decades later, in 2015, relations were tested by a new crisis, but this time Ankara had no friend in Washington. Starting in 2013, the current crisis has not only lasted comparatively long, but has gradually worsened into a possible breakup. What makes this crisis so deep, durable, and progressive in its worsening? Such a puzzle deserves meticulous study. Kemal Kirişci’s book is a timely and highly contribution whose purpose is to explain the recent crisis between Turkey and the U.S.-led order.

Turkish-American relations are currently witnessing their deepest crisis. Even in 1975 when the U.S. put an arms embargo on Turkey, Ankara had some supporters in Washington. Then President Gerald Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger opposed the embargo and did their best to convince the Senate and Congress to change the decision. Four decades later, in 2015, relations were tested by a new crisis, but this time Ankara had no friend in Washington. Starting in 2013, the current crisis has not only lasted comparatively long, but has gradually worsened into a possible breakup. What makes this crisis so deep, durable, and progressive in its worsening? Such a puzzle deserves meticulous study. Kemal Kirişci’s book is a timely and highly contribution whose purpose is to explain the recent crisis between Turkey and the U.S.-led order.

The book starts with a description of the “growing instability” the transatlantic alliance has experienced on “multiple fronts” for a long time. Borrowing from G. John Ikenberry, Kirişci defines the U.S.-led order as an “international liberal order,” and puts forward that this order is encountering “challenges from within, as both the United States and the EU [European Union] [have] experienced economic difficulties, and challenges from outside powers, especially China and Russia, which sought an alternative order” (p. 4). According to Kirişci, this structural dynamic has played an important role in the recent shifts both in Turkish domestic politics, as Turkish democracy began to recede and its economic dynamism started to fade, and in Turkish foreign policy, as noted in its security rapprochement with Russia (p. 4). Although the structural crisis of the international liberal order made Turkey’s crisis with the U.S. possible, the same crisis is also the source of possibility for a reset in Turkish-American relations. For Kirişci, “ensuring Turkey’s cooperation and support will be critical” in coun

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Call for Paper | Politics of the Balkans and Future Perspectives