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Turkish Democracy Gives Rise to Turkish Power

International attention to Turkey’s recent election reflects Ankara’s rising role not only in the Arab Spring but as a newly powerful democracy with broad regional influence.

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And beyond foreign policy, other challenges to the AKP remain. Turkey’s regional power depends on sufficient water – but those hydro-resources need significant protection. The economy is growing fast, but unemployment remains high. Privatization efforts are continuing, and genetically-modified seeds (and Monsanto) are reported to be playing escalating roles in Turkish agriculture.  And questions about civil liberties, the rights of the Kurds, the nature of the new Constitution… all remain for the future. 

Turkey’s astonishing economic growth has allowed its government to meet an impressive array of social imperatives and political objectives, while remaining firmly rooted in and dependent on globalized economic realities. Whether those accomplishments can keep pace with the expectations of an expanding and increasingly empowered population will be the real test for Turkish democracy and its current leaders.


Phyllis Bennis is a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C. She is the author of "Challenging Empire: How People, Governments, and the UN Defy U.S. Power" (Interlink Publishing, October 2005).

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