October 13, 2018

YOU CAN'T HAVE A CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS WHEN THERE IS ONLY ONE:

What's behind Erdoğan's apparent support for the liberal international order? (Kemal Kirişci and Onur BülbülTuesday, October 9, 2018, Brookings)

As many analysts have recently written, the rules-based international order is under threat. The post-World War II system needs to be reformed to better address today's global challenges; global multilateralism and overarching institutions need to be defended in the face of shifts towards bilateralism; alliances need to be re-thought in some cases and bolstered in others.

In the meantime, an unlikely self-declared savior has emerged: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. At the United Nations General Assembly last month and in a recent op-ed, he enthusiastically defended free trade, multilateralism, and the international liberal order.

But Turkey's recent record doesn't match this new rhetoric: Erdoğan has been seeking alternative alliances away from the West as part of a decade-old "axis shift," has sought "precious loneliness" (from what it deems "immoral" world actors), and has lamented the concentration of power in the U.N. Security Council ("the world is bigger than five"). Meanwhile, Turkey has been drifting away from liberal democratic norms: For the first time since it began the "Freedom in the World" report in 1999, Freedom House classified the country as "not free" in 2018.

In fact, recent conciliatory messages from Erdoğan--via the op-ed, his U.N. speech, and his attempts last month to charm Germany, in particular--reflect concern about the country's growing economic woes. Despite Erdoğan's ideological resistance to the principles of liberal order, he knows that the solutions to his country's economic troubles lie in that very order.

Posted by at October 13, 2018 8:23 AM

  

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