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Tag Archives: military
The Power Problem is an occasional series of mini-forums on Power & Policy, asking specialists from the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard Kennedy School to suggest policy responses by the United States to pressing world issues. We … Continue reading
A Power & Policy Guest View
By Joshua W. Walker
As a longtime ally of the West and new partner of Iran and Syria, Turkey has been seeking the role of mediator and model in every available arena, including Egypt, Lebanon, and Tunisia. As a G-20 founding member, holder of a seat on the UN Security Council, European Union aspirant, and head of the Organization of Islamic Conference, Ankara has transformed itself into an international actor, capable of bringing considerable clout and influence to its regions. Often lost in the debates about Turkey and its potential as a model is the fact that Ankara did not transform itself overnight from a defeated post-Ottoman state led by Ataturk’s military to a flourishing market-democracy led by a conservative Muslim party. It has been almost a century in the making.
Given the recent events in Egypt, the role of the Turkish military and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) led by Prime Minister Erdoğan has garnered many comparisons to the Egyptian army and the Muslim Brotherhood. Egypt and Turkey’s official aspirations—modernity and secularism—are remarkably undefined, though officially upheld and enforced by the military institutions as pillars of the grand idea of these nations themselves. Apart from generic rhetoric, there has been little refined thinking by most analysts about the substance of these terms or about the relationship between society and the political elite in Egypt for the last thirty years given the lack of civilian empowerment, while Turkey has been struggling with civil-military tensions since the arrival of the AKP.
In the late 19th century, American Admiral Alfred Mahan described the rise of sea power and its relationship to a nation’s global strength. In the early 20th century Italian General Giulio Douhet was first to develop theories about the essentiality … Continue reading