"Putting Ghosts To Rest
Turkey's prime minister will need political courage to reform his country and bring it closer to Europe.
Another Battle Ahead?: AKP supporters at an election rally in Istanbul, in March
By Owen Matthews and Sami Kohen | NEWSWEEK
Published Mar 28, 2009
From the magazine issue dated Apr 6, 2009
Bringing Turkey to Europe's door has been Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's epochal achievement. So why, over the four years since Turkey opened formal negotiations to join the European Union, has he seemed to have lost interest in his grand project? With his AK Party's thumping parliamentary majority, Erdogan had a chance to integrate his country into the EU and reform the Constitution in a way that would create a real democracy—for instance, by overhauling the Constitution to protect elected parties and officials from interference from politicized prosecutors. But instead of integrating Turkey into Europe, he has spent more energy over the last couple of years pursuing Turkey's Middle East diplomacy and, most recently, aggressively attacking Israel's invasion of Gaza. And instead of reforming the Constitution, he's chosen to leave largely intact a system born in a 1980 military coup that left the Army with extraordinary powers over elected officials."
More:Why Turkey Has Not Integrated Into Europe. | Newsweek International Edition | Newsweek.com