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How America, Europe, and Turkey Can Revive a Fading Partnership

Review by Professor John Handley, Ed.D.

Philip H. Gordon and Omer Taspinar; afterword by Soli Ozel, Winning Turkey: How America, Europe, and Turkey can Revive a Fading Partnership, Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institute, 2008, ISBN 978-0-8157-3215-0, pp. 115, $13.00. paperback

For those of us that assume the long-standing and generally positive relationship between Turkey and the US, as well as a similar relationship between Turkey and Europe, will continue into the foreseeable future, the authors provide compelling reasons to rethink this assessment.  They are not saying that Turkey is lost to the West, but that Turkey has options, several options, which may be of great benefit to Turkish citizens while not benefiting the West at all.  The authors give Turkey’s improving relations with Russia, Iran, and Syria as such examples; however, as the authors conclude in Chapter 1, all is not lost.  Chapter 2 briefly describes Turkey’s political history since the end of World War One and explains the goals of secular Kemalism and the current struggle for the “hearts and minds” of the Turkish voting population by both Kemalists and Islamists.  Chapter 3 discusses the US-Turkish schism over the US incursion into Iraq and Turkey’s eventual rejection of allowing US forces to cross into Iraq from Turkey.  Chapter 4 details the widening problems between Turkey and Europe over eventual Turkish ascension into the EU, especially considering that Cyprus, a relatively recent addition to the EU, now holds veto power.  Chapter 5 addresses Turkey’s Eurasian options, while the final chapter contains the authors’ five policy positions recommendations for the US and Europe to adopt in order to strengthen the US/Europe/Turkish alliance.  These five recommendations include:

  • Promote a “grand bargain” between Turkey and the Kurds
  • Support liberalism and democracy in Turkey
  • Renew the commitment by the EU for Turkish admittance
  • Promote a historic compromise with Armenia
  • Support a political settlement in Cyprus and greater
    Western engagement with Turkish Cypriots


John M. Handley
John M. Handley

John M. Handley, Ed.D. , American Diplomacy Publishers’ Vice-President for Outreach, is a Professor of International Relations for Webster University’s Ft. Bragg and Pope AFB campuses.  A retired US Army Colonel, Professor Handley spent his Army career in military intelligence, including as a Defense Attaché, the Dean of the School of Attaché Training at the Defense Intelligence College, and Deputy, Resource Management, for the Defense Intelligence Agency.


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