COPING WITH GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE, DISASTERS AND SECURITY: THREATS, CHALLENGES, VULNERABILITIES AND RISKS, Ed. by Hans Günter Brauch et al., Berlin and New York, Springer, 2011, 207-218
Mustafa Aydın and Aslı Toksabay Esen
Turkey has undergone major transformations and a number of ups and downs between 1990 and 2010. At the end of the Cold War, Turkey was an out-dated flank country, whose ‘strategic value’ to its Western allies was at best diminished.Yet, its location suddenly opened up new windows of opportunity to exploit in the newly emerging world (dis)order, al-though these, more often than not, also entailed risks and challenges.Most of the 1990’s saw a Turkey that ‘wasted’ opportunities through contradicting initiatives, overblown expectations, misused resources, inefficient coalition governments, infighting between ethnic, religious, and political cleavages, political mismanagement, and coordination weaknesses at the top of the state, etc.Yet Turkey is a country negotiating for accession to the European Union, an emerging regional power, a member of the only surviving global military alliance, an active participant in international peace-keeping or peacemaking efforts, a mediator in its re-gion, an aspiring energy hub, and an elected member of the UN Security Council for 2009–10.All these do not preclude the fact that Turkey today continues to face several challenges, both in domestic politics and regarding its regional and global role.As domestic cleavages persist on both ethnic and religious grounds, thus the continuing salience of perennial identity discussion, the EU negotiation process has come close to stalling.Turkey faces dilemmas in defining a position for itself in the post-9/11 world before it could even put its post-Cold War role into perspective.This paper provides an overview of the salient domestic and international issues for today’s Turkey, as well as the wider security concerns, and will try to demonstrate the ways in which these categories overlap, interact, and exacerbate one another, affecting Turkey’s security conceptualization and prioritization.