Turkey straddles two worlds, Europe and Asia, but its relationship with the West has always been troubled. Once dubbed the sick man of Europe, the member of NATO has sought membership of the European Union, but always been denied.
Today, roles have been reversed. Turkey is booming, with economic growth at 8.5 per cent while its nearest European neighbours are going broke.
This economic success has earned the country international respect. Turkey is now acting as a trusted broker with its turbulent neighbours in the Caucasus, Iran, Iraq, Israel, and Syria.
Is Turkey a weathervane reflecting the global shift of power? And can the new Ottomans strike a balance between the country’s modern, secular aspirations and its deep-rooted Islamic identity?
The Cafe travels to Istanbul, a secular city in an increasingly religious country that is trying to break free from its past.
Joining our conversation in The Cafe in Istanbul are guests:
Nursuna Memecan, a senior member of parliament representing Turkey’s ruling party, the AKP; Mehmet Karli, a lecturer at Galatasaray University and a human rights activist; Andrew Finkel, a journalist & author of Turkey what everyone needs to know; Gokce Piskin, a rising star in the CHP, the main opposition party in Turkey, and chairwoman of its youth wing; Merve Kavakci Islam, a professor at Georgetown University and a former member of the Turkish parliament who was prevented from taking up her seat due to her wearing of the headscarf; and Abdulhamit Bilici, the head of Cihan News Agency, a columnist at Zaman; and author of Why Turkey
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