Turkey and its predecessor state, the Ottoman Empire, have been at the centre of international relations for centuries. By the late eighteenth century, what had once been the dominant power in the eastern Mediterranean and south-east Europe was gradually falling apart. For the European statesmen of the nineteenth century, it had become the 'eastern question' - a complex problem of conflicts and alliances, which also raised difficult and sometimes insoluble questions for the Turks themselves. After the collapse of the empire at the end of the First World War, Turkey was reconstructed as a nation-state by Kemal Ataturk and his colleagues, committed to modernist goals. While there were important elements of continuity between the foreign policies of the old empire and the new republic, the challenges of the twentieth century also presented Turkey's rulers with new questions and policy options. Skilful diplomacy was an essential factor in the survival of the state, both during the Second World War and in the Cold War period, in which Turkey became a vital member of the NATO alliance. After the Cold War, Turkey's international role, at the cross-roads between the Balkans, the Middle East and Transcaucasia, and as an aspiring member of the European Union, acquired new complexity and importance.
This is the first attempt to bring the whole story of Turkish foreign relations together in a comprehensive survey. For those mainly interested in Turkey's modern history, the book will fill a clear gap in the literature. For those with a broader interest in international history, the book offers important pointers as to how medium-sized states have acted in the changing international environment in the past 200 years. This revised, updated edition contains a new Preface and an extended Postscript, covering events up to 2002.
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