In this new era of an integrated and interdependent globalized world, Turkey stands midway between the rich cultures of western and eastern values; this is significant, as Turkey is attractive to both its western allies and its eastern neighbors because of its geographic location and strategic influence. Turkey has predominantly been liberal and democratic in its political culture, although it has had a rich history of an authoritarian past with the Ottoman Empire and autocratic president Mustafa Kemal “Ataturk”; its western influence and behavior has driven Turkey to embrace the transformationalist view of globalization, emphasizing cooperation among international institutions and adopting consumerism as its main driver of global economic success. Turkey’s economic and political transition from autocracy to democracy and liberalization in the current global climate has not been easy. Turkey was ruled by the Ottoman Empire from the 14th century all the way to the 20th century1 and it set an international image of an authoritarian regime for many years until it finally succumbed in World War I, effectively breaking the Ottoman Empire into many different regions of power. Along with the Ottoman Empire’s defeat came a powerful revolution in 1923 and an urge for rejuvenation and unity in Turkey, a feature that would drive it away from its authoritarian past and drive it towards a more modern, globalized nation-state. History has shown us that it has taken Turkey a lot of effort and a lot of political and economic experimentation to get to the type of constitutional government they have today,2 which is why Turkey is considered to fall under the category of “outlier” when it comes to their source of political and economic shaping. Its evolutionary path towards democratization and global power arose primarily out of the fall of the Ottoman Empire and Turkey’s subsequent national pride, which emphasized rapid economic development and westernization of their political culture. These unique set of events that unfolded after World War I in 1914, led Turkey to host its first president, Mustafa Kemal “Ataturk” who carried modernization of the state and its institutions as the primary drivers of his presidency. Although Mustafa Kemal was not liked by many because of his rapid modernization pace alongside western concepts and ample disregard of Islam and Turkey’s past political heritage3, his capitalist and democratic ideals did transcend time and evolved into the current capitalist democracy Turkey enjoys today. Many Turkish citizens today credit Kemal as being the “father of the Turks” who, according to Harry Levins “kicked and dragged the country into the modern world”4.
Turkey’s current emphasis on cooperation and mutual interdependency with many international institutions that work together towards solving global problems sets Turkey with the ideals of the transformationalists. Globalization has helped Turkey transform itself from country that for many years was autocratic in its political nature, to a country that embraces western values, works with political institutions and seeks global and regional cooperation in its international affairs and business practices. One of the most important steps Turkey has taken towards this end was to join the United Nations after World War II, which occurred after Turkey sided with the allies during the war against Germany and was given membership in the U.N. as a token of good gesture, becoming one of the 51 original members of the world organization 5and effectively positioning itself into the emerging global arena and alongside the winners of the war. In 1952, thanks to the power vacuum left by a weakened Great Britain after World War II, U.S. influence propelled Turkey into NATO membership6, establishing Turkey as an official U.S. ally and strengthening its relations with its European counterparts by