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Uncommon Decency

Oct 19, 2022

"Greece, look at history, go back in time; if you go too far, the price will be heavy. We only have one sentence for Greece, do not forget Izmir”.  After months of hostile aerial and naval encounters between Greek and Turkish armed forces, Recep Tayyip Erdogan gave this remarkable speech last September. By referring to the 1922 burning of the Greek Anatolian city of Izmir by the Turkish army, Erdogan's threat to Greece was crystal clear. It's a snapshot of a foreign policy decried as revanchist by its critics, and as logically assertive by its supporters, but one that from the outside can be hard to understand. How can this NATO member be at loggerheads with its Greek neighbor and trade diplomatic blows with European capitals while still technically applying for EU membership? We invited Ryan Gingeras, an expert of Turkish foreign policy, to take stock of this paradox. Is there such a thing as an Erdogan doctrine? Gingeras is a professor in the Department of National Security Affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School and is an expert on Turkish, Balkan, and Middle East history. He is the author of six books, including the forthcoming The Last Days of the Ottoman Empire (to be released by Penguin in October 2022). The views he expresses here are not those of the Naval Postgraduate School, the U.S. Navy, the Department of Defense, or any part of the U.S. government.

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