About the Book
Turkey will play a critical geopolitical role in the events of the Middle East. After the attempted coup of July 2016, the spotlight is on Recep Tayyip Erdogan – the powerful leader of the country whose increasingly authoritarian regime has increased tensions both within and outside the country.
Erdogan’s crackdown on dissent has been brutal and consistent – thousands of journalists arrested, academics officially banned from leaving the country, university deans fired and three quarters of the
highest-ranking army officers in custody. As his opponents accuse the AKP of heavyhandedness, Erdogan promises to bring order and stability under a ‘strongman’.
In this book, leading Turkish expert Soner Cagaptay looks at where Erdogan comes from in Turkish history, what he believes in and how he has cemented his rule. The New Sultan tells the story of the increasingly Islamic Turkey Erdogan has built, and assesses the threats he faces – from the liberal youth to the Gulen movement, the army plotters and the fallout from the Kurdish question.
This is a brave and balanced narrative of Turkey's mercurial President Erdogan. Soner Cagaptay explains how "the new sultan" built a modern and prosperous Turkey, but how his "dark, illiberal side" undermined these achievements and throttled democracy. Turkey is now at a crossroads, and Cagaptay provides a clear roadmap. Nobody tells Erdogan's story better or more honestly.
David Ignatius, columnist
My most challenging mission in a 35-year diplomatic career was dealing with Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Along with Bibi Netanyahu and Supreme Leader Khamenei, Erdogan has been one of the three Middle Eastern leaders of consequence in the twenty-first century. Cagaptay's book captures both the man and his state; I wish I'd read it before serving as ambassador to Turkey.
James F. Jeffrey, former ambassador to Turkey
CNN Appearance: Turkey Decides - will the President seize more power? What does it mean for democracy?
CNN's Lynda Kinkade talks to director of the Turkish Program at the Washington Institute Soner Cagaptay.