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Capsule Review

Turkey’s European Future: Behind the Scenes of America’s Influence on EU-Turkey Relations

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Turkey's European Future: Behind the Scenes of America's Influence on EU-Turkey Relations
Turkey's European Future: Behind the Scenes of America's Influence on EU-Turkey Relations
By Nathalie Tocci
NYU Press, 2011 240 pp. $55.00 Purchase

Many observers believe that the United States lacks sufficient leverage to influence Turkey significantly and that the major external determinants of Turkish foreign policy are Turkey’s relationships with Europe (its largest trading partner and continued interlocutor in discussions over EU membership) and with its regional neighbors. Tocci disagrees and argues that the United States exercises a significant hidden influence over EU-Turkish relations, largely through diplomatic pressure and back-channel discussions with Europe. She concludes that U.S. pressure was “critical” in moving Turkey’s EU candidacy along between 1998 and 2006, despite disagreements over the Iraq war. But her evidence does not support this claim: outspoken diplomacy failed outright, and quiet diplomacy was not nearly as important as domestic electoral change within Europe. As right-wing parties opposed to Turkey’s bid for EU membership gained power in Europe during the past decade, U.S. influence declined. Despite its suspect conclusions, this book is an interesting study of the enduring closeness between Europe and the United States. Their political discourses dovetail, facilitating steady cooperation that overcomes occasional disagreements.

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