The New York Times - AUG. 28, 2014
In the late 1990s, as Turkey was reeling from various political and economic crises, there was a nationwide debate over European Union membership and whether Turkish accession to the union would solve the country’s problems.
Back then, I was a graduate student in International Relations at Marmara University. Among the professors in my department, there was only one who opposed Turkey’s integration with the West. He was a distinguished scholar of Islamic and Western political philosophy, and a genial figure who enjoyed spending hours conversing with his students. In his lectures, this professor argued that Turkey would soon emerge as the leader of the Islamic world by taking advantage of its proud heritage and geographical potential.
Now, 14 years later, that professor, Ahmet Davutoglu, has been named Turkey’s new prime minister.
Mr. Davutoglu’s classroom pronouncements often sounded more like fairy tales than political analysis. He cited the historical precedents of Britain, which created a global empire in the aftermath of its 17th-century civil war, and Germany, a fragmented nation which became a global power following its 19th-century unification. Mr. Davutoglu was confident that his vision could transform what was then an inflation-battered nation, nearly torn apart by a war with Kurdish separatists, into a global power.