This article explores the implications of monolithic notions of “East” and “West” for security within ethno-religiously diverse nation-states. It builds on literature within critical geopolitics by recognizing not only that homogeneous notions of the “West” and its “Others” were formed for the purpose of legitimizing ideological and physical contestations of geographical space, and that they continue to operate, but also that this has made nation-states substantially less secure at the intra-state level. Travel accounts by Western European and American travellers to Turkey from 1989 onwards are used as data to explore this. The content of these accounts mirrors the wider East-West discourse; considered together with Turkey’s popularly described position “at the crossroads” of Europe and Asia, the texts lend themselves to salient discussion of identity, culture, and difference between the hegemonic “West” and its “Others.” The post-1989 decolonized, post-Cold War period enables us to work within a contemporary context in which the opening of geographical space has occurred, and allows us to test whether “Western” identity in its hegemonic form of Western Europe and the US has evolved to accommodate this new context.
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