What if Turkey collapses?

It's not outside the realm of possibility. Turkey's currency is in free fall[1]. Inflation is at 15% and climbing. The Turkish economy could enter a recession. The US has imposed economic sanctions on the country because President Recep Tayyip Erdogan refuses to hand over an American preacher who has been jailed there.

Lots of things are going wrong in Turkey, all at once.

As this map shows, Turkey may not be important economically[2]— in terms of contagion to the rest of the global economy — but it sure is important strategically and militarily.

Turkey is the bridge between the democratic, peaceful West and the war-ridden dictatorships of the East.

How strong do we want this bridge to be?

Countries ranked by the percentage of their exports that go to Turkey. Credit Suisse

Turkey is the thing that physically prevents the wars in the Middle East from rolling into Greece

If you are not confident about where Turkey is on the map, you are not alone. It's only when you see Turkey's borders that you realize why everyone is freaking out about the lira crisis.

On its Western flank, Turkey borders Greece and Bulgaria, Western-facing members of the European Union. A few years ago, Turkey — a member of NATO — was preparing the join Europe as a full member.

Turkey's other borders face six nations: Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Armenia, and Nakhchivan, a territory affiliated with Azerbaijan. Five of those are involved in...

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