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  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Al Jazeera
  • Abstract: Overall, the AKP’s vote share in the 30 biggest cities declined from 2014, continuing a trend seen first in the 2017 referendum. The reversal in AKP fortunes is most evident in Istanbul, often considered a microcosm of Turkey.
  • Topic: International Organization, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Al Jazeera
  • Abstract: Overall, the AKP’s vote share in the 30 biggest cities declined from 2014, continuing a trend seen first in the 2017 referendum. The reversal in AKP fortunes is most evident in Istanbul, often considered a microcosm of Turkey.
  • Topic: International Organization, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Al Jazeera
  • Abstract: So far, Turkey has been successful in its pursuit of internationalising the Khashoggi case and playing its cards strategically to keep the attention of international media and appeal to the morality of peoples and governments while also avoiding a direct clash with Saudi Arabia
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Al Jazeera
  • Abstract: So far, Turkey has been successful in its pursuit of internationalising the Khashoggi case and playing its cards strategically to keep the attention of international media and appeal to the morality of peoples and governments while also avoiding a direct clash with Saudi Arabia.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Athanasios Manis
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: The Iraqi and Turkish leadership have restored direct contact, thus providing an opportunity for dialogue. However, the extent to which this can lead to a sustainable normalisation process and furthermore to a deepening of their relationship is highly questionable. This policy brief argues that the main problem lies with the fact that a win-win scenario of overlapping or complementary interests does not seem to be driving the leaderships’ actions. Instead, it is ad hoc developments external to their bilateral relationship that have a positive effect for the time being, such as the rapprochement between Russia and Turkey, and subsequently a concerted attempt between Russia, Turkey and Iran to stabilise the region.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Al Jazeera
  • Abstract: The Supreme Electoral Council of Turkey has officially announced that the Yes camp has won the constitutional amendments by just over 51 per cent, in contrast to the camp rejecting the amendments which received just over 48 per cent, although these results are not yet final. Surprisingly, an overwhelming majority of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), though its leadership and the majority of its parliamentary bloc supported the amendments, voted ‘no’. The five major cities – Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Adana and Antalya – all voted ‘no’. The Kurdish vote clearly played a very important role in the Yes supporters’ victory. In other words, those who said ‘yes’ to the changes in cities with a significant Kurdish population exceeded the total votes of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the MHP in the recent parliamentary elections. In the external sphere, the referendum’s outcome is not expected to have a direct impact on heated regional issues, particularly in Syria, as well as most regional issues.
  • Topic: Democratization, International Security
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Al Jazeera
  • Abstract: The Justice and Development Party (AKP) could not possibly have received approval for the proposed constitutional amendments in parliament and needed the Nationalist Movement Party’s support in order to carry out a referendum. A difficult election campaign for the amendments awaits the two opposing parties; however, there is no way to be certain before the announcement of the referendum results. Nevertheless, the most important issue relates to the long-term consequences for the AKP, particularly in terms of its Kurdish base. In terms of ethnicities, the AKP is considered the party of Turks, Kurds, Arabs, Circassians and all other Turkish ethnic groups, while the Nationalist Movement Party has traditionally been committed to the most severe position against the Kurdish Nationalist Movement, including its armed and unarmed wings.
  • Topic: Democratization, Constitution
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Ida Vammen, Hans Lucht
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Since the EU and Turkey sealed a migration deal in 2016, millions of refugees have been living on the fringes in Turkey. Without long-term solutions, they will continue to risk their lives by embarking on new, dangerous routes to Europe.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Refugee Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey
  • Author: Uğur Gungor
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research (SAM)
  • Abstract: This policy brief focuses on Turkey’s leadership in peace operations in Somalia (UNOSOM II) and Afghanistan (ISAF II and VII). It explains the events leading to the establishment of these operations, provides a brief history, and explores their mission in order to provide a better understanding of Turkey’s leadership and the operations themselves. Then, the brief examines the organization and activities of these operations under Turkey’s leadership. This brief also aims at analyzing the significance of Turkey’s leadership.
  • Topic: International Relations, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Pinar Elman
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Since the EU-Turkey deal on refugees on 29 November, there has not been a significant reduction in the numbers of migrants crossing into the EU from Turkey. One of the main reasons is probably lack of trust between Turkey and European Commission in their readiness to keep promises. EU can break the impasse by offering Schengen visa liberalisation but at the same time should use the accession negotiations to exert greater pressure on Ankara.
  • Topic: Human Welfare, Migration, Politics, Refugee Issues, European Union
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Tomáš Kaválek, Athanasios Manis
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: This paper argues that the future political stability of Nineveh depends on a two-level normalisation. A potential agreement between competing local actors, such as Baghdad and Erbil, is not the only necessary condition to stabilise the area. It also requires that Turkey and Iran decide to desecuritise Nineveh to the extent that it ceases to play the role of a buffer zone in the Middle East regional security complex. This argument is underpinned by the close examination of Turkey’s and Iran’s involvement together with their respective local allies in Nineveh in the post-2014 period. Developments referring to the cases of Bashiqa, Shingal, Tal Afar, as well as activities in favour or against Mosul leaders’ post-Islamic State (IS) vision illustrate that Nineveh’s securitisation has transcended Iraq’s borders. All in all, Turkey and Iran are vying for greater influence in Nineveh, or at least attempting to ensure that it will not become a satellite area of a competing power. Partly through their direct diplomatic and military engagement, but most importantly through their military and economic support to their local allies, the two regional powers pursue their security and diplomatic goals. At the same time, their involvement in the area has compounded the friction between local actors. Accordingly, the paper argues that in order to avoid greater polarisation in Nineveh and prepare the ground for constructive negotiations in the post-IS environment, Turkey and Iran should work on institutionalising their relationship beyond trade. Working together on issues of security between them, but also specifically in Nineveh, would improve trust and confidence in their relationship and help overcome the catch-22.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Iran, Turkey
  • Author: Athanasios Manis
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: Turkey is experiencing a crisis of orientation in its internal and external affairs as a result of a transition between a dying and an emerging vision. The end of the current transitional period will not necessarily mark the end of the country’s crisis, but most probably its entrenchment or deepening.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Asli Aydıntaşbaş
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: With the European Parliament decision to “freeze” accession talks, Turkey’s decades-long engagement with Europe is in crisis. In 2016 Turkey-EU relations took a step forward, with a historic deal on refugee resettlement, but also a step back, with a sweeping crackdown in the wake of the failed 15 July coup and global criticism of Turkey’s human rights situation. Instead of populism and resentment, both Europe and Turkey need to develop “strategic patience” to anchor Turkey to Europe. Turkey’s history has been an ebb and flow between Westernisation and nativist reaction. It is important for the EU to think long-term about Turkey. One way to bypass the current impasse might be to offer Ankara an upgraded customs union, with political benchmarks for market access. Despite tensions, Turkey and the European Council should think about their shared interests and high degree of integration to avert a “train-wreck”.
  • Topic: International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey
  • Author: Lucia Najšlová
  • Publication Date: 06-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Europeum Institute for European Policy
  • Abstract: At a time when the Visegrad Group (V4) is becoming a more ambitious regional bloc, several policymakers and analysts have floated the idea of deepening a dialogue with Turkey, a country of tremendous importance for the EU, and one that is enjoying unprecedented interest of policymakers, business circles and publics at large.2 Perhaps this should not come as a surprise – although the V4’s approach to the refugee crisis left some Western EU leaders questioning whether accepting the Eastern Europeans in the 2004 enlargement was a mistake – the V4 has a track-record of constructive engagement in the EU neighborhoods, and consistent support for further enlargement, including Turkey’s accession.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey
  • Publication Date: 07-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Al Jazeera
  • Abstract: The military coup attempt that unfolded in Turkey on the night of 15 July 2016 was successfully put down by popular protests across the country responding to President Erdogan’s calls for citizens to stand for democracy. Despite this, the coup attempt will have domestic, regional and international implications. This policy brief is a preliminary analysis of the reasons the coup failed, the paths Turkish politics may take after this coup and the regional and international reactions to the coup.
  • Topic: International Security, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Publication Date: 05-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Al Jazeera
  • Abstract: After two meetings between Turkey’s President Erdogan and Prime Minister Davutoglu in the span of less than a week, Davutoglu announced his resignation as head of government and head of the AKP party on 5 May 2016. This policy brief examines the key points of contention between Erdogan and Davutoglu, the republic’s governmental crisis, the impact of Davutoglu’s resignation on the Justice and Development (AKP) Party and the possibility of constitutional reform that will change the country’s system of governance.
  • Topic: Democratization, Political Power Sharing, Political stability
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Richard H.M Outzen, Ryan Schwing
  • Publication Date: 05-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Fifteen years into the era of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, U.S. influence on his inner circle and support base, the new generation of Turkish strategic thinkers, and the Turkish public at large has diminished rather than improved. American Turkey watchers have grown frustrated with perceived divergence of interests, values, and agendas. A growing number consider Erdoğan and his inner circle autocratic, difficult, ideologically extreme, and dangerous.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Teemu Sinkkonen
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The ISIL surge has inspired a new generation of jihadist terrorists. The large number of foreign volunteers in Syria may cause a global terrorism blowback when ISIL is defeated in Syria/Iraq. This underlines the need for common goals and policies regarding the foreign terrorist fighter phenomenon. The EU has not been able to take a decisive role regarding the Syrian conflict and foreign terrorist fighters, but it can still play an important role in coordinating the responses of the member states. The EU could take a role in establishing common guidelines for social media regarding extremist material and agitation for violence. Finding common ground with Turkey on information gathering and sharing would be essential in preventing the travel-for-terrorism cause. Countries bordering Syria and Iraq are in danger of ISIL spill-over effects in the form of potential affiliates and organizations emulating the rebel group. Egypt and Libya are also likely to become breeding grounds for such groups.
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Turkey, Libya, Syria, Egypt
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: Turkey will play a significant role in Syria's future, more so than any other neighbor, though the history between the two nations has been a troubled one Although Turkey's President Erdogan was at first keen to have good relations with Syria's President Assad, and succeeded in doing so, since 2011, they have gone sour Turkey is determined to influence the outcome of Syria's civil war, even if it finds no support from its allies The reappointment of Hakan Fidan to head the Turkish Intelligence Service may usher in a more active phase of Turkish involvement in the conflict.
  • Topic: Development, War
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Syria
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: Despite the vast resources of other states in the Middle East, the two powers that matter most are Iran and Turkey Iran is currently ascendant in the region and takes every opportunity to wield its influence Saudi Arabia is trying to build a Sunni alliance that might challenge Iran's dominance-even if it is not clear how Efforts to bring Turkey on board the Sunni alliance may founder on differing interests-not least Turkey's own ambitions.
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Following the 2015 national election in Turkey the AKP, for the first time since coming to power in 2002, failed to win enough votes to form a majority government. Since the election the AKP has given the impression that it is attempting to form a coalition government, but in reality the party has been employing a number of tactics in order to increase its share of the vote in preparation for a snap election. These tactics have mainly revolved around increasing the nationalist vote and damaging the main Kurdish party. However, these manoeuvres have increased polarisation in Turkey and have resulted in an escalation of the conflict with the Kurds. Worryingly, it has become evident that the AKP aims to win power in the next election at all costs.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Politics, Governance, Elections
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Al Jazeera
  • Abstract: After Turkish fighter jets shot down a Russian warplane 24 November 2015, tensions between the two countries came to a head, particularly given their very different political positions on the Syrian issue. With Russia an ally of the Assad regime, and Turkey an ally of the opposition, the downed Russian jet has been the latest in a string of incidents that have threatened otherwise growing economic and trade cooperation between the two countries. This position paper argues that escalation of the tension between the two sides will have ramifications not only for the two parties involved, but also for the Syrian crisis.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Publication Date: 08-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Al Jazeera
  • Abstract: Following the results of the recent parliamentary election in Turkey, efforts by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the centre-left Republican People’s Party (CHP) to form a coalition government failed. An alliance between the AKP and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) seems unlikely because, among other reasons, the latter is connected to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The right-wing Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) this week also rejected the idea of a coalition with the AKP. Turkey is thus set for early elections in October or November.
  • Topic: International Relations, Democratization, Elections
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Uğur Gungor
  • Publication Date: 07-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research (SAM)
  • Abstract: This policy brief studies the evolution of United Nations peace operations and aims at analyzing the motivations that lie at the root of Turkey’s involvement in peace operations, mostly organized under the leadership of the United Nations in the post-Cold War era. The brief puts forth the argument that participation in such operations has been an identity-constructing activity in the sense that Turkey has, through this particular way, tried to reinforce its eroding western identity in the 1990s. This brief also discusses alternative motivations behind Turkey’s involvement in peace operations, such as security-related considerations in a neo-realist vein and domestic influence of ethnic and religious pressure groups, but argues that these accounts fall short of offering convincing explanations.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Steven Blockmans
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Concerns about the deterioration of democracy in Turkey are not new: the trials over the 2003 „ Sledgehammer ‟ alleged coup plan (2010-12) and over the ‟ Ergenekon ‟ secret organisation (2008-13) broke the military‟s influence over politics, but were widely criticised because of their reliance on secret witnesses and disputes over evidence. Ironically, their outcome has recently been challenged by Prime Minister Erdoğan himself, who has disowned the trials now that the judiciary has the AK Party in its sights. International concern was also stirred by the violent crackdown on the countrywide protests of May/June 2013. Unrest then was triggered by the planned redevelopment of Istanbul‟s Gezi Park in May 2013, but developed into a wider movement critical of government corruption, increasing restrictions on freedom of speech and concerns about the erosion of secularism. Protests simmered on through September, winding down in autumn and winter only to reignite in March of this year.
  • Topic: Government, International Cooperation, Politics, Regional Cooperation, Reform
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey
  • Author: Toni Alaranta
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Ever since the founding of the Republic in 1923, the idea of making Turkey a European country has been a major component of the nation-building project, although Europe has also been perceived as a threat. The incumbent Justice and Development Party (AKP) embarked on an EU-inspired reform project at first, but has subsequently taken an increasingly anti-European position. Turkey's EU bid under the AKP government needs to be seen within the context of the domestic power struggle, whose origins can be traced to two opposing modernization alternatives: radical and Islamic. Within the domestic power struggle, the AKP has used the EU process as a tool to de-legitimize the secularist state elite-lite, composed of the armed forces and the judiciary. After having consolidated its hegemony, the AKP abandoned its EU aspirations, and there is currently very little societal pressure from the AKP constituency to continue the EU reforms.
  • Topic: Power Politics, Regime Change, Reform
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey
  • Author: Balkan Devlen
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: From the start of the Ukrainian crisis Turkey kept a low profile and adopted a strategy best described as "don't poke the Russian bear". Russia is a major Turkish trading partner and Turkey relies heavily on Russian natural gas for its energy needs, while Turkish prime minister Erdogan has also been dealing with serious domestic challenges in the last year. Therefore, due to both external and internal factors, Turkey will avoid confronting Russia directly and will pass the buck to the U.S. and EU. In the short to medium term there are three plausible scenarios under which Turkey will change its current policy. They include the oppression of Crimean Tatars by the Russian authorities; military confrontation in the Black Sea between Russia and NATO; or a more unified, tougher stance against Russia by the West. In the long term Turkey most likely will revert to its traditional role of balancing Russia by strengthening its ties with the West, while reducing its energy dependence on Russia.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, Governance
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Turkey, Ukraine, Asia
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: The Turkish parliament's vote to authorize the deployment of military forces in Syria and Iraq provided a legal and official framework for such action It may appear to be a positive step in degrading and destroying the putative Islamic State (IS), however, the parliament in its vote used the broader term "terrorist organizations," thus the landscape for Turkey, Syria-Iraq, and regional states and interests remains exceptionally complex Though there is nearly universal and implacable opposition to IS among all actors in Syria and Iraq, Turkey's future role-depending on steps taken-could aggravate tensions not only with Arab Gulf states and Kurdish elements in Syria and Iraq, but Iran, Russia, and the Iraqi government Turkey's desire to create a buffer zone on the Syrian side of its common border remains one of the most sensitive issues Amid reports of increased IS pressure on Kobani, Kurdish PKK has insinuated Turkey will be to blame-not IS-for creating conditions for the refugee crisis, and threatens to resume opposition activity in Turkey. The Turkish parliament's vote Thursday to authorize use of its army and military facilities in the fight against the so-called Islamic State (IS) may appear at first look to be a positive step for the broader coalition. The measures-to be determined-are in addition to any financial, diplomatic, humanitarian, and support activities for the anti-IS coalition. However, parliament's vote did not entail Turkey's officially joining the coalition. After the recent deal-details yet to be revealed-to bring home over 40 hostages IS had taken from Turkey's consulate in Mosul, Iraq, in June 2014, pressure increased for Turkey to take military steps in the anti-IS fight. A factor increasing the possibility of military action is Turkish special operations forces' guarding the tomb of Suleyman Shah, a Turkish enclave in Syria reported to be increasingly surrounded by IS. Though there is almost universal animus toward IS in the region, there is also nearly uniform resistance to Turkey's perceived unilateral military involvement in Syria and Iraq, outside the framework of the anti-IS coalition. Turkey's next moves may cause more conflict than benefit in the anti-IS fight. Indeed, the political landscape for Turkey's moves at home and abroad remains extraordinarily complex.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Islam, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Turkey, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: David Mansfield, William A. Byrd
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: With large increases in Afghan opium cultivation and production in 2013 and 2014, there is a risk that resulting frustration may give rise to a search for extreme but unproductive solutions. There are no easy solutions to the illegal narcotics problem. The proposal that Afghanistan could shift to licensed production of opium for pain medications will not work. Due to severe problems with governance, rule of law and security, opium licensing in Afghanistan would be subject to extremely high leakages. Afghanistan's comparative advantage in supplying the illicit market means that it would likely expand cultivation to meet demand in both markets. Afghanistan is a high-cost producer of opium, and prices for licensed opium are much lower than on the illegal market, so profits might well be marginal or even negative. Existing producers of licensed opiates— Australia, Turkey, India, France and others—would strongly oppose any move to let Afghanistan become a competitor on the licensed market. Even if a more liberalized market for opiates is envisioned, technological advances and modern techniques in other countries mean that Afghanistan could not be a competitive producer.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Narcotics Trafficking
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Turkey, India, France, Australia
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: As King Abdullah remains out of sight, worries persist over Saudi Arabia's ability to handle its many domestic and foreign issues The Sunni-Shi'a divide is now seen largely in terms of competition for influence between Saudi Arabia and Iran But it is not just the Sunni-Shi'a tension which impacts the region as Saudi Arabia and Turkey also compete for primacy in the Arab Middle East; the three-way competition has been a key factor in the chronic conflicts in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen Common antipathy toward the self-declared Islamic State is the only glue that holds together the US-led coalition at this time: there's no consensus on how to defeat it, what to put in its place, and the role of Iran-issues made more complicated by questions about Saudi Arabia's internal decision process.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Islam, Power Politics, Counterinsurgency, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Turkey, Middle East, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Syria
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: The self-declared Islamic State (IS)'s strategy of exploiting and exacerbating divisions among its opponents ranks as one of its greatest weapons, and one of the coalition's greatest weaknesses Turkey's airstrikes against the Kurdistan Workers' Party in southeast Turkey are the latest example-and perhaps most damaging in the near-term-of opponents of IS fighting each other instead of the group IS was sustained during its weakest period (2008-2010) in part by exploiting real tensions between various groups-Sunni vs Shi'a, Sunni vs Sunni, Sunni vs Kurd, etc-that prevented an "everybody vs IS" opposition that remains the only way to defeat the group IS will continue to create/exacerbate/leverage the differences between the US and Turkey, Saudi Arabia/UAE and Qatar, the Kurds and various parties, so much so that focus is more on tactically keeping the coalition together and less on strategically strangling IS.
  • Topic: Islam, Terrorism, Armed Struggle, Insurgency, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Arab Countries, Kurdistan
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: As if sustaining an effective coalition against the anti-Islamic State coalition weren't complicated enough, increasingly open Iranian support for Syrian and Iraqi Kurds has the potential to further destabilize the situation Geopolitical machinations have excluded Iran from the international coalition but geographical realities will ensure the country has a significant role to play in the future of both Iraq and Syria Iran is seeking to leverage its support for the Kurds as a way to bolster its beleaguered ally in Damascus, Bashar al-Assad, and increase Iranian influence in Kurdish regions at the expense of Turkey and the West Overt Iranian support for the Kurds-while reaffirming support for Assad-will further stress the coalition, inevitably increasing sectarian tensions among members already grumbling that Assad and not IS is the true enemy; all while the West remains focused on IS and how to avoid entanglement in Syria As a sign of Iran's surprising Kurdish influence, Turkish and Iranian officials met on October 9 to discuss the unfolding events in Kobani, remarkable in that neither country is a member of the coalition but both hold most of the cards to resolve the immediate crisis.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Affairs, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Syria
  • Author: Erwan Fouéré
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: It is a damning reflection of our times that one of the EU's most successful foreign policy achievements has never been under so much criticism. During the recent elections for the European Parliament, populist eurosceptic parties were in the forefront of those campaigning against the EU's enlargement agenda. Their attempts at equating further enlargement with the dangers of increased immigration from Turkey, the Western Balkans and even other EU member states were bolstered by the leaders of some long-standing member states, such as the UK, openly calling for restrictions on freedom of movement — one of the fundamental pillars of the EU.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Governance, Reform
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Balkans
  • Author: William R. Cline
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: This semiannual review finds that most of the major international currencies, including the US dollar, euro, Japanese yen, UK pound sterling, and Chinese renminbi, remain close to their fundamental equilibrium exchange rates (FEERs). The new estimates find this result despite numerous significant exchange rate movements associated with increased volatility in international financial markets at the beginning of the fourth quarter of 2014, and despite a major reduction in the price of oil. The principal cases of exchange rate misalignment continue to be the undervalued currencies of Singapore, Taiwan, and to a lesser extent Sweden and Switzerland, and the overvalued currencies of Turkey, New Zealand, South Africa, and to a lesser extent Australia and Brazil. Even so, the medium-term current account deficit for the United States is already at the outer limit in the FEERs methodology (3 percent of GDP), and if the combination of intensified quantitative easing in Japan and the euro area with the end to quantitative easing in the United States were to cause sizable further appreciation of the dollar, an excessive US imbalance could begin to emerge.
  • Topic: Economics, Foreign Exchange, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Japan, Turkey, South Africa, Brazil, New Zealand
  • Author: Ali Bilgic, Daniela Nascimento
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Although Turkey had no past colonial involvement with African countries, there has been an increasing revival of Turkey's relation with the continent since the end of the 1990s, which reached a peak after 2005. From then on, along with a focus on Central Asia, the Balkans and the Middle East, Turkish foreign policy started shifting its focus to Africa, and as a new donor country Turkey's political and economic relations with sub-Saharan African countries have intensified significantly. This policy brief analyses and discusses the main economic, political, and strategic motivations behind these shifts and priorities, as well as some of the perceptions and current challenges this change in policy faces.
  • Political Geography: Africa, Central Asia, Turkey, Middle East, Balkans
  • Author: Patrick Nopens
  • Publication Date: 02-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: Three major geopolitical events are putting the stability of the Eastern Mediterranean at risk. Most of the region is in a deep monetary and economic crisis. The Arab Spring is causing turmoil in the Levant and the Maghreb. Gas and oil discoveries, if not well managed, could further destabilise the region. At the same time, Russia and Turkey are staging a comeback. In the face of these challenges, the EU approaches the Greek sovereign debt crisis nearly exclusively from a financial and economic viewpoint. This brief argues that the EU has to develop a comprehensive strategy for the region, complementing its existing multilateral regional framework with bilateral agreements in order to secure its interests in the Eastern Mediterranean.
  • Topic: Security, Debt, Oil, Regime Change, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Turkey, Arabia
  • Author: Evanthia Balla
  • Publication Date: 04-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: The South Caucasus, situated as it is at the crossroads of Eurasia's major energy and transport corridors, continues to play a vital role in the world's security affairs. After the end of the cold war the South Caucasus emerged as a key region in the geopolitical contest among regional and global powers. The South Caucasus states of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia are constantly performing a balancing act in their relations with the U.S., Russia, Turkey and Iran. Armenia has developed strong political and economic ties with Iran in order to counter the Turkish-Azerbaijani axis. Azerbaijan seeks to reinforce its links with the West, especially the U.S., as its main extraregional source of diplomatic and economic support, while it remains cautious towards both Russian and Iranian ambitions in the region. Especially after the 2008 war with Russia and the loss of its provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Georgia has reinforced its links to Western powers and structures while strengthening its ties with Turkey. Both Turkey and Iran are trying to increase their influence in the region, while promoting their national interests in the international arena.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Economics, Islam, Power Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Jeffrey Mankoff, Müjge Küçükkeleş
  • Publication Date: 03-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Growing disorder throughout the Middle East has created the possibility for major changes to the status of Kurdish minorities in Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. Turkey's handling of its Kurdish population and its relations with Kurdish groups throughout the region are creating new challenges for US foreign policy and US-Turkish relations. US policy toward the Kurds remains subordinate to wider regional security interests. Officially, the United States does not support the establishment of an independent Kurdish state. In practice, however, US policy is often inconsistent: the United States backs Kurdish groups in some states while opposing them in others.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Ethnic Government, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Turkey, Middle East, Syria, North America, Kurdistan
  • Author: Rahman Dag
  • Publication Date: 04-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Strategic Research and Analysis
  • Abstract: Once the Newroz on 21 March, 2013 in Diyarbakir would be the subject of any sort of conversation, academic discussion, journalistic research and daily bread on the lips of people, it would be absolutely considered as one of the most significant turning points in the history of politics in Turkey. Since, whether it will be successfully accomplished or dramatically failed and cause an internal high-level armed struggle, as a part of peace process initiated by AKP and assisted by BDP, the announcement of Öcalan calling for leaving the armed forces out of Turkey's border and superseded it with ideas and politics will be the inception of new horizons in Turkish politics. The main crux of Öcalan's most recent announcement should not be narrowly seen as part of the Kurdish question alone, but rather in my point of view, its consequences are expected to affect every tiny aspect of Turkey; ranging from the prime sphere of politics to social, cultural, and economic structures. When it comes to specific analysis of these aspects, the implication and strategy of peace process will be much clearer in minds.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Economics, Politics, Culture
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Bülen Arınç
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research (SAM)
  • Abstract: The increase in the number of nation-states and the violent wars of the last century has triggered the evolution of a new approach that seeks to find a place for the individual in international law. In other words, human rights has become internationalised and this is for the good of all humanity. Today, the fundamental human rights principles, such as justice, equality and freedom, have been embraced unquestionably and put into writing, which demonstrates that they were adopted by all peoples on earth. The fundamental principles of human rights include ensuring a life and governance system where all people will be free and equal and not subject to discrimination due to their race, colour, sex, language, religion, faith, nationality or ethnic origin. In addition, the rights must include an adequate standard of living for the individual, encompassing health, education, food, shelter and social services; an equal enjoyment of legal protection; freedom of assembly and association; and freedom of belief, conscience, thought and speech.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Bülent Aras
  • Publication Date: 04-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research (SAM)
  • Abstract: Both the EU’s recognition of the importance of its value system and Turkey’s rediscovery of its European component in its foreign policy identity have occurred during a period of radical transformation in the Mediterranean region. The Arab Spring has resulted in a process of renegotiation over territory, identity and governance which has eventually fostered the idea of a new regional political community. The EU is in an advantageous position now if it truly wants to build a political community eastwards and southwards. One logical move would be a renegotiation in the EU over Turkey’s role in a new vision for the future of the EU. Turkey’s European identity and policy style will continue to shape its own neighbourhood policy as it is at the centre of a new geopolitical thinking. Ankara sees itself as having an order-instituting role in its changing neighbourhood and is in a process of recalibrating its policies in this direction. The Turkish and EU models complement each other, and there is no possibility for any other model to compete with these perspectives in the foreseeable
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey
  • Author: Stephen J. Hadley, Steven A. Cook, Madeleine Albright
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Among the most important developments in international affairs of the past decade is the emergence of Turkey as a rising regional and global power. Turkey has long been an important country as a stalwart member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), an aspirant to European Union (EU) membership, and an important link between the West and the East. Yet the changes in Turkey over the past decade have been so dramatic—with far-reaching political and economic reforms, significant social reforms, and an active foreign policy—that the country is virtually unrecognizable to longtime Turkey watchers. Today Turkey is more democratic, prosperous, and politically influential than it was five, ten, and fifteen years ago.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Political Violence, Democratization, Economics, Human Rights, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Central Asia, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Hanna Ojanen, Barbara Zanchetta
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The increasing tension around the Iranian nuclear programme and the uncompromising positions of the protagonists have made the goal of creating a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East seem utopic. Yet, the current strategy of maintaining a low profile in the discussions on the zone, while keeping the focus exclusively on Iran, is not likely to lead to progress. Instead, combining the Iranian question with the zone and enlarging the content and scope of the negotiations even further by including Iran's neighbours could be a better strategy. Turkey could play a key role because of its unique relations with Iran, and because of its strong quest for a more prominent international position — if it can only strike the right balance between the role of lead actor and team player. Turkish-Iranian relations could notably inspire the consideration of accompanying pragmatic agreements on regional cooperation in other fields as a way forward for the upcoming Middle East disarmament negotiations in Finland.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Power Politics
  • Political Geography: Iran, Turkey, Middle East, Finland
  • Author: Muhittin Ataman
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: When we consider Saudi Arabian large population, territories and natural resources, it is obvious that it will continue to preserve its geopolitical, geo-economic and geo-cultural importance in future. The assumption of King Abdullah as the ruler of the country provided an opportunity to restructure the country's foreign policy. The new king began to follow a more pragmatic, rational, interdependent, multilateral and multidimensional foreign policy. He pursues an active foreign policy required to be less dependent on a single state (the United States) and on a single product (oil).
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Oil, Political Economy, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Turkey, Middle East, Arabia, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Olgu Okumus
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Global Political Trends Center
  • Abstract: Since September 2011, the Eurasian gas market has been facing shocking bi-monthly announcements: on September 23, British Petroleum (BP) announced the South East Europe Pipeline (SEEP); on December 26, Turkish and Azeri authorities announced their joint agreement for the Trans-­Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP); and on February 26, the Shah Deniz II Consortium announced it was undertaking exclusive negotiations with the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP). The shock wave intensified when the Turkish Energy Minister hinted that a new agreement allowing Russia to build its own South Stream pipeline under the Black Sea using Turkish territorial waters was in the works. Now the ultimate question of the Eurasian energy market is: “Which of these projects will be built?” This Policy Brief seeks to answer this question by analyzing Turkey's standing in Eurasian energy diplomacy in the perspective of energy transit projects competing for building the Southern Energy Corridor of gas transit from the Caspian zone to Europe. First, I present a short review of Turkish strategy in Eurasian energy diplomacy. Secondly, I detail the driving forces behind Turkish energy policy. I then conclude with some remarks about different scenarios of Turkish energy policy in the framework of the Southern Energy Corridor.
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, Energy Policy, Markets, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey
  • Author: Evrydiki Fotopoulou, Erdal Tanas Karagöl
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: It has been almost four years since the global financial crisis started in 2008 and it has become an inherently European affair. One after another, weaker European economies seeing their growth plummeting have become unable to recover on their own and are resorting to loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), European Central Bank (ECB) and the European Union (EU). Already, Ireland, Greece and Portugal have requested full bailouts with Southern Cyprus as the newcomer, still under negotiation, while Spain has requested only partial assistance not acknowledging it may soon need full support. Many experts predict that Italy will follow suit as it is quite possible that it will be the next which without any access to credit markets to finance its needs. This policy analysis sheds some light on the current status of these countries: how the crisis was brought about, what measures they took, how have they performed thus far and what are the prospects for them. The role of the European Union is also being discussed in reference to the hesitant way it has addressed the problem and the cracks that appeared in the European establishment due to lack of mutual understanding and cooperation. In contrast to the weaker European economies, neighboring Turkey has managed to recover fast and exhibit positive signs that the economy is moving towards more sustainable growth rates while dealing with domestic vulnerabilities. This comparison serves as a reminder to reconsider both the usefulness of the single currency as well as whether Turkey's economy would benefit from closer ties with it, given that Europe faces a continued slowdown at least until 2014.
  • Topic: Markets, Global Recession, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey
  • Author: Yossi Alpher
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Syria is geo-strategically, historically and politically the most central of Middle East countries, hence the over-riding importance of the conflict there. Yet any discussion of the regional implications of that conflict is necessarily highly speculative. Its points of departure are the instances of regional intervention and "overflow" from the situation already taking place. Turkey, with its open support for the armed Syrian opposition, is the leading candidate to establish "safe zones" or even "humanitarian corridors" that could conceivably lead to war. Ankara's growing rivalry with Iran is increasingly being acted out in Syria and is interacting with tensions between Sunni Muslims and Alawites/Shias not only in Syria, but in Lebanon and Iraq as well.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Regime Change, Bilateral Relations, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Turkey, Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Syria
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Turkey is the newest country to intervene in Somalia and its involvement has produced some positive results. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's courageous visit to Mogadishu in August 2011 at the height of the famine and his decision to open an embassy gave fresh impetus to efforts to establish lasting peace. Widespread Somali gratitude for Turkish humanitarian endeavours and the country's status as a Muslim and democratic state established Turkey as a welcome partner. Ankara has signalled it is in for the long haul. However, it must tread prudently, eschew unilateralism and learn lessons to avoid another failed international intervention. Over twenty years, many states and entities have tried to bring relief and secure peace in Somalia, often leaving behind a situation messier than that which they found. Ankara must appreciate it alone cannot solve the country's many challenges, but must secure the support and cooperation of both the Somali people and international community. Trying to go solo could backfire, hamper ongoing efforts and lose the immense good-will it has accumulated.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Foreign Policy, Islam, Peace Studies, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Africa, Central Asia, Turkey, Somalia
  • Author: Lenka Peťková
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Global Political Trends Center
  • Abstract: European Union (EU) has been reluctant to start visa liberalization talks with Turkey until mid–2012 despite the fact that citizens of all other candidate countries have enjoyed visa-free travel to Schengen area since 2009. The Turkish diplomats had mastered to negotiate roadmap to visa-free travel in an exchange for the initial of the readmission agreement, implementation of which is considered key in securing EU's eastern borders. The issues of migration and visa policy are covered in the negotiating chapter Justice, Freedom and Security, which has been blocked by the Republic of Cyprus. Demonstrating that the said topics represent joint interest of Turkey and the EU, the chapter was added to the positive agenda launched this May with the aim to keep Turkey's accession process alive. Despite the fact that visa liberalization and readmission agreement will both be negotiated outside of Turkey's accession framework, reforms adopted in these areas are likely to ease Turkey's alignment with the provisions of the relevant chapter of the acquis communautaire. Visa liberalization and readmission agreement are thus important factors influencing Turkey's protracted journey to the EU.
  • Topic: Islam, Migration, Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, Famine
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey
  • Author: Gözde Yilmaz
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Kolleg-Forschergruppe "The Transformative Power of Europe"
  • Abstract: Considering the recent developments in the EU member states, such as French dismantling of Roma camps, minority protection within the EU has increasingly become questionable. Although the EU often neglects the track record of member states' records in minority rights, minority protection has increasingly received EU's attention in the accession process of Central and Eastern European Countries (CEECs). Minority discontent as a potential threat to the stability of Europe in the aftermath of the Cold War has triggered the EU to focus on minority rights. However, the improvement of minority rights in candidate countries remains limited, especially considering the implementation of minority rules adopted in the pre-accession process.
  • Topic: Ethnic Conflict, Human Rights, Islam, Minorities
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey