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  • Author: Max Erdemandi
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Recent discussions on the Turkish state’s actions, which have devastated Kurdish people within and outside of its borders, suffer from a familiar deficiency: they neglect the historical and cultural foundations of the dynamics that placed the Kurdish people at the center of Turkey’s national security policy. Serious human rights violations and voter suppression in southeast Turkey, the massacre of Kurdish people in various parts of northern Syria, and purging of Kurdish politicians on false accusations are all extensions of Turkey’s decades-long, repeated policy mistakes, deeply rooted in its nationalist history. Unless there is a seismic shift in the drivers of Turkish security policy, especially as it pertains to the Kurdish people, Turkey is bound to repeat these mistakes. Furthermore, threat externalization with linkage to legitimacy of rule will further erode the democratic institutions of the state and other authentic aspects of Turkish identity.
  • Topic: Security, Nationalism, Ethnicity, Syrian War, Borders, Violence, Kurds
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Syria, Kurdistan
  • Author: H. Sebnem Düzgün
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Soma Mine Disaster (SMD) was the most massive mine disaster of the twenty-first century, with 301 fatalities. This was due to a mine fire in an underground coal mine. Although mine fires usually do not cause a large number of casualties in comparison with other explosions in underground coal mines, the SMD has an anomaly. The cause of the mine fire has not been precisely determined, though various groups of experts developed several hypotheses. Most of the fatalities were due to an inadequate safety culture, unstructured organizational and human performance, and improper decision-making and risk perception during the emergency management. So far, only minimal steps have been taken to improve the safety standards of the coal mines. Larger improvements are necessary to address the variety of factors that contributed to the disaster.
  • Topic: Disaster Relief, Science and Technology, Natural Resources, Labor Issues, Regulation, Mining
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Kamal A. Beyoghlow
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: This monograph analyzes the current political tensions between the United States and Turkey and suggests ways to manage them. The two countries have been strategic allies since at least the end of World War II—Turkey became a North Atlantic Treaty Organization member and participated with its military forces in the Korea War, and during the Cold War protected NATO’s southern flank against Soviet communism, and Turkey’s military and intelligence services maintained close relationships with their Western and Israeli counterparts. These relationships were not without problems, due mostly to differences over minority and civil rights in Turkey and over Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus in 1973 and continued tensions with Greece. The special relationship with the United States was put to the final test after the Islamic conservative populist political party, Justice and Development, and its current leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, came to power in 2002. Turkey opposed the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the NATO-backed regime change in Libya in 2011. Most recently, Turkey has had strained relations with Cyprus, Greece, and Israel—all key US allies—and has alienated the US Congress and select NATO members further by its October 2019 invasion of Syria against Kurdish forces aligned with the US military against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, all against a background of a military rapprochement with Russia. This monograph highlights differences between US agencies concerning Turkey and ways to reconcile them, and offers several policy recommendations for new directions.
  • Topic: NATO, Politics, History, Military Strategy, Bilateral Relations, Armed Forces
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Soner Cagaptay
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Turkey, Russia, and Washington have compelling reasons to welcome a new ceasefire agreement, however imperfect, but they still need to address the longer-term dangers posed by the Assad regime’s murderously maximalist strategy. Recent fighting between Turkish and Syrian regime forces in Idlib province has seemingly wiped away the last vestiges of the September 2018 Sochi agreement, brokered by Russian president Vladimir Putin as a way of pausing hostilities and dividing control over the country’s last rebel-held province. Beginning last December, renewed Russian and Syrian attacks against civilians sent a million residents fleeing toward the Turkish border, creating another humanitarian disaster. Then, on February 27, thirty-three Turkish soldiers were killed when their unit was attacked in Idlib—Ankara’s largest single-day loss in Syria thus far. Turkey initially blamed Bashar al-Assad for the deaths, but eyes soon turned to his Russian patron as the more likely culprit, elevating tensions between Ankara and Moscow to a level not seen since Turkish forces shot down a Russian plane in November 2015. Meanwhile, the Turkish military and its local partner forces launched a string of attacks against the Syrian regime and its Iranian-backed militia allies. On March 5, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will meet with Putin in Moscow to discuss these rising tensions. If the two leaders reach another ceasefire deal, will it last any longer than the short-lived Sochi agreement? More important, what effect might it have on the latest refugee crisis threatening to wash over Turkey and Europe?
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Treaties and Agreements, Syrian War, Negotiation
  • Political Geography: Russia, Turkey, Middle East, Syria, United States of America, Idlib
  • Author: Karol Wasilewski
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Turkey has sent aid to fight the COVID-19 pandemic to more than 20 countries. Although the gesture has a humanitarian dimension, it is also calculated to achieve political and economic benefits in the future. The challenge to these plans is the dynamics of the pandemic in Turkey, which may force the authorities to focus on the internal situation.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Humanitarian Aid, Coronavirus, Pandemic
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Karol Wasilewski
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The agreement signed on 5 March between Russia and Turkey has halted the offensive by the Syrian army on Idlib and led to a new division of influence in the province. Both Turkey and Russia are using the truce to strengthen their military presence in this territory. The coronavirus pandemic may delay the resumption of fighting in Idlib, giving the EU time to prepare for a renewed escalation and attempts by Turkey to instrumentally use an exodus of Syrian refugees to exert pressure on the Union.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Military Strategy, Syrian War, Coronavirus
  • Political Geography: Russia, Turkey, Middle East, Syria, Idlib
  • Author: Ulaş Bayraktar
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV)
  • Abstract: This report has been produced in the framework of the Empowering Civil Society for a More Democratic Local Governance Project funded by the scope of Republic of Turkey and European Union supported Partnerships and Networks Grant Program. TESEV is the lead, Şişli Municipality and Association of Union of Citizen Assemblies are the co-applicants, and the Checks and Balances Network is the associate of the project. The transition from the classical management approach to the governance approach, in which private sector and non-governmental organisations take on roles in determining public policies, has been the dominant discourse of politics for more than a quarter century. Instead of a hierarchical and monolithic bureaucratic process, this approach envisions a management triangle that engages other stakeholders. However, these governance principles have not been fully put into practice in Turkey and those that have been implemented have not yielded the expected results. The present study aims to test these statements at the level of local governments and politics. Its purpose is also to open up a discussion based on the findings of interviews and roundtables conducted in ten cities in Turkey and of a comprehensive survey administered to a nationally representative sample of civil society organisations.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Non-Governmental Organization, Governance, Democracy, Urban
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Michael M. Gunter
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In the Kurdistan National Congress (KNK) headquarters in Brussels, one may be surprised to find that the co-chair rule governing the activities of the congress requires joint male and female leaders to share the office. As inefficient as such a dual head might seem, it sets the stage for gender equality. Overall, the duties of both men and women in the Kurdish movement leave no time for marriage or other traditional gender roles. This is particularly true of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and its related organizations, such as the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party/Peoples Defense Units (PYD/YPG).
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Government, Politics, Women
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Turkey, Syria, Kurdistan, Brussels
  • Author: Joost Jongerden
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: While Trump always advocated disengagement from Syria, Turkish mainstream opinion and political leadership have never accepted Kurdish self-rule of territory on its Syrian border, which Turkey treats as an existential threat and dismisses with the trope of “terrorism.” Thus, Turkey’s military intervention should hardly be surprising. Indeed, not only is the assault an upscaled version of last year’s intervention and occupation of Afrin—a pocket in the western part of northern Syria—but it also fits a wider pattern of Turkish military aggression. Looking back over the past four years, we see Turkey repeatedly waging war for a “strong” state construction and regional power development.
  • Topic: War, Conflict, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, State Building
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Syria, Kurdistan
  • Author: Burak Akçapar
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: Since the launch of the Mediation for Peace initiative by Turkey and Finland in 2010, there has been an upsurge of activity at the United Nations (UN) and several regional organizations to promote mediation as a conflict resolution method. The UN General Assembly, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) have set out to develop mediation norms, procedures, and capacities. The assets and motivations of international actors, including foremost nation states, to provide mediation services as part of their foreign policy have been widely studied. However, the actual role played by specific leading nations in the promotion of mediation at international forums lacks a framework of analysis. This essay aims to fill this gap by employing the concept of “policy entrepreneurship” to explain the role of individual actors in transforming the politics, norms, and capacities that pertain to mediation. In this regard, the article discusses Turkey’s activities in the field of mediation and their transformative outcomes in a bid to test the proposed framework. It concludes that as the only country that co-chairs the friends of mediation groups simultaneously in the UN, the OSCE and the OIC, the distinguishing contribution of Turkey as a policy entrepreneur lies in its efforts to feed and shape the normative basis and capacities of international peace mediation efforts.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Michał Wojnarowicz
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The significance of the Eastern Mediterranean for Israel has increased in the last decade, an outcome of interlocking factors associated with the civil war in Syria, the deterioration of relations with Turkey, and discoveries of new gas fields. The effectiveness of Israeli policy, especially in energy issues, depends on strengthening relations with the states of the region, such as Egypt or Cyprus. Hence, regional cooperation will deepen, which may have a positive impact on Israel-EU relations.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Energy Policy, Regional Cooperation, European Union
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Syria, Egypt, Cyprus, Mediterranean
  • Author: Zeynep Gülru Göker
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV)
  • Abstract: A recent study published by TESEV shows that science and research is one of the areas with the lowest female participation in high level decision making.1 Among all 201 universities in Turkey, only 9% of the rectors, 10% of the vice rectors and 21% of the deans are women; and again, in Turkey, countrywide, 31% of the professors are women and 69% are men.2 This numerical inequality, as well as being a sign for a lot of other problems, is just the visible or easier-to-see tip of the iceberg. To talk about the obstacles women face in academia and the gender inequality in a wider sense, one must examine all written and non-written rules, practices and norms in every area of academic life, and establishing equality requires transformation in structural, institutional and individual levels. In this report, I will be talking about some of the obstacles women face climbing the career steps in academia and participating in high level decision making and the steps that have been taken and can be taken to ensure gender equality in academic life.
  • Topic: Education, Gender Issues, Women, Inequality
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Itır Akdoğan
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV)
  • Abstract: In this report, we enquire into the issue of gender equality by investigating different sectors at once to offer recommendations for improvement. In this project, which is supported by the Swedish Consulate General in İstanbul, we first examine, in light of data gathered and disseminated by European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE), the percentage of women high-level decision makers in Turkey’s politics, public administration, local government, civil society organizations, social partners, business, media, judiciary and education/science/research. We compare these rates in their historical transformation and with the rates of European Union countries, thus inspecting them in their wider quantitative context. Next, we conduct in-depth interviews with women (if not present, men) high-level decision makers in these areas to carry out a qualitative assessment of women’s participation in Turkey.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Gender Issues, Politics, Women, Inequality
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, European Union
  • Author: Lauren Mooney
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Autocrats are making a comeback. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s recent reelection, and the preceding repression of journalists and dissenters, is a prime example of this resurgence and sheds light on the playbook that many aspiring autocrats follow today. Erdoğan and other autocratic leaders voted into power through democratic means are part of a new breed of dictators—ones who swiftly dismantle the democratic system of checks and balances and the separation of powers designed precisely to prevent tyranny. The resulting system is an electoral autocracy—a system that retains the vestiges of democracy, but looks and acts like a traditional dictatorship. And this democratic erosion is ascending in prevalence—from 2000 to 2010, it accounted for 40 percent of all democratic failures. Personalist rule—a distinct mold of autocracy in which power is concentrated in the hands of one individual, sometimes referred to as strongman leaders—is also on the rise. Today, 40 percent of all autocracies are ruled by strongmen.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Authoritarianism, Democracy, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Amanda Sloat
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Policymakers in the United States and European Union are struggling with how to manage their relations with Turkey. What makes the country such a conundrum is that its problematic leadership faces real threats. Turkey is confronting challenges from the aftermath of the July 2016 coup attempt and the destabilizing effects of the Syrian war. Yet the country’s president is growing more authoritarian, using virulent anti-Western rhetoric, and making foreign policy choices contrary to the interests of the trans-Atlantic alliance. The policy goal is navigating this gray zone today to preserve the possibility of better relations in the future.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Valeria Talbot
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: Over the last few years, Turkey seems to have embraced the East again. Ankara’s closer relations with Eurasian countries go hand in hand with the international trend to move eastwards, towards the ever-growing and most dynamic region in the world. They are also the result of an increasing differentiation of Turkey’s foreign relations, driven by strategic, economic and energy interests. Stronger ties with the Eurasian countries, i.e. Russia and China, are also the litmus test for the ups and downs in relations with the Washington and Brussels. While Ankara still retains strong ties with the West, it is laying the groundwork to further widen its interests to the East. This report aims to analyse the multi-faceted aspects of Ankara’s Eurasian shift, highlighting domestic drivers of Turkey’s “Eurasianism”, the interests at stake, the areas of cooperation and competition, and last but not least the implications for the EU.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Bürge Elvan Erginli
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV)
  • Abstract: The project titled “Analyzing and Mapping Services for Children and Family in Istanbul District Municipalities” aims to produce a comprehensive inventory of social services for children and family provided by district municipalities and to develop policy proposals for improving the geographic distribution and qualities of these services within a framework of the socio-economic differentiation of Istanbul districts. This Bernard van Leer Foundation supported project has been carried out by the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV). There has been collaboration with the Kadir Has University Istanbul Studies Center and the Union of Marmara Municipalities at various stages of the project. This report summarizes the stages of the studies carried out within the scope of the project and discusses the importance and use areas of the interactive website, which is an output of the project, from the perspective of both the municipalities and of other users. After the presentation of the findings and recommendations, the “Stratification of Neighborhoods with respect to Age and Mean Real Estate Values” maps and the “Municipality Services for Children and Family” data acquired through the project will be presented separately for each district.
  • Topic: Governance, Children, Public Policy, Urban, Services
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Reuben Silverman
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Since Turkey experienced a failed coup attempt a year ago, hardly a week goes by without news of new firings, suspensions, detentions, and arrests. By the end of June 2017, over 138,000 government employees had been removed from their jobs and over 110,000 citizens had been detained—with nearly half of these detentions leading to formal arrests. Numbers of this size are daunting. To put them in perspective and to give some sense of how the post-coup purges have affected institutions and lives in Turkey, consider the case of TÜBİTAK.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Democracy, Economy, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Coup
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Bilal Bağış, Çağlar Yurtseven
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research (CSR)
  • Abstract: This paper aims to analyze potential future areas of greater cooperation between Turkey and the other OIC member economies. It then provides some specific policy recommendations. In particular, the paper aims to contribute to economic policymaking efforts in terms of the potential future areas of increased cooperation. Broadly speaking, the Muslim world has immense savings-holding accumulated over the past few decades. Human and physical capital potentials are extremely high. Yet, there are also huge economic disparities and extremely diverse demographic dynamics. This paper is built on the idea that a crucial strategy to boost economic development and social prosperity is an intense economic, financial and strategic integraton of the OIC members. In particular, countries with common historical, cultural and even religious backgrounds have much to gain from such specific collaboration efforts. In that line, this paper deals with opportunities and challenges regarding the strategic position of Turkey. It focuses on sectors in which Turkey has a comparative advantage within the OIC league. It further analyzes the reasons Turkey and the other OIC economies must cooperate and build stronger economic ties. The paper suggests that such a modern economic cooperation or a strategic union that is strengthened by historical, social and cultural roots is both inevitable and to the benefit of all parties.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Aaron Stein
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: This report examines Turkish foreign and energy policy toward Russia, Iran, and Iraq. It is divided into three case studies in which the lessons learned from past Turkish decision making might help chart likely courses of actions vis-à-vis Ankara’s future energy relationship with all three countries. The case studies also consider potential impacts on American interests in these three countries along with bilateral US-Turkish relations.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Turkey