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  • Author: Richard Weitz
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: Until a few years ago, the relationship between Washington, DC, and Ankara, Turkey, was perennially troubled and occasionally terrible. Turks strongly opposed the U.S. 2003 invasion of Iraq and have subsequently complained that the Pentagon was allowing Iraqi Kurds too much autonomy, leading to deteriorating security along the Iraq-Turkey border. Disagreements over how to respond to Iran's nuclear program, U.S. suspicions regarding Turkey's outreach efforts to Iran and Syria, and differences over Armenia, Palestinians, and the Black Sea further strained ties and contributed to further anti Americanism in Turkey. Now Turkey is seen as responding to its local challenges by moving closer to the West, leading to the advent of a “Golden Era” in Turkish U.S. relations. Barack Obama has called the U.S.-Turkish relationship a “model partnership” and Turkey “a critical ally.” Explanations abound as to why U.S.-Turkey ties have improved during the last few years. The U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq removed a source of tension and gave Turkey a greater incentive to cooperate with Washington to influence developments in Iraq. Furthermore, the Arab Awakening led both countries to partner in support of the positive agenda of promoting democracy and security in the Middle East. Americans and Turks both want to see democratic secular governments in the region rather than religiously sanctioned authoritarian ones. Setbacks in Turkey's reconciliation efforts with Syria, Iran, and other countries led Ankara to realize that having good relations with the United States helps it achieve core goals in the Middle East and beyond. Even though Turkey's role as a provider of security and stability in the region is weakened as a result of the recent developments in Syria and the ensuing negative consequences in its relations to other countries, Turkey has the capacity to recover and resume its position. Partnering with the United States is not always ideal, but recent setbacks have persuaded Turkey's leaders that they need to backstop their new economic strength and cultural attractiveness with the kind of hard power that is most readily available to the United States. For a partnership between Turkey and the United States to endure, however, Turkey must adopt more of a collective transatlantic perspective, crack down harder on terrorist activities, and resolve a domestic democratic deficit. At the same time, Europeans should show more flexibility meeting Turkey's security concerns regarding the European Union, while the United States should adopt a more proactive policy toward resolving potential sources of tensions between Ankara and Washington that could significantly worsen at any time.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Ethnic Conflict, Islam, Power Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Burcu Gültekin Punsmann
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Turkey's actions in the South Caucasus face serious limitations as long as it has no direct influence over the dynamics of conflict settlement. Turkey has the potential to support transformation and reform within the societies of the South Caucasus through soft power. The current state of Turkey's relations with Armenia will keep on seriously curtailing Turkey's outreach in the South Caucasus. Azerbaijan is a stakeholder in Turkish-Armenian relations and Turkey, because of its inability to proceed further with its bilateral agenda with Armenia, has become a stakeholder in the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Azerbaijan's leverage on Turkey appears to be more and more influential. The importance of the notion of Turkishness in national politics is an important factor in assessing the strength of pro-Azeri feeling. The Kurdish problem is today a major political challenge. It is the most powerful dynamic underpinning the questioning and progressive redefinition of national identity.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Ethnic Conflict, Islam
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan
  • Author: Özge Zihnioğlu
  • Publication Date: 01-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Global Political Trends Center
  • Abstract: The generally accepted idea that gender parity in education will automatically lead to women's empowerment is also inherent in Untied Nation's Millennium Development Goal 3. This working paper questions this necessary link between years of schooling and women's empowerment without considering other factors. For this purpose, this paper comparatively examines progress achieved in girls' years of schooling in different regions of the world and in Turkey. This paper then discusses cases where gender parity in education did not entail women's empowerment and argues that policy makers should pay attention to the content of education and socio‐cultural context for education to bring women's empowerment.
  • Topic: Development, Education, Gender Issues, Human Rights, Islam
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Negotiations underway since late 2012 between Turkey's government and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) are stalling. A ceasefire announced on 23 March 2013 remains precarious, as maximalist rhetoric gains renewed traction on both sides. While the PKK should be doing more to persuade Ankara that it wants a compromise peace, the government has a critical responsibility to fully address the longstanding democratic grievances of Turkey's Kurds. One reason it frequently gives for its hesitation is fear of a nationalist backlash. In fact, the peace process has already demonstrated how willing mainstream Turks would be to accept steps towards democratisation. A much bigger risk for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), as it heads into a two-year cycle of local, presidential and parliamentary elections, would be if the three-decade-old conflict plunges into a new cycle of violence.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Ethnic Conflict, Islam, Peace Studies, Terrorism, Treaties and Agreements, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Central Asia, Turkey, Middle East, Kurdistan
  • Author: Marc Pierini
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has witnessed economic success and launched major reforms, in particular writing a new constitution, negotiating with the Kurdistan Workers' Party, passing four judicial reform packages, and installing an ombudsman. In sharp contrast, the AKP's exclusive reliance on its election victories for legitimacy and increasingly authoritarian practices in the fields of freedom of cultural expression and coexistence of different lifestyles are at odds with its stated objective of establishing an advanced democracy. Popular discontent with these practices and unending restrictions on media freedom resulted in major protests in May and June 2013.
  • Topic: Democratization, Ethnic Conflict, Human Rights, Islam, Governance, Reform
  • Political Geography: Central Asia, Turkey, Kurdistan
  • Author: Eyüp Ersoy, Mehmet Yegin
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Strategic Research Organization (USAK)
  • Abstract: Unlike other studies on Turkey-U.S. relations, this report examines the key actors influential on U.S. policy and their perspectives about Turkey, theoretically discusses the regional aspects in Turkey-U.S. relations, and finally emphasizes the economic and social dimensions of the bilateral relations.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, International Trade and Finance, Islam, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Turkey, India
  • Author: Talip Küçükcan, Müjge Küçükkeleş
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: As a staunch ally of NATO whose actions were easy to predict, Turkey did not attract much attention as a foreign policy actor until a decade ago. The increasing activism of Turkish foreign policy and the greater initiative taken by Turkish elites have raised interest in Europe. After overcoming the first wave of bewilderment and irritation at Turkey's independent foreign policy initiatives, Europeans have started to develop a more nuanced approach towards the specifics of Turkish foreign policy. Currently, debates over Turkey are not confined to EU accession discussion alone. Instead, they consider the implications of Turkey's more assertive foreign policy as well.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, NATO, Islam
  • Political Geography: Europe, Central Asia, Turkey
  • Author: André Bank, Roy Karadag
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: In 2006/2007 Turkey became a regional power in the Middle East, a status it has continued to maintain in the context of the Arab Spring. To understand why Turkey only became a regional power under the Muslim AKP government and why this happened at the specific point in time that it did, the paper highlights the self-reinforcing dynamics between Turkey's domestic political-economic transformation in the first decade of this century and the advantageous regional developments in the Middle East at the same time. It concludes that this specific linkage – the “Ankara Moment” – and its regional resonance in the neighboring Middle East carries more transformative potential than the “Washington Consensus” or the “Beijing Consensus” so prominently discussed in current Global South politics.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Islam, Regime Change, Governance
  • Political Geography: Central Asia, Turkey, Middle East, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: As Turkey's biggest Kurdish- majority city and province, Diyarbakır is critical to any examination of the country's Kurdish problem and of the insurgent PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party). The armed conflict has deteriorated in the past year and a half to its worst level in over a decade, with increased political friction and violence leading to the deaths of at least 870 people since June 2011. While as many Kurds live in western Turkey, particularly in Istanbul, as in the south east, grievances that underlie support within Kurdish communities for the PKK's armed struggle are more clearly on display in predominantly Kurdish areas like Diyarbakır: perceived and real discrimination in the local government and economy, alienation from central authorities, anger at mass arrests of political rep- resentatives and frustration at the bans on the use of Kurdish in education and public life. Yet Diyarbakır still offers hope for those who want to live together, if Ankara acts firmly to address these grievances and ensure equality and justice for all.
  • Topic: Civil War, Communism, Development, Ethnic Conflict, Islam, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Frank Lin
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Global Political Trends Center
  • Abstract: The 2012 American presidential election features two candidates, incumbent President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney, with contrasting foreign policy visions for the United States, particularly with regards to the Middle East. How could these differences between the two candidates affect bilateral relations between the United States and Turkey, which—aside from Israel—is generally seen by the United States as its most stalwart ally in the Middle East? This paper will examine the recent history of bilateral relations between Turkey and the United States, from the George W. Bush administration to the Obama administration, as well as current issues surrounding relations between the two countries. It will also explore how the predicted policies of each candidate could impact the future course of bilateral relations between Turkey and the United States.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Islam, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Turkey, Middle East, Israel, Arabia