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  • Author: Selin Nasi
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Global Political Trends Center
  • Abstract: Turkey Israel deal: A key to long term reconciliation ?
  • Topic: International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Israel
  • Author: Toni Alaranta
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: After the re-run of the parliamentary election on 1 November 2015, it is certain that Turkey will again be ruled by the Justice and Development Party’s (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, AKP) one-party government. Based on this premise, this study provides a future-oriented analysis in the form of three scenarios: 1) an authoritarian Islamist state; 2) a consolidated liberal democracy; and 3) the dissolution of the Turkish state. The study also identifies three major drivers: a) the AKP and the Islamic-conservative state project; b) regional instability; and c) the Kurdish question. Regarding scenario one, there are factors and processes present that decidedly increase the possibility of an authoritarian Islamist state in Turkey. On the other hand, the republican tradition of parliamentary democracy has at the same time proved to be remarkably resilient, suggesting that the course of events depicted in the positive scenario two still have a significant chance in the long run. Scenario three, the dissolution of the Turkish state, would create enormous instability in the EU’s immediate neighbourhood and exponentially increase unpredictable tendencies and conflicts. The internal and external forces that could produce such a dramatic outcome are still rather weak, but they do exist in an embryonic form. Thus, the republican modernization project attaching Turkey to the Western legacy of secular humanism should not be underestimated and may well prevail in the end. For the time being, however, it seems to be on the losing side as the political process is consolidating the Islamic-conservative version of Turkish nationalism. At the present moment this current is pointing to a concentration of power and a non-pluralist authoritarian regime whereby national identity is increasingly constructed in a form that conceptualizes political liberalism as an existential threat.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs, Political stability
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Elif Özmenek Çarmikli, Mehmet Onur Kader
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Strategic Research Organization (USAK)
  • Abstract: The pace at which Turkey will take these steps is up for debate. Turkey has become one of the international centers for migrant smuggling starting with the Arab Spring and deepening with the outbreak of the Syrian Civil War. Although migrant smuggling existed in Turkey before 2011, with the Syrian Crisis, it evolved into an ad hoc and flexible structure that could keep up with sudden shifts promote serious competition. Combating migrant smuggling, which can integrate into local and social structures while also working within an international modus operandi, has become more and more difficult as it grows into an increasingly multidimensional struggle. Migrant Smuggling in Turkey: The “Other” Side of the Refugee Crisis focuses on these issues by taking into account the JAP’s sensibility towards the prevention of migrant smuggling. The primary prediction of the report is that there will be important changes regarding the way the migrant smuggling sector will work in Turkey following the JAP. Moreover, it can be said that two main changes are predicted to occur; one with regard to the migration routes and the second to the organization of the sector. Regarding the routes, the report forsees that the Black Sea Route will be more popular and major changes will occur in the Mediterranean Sea Route. Because the JAP will see the return of migrants from Greece to Turkey, migrant smugglers will most likely produce a new strategy based on alternative routes. Migrant smugglers are expected to use Italy route not only from Turkey, but also from Albania, Montenegro, and Greece. A second trend that may come to greater prominence could be seen in changes in the way migrant smuggling networks organize across borders. It is highly likely that major networks which conduct business at the international level will become stronger in Turkey and beyond.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Civil War, Refugee Issues, Arab Countries, Refugee Crisis
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Syria
  • Author: Fatma Yilmaz-Elmas, Mustafa Kutlay, Hamdi Furat Buyuk, Öznur Gümüs
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Strategic Research Organization (USAK)
  • Abstract: What is the current course of the refugee crisis? What has the EU done so far as a response to the crisis? Is it possible to mention a balanced and comprehensive policy response in compliance with international norms and responsibilities? Are the EU-Turkey migration cooperation policies on the right track? This policy brief answers these and further questions in depth. It handles main results and policy outputs both for the EU and Turkey. We argue that the current mode of cooperation is highly fragile and is likely to fail in case substantial revisions are not taken into consideration. It reveals consideration the sensitive nature of the situation and highlights the parties need to adopt a joint response that takes on the priorities and capacities of both sides.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Diplomacy, Refugee Issues, European Union
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Ross Wilson
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Ambassadors Review
  • Abstract: Turkey has recently come to look like a beat-up boy. At home, it seems to have regained the authoritarianism of its past. Abroad, its behavior looks rough edged and militaristic. It gets blamed for not doing enough, or the right things, on Syria, the problem of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and Europe’s migrant crisis. Some have concluded that this country, its regional policies in tatters and under the assault of an autocratic president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, can no longer be regarded as an ally.
  • Topic: Migration, Military Affairs, Authoritarianism, Refugee Crisis, Islamic State
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Turkey, Syria
  • Author: Asli Aydıntaşbaş
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: According to the Turkish government, the Gülenist movement is at the heart of the failed coup attempt of 15 July. Fethullah Gülen, the movement's leader is a former ally of the Turkish president and one of the country's most powerful and influential forces. With the help of the Turkish government, the Gülen movement successfully created a deep state within the Turkish bureaucracy and persecuted political enemies in show trials in 2008-2013. The movement is opaque and secretive in the state bureaucracy. There is enough evidence linking followers of Gülen to the coup but evidence pointing to Fethullah Gülen himself remains scant. Turkey’s extradition request for Fethullah Gülen will continue to create turbulence in Turkey’s relationship with Washington. For the US, this is a legal matter; for Ankara, a prerequisite for partnership. The Turkish government has embarked on a massive purge to "clean the state", involving tens of thousands of state employees, banks, and companies. In its quest to protect Turkish democracy by purging Gülenists, the Turkish government needs to make sure it does not destroy the frail democracy it is trying to save.
  • Topic: International Security
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Ahmet İçduygu
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Particularly in Europe, there is a common misconception that Turkey is primarily a country of emigration (or migrant-sending country) and a source country for asylum seekers. However, reality is that Turkey has morphed into a country of immigration, and more prominently a transit country, as a result of intense migratory movements over the last two decades. This paper analyses the evolution of Turkey’s migration policies and the way in which EU-Turkey relations have affected Turkey's migration laws and practices.
  • Topic: Globalization, Migration, Political Economy, Bilateral Relations, Immigration
  • Political Geography: Central Asia, Turkey
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-55-2
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Author: Toni Alaranta
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Turkish social science research has been steeped in interpretations according to which Turkey's 20th century political history is marked by an uneven struggle between an "omnipotent Kemalist state” and a rather powerless society. This argument has been very coherently used by the governing Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, AKP) in its articulation of the (Kemalist) Westernizer as the "domestic other”. This paper argues that Turkey's European Union membership negotiation process under the current AKP regime can only be adequately explained based on these premises. Turkey's EU accession negotiations started in October 2005, six years after the EU had confirmed the country's official candidate status. As of the beginning of 2015, only one of the 35 negotiation chapters has been completed. Thus, as the tenth anniversary of the kick-off of the accession negotiations is approaching, it is an appropriate time to ask some very basic questions concerning its nature. The present working paper tackles this issue by concentrating on the following questions: What is the nature of the AKP as a political movement, and how best to evaluate Turkey's EU bid under its rule? The paper first presents a Western view of Turkey that has been widely held during the last decade. This is followed by a short summary of the main factors that induced the EU to start official membership negotiations with Turkey. After this, the AKP's attempt to destroy what its leadership asserts is the old Kemalist regime and replace it with a "New Turkey” is evaluated. This evaluation leads to an outline of the main factors behind the AKP's EU accession negotiations. The paper argues that it is highly unlikely that the AKP can ever establish a workable liberal democracy in Turkey. A further observation directly following on from this is that the AKP regime will never be able to fulfil Turkey's EU aspirations. The dominant image of Turkey as a European country firmly in the Western camp no longer corresponds with reality. Internally, the current regime believes that Turkey's Westernization has been a degenerating process – a historical mistake – that has now been annihilated. As the internal state legitimation no longer requires anchoring Turkey to the West, but rather making the West a counter-image, a radical redefinition of Turkey's national interests and position in the world has come about.
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Dmitri V. Trenin, Memduh Karakullukçu
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Even though tensions over Ukraine will inevitably cast a shadow over the bilateral relationship, Russia and Turkey—a NATO member—continue to share a range of important interests. Indeed, there are a number of areas in which the two can work together in their common neighborhood, which stretches from the South Caucasus and the Levant to Central Asia and Afghanistan. A high-level working group on Russian-Turkish regional cooperation has sketched a forward-looking approach for Russia and Turkey in tackling regional challenges.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: Sinan Ülgen, Marc Pierini
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Relations between Ankara and Brussels are about more than Turkey's potential accession to the European Union (EU). The relationship is diversified, but it needs to be deepened and modernized. While Turkey's EU membership vocation should be maintained, Ankara and Brussels should take steps to update their partnership and vastly improve cooperation on current challenges that are of vital importance for both.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The Syrian crisis crashed onto neighbouring Turkey's doorstep three years ago and the humanitarian, policy and security costs continue to rise. After at least 720,000 Syrian refugees, over 75 Turkish fatalities and nearly $3 billion in spending, frustration and fatigue are kicking in. Turkey's humanitarian outreach, while morally right and in line with international principles, remains an emergency response. Ankara needs to find a sustainable, long-term arrangement with the international community to care for the Syrians who arrive daily. While spared the worst of the sectarian and military spillover, Turks are reminded of the security risks by deadly car bombs and armed incidents on their territory, especially as northern Syria remains an unpredictable no-man's-land. The conflict was not of its making, but Ankara has in effect become a party. Unable to make a real difference by itself, it should focus on protecting its border and citizens, invigorate recent efforts to move back from the ruling party's Sunni Muslim-oriented foreign policy to one of sectarian neutrality and publicly promote a compromise political solution in Syria.
  • Topic: Humanitarian Aid, Refugee Issues
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The peace process to end the 30-year-old insurgency of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) against Turkey's government is at a turning point. It will either collapse as the sides squander years of work, or it will accelerate as they commit to real convergences. Both act as if they can still play for time – the government to win one more election, the PKK to further build up quasi-state structures in the country's predominantly- Kurdish south east. But despite a worrying upsurge in hostilities, they currently face few insuperable obstacles at home and have two strong leaders who can still see the process through. Without first achieving peace, they cannot cooperate in fighting their common enemy, the jihadi threat, particularly from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Increasing ceasefire violations, urban unrest and Islamist extremism spilling over into Turkey from regional conflicts underline the cost of delays. Both sides must put aside external pretexts and domestic inertia to compromise on the chief problem, the Turkey-PKK conflict inside Turkey.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Ethnic Conflict, Peace Studies, Treaties and Agreements, War, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: Elif Burcu Günaydin
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: South-Eastern Mediterranean gas findings have raised much interest in recent years. Even though the estimated quantity of reserves is not globally significant, it is enough to be a regional game changer, promising a considerable amount of gas surplus to be exported. The main export route and potential customers are still being debated. Turkey, with its growing gas consumption, geographical location and existing pipeline system, is considered to be the most feasible option both as a customer and a transport route. Nevertheless, the fact that Israel and Cyprus, with whom Turkey had difficult relations, are the first two explorers of significant resources complicates considerably the situation. Optimistically, the reserves may lead to a solution to the Cyprus conflict and restore diplomatic ties between Israel and Turkey. However, energy resources are known to be a double-edged sword that can lead to collaboration but also to conflict. Either way, gas production will find its way to the markets. It will be up to regional actors to decide whether this way will be paved via interim agreements or via a permanent settlement that could initiate regional energy cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Markets, Oil, Natural Resources, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Asia
  • Author: Olgu Okumus
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Since the international media reported crude oil flowing from the KRG to Turkey, doubts about the act's legality, political acceptability and opacity have surfaced. This oil trade is commercially enticing for energy-hungry Turkey, but is also politically risky. The Turkish government's lack of transparency regarding the KRG energy deal's economic and technical aspects has triggered domestic criticism - an especially risky proposition given the proximity of next year's election - and the KRG deal may also hinder international reliance on Turkey as a reliable energy hub. Turkey would be better advised to position itself as a partner for the export of Iraqi oil and gas, without making any distinction between federal and regional authorities. An Ankara-Erbil-Baghdad partnership based on normalized energy relations would help Turkey build new energy bridges with the EU, reducing gas prices for European consumers and strengthening Turkey-EU relations.
  • Topic: Development, Energy Policy, Oil, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Europe, Turkey, Asia
  • Author: Erkan Erdogdu
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) is a European Commission initiative aimed at facilitating the diversification of the routes and sources of gas imported into Europe. This paper is devoted to the analysis of Turkey's role in this initiative. Following a summary of the current economic and energy situation in Turkey, the paper presents recent developments in the SGC and an analysis of Turkey's role in the EU's SGC vision. It concludes that although the newly-built infrastructure within the SGC framework will probably serve Azerbaijani and Turkish interests first in their future relations with the EU, rather than the other way round, as had been initially hoped by the EU, it still addresses the EU's basic strategic interests, namely, the diversification of gas supply routes and suppliers.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Russia, United Kingdom, Europe, Turkey, Asia, Netherlands
  • Author: Elif Burcu Günaydın
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: South-Eastern Mediterranean gas fields are still under exploration and development. Meanwhile, the question of which route or routes such gas would take into the global markets remains unanswered. The various possible routes appear to be problematic either politically or financially, leaving development stifled. However, with the crisis between Russia and Ukraine deepening Europe's interest in diversification of supplies, and with gas field owners and developers eager to monetise the resources, Eastern Mediterranean gas could become a potential source for the European Union. This paper tries to answer whether the South-Eastern Mediterranean resources can be regarded as a considerable supply for Europe and, if so, what are the alternative routes that would benefit all the parties involved.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Israel, Cyprus
  • Author: Sohbet Karbuz
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The aim of this paper is to analyze EU-Turkey relations from an energy perspective. Energy is of mutual strategic interest to Turkey and the EU, insofar as both face serious and multiple energy challenges. Both Turkey and the EU seek to bridge supply and demand, and to establish a more competitive, diverse, secure and sustainable energy system. Common challenges and complementary objectives offer an unparalleled opportunity for the EU and Turkey to intensify cooperation and deepen integration in this field. To that end, this paper discusses the growing relevance of energy in the EU-Turkey relationship, focusing on Turkey's increasing importance in enhancing EU energy security. It then examines how future energy challenges could be turned into opportunities. Turkey and the EU have a lot to gain from close cooperation and deeper integration in the field of energy. However, the full potential of such cooperation and integration can best met by opening the energy chapter in Turkey's accession negotiations.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey
  • 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: Andrew J. Tabler
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Given that Assad and his backers want to gut the transition process called for in the Geneva Communique, Washington should plan to take other steps in parallel to the Geneva process.
  • Topic: Humanitarian Aid, International Cooperation, Armed Struggle, Authoritarianism
  • Political Geography: Geneva, Britain, United States, Iran, Washington, Turkey, Middle East, France, London, Germany, Saudi Arabia, United Nations, Italy, Syria, Switzerland, Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, United Arab Emirates
  • Author: Soner Cagaptay, James F. Jeffrey
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Issues such as energy dependence, deep-rooted fears of the Russian military, and Black Sea navigation policy all offer clues to Prime Minister Erdogan's vacillating response to Russian activities in Crimea.
  • Topic: Territorial Disputes, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Turkey, Ukraine, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: Keith David Watenpaugh, Adrienne L. Fricke, James R. King
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute of International Education
  • Abstract: On a warm June afternoon in Reyhanlı, Turkey, more than 30 displaced and refugee Syrian university students, some with their parents, gathered in the living room of the apartment that serves as the headquarters of the Union of Free Syrian Academics (UFSA). They had assembled to talk with our research team about their efforts to finish their university studies. Before the war in Syria Began, Reyhanlı had been a sleepy border town on the road between Antakya and Aleppo, frequented by smugglers. Today, it hosts tens of thousands of Syrians who have crossed into Turkey at one of the few border crossings that remain in the hands of the Western and Turkish-supported Free Syrian Army. Parts of Reyhanlı now feel like a refugee camp – with the sense of boredom, frustration, and expectation one finds in camps – but without barbed wire and restrictions on movement. We were visiting the town because it is home to several initiatives and programs related to higher education and other necessary support for Syrian students and scholars.
  • Topic: Education, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Ana Villellas
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution
  • Abstract: The Kurds in Syria, Turkey and Iraq face complex challenges. Among the current Kurdish realities, the emergence of Kurdish self-governing areas in northern Syria controlled by what is considered to be the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) generates considerable uncertainty. The complex civil war in Syria and antagonism between the Kurdish Democratic Union Party and a fragmented Kurdish political spectrum generate many questions as to the future of these Kurdish areas in Syria. In the case of Turkey, old and new internal and regional factors have threatened the dialogue under way between Turkey and the PKK. These include the lack of clear state policies to resolve the conflict, Turkey's current internal crisis, the complications of cross-border dynamics, and the mutual impact of the Kurdish questions in Syria and Turkey. In Iraq, tensions continue between the Kurdistan Regional Government and the country's central administration. The consolidation of Kurdish autonomy – with new elements such as the energy agreement between Erbil and Ankara – continues to generate uncertainty in a context where many issues remain unresolved.
  • Topic: Civil War, Economics, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Turkey, Middle East, Syria
  • 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
  • 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: Mehmet Ugur Ekinci
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: While some observers, referring to recent developments in the Middle East, are questioning whether Turkey's “zero problems with neighbours” doctrine is still in effect, Turkey's relations with the Balkans are enjoying their golden age. Since the mid-2000s, bilateral relations with all governments in the region have been in good terms, social and economic relations have intensi­fied and Turkey's public image has become increasingly positive.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Balkans
  • 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: Fatih Özgür Yeni
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Energy security is one of the hot topics on the European energy agenda. The EU's Southern Energy Corridor initiative is an attempt to reduce dependence on Russian supplies by tapping into Caspian and Middle-Eastern natural gas resources. Turkey, who aspires to be a regional energy hub, has emerged as the key country in the Southern Corridor. Although the TAP project in its current state satisfies neither Turkey's energy hub ambitions nor the EU's resource diversification efforts, it may serve as the first building block of the Southern Corridor. There are promising developments in the region that can increase volumes and add new routes to the initiative. Private companies have already shown their interest in developing a pipeline infrastructure for possible South-East Mediterranean and Northern Iraq natural gas exports but complex geopolitical issues pose the greatest threat to the way ahead. Thanks to its unique location, Turkey is destined to be one of the key players in the Southern Corridor. The convergence of Turkey's energy hub ambitions and the EU's energy security objectives present mutual gains, but also demand sustained collaboration between the two in light of several technical, legal and political hurdles.
  • Topic: Security, Energy Policy, Natural Resources, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Vanessa Ushie
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: In the framework of the IAI-OCP Policy Center project this paper offers a conceptual framework to examine natural resource management in Turkey, Morocco and Italy and its implications for social and economic development. It recognizes the multiplicity of actors involved in natural resource management at the local, national and global level. It then proceeds by 1) advancing a definition of natural resources to be used in the context of this project; 2) highlighting relevant emerging issues in the empirical debates on natural resource management within economics and politics; 3) developing a series of indicators aimed at assessing the dimensions of the management and use of natural resources. In general, this conceptual framework adopts a flexible and plural approach that reflects the multidisciplinary nature of natural resource management, and recognizes the importance of country-specific factors in the relationship between natural resource management and socio-economic development.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Natural Resources, Sociology
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, North Africa, Italy, Morocco
  • 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
  • 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: Habibe Özdal, M. Turgut Demirtepe, Kerim Has, Hasan Selim Özertem
  • Publication Date: 07-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Strategic Research Organization (USAK)
  • Abstract: Turkey and Russia have succeeded in developing a constructive dialogue since the Cold War era. The roots of this dialogue go back to the 1920s. Following the Bolshevik Revolution, throughout the Turkish War for Independence and the establishment of the Turkish Republic, and up until 1936 the two countries had cooperated in several areas. During the Cold War, Turkey and Russia (in the form of the USSR) were in opposite blocs, but being located in the same geography, both countries found various ways to keep dialogue channels open.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Cold War, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Russia, Europe, Turkey, Asia
  • Author: Fouad Farhaoui
  • Publication Date: 01-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Strategic Research Organization (USAK)
  • Abstract: Pre and post-independence policies have yielded volatile problems for African States. North African states, in particular, have seen disintegration between their Arab, Berber, and Black ethnic groups.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Development, Economics, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Turkey, Arabia
  • Author: Sinan Ülgen
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Though most states that want a nuclear weapon can get one through determined effort, the fact remains that most choose not to proliferate. Turkey is no exception. Not even the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran is likely to push Ankara to develop its own nuclear weapons. The only circumstance where such a scenario would acquire a degree of likelihood is a breakdown in Turkey's security relationship with the United States.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Diplomacy, Economics, Nuclear Weapons, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Jeffrey Mankoff
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Situated astride one of the world's key strategic crossroads, the “Big Caucasus” is increasingly a region in flux. The August 2008 war among Georgia, Russia, and the separatist regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia emphasized the fragility of the territorial status quo that took hold in the years immediately following the collapse of the USSR, but which has failed to establish legitimacy among either local populations or the international community. The 2008 war solidified the de facto separation between the Georgian state and its breakaway provinces and put Georgia's NATO accession on indefinite hold—but did not resolve the underlying problems of sovereignty and security that led to the conflict. Similar problems abound across the Big Caucasus. An increasingly authoritarian Azeri government has staked much of its legitimacy on regaining Nagorno-Karabakh. While talks between Baku and Yerevan have made little progress, an arms buildup in the region continues, raising fears of renewed conflict. Meanwhile, Russia's North Caucasus smolders. A nationalist insurgency that began in Chechnya in the early 1990s has spread to neighboring regions and taken on a harder jihadist edge, raising concerns about a possible al Qaeda presence and creating a direct threat to Western interests.
  • Topic: Development, Political Economy, Sovereignty
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Iran, Turkey, Moscow
  • Author: Bulent Aliriza, Bülent Aras
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The partnership between the United States and Turkey, which traces its origins to the Cold War, has gone through constant adjustment since the beginning of the post–Cold War era.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, NATO, Diplomacy, Islam, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Central Asia, Turkey, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Eastern Mediterranean tensions have risen since late 2011, when Greek Cypriots unilaterally began drilling in their rich offshore hydrocarbon reserves and Turkey responded with tough criticism and threatening naval manoeuvres. Contested maritime boundaries and exploration of natural gas deposits off the divided island are the sources of the current dispute, but tensions also result from the slow-down of UN-mediated Cyprus reunification talks. A paradigm shift is needed. The gas can drive the communities further apart and increase discords, or it can provide an opportunity for officials from all sides, including Turkey, to sit down and reach agreements on the exploitation and transportation of this new find.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, NATO, Energy Policy, International Political Economy, Natural Resources, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Turkey's Kurdish conflict is becoming more violent, with more than 700 dead in fourteen months, the highest casualties in thirteen years. Prolonged clashes with militants in the south east, kidnappings and attacks on civilians suggest hardliners are gaining the upper hand in the insurgent PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party). The government and mainstream media should resist the impulse to call for all out anti-terrorist war and focus instead, together with Kurds, on long-term conflict resolution. There is need to reform oppressive laws that jail legitimate Kurdish politicians and make amends for security forces' excess. The Kurdish movement, including PKK leaders, must abjure terrorist attacks and publicly commit to realistic political goals. Above all, politicians on all sides must legalise the rights most of Turkey's Kurds seek, including mother-language education; an end to discriminatory laws; fair political representation; and more decentralisation. Turkey's Kurds would then have full equality and rights, support for PKK violence would drop, and the government would be better placed to negotiate insurgent disarmament and demobilisation.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Communism, Ethnic Conflict, Terrorism, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: Central Asia, Turkey, Kurdistan
  • 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: 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
  • 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: Nicolò Sartori
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The European Union launched the ambitious Southern Gas Corridor initiative with the goal of enhancing the security of its energy supply. The corridor - a virtual transit route running from the gas-rich Caspian basin to the EU while bypassing Russian soil - is meant to increase diversification of the EU's supplier and transit countries. While various projects have been proposed to give life to the corridor, the European Commission has given particular support to the realisation of Nabucco, a 3,893km pipeline running from Turkey to the European gas hub of Baumgarten in Austria, via Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary. The Commission's choice is, however, flawed in several respects, as it fails to take account of key factors, such as the diverging, and sometimes conflicting, interests of individual EU member states, the geopolitical challenges of the Caspian basin, and the commercial constraints on Nabucco. This short-sighted approach has hindered the efficient development of the Southern Gas Corridor and weakened the EU's energy policy.
  • Topic: Security, Energy Policy, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Austria
  • Author: Elnur Soltanov
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The South East Europe Pipeline (SEEP), proposed by BP in late September 2011, could eventually be the pipeline carrying Azeri gas to European markets. Compared to its competitors in the Southern Corridor concept - Nabucco, TAP and ITGI - it goes furthest in terms of optimality for all the parties involved. The combined advantages of its size, scalability, usage of existing gas infrastructure in Europe and direction, promises a more reasonable economic and political value for the Shah Deniz Consortium, Azerbaijan, Turkey and Europe, while posing a bearable challenge to Russia. The SEEP seems to offer a greater value to a greater number of actors.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Markets, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Turkey, Azerbaijan
  • Author: Marilisa Lorusso
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Armenian parliamentary elections were held on 6 May 2012. Five parties and a coalition won seats in Parliament. Three of them are opposition parties, two in the previous legislature were allies of the presidency party, the Republican Party. The latter comfortably won the elections. With 45% votes through the proportional system and 29 seats through the majoritarian one, the Republican Party has the absolute majority of seats, 69 out of 131. So the two main issues in Armenian foreign policy - the protracted conflict with Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh and relations with Turkey - will be addressed in continuity with the policy expressed so far by President Serzh Sargsyan, unless the regional counterparts change their strategies. With the party he chairs being confirmed as the leading political force of the country, Sargsyan will run for his second term in the upcoming presidential elections.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Caucasus
  • Author: ees van der Pijl
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution
  • Abstract: The “moderate Islam” that has developed in Turkey could play a role in shaping the outcome of the Arab revolt that began in 2011. The modern Turkish state established by Atatürk after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire had to find ways to integrate Islam politically. Turkey was a late-industrialising country and the Islamic political current tended to have an anti-Western, antiliberal profile on this account. Two tendencies within Turkish political Islam are distinguished: one connecting religion to economic nationalism, the other primarily cultural and willing to accommodate to neoliberalism. The 1980 military coup geared the country to neoliberalism and cleared the way for this second tendency to rise to power through the Justice and Development Party (AKP) of R.T. Erdo ˘gan. For the West and the Gulf Arab states the export of this model to the Arab countries destabilised in the popular revolt would amount to a very favourable outcome. Gulf Arab capital was already involved in the opening up of state-controlled Arab economies, including Syria. Although the situation is still in flux, by following the Turkish model Muslim Brotherhood governments could potentially embrace political loyalty to the West and neoliberal capitalism.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Civil Society, Democratization, Development, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Arabia, North Africa
  • 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
  • Author: Tanja A. Börzel, Digdem Soyaltin
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Kolleg-Forschergruppe (KFG)
  • Abstract: Research on Europeanization and domestic change has moved south-eastwards and was provided with another real-world experiment when it has meet with Turkey. This paper explores to what extent Europeanization approaches travel to Turkey, which does have a membership perspective that looks, however, ever less credible. The first part outlines the main findings of research on 'External Europeanization' focusing on factors that have limited or at least qualified the domestic impact of the EU in the Central and Eastern European (CEE) and Western Balkan (WB) accession countries. The paper, then, discusses to what extent Europeanization approaches need further qualification when applied to Turkey, which squares on democracy with the Western Balkans (with the exception of Croatia), but whose statehood is less limited. We argue that existing Europeanization approaches, largely, account for the overall moderate degree of Europeanization in Turkey. Yet, selective and differential domestic changes are mostly related to the extent to which EU conditionality helps domestic actors gain or hold political power and push their own political agenda. The paper concludes by summarizing the major implications Turkey's accession to the EU has for Europeanization approaches and discussing why Turkey is not a case sui generis.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Balkans
  • Author: Bilgin Ayata
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Kolleg-Forschergruppe (KFG)
  • Abstract: Turkey has undergone significant legal and institutional reforms regarding minority rights and cultural rights in the past decade as part of a reform process to meet political criteria for EU membership. However, it has not been studied so far if this increasing institutional compliance has also led to transformations at a normative level in the public discourse in Turkey. To explore this question, this paper presents the results of a qualitative media analysis that I conducted on the restoration and reopening of an Armenian church in 2007 – a milestone for the Republic as churches were destroyed or doomed to vanish for nearly a century since the Armenian Genocide in 1915. The restoration of the Sourp Khatch/Akhtamar Church became a showcase for Turkey's self-promotion as a 'tolerant nation'. However, the church was notably made accessible to the public as a museum that initially lacked the cross on its dome and was conceived to only host a religious service once a year. This opening of a church-museum is a symbolic instance in Turkey's ongoing transformation process in which tolerance and plurality have become prominent keywords in politics and public debate. Yet, as the findings suggest, they do not so as a reflection of European norms, but rather stand for a rediscovery and reinterpretation of Turkey's Ottoman past practices as a multi-religious empire. I show, however, that this reinterpretation occurs on the shaky grounds of a blindfolded view of the past, in particular the denial of the Armenian Genocide, and on the denial that minorities are still endangered in present day Turkey. I conclude that, without an acknowledgement of the Armenian Genocide, Turkey's nostalgic embracement of the Ottoman past and representation of norms such as tolerance as the 'true' Turkish/Islamic norms do not stand for a norm internalization or a norm adaption process, but instead, for a disconnection between norm and practice.
  • Topic: Civil War, Democratization, Ethnic Conflict, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Asia
  • Author: Mustafa Kutlay, Osman Bahadir Dinçer
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Strategic Research Organization (USAK)
  • Abstract: The aim of this study is to assess Turkey's capacity as a regional power in the Middle East. Within this context, emphasis has been placed on the structural components of Turkey's growing regional influence.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Islam, Political Economy, Power Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Strategic Research Organization (USAK)
  • Abstract: Türkiye'de kritik enerji altyapi unsurlari (KEAU) güvenligini mercek altina yatirarak mevcut durumu tespit etmek, bu konuda farkindalik yaratmak ve sorunlar ile çözüm önerilerini kamuoyunun ve yetkili birimlerin dikkatine sunmak amaciyla bir çalisma yapilmistir. Nitekim, "Kritik Enerji Altyapi Güvenligi Projesi" adli bu çalismanin tüm boyutlarini ve detayli sonuçlarini içeren bir rapor hazirlanmistir.
  • Topic: Development, Energy Policy, Islam, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: Joseph Holliday
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: The rebels will have to rely on external lines of supply to replenish their arms and ammunition if they are to continue eroding the regime's control. The emergence of al-Qaeda-linked terrorist cells working against the regime poses risks to the United States and a challenge to those calling for material support of the armed opposition. As the militias continue to face overwhelming regime firepower the likelihood of their radicalization may increase. Moreover, the indigenous rebels may turn to al-Qaeda for high-end weaponry and spectacular tactics as the regime's escalation leaves the rebels with no proportionate response, as occurred in Iraq in 2005-2006. Developing relations with armed opposition leaders and recognizing specific rebel organizations may help to deter this dangerous trend. It is imperative that the United States distinguish between the expatriate political opposition and the armed opposition against the Assad regime on the ground in Syria. American objectives in Syria are to hasten the fall of the Assad regime; to contain the regional spillover generated by the ongoing conflict; and to gain influence over the state and armed forces that emerge in Assad's wake. Therefore, the United States must consider developing relations with critical elements of Syria's armed opposition movement in order to achieve shared objectives, and to manage the consequences should the Assad regime fall or the conflict protract.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Terrorism, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: Africa, Russia, United States, Iran, Turkey, Middle East, Germany, Syria