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  • Author: Abdel Latif Hegazy
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: The Turkish foreign policy has witnessed changes since the Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power in 2002. Turkey initially adopted a ‘zero problems with neighbors’ policy and resorted to solving regional issues through diplomatic mechanisms, leading to improving its relations with the countries of the region. However, following the outbreak of the Arab uprisings end of 2010 and the collapse of several major Arab regimes, resulting in a leadership gap within the region, Ankara sought to foster its influence in the region. This was clear in abandoning the ‘zero problems’ policy, engaging in the region's military conflicts and providing support to the Muslim Brotherhood to enable its rule in some Arab countries. These policies have led to tensions in Turkey's relations with many countries in the region, such as Egypt and Syria, as well as interrupted relations with countries that were considered its allies, such as the US and the EU, leaving Turkey with ‘zero allies’. Turkish officials defend their country's policies by launching the term ‘precious loneliness’, clarifying that Turkey's foreign policy is based on a set of values and principles that achieve its national interests, and that sometimes one may have to stand up alone to defend the values that one believes in. Nevertheless, since late 2020, Turkey's foreign policy has made a shift towards appeasement and the pursuit of improving relations with many countries in the region, with the EU and the US. Perhaps one of the most significant official statements indicating the desire to resolve issues is Erdogan's call in November 2020 to open diplomatic channels and reconciliation with all countries in the region for a quick resolution of conflicts. He also mentioned that they have no implicit or explicit prejudices, enmities or hidden agendas against anyone, and that they sincerely and cordially call on everyone to work together to set a new stage in the framework of stability, safety, justice and respect. This change has raised questions about Ankara's real motive, whether it aims to improve its foreign relations or it simply seeks to compensate for the losses incurred by its regional policies, relieve the pressures imposed on it and to penetrate the fronts that counter its role in the region.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Regional Cooperation, Appeasement
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Abdel Latif Hegazy
  • Publication Date: 07-2021
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: On June 7, 2021, Ali Erbaş, President of Directorate of Religious Affairs in Turkey, and İbrahim Ärän, Director of the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT), signed a cooperation protocol to establish a religious channel for children, which would be the first of its kind in Turkey. Within this context, Erbaş, said, "We have not been able to present Islamic values to children over the past years, since we used to show them animated cartoons designed by foreign companies." He emphasized the need to exert efforts to sustain children with correct religious knowledge. The government’s establishment of a religious channel for children has raised questions regarding the dimensions and motives of this step currently, particularly since there is a Turkish tendency to politicize and use religion to serve the political and electoral motives of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
  • Topic: Politics, Religion, Children, Islamism, Erdogan
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: A survey of how regional media outlets discussed the congressional impeachment process and its potential ramifications on the 2020 presidential election. Across the Middle East, the story of President Trump’s impeachment and subsequent acquittal received secondtier coverage compared to regional or local issues. Many Arabic-language websites and newspapers translated and republished Western articles as opposed to creating their own content on the issue, such as Al Jazeera publishing a translated version of a Guardian editorial. Moreover, the bulk of the articles just explained the facts or process of impeachment rather than expounding on its significance. Some celebrated the idea that there is a mechanism for peaceful removal of a leader. Most commented on the unlikelihood of Trump’s removal and how America is facing unprecedented polarization. Those articles that did offer their own editorial content were split on whether impeachment will help or hurt Trump’s election campaign. Publications in the Gulf states tended to portray impeachment as an act of “political vengeance” by Democrats against Trump, “who won despite their opposition” (Sky News Arabia). Most Gulf papers posited that Trump will ultimately benefit in the 2020 election “after proving his innocence before the Senate” (Al Seyassah). Yet Qatari coverage deviated from the general Gulf trend. For example, one Al Jazeera article asserted that the impeachment case against Trump “is simple, and established not only by officials speaking under oath, but by his own words and actions.” Egyptian newspapers were more split on how impeachment will affect the election. Anti-American outlets in Syria suggested it will hurt him, with Al Baath noting “all data indicate that Trump’s hope for a return to the White House have faded.” Lebanese publications tended to take a more neutral view. The Hezbollah-controlled newspaper Al Akhbar wrote that the prospect of impeachment weakening Trump’s electoral campaign “is similar to that of his potential main rival,” arguing that Joe Biden was also tainted by the process. Most Iranian media tended to copy Western sources, but two themes prevailed among outlets offering original content: portrayal of impeachment as a scandal that has tainted Trump’s presidential legacy, or neutral analysis of how impeachment may or may not harm his reelection chances. A few analytical pieces suggested that he might be able to transform the scandal into an asset for his campaign, since it may “lead to more popularity among the middle class.” While most Iranian articles leaned against Trump, few appeared to praise Democrats. Turkish articles generally depicted impeachment as a “gift” to Trump’s campaign. SETA, a think tank that supports President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, claimed that what “hasn’t killed Trump will make him stronger.” Sabah News, another pro-Erdogan source, wrote that impeachment will “unite Republican senators and members of the House of Representatives around him.”
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Media, News Analysis, Domestic politics, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: Iran, Turkey, Middle East, Arab Countries, North America, United States of America
  • Author: James M Dorsey
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: It is not the caliphate that the world’s Muslim powerhouses are fighting about. Instead, they are engaged in a deepening religious soft power struggle for geopolitical influence and dominance. This battle for the soul of Islam pits rival Middle Eastern and Asian powers against one another: Turkey, seat of the Islamic world’s last true caliphate; Saudi Arabia, home to the faith’s holy cities; the United Arab Emirates, propagator of a militantly statist interpretation of Islam; Qatar with its less strict version of Wahhabism and penchant for political Islam; Indonesia, promoting a humanitarian, pluralistic notion of Islam that reaches out to other faiths as well as non-Muslim centre-right forces across the globe; Morocco which uses religion as a way to position itself as the face of moderate Islam; and Shia Iran with its derailed revolution. In the ultimate analysis, no clear winner may emerge. Yet, the course of the battle could determine the degree to which Islam will be defined by either one or more competing stripes of ultra-conservativism—statist forms of the faith that preach absolute obedience to political rulers and/or reduce religious establishments to pawns of the state.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Islam, Politics, Ideology
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iran, Indonesia, Turkey, Middle East, Asia, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Qatar, United Arab Emirates
  • Author: George N Tzogopoulos
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA)
  • Abstract: Greece, Israel, and five other countries of the Eastern Mediterranean have established the East Med Gas Forum. Turkey is not a member and is employing its own muscular approach in the region. The US would like the Forum to be more inclusive, specifically toward Ankara. Athens and Jerusalem could launch a diplomatic initiative to explore Turkey’s participation, as they have nothing to lose and much to gain from such an initiative.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Gas, Trade
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Israel, Greece, Palestine, Mediterranean
  • Author: James M Dorsey
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA)
  • Abstract: As tens of thousands more refugees are shunted by Turkey toward Europe and a new phase of the brutal Syrian war unfolds, Russia, Turkey, the EU, and the international community are being handed the bill for a flawed short-term approach to the nine-year conflict that lacked empathy for the millions of victims and was likely to magnify rather than resolve problems.
  • Topic: War, Refugees, Syrian War, International Community
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: James M Dorsey
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA)
  • Abstract: Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is at odds with just about everybody. He is on opposite sides with Russia in Syria as well as Libya and is trying the patience of his US and European allies. Turkey and Russia are testing the limits of what was always at best an opportunistic, fragile partnership aimed at capitalizing on a seemingly diminishing US interest in the Middle East, already evident under President Barack Obama and continuing under Donald Trump, who is haphazardly redefining what he sees as America’s national interests.
  • Topic: Security, Geopolitics, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
  • Political Geography: Russia, Turkey, Middle East, Libya, Syria
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: The utilization of mercenaries has become one of the key predicaments in the Middle East, particularly in the hotbeds of armed conflict, including Libya, Yemen and Syria. Such militia are usually transferred through the use of civil flights, crossing land borders or smuggling through organized crime networks. This has been reflected by numerous evidence including the escalating tensions between the international powers such as ‘France’ and regional ones such as ‘Turkey’, even affecting the mutual hostility between the ‘Syrian Democratic Forces’ and Ankara, and the latter's policy aiming at disturbing Libya's neighboring countries. In the case of Yemen, the Houthi militia and Islah party have also used African mercenaries. It is further evident in the warning given by the Yemeni government to ‘Tehran Mercenaries’ against turning Yemen into a battlefield after the murder of Qassem Soleimani.
  • Topic: War, Non State Actors, Houthis, Militias, Mercenaries
  • Political Geography: Iran, Turkey, Middle East, France, Libya, Yemen, North Africa, Syria
  • Author: Dania Koleilat Khatib, Aref Bijan
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Over the last few years, Russia has emerged as a significant power broker and military actor in the Middle East. Russia's intervention in the Syrian crisis since 2015 has revived its relations with neighboring countries. This increase in Russia's activity has led to convergence and divergence with other countries in the region. One of those countries is Turkey, which had cooperated at times and had differences at times with Russia in the Middle East, especially in the Syrian and the Libyan crises. Ankara and Moscow are fully engaged in the global competition trying to increase their power and influence. They face off in Syria and Libya. In Syria, Turkey supports the rebels in the North West while Russia supports the Assad regime. In Libya, Turkey supports the Government of National Accord (GNA) while Russia supports Libyan National Army (LNA). Their relation becomes more intricate as both parties got involved in the Caucus, a region of prime importance to both countries. In the vicinity of Russia, the oil route goes Tbilisi-Baku ending up in Ceyhan Turkey. While Turkey supports Azerbaijan, Russia supports Armenia. The Caucus crisis showed how the two countries are rivals that are ready to accommodate each other on a quid pro quo basis. The cease happened concurrently with a partial withdrawal of Turkey from some posts in the North West in Syria. Was there an agreement between Erdogan and Putin in this regard? There are no proofs; however, the various events that are happening from the Caucus to North Africa suggest that those two powers are rivals that are ready to accommodate each other. To add to that, the American retrenchment has encouraged the two powers to flex their muscles in the region. Therefore, given the developments in the region, this article has tried to examine the paradox of Russian-Turkish relations and their strategy in Libya and Syria.
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations, Conflict, Strategic Competition, Proxy War
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Turkey, Middle East, Libya
  • Author: Paul Rivlin
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: The civil war that has prevailed in Libya since the fall of the Qaddafi regime in 2011 has become increasingly internationalized. Foreign powers have taken sides in the war, supplying weapons, mercenaries and other support. In recent months, Turkey’s increased intervention in support of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) has added another element to the internationalization of the conflict. In order to obtain military support, the GNA has allied itself with Turkey’s plan to gain control of access to the Eastern Mediterranean and its gas-fields. This poses a threat to Greece, Cyprus, Israel and Egypt, who are all cooperating in the utilization of those fields and the possible development of pipelines to Europe.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Oil, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Libya, North America
  • Author: Soner Cagaptay
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: In this issue of Turkeyscope Dr. Soner Cagaptay analyzes the evolution of Turkey's foreign policy with respect to both Syria and Libya.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Bilateral Relations, Geopolitics, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
  • Political Geography: Russia, Turkey, Middle East, Libya, North Africa, Syria
  • Author: Tülin Daloğlu
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: In this issue of Turkeyscope, senior Turkish journalist Tülin Daloğlu provided an insider's perspective on Turkey's struggle with the Coronavirus. The article analyzes the measures that have been implemented since the eruption of the first COVID-19 case in Turkey and their effects on the Turkish public.
  • Topic: Governance, Health Care Policy, Crisis Management, Coronavirus, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Mediterranean
  • Author: Merve Tahiroglu
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: In the current issue of Turkeyscope Merve Tahiroglu analyzed the Erdogan administration's stance vis-a-vis media outlets. In her analysis, Tahiroglu highlighted the government's efforts for controlling the media outlets as well as its attempts in various fields such as censorship, propaganda, and misinformation.
  • Topic: Media, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Propaganda, Censorship
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Mediterranean
  • Author: Hay Eytan, Cohen Yanarocak
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: In the new issue of Turkeyscope, Dr. Hay Eytan Cohen Yanarocak discusses the evolution of the Turkish unmanned air vehicles industry and the role of the "made in Turkey UAVs" in Ankara's military campaigns.
  • Topic: Military Affairs, Weapons , Arms Trade
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Mediterranean
  • Author: Edward Hunt
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: As Turkey continues its devastating military assault on Rojava, the Kurdish-led region of northeastern Syria, officials in Washington are facing a critical decision: allow Turkey to prevail in its campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Kurds or take action to protect them. The Turkish invasion, which began on October 9, has been devastating for Rojava. According to the United Nations, nearly 180,000 people, including 80,000 children, have been displaced. At the start of the attack, Turkish officials announced that Turkish-led forces had killed more than 200 Kurdish militants. About a week later, Kurdish officials said that more than 200 civilians had been killed.
  • Topic: International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Doron Itzchakov
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA)
  • Abstract: Though it prompted angry reactions from senior officials in Tehran, the Turkish attack on Syrian Kurdistan offers both pros and cons for the Islamic Republic – and the potential positives likely outweigh the negatives.
  • Topic: Ethnicity, Conflict, Syrian War, Kurds
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Tehran, Syria, Kurdistan
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Idlib has been the delayed battle in the Syrian conflict throughout its various stages, but this seems to be coming to an end, as many indicators reveal. For example, Russia, for the time being, is keen to resolve Idlib’s issue which would reinforce the specter of military intervention. Moscow indicates that there are no options left for the parties to the Sochi agreement, pointing also to the difficulty of implementing its terms. The 10 points-agreement has not achieved its purpose for five months, given the terrorist organizations’ control over the area, in particular al-Nusra Front. This happens amid lack of actions from the Turkish side, which has threatened, more than once, to deter those who jeopardize the agreement, which compelled it to agree, ostensibly, with the other parties on launching a military offensive in Idlib. Despite the challenges and consequences of this option, it is the scenario that looms large over the Syrian scene at present.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Military Affairs, Conflict, Syrian War
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iran, Turkey, Middle East, Syria, Idlib
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Qatar and Turkey were quick to express their opposition to the US designation, on April 8, 2019, of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC) as a foreign terrorist organization. This stance cannot be separated from Doha and Ankara's perception of the repercussions that such a move could have on their position on various regional crises or the bilateral relations with Iran, which appear to be heading toward difficult challenges. The most critical of these challenge are the continuous pressures it faces at home and abroad. This could spell serious problems for Qatar and Turkey if they insist on siding with Iran in the coming period.
  • Topic: Economics, Terrorism, Sanctions, Alliance, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC)
  • Political Geography: Iran, Turkey, Tehran, Qatar, Ankara, Doha
  • Author: Zeliha Eliaçık
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: To the contrary of its relatively “new” relations with the United States of America, Turkey’s relations with the West have been established and continued via Europe since the period of the Ottoman Empire.1 The military alliance and cooperation initiated between Turkey and Germany in the late 19th century have gained a human dimension in the frame of the “Turkish Labor Force Agreement” signed upon the settlement of Turkish workers in Germany in the 20th century. Bilateral relations have been maintained without interruption despite occasional fluctuations in the intensity of these relations. Recently, the two countries have maintained closer ties as they both are affected by the U.S. sanctions and “trade wars.”
  • Topic: International Relations, International Cooperation, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Germany, Global Focus
  • Author: Karol Wasilewski
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In May, the Turkish lira reached a record low to the U.S. dollar. Turkey’s growing economic problems stem from Turkish politicians’ preference for political goals over economic ones. For now, the authorities have begun to undertake actions to regain investors’ trust, but in the longer term, Turkey’s economy needs to undergo deep and probably unpopular structural reform. The country’s economic problems may significantly influence the parliamentary and presidential elections set for 24 June.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Iran has shown a particular interest in improving its bilateral relations with Turkey, mainly at the economic level. This was evident in the visit of Iranian President, Hassan Rouhani, to Turkey, on December 20, to participate in the fifth session of the Supreme Council for Strategic Relations between the two countries, accompanied by a mostly economic delegation. Tehran believes that there are several factors, related to developments in the regional and international arenas over the past period, which can help achieve this goal, namely increasing the volume of trade between both countries to USD 30 billion. However, Iran’s betting on the Turkish role seems to have limits due to the ever-changing and unstable nature of Turkish policy, which casts doubts over the possibility of reaching such level of rapprochement.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Sanctions, Hassan Rouhani
  • Political Geography: Iran, Turkey, Middle East, Syria, North America, United States of America
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Turkey has recently stepped up its economic presence in the cities of northern Syria, including Al-Bab, Jarablus, and Azaz, among others. Those cities are now controlled by the Syrian opposition with the assistance of the Turkish army through two military operations between 2016 and 2018 dubbed Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch. Turkey has worked to rehabilitate the basic services of electricity, education and health in these cities in cooperation with private Turkish companies, as well as promoting the export of various goods to these cities. Through its presence there, Turkey is aiming to achieve numerous goals in line with its vision towards the trajectories of the Syrian conflict, and its position, in the coming phase.
  • Topic: Economy, Conflict, Syrian War, Kurds
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Syria, North America, United States of America
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Iran has reacted swiftly after the kidnapping of 14 of its soldiers from the Basij and border guards in Mirjaveh, along the border with Pakistan, on October 16. Tehran summoned the Pakistani ambassador to inform him that Islamabad should take the necessary actions to secure the release of soldiers after being transferred to Pakistan. Remarkably, Iran has been keen- this time - not to escalate with Islamabad, unlike previous incidents, the latest of which was the killing of 10 Iranian soldiers, on April 26, 2017, which prompted Iran to threaten military intervention if the Pakistani government did not launch strikes against the armed groups that carry out such operations. Iran went further, firing mortar shells on the border on May 27, 2017. This cannot be separated from Iranian efforts to handle the fallout of the new US sanctions, as well as the implications of Imran Khan’s rise to power in Islamabad.
  • Topic: Sanctions, Conflict, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, China, Iran, South Asia, Turkey, Middle East, India, Asia
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Although most of the parties concerned with developments in the Syrian conflict do not expect the Quartet Summit held today in Istanbul -with the participation of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Russian president Vladimir Putin, French president Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel- to make a breakthrough in the efforts to reach a political settlement of the crisis, this in its entirety does not diminish the anxiety of Iran, which is the most prominent absent at that summit.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Syrian War, Negotiation
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Iran, Eurasia, Turkey, Middle East, France, Germany, Syria
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Russia seems to be gearing for fresh efforts to reach new political arrangements in Syria, after the balance of power has shifted in favor of the Syrian regime. During a speech at the Valdai International Discussion Club at Sochi resort on October 18, 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that his country achieved its goals in Syria. He noted that the Russian military intervention was aimed at fighting terrorism and preventing the fragmentation of Syrian territory, invoking the case of Somalia as a model that Russia prevented its recurrence in Syria, adding that the next stage will be devoted to settlement in the United Nations. However, this does not negate the fact that such efforts may encounter many challenges, over the key outstanding issues, foremost among is the position of the Syrian regime itself.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Politics, United Nations, Vladimir Putin
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iran, Eurasia, Turkey, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Gallia Lindenstrauss
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: Over the past decade, despite periodic hostile statements on the one hand and high level visits on the other, Turkey-Iran relations have experienced few surprising developments. As Hakki Uygur has argued, “The Turkish-Iranian relationship can be considered one of the most consistent and predictable sets of relations in the Middle East region.” During this time, Turkish-Iranian relations have fluctuated within a defined range whereby despite the intense competition, they never reach the point of deep crisis. However, even in the case of shared interests, the two states have not proved capable of achieving close strategic cooperation.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Iran, Turkey
  • Author: William Chislett
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Elcano Royal Institute
  • Abstract: UN-brokered talks to finally reunify Cyprus after 43 years offered hope, but obstacles remained and any deal would have to be approved in referendums on both sides. Greek Cypriots rejected the settlement put forward by the United Nations in 2004. The reunification of Cyprus is one of the world’s longest running and intractable international problems. The latest talks in Geneva in January 2017 between Nicos Anastasiades, the Greek-Cypriot President, and Mustafa Akıncı, his Turkish-Cypriot counterpart, after 20 months of negotiations, made significant progress. The issues of territorial adjustments and security and guarantees are the most sensitive and core issues yet to be resolved and ones that will determine whether a solution can be reached and approved in referendums on both sides.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Greece, Cyprus
  • Author: Pietro A. Shakarian
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Rethinking Russia
  • Abstract: Russia and Turkey have been improving their relationship since June 2016, the Kurdish question presents a potential challenge to their attempts to strengthen their ties. Reconciling Kurdish aspirations with Turkish fears will be a top priority for Moscow in its effort to broker a post-war peace in Syria.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, War, Syrian War, Kurds
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Turkey, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdo- gan continues his years-old pressure on the Central Bank to lower interest rates in a bid to encourage lending and consumption, and support the country’s economic growth, damaged by the mid-2016 failed coup attempt. The Turkish economic community considers that the move is highly risky, especially because of the possibility that the apex bank would lose credibility and weaken its ability to achieve monetary and financial stability.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: W. Robert Pearson
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: Director General of the Foreign Service, 2003-2006 United States Ambassador to Turkey, 2000-2003 July 15, 2016 will live in the minds of Turks the way 9/11 is fixed in the minds of Americans. That evening a small group of mostly military officers attempted to forcibly overthrow the government and possibly assassinate Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Air Force planes bombed Turkey’s parliament while it was in session. A FaceTime call from President Erdogan mobilized thousands of citizens, who poured into the streets, directly confronting troops participating in the coup attempt, and within a short period of time, the coup collapsed. President Erdogan described the crushing of the coup as a “gift from God.”
  • Topic: Power Politics, Military Affairs, Popular Revolt
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Soner Cagaptay
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The July 15 attempted coup, which exposed rifts within the Turkish military, coupled with the August 9 meeting between Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian president Vladimir Putin, and the Turkish incursion into Syria on August 24, appear to signal a change in trajectory for Turkey’s Syria policy. Since Erdogan’s ouster of Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in May 2015, Turkey has already implemented some significant foreign policy shifts, including normalization with Israel and a desire to mend ties with Russia.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Civil War, Peace Studies, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, Turkey, Syria
  • Author: Benjamin Edwards, Loren Landau
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Urban Institute
  • Abstract: The world is in the midst of a historic refugee crisis. In 2015, over 65 million people were forcibly displaced—19.5 million of them international refugees living outside their home countries. While the United States hopes to welcome up to 110,000 refugees next year, the scale of the crisis demands a larger and more creative response. Formal humanitarian approaches have focused on refugee camps and direct humanitarian aid, but cities and urban areas play a central role in hosting and protecting displaced persons. Today, only one-third of the world's refugees live in camps. Of the approximately 2.7 million Syrian refugees in Turkey, nearly 90 percent live in urban environments. Given the nature of the current crisis, what can humanitarian organizations do differently to address refugee concerns in urban areas? And what unique opportunities might arise by focusing on cities in addition to camps?
  • Topic: Refugees, Displacement, Urban
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Global Focus
  • Author: Berfin Nur Osso
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations Prague
  • Abstract: The discussion paper by Berfin Nur Osso, former intern at the Institute of International Relations Prague and a senior undergraduate student at the Koç University in Istanbul majoring in Law and minoring in International Relations, focuses on the assessment of the readmission agreement between the EU and Turkey.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Europe Union
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey
  • Author: Oğuz Çelikkol
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Global Political Trends Center
  • Abstract: Several factors have always played an important role in Turkish-Israeli relaons since the two countries established diplomac relaons in 1949. First of all, both countries have been in the Western camp and have a special relaonship with the United States. Turkey's recognion of the importance of the Jewish lobby in US polics and Turkey's contacts with this powerful lobby predated its diplomac contacts with the State of Israel. When Turkey faced the expansionist threat of the Soviet Union just aer the Second World War and wished to establish close military es with the United States, it also iniated contacts with the American Jewish lobby, and recognized the newly established State of Israel. Although Turkey voted against the Palesne paron plan of the United Naons and the division of Palesnian territories into Arab and Jewish states in 1947, it became the first regional power to recognize the Israeli State, just a few weeks before the Turkish foreign minister's first official visit to Washington in 1949. Turkey joined the US-led North Atlanc Treaty Organizaon (NATO) in 1952 and formed special diplomac and military es with the US during the 1950s.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Bilateral Relations, History , Crisis Management
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Mensur Akgün, Muhammed Ammash, Nimrod Goren, Gabriel Mitchell, Sylvia Tiryaki
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Global Political Trends Center
  • Abstract: Turkey and Israel face a unique opportunity: to reconcile after five years of stagnant bilateral relations. We, leaders of Israeli and Turkish think tanks that have been working together since 2012 to support the mending of Israel-Turkey relations, welcome this development and call on the leaders of both countries to seize this opportunity. In mid-December, officials from both countries met in Switzerland in order to finalize principles for an eventual agreement to normalize ties. Reports confirm that an outline and framework for the reconciliation agreement has indeed been reached, although some important issues – such as the blockade on the Gaza Strip – are still unresolved. Israel and Turkey came close to sealing a reconciliation deal on several occasions since the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident, most recently in the spring of 2014. However, while diplomats managed to find formulas that would overcome the differences between the countries, political leadership in Ankara and Jerusalem was hesitant to put the agreement into practice. This time around, there seems to be a convergence of economic and geostrategic interests, as well as political will on both sides.
  • Topic: Development, Diplomacy, Treaties and Agreements, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Lauren Baker
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Project on Middle East Political Science (POMEPS)
  • Abstract: Late in the evening of July 15, a faction of the Turkish army blocked key bridges into Istanbul and occupied several locations throughout the country. The attempted coup failed before morning, but its consequences will reverberate far into the future. The government’s response was immediate and harsh: mass arrests and a purge of not only the military, but also civil servants, judges, academics, and political opponents. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned cleric Fethullah Gulen as the chief conspirator and demanded his extradition from self-imposed exile in the United States. Meanwhile, some opponents of Erdogan suggest that the government orchestrated the attempt as a “false flag” operation to consolidate power and crackdown on dissidents. Turkey is not new to coups, but looking at previous conflicts and the political science literature on coups can tell us why this failed attempt is unique and what its repercussions will be in Turkey and the broader Middle East. The pieces in POMEPS Briefing 30 offer insightful and timely analysis from top scholars of the region published in the Monkey Cage blog on the Washington Post.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Project on Middle East Political Science (POMEPS)
  • Abstract: Turkey Brief 26 Turkey’s Democratic Struggles POMEPS Briefing 26 — June 17, 2015 On June 7, Turkish voters denied a majority to the long-ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and pushed the Kurdish Democratic People’s Party (HDP) over the electoral threshold for the first time. A number of critical trends in Turkish politics came together in the June 2015 parliamentary election: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s authoritarian ambitions, Kurdish political evolution, an unpopular Syria policy and the stunning break between AKP and the Islamist Gulen movement. POMEPS Briefings 26 “Turkey’s Democratic Struggles” brings together more than a dozen essays published by the Project on Middle East Political Science and the Monkey Cage that help to make sense of the stakes and results of this crucial election.
  • Topic: Democratization, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Project on Middle East Political Science (POMEPS)
  • Abstract: Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan occupied a dominant political position not too long ago. In June 2011, his Justice and Development Party (AKP) won nearly 60 percent of the seats in parliament while expanding its lead over its closest competitor. Turkey seemed well primed to take advantage of the Arab uprisings, with its independent foreign policy and criticism of Israel playing well with Arab audiences. Erdogan even seemed keen to find a resolution to the long-running struggle with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and reconcile with the country’s Kurdish citizens. Those days seem distant indeed. For at least the last six months, Erdogan has struggled to respond to sustained popular protests, a growing corruption scandal, a stalled peace process with the PKK, a deeply unpopular and ineffective Syria policy, and dissent from within his own party. How did Erdogan’s fortunes reverse so quickly? Are his problems primarily the natural decay of a leader too long in power or do they speak to deeper problems with his party’s ideology or the foundations of Turkish democracy? The 14 deeply researched and analytically powerful Foreign Policy Middle East Channel essays collected in this POMEPS Briefing go deeply into the origins, dynamics, and likely implications of Turkey’s new political scene.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Cenap Çakmak
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: BILGESAM (Wise Men Center for Strategic Studies)
  • Abstract: Norms matter in world politics; and it is actually the norms, rather than complicated provisions of treaties or other formal arrangements, that the state express strong willingness to comply with. Norms are also significant as they reshape the conduct of interstate affairs and the overall outlook of the international political stage. From a constructivist perspective, norms are expected to take reign in the aftermath of a major and pervasive transformation in global stage. Such norms are further consolidated and legally backed by the repetitive compliance of states which turn them into binding customs that are applicable to all similar cases regardless of whether parties to these cases express their consent to abide by them as international legal rules.
  • Topic: International Law, Politics, Treaties and Agreements, Conflict, Norms
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Sinan Ülgen
  • Publication Date: 07-2013
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: BILGESAM (Wise Men Center for Strategic Studies)
  • Abstract: When we look at Turkey’s nuclear strategy particularly in the field of military, we see that the issue of nuclear armament is not frequently discussed (maybe for right reasons). However, outside the country, in other NATO members, this issue is often discussed. What is at stake here is not the debate over how many nuclear weapons each state possesses but what kind of roles nuclear weapons play in the security strategies of countries.The debate on whether nuclear weapons are still needed in today’s world is being made openly before the public opinion. There has not occurred such a debate environment in Turkey yet. I am of the view that beginning such a debate will be of benefit if we indeed have the ideal of ‘open society’.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy, Public Opinion, Military Affairs, Weapons
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Atilla Sandikli, Erdem Kaya
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: BILGESAM (Wise Men Center for Strategic Studies)
  • Abstract: The Gezi Park events, started upon tearing down a few trees and demolishing some walls of the Park within the framework of the “Taksim Pavement Project”, proved to be a turning point in Turkish politics. The events are still one of the major policy debates continuing to affect the national politics in Turkey.
  • Topic: Security, Human Rights, Governance, Social Movement, Protests, Domestic Policy, Freedom, Gezi Park
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Cenap Çakmak
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: BILGESAM (Wise Men Center for Strategic Studies)
  • Abstract: Islamist activism takes growing attention in political discussions and literature of scholarly accounts as well. Islamic movements and activism is often associated with terrorism in these accounts. However, this is a simplistic approach and ignores the dynamics and rationale behind this phenomenon. In other words, Islamism needs to be explored and understood for a proper analysis and discussion.
  • Topic: Islam, Terrorism, Political Activism, Islamism, Jihad
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Mustafa Kibaroglu
  • Publication Date: 07-2013
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: BILGESAM (Wise Men Center for Strategic Studies)
  • Abstract: Iran has become one of the most important issues of international agenda due to its nuclear program and continues to preserve its importance because of this. The question is how Iran has come to occupy an important place on international agenda? Is Iran pursuing its nuclear program in breach of international treaties or what causes problems are its intentions concerning the use of its nuclear capabilities?
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Treaties and Agreements, Nuclear Power, Weapons , Nonproliferation
  • Political Geography: Iran, Turkey, Middle East