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Turkish Secular Sunset
Ron Coody - 6/3/2013
The so-called Arab Spring that brought tens of thousands into the streets of Egypt, Libya, Algeria and other Arab countries occurred because the people had grown weary of secular-leaning dictatorships that had made deals with Western governments to curb Islamic radicalism and keep peace with the state of Israel. When Turkish protestors poured into the streets of downtown Istanbul, Ankara and then other cities around Turkey, some observers interpreted the unrest as a Turkish Spring. Aside from huge crowds clashing with police, the similarities between Turkey and the Arab countries end. In fact, the situation is completely upside down in Turkey.
Obama and Erdogan Discuss Syrian Regime Change
Ron Coody - 5/18/2013
Last week entering my apartment complex in Istanbul I noticed the security guards intently watching something on their cell phones. Curious, I asked what was going on. They showed me scenes of emergency crews making their way through piles of smoking debris in southern Turkey near the Syrian border. Someone had exploded bombs they explained, killing at least 45 people. The proximity to Syria indicated the bombings were probably connected with the current Syrian civil war. "It's a sectarian war," the guard explained, "and there are now almost half a million Syrian refugees in Turkey who have fled the fighting. They have been placed in cities all across the country."
The super-powers to need a strong deterrent to Turkey
Prof. Ruben Safrastyan, Ph.D. - 5/6/2013
The escalation of tensions in the Gaza Strip between Israelis and the Palestinian movement HAMAS have skewed the political spotlight on the Middle East. Although 21 November between the conflicting parties signed the truce, that Israel and the Islamist movement must cease all military actions in the Gaza Strip, the mutual shelling continued. In the interview BakuToday Director of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia Ruben Safrastyan presented his point of view on what is happening in the Gaza Strip, as well as shared his thoughts about what is fraught with another turn of the Arab-Israeli conflict for the Caucasian countries.
Is the Enemy’s Enemy a Friend?
Imran Khan - 11/28/2011
When I was in school, it was extremely confusing for me to remember the math equations for +X+=+ (Plus multiply by plus = plus), +X- = - (Plus multiply by Minus = Minus), -X+= - (Minus multiply by Plus = Minus) and –X- =+ (Minus multiply by Minus = Plus). But then a teacher told us a fantastic and simple example to remember all these equations. He told us to consider that Plus is a friend and Minus is an Enemy, put the same in those equations and think what you will get. So +X+=+ (Friend’s Friend = Friend also), +X- = - (Friend’s Enemy = Enemy also), -X+= - (Enemy’s Friend= Enemy also) and –X-...
Turkey– Iraqi Kurdistan ties: The foes has become allies
Abdulla Hawez Abdulla - 10/24/2011
I remember how relations between the Turkish government and Iraqi Kurdistan’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) used to be. Both sides were ambivalent about how to deal with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), and had to wrangle over the matter. But these thoughts became obsolete after 2009 and transformed into marvelous relations. Some may wonder h ow and why they moved away from being enemies to being partners.
The Wikileaks Cables on Turkey: 20/20 Tunnel Vision
Claire Berlinski and Okan Altiparmak - 6/20/2011
The Wikileaks cables on Turkey reveal a surprising paradox. U.S. diplomats suggest themselves to be highly-informed, perspicacious observers of Turkey with more insight than one would expect into the Islamist complexes and prejudices of Turkey's governing AKP, the role of the Gulen movement in Turkey, the political talent and personality of Prime Minister Erdogan, his increasing isolation from competent advisors, and the central problems that characterize AKP governance: lack of technocratic skill, corruption, and influence-peddling. Yet time and again, these diplomats fail to draw from these ...
Turkish-Armenian “football diplomacy” has an “extra time”
Vahan Dilanyan - 2/17/2011
Turkish-Armenian rapprochement could resume after Parliamentary elections in Turkey in 2011
Turkey's New Foreign Policy
Sean Foley, Ph.D. - 10/7/2010
In October 1927 Turkish President Mustafa Kemal Ataturk delivered a historic speech in which he explained why Turks had to abandon the Ottoman Empire and embrace his new state. Ataturk pointed out the high cost and futility of seeking an empire extending beyond Turkish-populated lands:
Turkey's Referendum Doesn't Mean Popular Support for a Regime Aligning with Iran
Prof. Barry Rubin - 9/28/2010
It is true that the passage of the referendum in Turkey with 58 percent of the vote can be seen as a victory for the AKP regime. But that point shouldn't be exaggerated. The bad feature of the reforms--in terms of consolidating the Islamist government's power--is to strengthen the regime's control over the courts and to limit further the autonomy of the Turkish army.
Turkey: Islamism's Consequences for the West
Steven Simpson - 9/20/2010
The "good times" between Turkey and the West seem to be over. As the Erdogan years in Turkey have attempted to turn Turkey from a once-secular country into a de facto Islamist country, the West and Turkey seem to be on a collision course, or at best, an impasse.
Turkey represents a threat to morality and international order
Hugh Pope - 6/15/2010
Growing strains in Turkey's relationship with Israel, which reached a nadir this week over Israel's killing of Turks on the aid flotilla to Gaza, are raising new questions about the balance Turkey is striking between its long-standing western allies and its status as a rising power in the Middle East.
Israel and Turkey: The Impossible Alliance
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/12/2010
In June 2010, Turkey voted against the UN Security Council resolution that imposed a fourth round of sanctions on Iran for its enrichment of uranium. Earlier in 2010, Turkey and Brazil have struck a deal with Iran to have two thirds of its nuclear fuel shipped outside its territory to be treated. Iran's outspoken President Ahmadinejad and a bevy of lesser officials have visited Turkey multiply, cementing the NATO member's tilt towards the West's traditional enemies as well as its renewed focus on the Turkic peoples of Central Asia.
Iran & Turkey are the actual threat to the Arabs
Elias Bejjani - 6/8/2010
In his recent rhetorical salvo with the State of Israel in the aftermath of the maritime Flotilla confrontation, Turkish Prime Minister, Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has proved par excellence his supremacy over Iranian and Arab leaders and their intelligence and media linguistic experts in the venomous usage of fabricated, misleading, camouflaged, deceptive and demagogical slogans. In his theatrical, emotional, religious speeches and statements, he appealed to the Islamic world, Arabs and Palestinians, and evilly resorted to all tactics and strategies of bragging, hatred, stirring of instincts, fundamentalism and hostilities.
Turkish Regime Changes Sides, West Averts Eyes
Prof. Barry Rubin - 6/8/2010
Why have Israel-Turkey relations gone from alliance to what seems to be the verge of war? The foolish think that the breakdown is due to the recent Gaza flotilla crisis. The merely naive attribute the collapse to the December 2008-January 2009 Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip. Such conclusions are totally misleading. It was already clear-and in private every Israeli expert dealing seriously with Turkey said so-well over two years ago. For example, the Justice and Development (AK) party government did not permit a single new military contract with Israel since it took office. The special relationship was over. And the cause was the election in Turkey of an Islamist government.
Turkish-Israeli alliance did not end; it assumed a new meaning
Ergün Kirlikovali - 11/17/2009
America’s failure to reason with Israel on excesses in Gaza and settlements seems to have jolted Turkey out of what some call a slumber and others a pro-American straitjacket. Daily dose of TV news showing Palestinian women and children killed proved too much for Turkish viewers. Turkey, with its new foreign policy based on “zero problems with neighbors” asserted itself, somewhat convincingly, as a determined, powerful, and independent actor in the epi-center of a vast and troubled region that extends from the Balkans to the Middle East and North Africa and from the Caucasus to Central Asia a...
Secular Turkey Continuing to Fade
Ron Coody - 3/24/2009
A couple of years ago I wrote that secularism in Turkey had basically come to an end because the ruling Islamic-leaning AK party had successfully done what was hitherto unthinkable. They had placed their own man, Tayyip Erdogan, in the office of Prime Minister who had then appointed his choice of Abdullah Gul to the office of President. As president, Gul was entitled to move into the President’s mansion, a place with powerful symbolic meaning to the followers of Ataturk, the secular founder of modern Turkey . To make matters worse for the secularists, Gul naturally brought along his wife in...
Turkey in the Fire
Prof. Barry Rubin - 2/23/2009
What direction is the Turkish regime heading? A pessimistic view goes like this: The ruling AK party is pushing toward an Islamist agenda both at home and abroad. It is moving closer to Iran, Syria, and Hamas. In some ways, Turkey might become part of the Iran-led alignment in the region. Anti-American, anti-Western, and anti-Israel feeling is growing. The government is making a sharp break with the past, based on structural changes in the country. It is gradually capturing institutions: buying up or intimidating the media; allied with a rising, more traditionally oriented new business class and village migrants to the city; naming judges; and neutralizing the army.
Turkey: Antisemitism Gets Out of Control
Prof. Barry Rubin - 1/12/2009
Breaking News: A n bomb has been exploded midnight January 12 near the Israeli investment bank ‘Bank Pozitif’ which is close to the Israeli Consulate Building in Istanbul.
The Fethullah Gulen Movement
Prof. Bill Park - 12/31/2008
The Gulen movement is attracting increasing and sometimes hostile attention both inside Turkey and beyond as a result of its increasing activity, wealth, and influence. Inspired by the thoughts of its founder, Sufi scholar Fethullah Gulen, it has established hundreds of educational institutions, as well as media outlets, dialogue platforms, and charities. Well-established in Turkey, it has expanded into the wider Turkic world and, increasingly, beyond. Yet its structure, ambitions, and size remain opaque, making assessment of its impact and power difficult.
A Turkish Martin Luther?!
Elie Elhadj, Ph.D. - 8/26/2008
The BBC reported on February 26, 2008 that Turkey's Department of Religious Affairs has commissioned a team of theologians at Ankara University's School of Theology to carry out a fundamental revision of the Hadith, the sayings of the Prophet. An adviser to the project says some of the sayings can be shown to have been invented hundreds of years after the Prophet Muhammad died, to serve the purposes of contemporary society (BBC, February 26, 2008,
Turkey and NATO: A winning combination in post-war Iraq
Leman Canturk - 7/6/2008
After 2 decades of fighting with the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party), 35 000 casualties, and the capture of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party leader Abdullah Ocalan in 1999, many Turks thought the PKK era would come to an end. Yet in 2004, against the backdrop of a new balance of power brought forward with the US invasion of Iraq, the PKK ended a 5 year ceasefire and began attacking Turkish soil from Northern Iraqi territory. Now the public is mounting pressure on Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government to do something to solve the PKK problem.
Sanctions against Turkey must be imposed
Theodoros Karakostas - 6/1/2008
The European Union has just published a briefing paper on minorities in Turkey. The fact that the European Union is addressing issues of minorities in Turkey is itself positive, but utterly useless without the imposition of sanctions upon Turkey. To the average observers of the current plight of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Greek minority in Turkey, the conclusions of the European report about their problems and the prospect that the Patriarchate itself may be doomed to extinction is not exactly a new revelation.
Turkish Denial and The Forgotten Genocides
Ioannis Fidanakis - 5/11/2008
Throughout time man has associated certain images with events, images that shock the human mind so much they are permanently engrained in our memories. The Holocaust, the mere mention of the word fills people with images of horrible persecution. Mountains of shoes and gas chambers are all quickly associated with the horrible events which took place in the Second World War. In the United States, whippings and lynchings are seen as trade marks of African-American Slavery in the South. Today’s society identifies these images with crimes against Humanity. We are taught to no longer tolerate such a...
Turkey’s Chronic Inability to Face the Truth
Edward Papelian - 4/29/2008
White House should have the courage to call a spade a spade. President Ronald Reagan did It – why doesn't everyone? How would the USA react were a country to demand that the terrible act of terrorism on 9/11 be labeled a simple "accident" and be forgotten?
Turkish Revisionist Claims on Thrace
Ioannis Fidanakis - 4/11/2008
Recent events taking place in the Balkans surrounding the push for an Independent Kosovo, has many eyes now turned towards Western Thrace (Thraki). Recently, Bruce Fein of the Turkish Coalition of America released an article about the supposed Human Rights abuses facing the Turkish minority in Greece. As President of the Pan Thracian Union of America ‘Orpheus’, I find it my duty to speak out openly to prevent the spread of a Turkish smear campaign, which is more laughable then a true scholarly concern for Human Rights.
Turkish Secularists Attempt a Judicial Coup
Ron Coody - 4/10/2008
Understanding the complexities of the current political clash in Turkey between secularists and the Islamic leaning AK party is very difficult due to the unique character of Turkishness that has evolved over several centuries since the Fatih Sultan Mehmet first breached the walls of Istanbul in 1453 (then Constantinople) and set up his headquarters in that powerful city which would eventually become the center of a sprawling empire encompassing the historically and strategically significant lands of the Middle East, North Africa, and Southeastern Europe. These lands continue to hold signific...
The Greek Minority of Turkey
Theodoros Karakostas - 4/7/2008
Last July, Army officers in Turkey were arrested for planning the assassinations of Greek Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomaios I and Mesrob II, Patriarch of the Armenian Apostolic Church. The targeting of the spiritual heads of these two ancient Christian communities is symbolic considering the genocide of Armenians and Greeks in Anatolia by Turkish regimes earlier in the twentieth century. Human rights abuses against the Christians of Turkey, harassment, and violations of religious freedom continue unabated in Turkey. What is just as appalling as the relentless assault on Christianity ...
Turkey And The Middle East: An Updated Assessment
Prof. Barry Rubin - 1/22/2008
In a sense, no country has tried harder to get out of the Middle East than Turkey--by way of achieving membership in the European Union--yet Turkey does have an important role to play in the region. At the same time, though, this situation is complicated by divergences over Turkey's identity, interests, and internal politics.
The Kurdish-American Honeymoon Has Ended
Yerevan Saeed - 1/7/2008
I woke up and was greeted with news that Turkey bombed Iraqi Kurdistan. Despite America's alleged friendship and alliance with the Kurds, Washington not only permitted Turkey to bomb Kurdish villages in Northern Iraq, but supplied Turkey with intelligence to attack under pretext of existence of PKK in the rugged mountains of Qandil in Northern Iraq.
Turkey’s mlitary operation in Iraq: Limited incursion or full-scale invasion?
Abid Mustafa - 12/3/2007
On 2 December 2007 the Turkish military said Saturday's operation was the first since it had been authorized by the government to launch a cross-border offensive, and that operations will continue "depending on intelligence gathered." In some quarters there is apprehension that this may mark the beginning of an all out invasion to occupy northern Iraq . To understand the reality of this military adventure it is important review the internal politics of Turkey , especially the tussle between AKP and Turkey ’s powerful generals.
The Real Winners And Losers in Turkish Elections In July 2007
Heymi Bahar - 10/13/2007
The July 2007 Turkish parliamentary elections were a major victory for the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP), entrenching it in power. By the same token, the historic center-right parties virtually disappeared, the left stagnated, and the number of nationalist MHP and independent Kurdish members increased. This article lays out the reasons both for the AKP’s success as well as the performance of other forces.
Secular or Islamist still on Turks' minds: Interview with Prof. Barry Rubin
GP Interviews - 8/4/2007
* Is the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) going to make Turkey Islamist or not?
Secular Turkey Is Becoming a Thing of the Past
Ron Coody - 8/1/2007
For those who follow Middle Eastern affairs, the recent election in Turkey probably got their attention. It certainly got the attention of lots of Turks, with nearly 80% of the electorate turning out for the specially called vote. The election saga started in the spring when the ruling secular elite threw out the AK party’s candidate for president on the grounds that the parliament lacked a quorum. A new election was called to reelect the parliament, with the secularists hoping to gain some seats and weaken the pro-Islamic AK party. The secularists failed…miserably.
Turkey: Threat or Triumph for Democracy?
Prof. Barry Rubin - 8/1/2007
ISTANBUL, TURKEY. Turks of every political position tell me the same story to explain their situation: to cook a live frog you don't put it in a pot on a high flame. You put it in cool water and raise the temperature very slowly. This is what they fear is happening in Turkey due to the victory of the Islamic-oriented Justice and Development (AK) party in the July 22 parliamentary election.
AKP’s Victory: Politics of Identity and Economic Effectiveness and Empowerment
Timothy Brown - 7/29/2007
The recent July 22, 2007 elections in Turkey heralded a victory for the Islamist (AKP) Justice and Development party over the other contenders. Six years after the tragic event that occurred in New York City and nearly five years after the United States invaded Iraq, the Middle East and Arab world has been viewed in terms of oversimplified categorizations, for example, Islamist/Moderate, Religious/Secular, and Sunni/Shia. The Turkish elections were viewed in a similar context: Islamist vs. Secularist. Looking deeper than the Islamist vs. Secular paradigm that framed the election from a western...
Turkey: No One Knows What Will Happen
Prof. Barry Rubin - 7/26/2007
In political terms, the Justice and Development (AK) party which won 47 percent of the votes in Turkey’s July 22 elections and will have almost two-thirds of the parliament seats is a pragmatic, conservative, business-oriented moderate party despite its roots as an Islamic-oriented one. In societal terms, the Justice and Development (AK) party is probably transforming Turkey from a secular into a more Islamic society, with a big effect on the status of women, the situation of minorities, and Turkey’s foreign policy.
Justice and Development Party Wins Again In Turkey
Linda Michaud-Emin and Heymi Bahar - 7/23/2007
Having won Turkey’s July 22 parliamentary elections, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is set once again to form a single-party government. This triumph is especially impressive as it is the first time in a half-century that a government party wins reelection. Ironically, this means that while the July 22 elections have taken place amidst so much controversy they are in fact producing the most stable government in many years.
Turkish Membership to the European Union; an Advantageous Turning Point for the EU or an Adverse Drawback
Devyani Jagasia - 7/19/2007
This article will attempt to explore the issues regarding Turkish accession into the European Union. There are advantages and disadvantages for the European Union (EU) if Turkey is to become a member. Some setbacks for Turkey stand in the way of it becoming a member, such as economic concerns and Turkey’s previous problems with human rights issues. If Turkey should even be considered part of the European Union is also a concern, due to the fact that Turkey is predominately a Muslim country. If Turkey becomes a member it will be the first predominately Muslim country to ever join the EU.
Turkey Should Isolate PKK
Imran Khan - 6/17/2007
Turkey has threatened to enter in Iraq to root out Kurdistan Workers Party's (PKK) separatists who attack inside Turkey and the powerful Turkish military is focused on the immediate task of stopping deadly attacks. But the situation in Iraq is worst and it could even be more deteriorated if Turkey has decided to go ahead with its plans for possible incursion.
Turkey as Mediator and Peacekeeper during Middle East Conflict: Analyzing Events of Summer 2006
Prof. Ruben Safrastyan, Ph.D. - 6/13/2007
The Government of the pro-Islamist Justice and Development Party (JDP) that came to power in 2002 restructured the hierarchy of the basic directions of the Turkish foreign policy, which had been built up during the last 50 years. In particular, importance of the Middle-Eastern direction has been reviewed and is now one of its priorities. The Foreign Ministry of the country was instructed to improve relations with the Arab states and Iran, at the same time conserving allied relations with Israel on quite a cool level. According to calculations of the major architect of the new strategy in the T...
Interview With Editor of Turkish Daily News: "Turkey Is Already Part Of Europe"
Manuela Paraipan - 8/10/2006
Manuela Paraipan recently traveled to Turkey where she interviewed Yusuf Kanli, Editor-in-Chief of the Turkish Daily News.
Turkey: Opposition Within The Ruling Party
Prof. Ruben Safrastyan, Ph.D. - 8/2/2006
For the first time opposition within the Justice and Development Party (JDP) showed itself on the 3rd of October, 2005, during the party conference, discussing the text of the framework document, proposed by the EU, and containing a circle of the basic questions to be discussed in the talks on Turkey's membership. A group of the leading members of the party, Members of Parliament, were against signing of this document, being confident that it would infringe Turkish sovereignty. That time JDP Chairman and Prime Minister R.T.Erdogan succeeded in achieving some consensus within the party on this ...
The Concept of Eurasia and Turkey's Regional Strategies
Prof. Ruben Safrastyan, Ph.D. - 5/24/2005
The concept of Eurasia has occupied an important place in political discussions in Turkey since the beginning of the 90s of the last century. It is perceived as one of the main concepts reflecting Turkey's geopolitical strategy, international relations and national security. The regional policy of Turkey is also partly influenced by this concept.
Turkish-Iranian-Syrian Relations: Limits of Regional Politics in the Middle East
Dr. Bulent Aras - 3/9/2005
The geography of the Middle East is subject to direct international interference through the interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq and through political attempts to transform the region socially, politically, and economically. Calls for reform and renovation have reached a heightened level, and Western states are pushing for the development of good governance, democracy, and human rights in Middle Eastern societies.
Turkey and Middle East Security
Dr. Bulent Aras - 3/4/2005
The possibility of Turkey joining the European Union has spurred heated debate within the EU, but it is also fascinating the entire Middle East. This interest is a clear signal that Turkey has emerged as a powerful regional actor. Indeed, Turkey's new ruling elite is confident that their country can play an active peace-making role in the region. What has suddenly given formerly inward-looking Turkish politicians this newfound self-assurance that they can influence regional politics? What promise does Turkey hold for the region? Can Turkey really contribute to regional security and stability?
Turkish-Russian Relations and Eurasia's Geopolitics
Dr. Bulent Aras - 2/14/2005
As a result of its geography, Turkey maintains a multi-dimensional and dynamic foreign policy. Turkish foreign policymakers are carefully analyzing their foreign policy options in light of the 9/11 attacks and the war in Iraq. Within this set of complex links, Turkish-Russian relations appear rather perplexing. Historically, there have been many wars between these two states up until the end of WWI. Both countries have imperial legacies and have experienced a post-imperial traumatic loneliness. Great imperial legacies and the feelings of isolation after the collapse of the previous empires are important factors that shape the national memory of these countries.
Kurds and the Kurdistans
Antero Leitzinger - 1/23/2005
Western thinking leads us to figure out nations on the basis of a common language or religion. According to the principle of nation-state, each nation must have a homeland. But are the Kurds one united nation, or rather a heterogeneous group of various nations in the same way as, for instance, the Scandinavians [Swedes, Danes, Norwegians, Icelanders] or the Baltic Finns [Finns, Estonians, Karelians, Ingrians, Veps, Livonians]?
Antero Leitzinger - 12/14/2004
Under the new Islamist government, Turkey's foreign policy has been a complete disaster, unrivalled in the country's long and proud history. Few other countries in the world have ever managed to depart from their traditional foreign policies so rapidly while voluntarily missing so obvious chances for achieving great victories. Instead of participating in the liberation of Iraq, to which Turkey was invited by the USA, its closest ally, Turkey prostrated to France - to the very same country that just recently condemned Turkey for the Armenian genocide, and opposed NATO guarantees for Turkey's se...