Dreams of Kurdistan - By Yigal Schleifer. From the outside looking in, the conflict between the Turkish state and the Kurds seems stuck in a kind of gruesome holding pattern.
Articles written months and years apart are virtually indistinguishable from one another: "Three Turkish Soldiers Reported Killed In PKK Clash In Southeast" reads a headline from May 17, 2012 -- but it could just as easily have been from two decades ago. Turkey's Democratic Dilemma. Snapshot The United States is counting on Turkey to help oust the Syrian regime and bring about a pluralistic government. But Ankara, whose Sunni leadership sees Syria’s conflict in sectarian terms, is not on board.
Journalists and activists rally for press freedom in Ankara, March 19, 2011 (Umit Bektas / Courtesy Reuters) During a town hall meeting organized as part of Barack Obama’s 2009 visit to Istanbul, a Turkish student expressed his disappointment with the president’s inability to implement substantial changes to U.S. foreign policy. “Moving the ship of state is a slow process,” Obama explained. "Turkey’s New Course" by Abdullah Gul. Exit from comment view mode.
Click to hide this space CHICAGO – Turkey has recently been at the forefront of international economic and political debates. On the one hand, despite the economic crisis engulfing neighboring Europe, Turkey remains the world’s second-fastest growing economy, after China. On the other hand, there is almost no issue on the global agenda – from Iraq and Afghanistan to Somalia, Iran, and the Arab Spring, and from sustainable development to a dialogue among civilizations – on which Turkey is not playing a visible role. This is a rather new phenomenon. To this end, Turkey’s governments since 2002 implemented bold economic reforms that paved the way for sustainable growth and provided a firewall against the financial crisis that hit in 2008. The New Road to Ankara.
Will the Arab Spring remake Turkey’s Foreign Policy?
Turkey’s transformation under the AKP has repositioned Ankara in the Middle East. Behind Bars in the Deep State - By Justin Vela. For many Turkish citizens, the evolution of their democracy is best discussed in whispers.
Turkey has come far in recent years, but these days they prefer not to speak too loudly about where it is headed. In the past two years, thousands of citizens who have voiced criticism of the government have been detained, usually led away by police in predawn raids on their homes. On Jan. 5, one of the country's most high-profile detainees, investigative journalist Ahmet Sik, testified in court for the first time to defend himself against charges of propagandizing for a shadowy pro-military conspiracy called Ergenekon, which allegedly plotted to overthrow the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. "I am here today because of a politically-motivated trial, which is devoid of justice and law and which is conducted with falsified and fabricated documents," he said. A New Kind of Armenian-Turkish Reconciliation. In October 2011, the newly renovated Sourp Giragos Armenian Apostolic Church reopened in Turkey’s southeastern province of Diyarbakir.
Among the hundreds gathered to celebrate its first mass in over ninety years were local men and women who had chosen the occasion to be baptized into the Armenian Apostolic Church. Raised as Sunni Muslims, these men and women were the children and grandchildren of Armenians who had converted to Islam to escape persecution in the waning days of the Ottoman Empire.
"Turkey’s Nation of Faiths" by Bülent Arınç. Exit from comment view mode.
Click to hide this space ANKARA – After decades of official neglect and mistrust, Turkey has taken several steps to ensure the rights of the country’s non-Muslim religious minorities, and thus to guarantee that the rule of law is applied equally for all Turkish citizens, regardless of individuals’ religion, ethnicity, or language. Turkey’s religious minorities include Greek Orthodox, Armenian, Assyrian, Kaldani, and other Christian denominations, as well as Jews, all of whom are integral parts of Turkish society.
Turkey’s Balancing Act - Mohammed Ayoob. Exit from comment view mode.
Click to hide this space EAST LANSING, MICHIGAN – Turkey has over the past few weeks become the spearhead of a joint Western-Arab-Turkish policy aimed at forcing President Bashar al-Assad to cede power in Syria. This is quite a turnaround in Turkish policy, because over the past two years the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had gone out of its way to cultivate good relations with neighboring Syria, with whom it shares a long land border. This change of course on Syria has also cost Turkey a great deal in terms of its relations with Iran, the principal supporter of Assad’s regime, which Turkey had also cultivated as part of Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu’s “zero problems with neighbors” policy.
Given these new strains, it is worth recalling that a only few months ago many American leaders were livid at what they perceived to be Turkey’s betrayal. In reality, Israel can track Iranian missile activity from several sites other than Malatya. Turkey’s Test - Anne-Marie Slaughter. Exit from comment view mode.
Click to hide this space. A Judicial Coup. The case of Hakan Fidan has shed new light on domestic politics in Turkey The slow-burn reform efforts of the past seven years in Turkey have culminated in an astonishing confrontaion between the police and intelligence services.
Could the delicate truce between the AKP and state institutions finally be over? Prime Minister Erdogan and his AKP party may move to reduce the powers of the judiciary The signs were growing this month that Turkey’s quiet revolution may have begun to eat its own children, as the government hastily amended a law to prevent courts questioning close allies of Prime Minister Erdogan in the country’s national intelligence agency.
Parliament voted the amendment through on 16 February, just over a week after prosecutors had issued a summons against national intelligence (MIT) chief Hakan Fidan as a suspect in a long-running terrorism investigation. “It is laughable,” he says. The Brothel Next Door - by Anna Louie Sussman. Under the shade of a tree at an Istanbul cafe, Suzan, a voluptuous woman in her 50s with dyed blond hair and a warm, generous smile, describes how she went from teenage bride to full-time sex worker.
Over several cups of Nescafé during the span of a humid summer afternoon, and backed by the brilliant blue of the Sea of Marmara, Suzan tells her story. As she talks, her cell phone rings nearly every 15 minutes. Customers, she explains. It's a syncopation of male desire, hungry for her attention. She was married off by her father at age 16, with only a primary-school education, and she left her alcoholic, gambling husband after having seven children with him, one of whom died in infancy. Despite charging only $15 to $30 per client, she found she could make a decent living, particularly as she amassed a steady base of customers who liked and trusted her. Until then, Suzan had hidden her work from her children. Turkey's Biggest Export. The many problems of Fethullah Gulen Turkey is no stranger to conspiracy and the rise of the Fethullah Gulen Movement has recently prompted a few eyebrows to be raised.
Previously admired inside and outside Turkey for its liberal reputation, the Movement is battling skepticism and suspicions that all is not as it seems. Journalists and human right activists protest in front of the courthouse in Istanbul during the trial of two prominent Turkish journalists Ahmet Sik and Nedim Sener on November 22, 2011. “Either appear as you are,” the thirteenth century Sufi mystic Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi once famously said, “or be as you appear.”
Turkey's Foreign Policy Towards the Middle East: An Interview with Asli Bali (Part 1) This is Part 1 of a two-part interview in which Asli Bali discusses Turkey's foreign policy interests and obejectives with regards to the Middle East. In Part 1, Asli tackels the question of whether Turkey's foreign policy positions vis-a-vis the Middle East have changed with respect to what is otherwise described as a "western orientation. " She also explores whether whatever changes have occured can be traced directly to the AKP's rise to power within Turkish domestic policy, or rather form part of a larger strategic calculation on the part of Turkey's political elites. The interview was conducted on 30 November 2011 by phone. It was transcribed by Ziad Abu-Rish. Edited Transcripts (Audio File Below) Ziad Abu-Rish (ZA): What is your understanding of Turkish foreign policy towards the Middle East, prior to both the May 2010 flotilla attack and the 2011 Arab uprisings?
This policy paid some dividends. AB: That is right. Bitter Frenemies. Last month, Saudi Arabia rolled out the red carpet for Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The visit was yet another example of the degree to which relations between the two countries have improved in recent years. Historically, the two nations have not been friendly, with economic relations only developing in the 1970s.
Turkey needed Saudi Arabia's oil. For its part, Saudi Arabia needed Turkey's huge construction sector to build its modern cities. Turkey's Foreign Policy Towards the Middle East: An Interview with Asli Bali (Part 2) This is Part 2 of a two-part interview in which Asli Bali discusses Turkey's foreign policy interests and objectives with regards to the Middle East. In this second part of the interview, Asli discusses Turkey’s foreign policy in the face of the Arab uprisings, with particular reference to Egypt, Libya, and Syria.
The interview was conducted on 11 February 2012. It was transcribed by Ziad Abu-Rish and Kristina Benson. Edited Transcript (Complete audio file below) The Iran-Turkey Showdown. Inside Out A revival of, or more accurately an intensification of, the ongoing yet veiled strategic rivalry between Iran and Turkey was all but inevitable once popular protests in the Arab world began to spread from one country to another. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Turkey Vs. Iran. In a speech last August, Ayatollah Hashemi Shahroudi, who was Iran's chief justice from 1999 to 2009 and is now a member of the Guardian Council, argued that "arrogant Western powers are afraid of regional countries' relations with [Iran]. " He went on to assert that, in their fear, those same powers were backing "innovative models of Islam, such as liberal Islam in Turkey," in order to "replace the true Islam" as practiced by Iran.
Leaving aside his conspiratorial tone, recent developments in the Middle East have somewhat confirmed Shahroudi's concerns. The Turkish-Iranian Alliance That Wasn't. One of the most controversial elements of Turkish foreign policy has been the attempt by the Justice and Development party (AKP) to cultivate closer ties to Iran. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's rapprochement with Tehran has raised concerns in Western capitals that Ankara is drifting away from the West. Baby-Steps for Turkey and China. Trading ties between the two countries improve but remain vulnerable. "Turkey’s Lonely Neighborhood Watch" by Soli Ozel. Exit from comment view mode. Click to hide this space ISTANBUL – For nearly a decade, Turkey benefited from a strategic environment that allowed it to raise its profile, widen its zone of autonomous action, and aspire to regional power in the Middle East.
Erdoğan's Decade. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan with Turkish military officers, Ankara, July 29, 2011. Adem Altan/AFP/Getty Images. Erdogan Bashes Turkish Media For Questioning Jet Affair in Syria. Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan addresses members of parliament from his ruling AK Party (AKP) during a meeting at the Turkish parliament in Ankara June 26, 2012. (photo by REUTERS/Umit Bektas) Author: Radikal (Turkey) Posted July 2, 2012 In democratic countries, you do not insult those who ask questions. The Turkish Paradox.