Burak Bekdil

Turkey: Jihadist Highway Revisited

| December 6, 2019

Shortly before the visit of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to Washington, Turkey captured one of the wives of Abu Bakr Baghdadi, the slain leader of ISIS, in addition to several other family members. A week earlier, Turkish police detained 43 suspected ISIS terrorists allegedly preparing for a major attack on Turkish soil. This is all good news, but it’s hardly the only news.    

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Washington and Ankara: Sweet Words, Sour Deeds

| November 20, 2019

President Trump’s “businessman’s realism/optimism” over his newly found ally notwithstanding, acute policy differences and an eroding confidence threaten the future of U.S.-Turkish relations.

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Turkey’s Nuisance Value

| October 25, 2019

Turkey’s value for the West is not about the good it can offer but the evil it might choose not to spread. In recent years western tolerance of Turkey has stemmed not from appreciation of its advanced democratic culture but from fears of the chaos it can unleash.

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Turkey’s Pyrrhic Victory in Syria

| October 22, 2019

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is wrong to think a cross-border military operation into Syria will solve an ethnic conflict that dates back to the early nineteenth century. The recent history of violence between Turkey and the Kurds together with demographic considerations explain why a military campaign is unlikely to resolve the conflict.

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The Invincible Sultan: Is Erdoğan Losing His Populist Charm?

| September 26, 2019

At testing times, Turkey’s Islamist strongman, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has always sought refuge at home, taking pleasure in his massive popularity. But after 17 consecutive years in power, having won every election in which he ran, Turkey’s self-declared Sultan is showing signs of fatigue – and his popularity may be wearing thin.

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Putin’s Turkish Gambit

| June 9, 2019

The first-ever NATO member state to shoot down a Russian military jet has willingly fallen in line with Vladimir Putin’s “Turkish Gambit,” a strategy designed to drive a deep crack into the NATO alliance.

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Turkey and the EU: A Doomed Engagement

| April 28, 2019

The March 31 elections, which blended victory with defeat for Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, put a further brake on Turkey’s de facto stalled membership talks with the EU. The Islamist strongman appears to be the willing political hostage of Turkey’s grey wolves.

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Turkey’s Bizarre Approach to Missile Defense

| January 22, 2019

The US administration has offered to sell $3.5 billion worth of Patriot missiles to Turkey, apparently in an effort to stop Ankara from going ahead with a planned S-400 deal with Moscow. The Turks will probably shrug off the offer (after making sure it’s not an offer they can’t refuse). For reasons largely unrelated to its military requirements, Ankara has no intention of scrapping the S-400 deal and risking its geostrategic bonds with Moscow.

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Erdoğan: Ideological but not Suicidal

| December 7, 2018

Turkey’s radical shift in crises, first with Russia and then with America, shows that while President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan can be confrontational along ideological lines, he is not suicidal. He cannot afford to risk a punishing economic crisis that might cost him his power.

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Turkey’s Syrian Quagmire

| October 10, 2018

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan does not understand that his biggest divergence with Russia is over the future of all of Syria, not just a Syrian province. In theory, it is understandable that he wants to protect the “moderate fighters” because he feels indebted to them for their help to the Turkish army in two cross-border operations. But more than that, he wants to protect them in order to maintain a force that can eventually fight either or both of his two nemeses in Syria: President Assad and the Syrian Kurds.

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