Burak Bekdil

Erdoğan vs. the Free Press

| April 27, 2018

The takeover of Turkey’s largest independent media group by an Erdoğan crony was not unexpected given the troubles and systematic state harassment suffered by the Dogan Media Company over the past decade. After the takeover, the opposition media will be limited to one large-circulation daily, a couple of small, left-wing newspapers, and a number of small digital platforms, with the third group now facing new pressure from the government.

0

Turkey’s Syrian Battleground

| March 21, 2018

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been the main beneficiary of a newfound feeling of glory among Turkey’s increasingly nationalistic masses. The main loser is the YGP, which has sought to consolidate control over Kurdish areas of Syria in the hopes of forging an autonomous state. But in the Syrian war theater, alliances are fragile and complex. Russia has given Turkey a limited free hand in its engagement in northern Syria, mainly in order to deepen Turkish-US and Turkish-NATO divisions. But Russia is not Turkey’s strategic ally.

0

Turkey and NATO: From Loveless to Hateful Marriage

| March 5, 2018

Erdoğan prepares to launch his campaign for presidential elections scheduled for November 2019. At a time of rising xenophobia and anti-western sentiments across Turkey, his campaign will undoubtedly target the “evil powers of the West,” adding to the isolationist Turkish psyche. Russian President Vladimir Putin could not have possibly found a better partner for his attempts to divide and weaken NATO.

0

Turkey and Iran’s Skin-Deep Friendship

| February 13, 2018

Like most moments in the passionate Turkish-Persian relationship, incidents of Muslim-to-Muslim fraternity are misleading. For the mullahs in Tehran, Turkey remains too western, too treacherous, and too Sunni. For the neo-Ottomans in Ankara, Iran remains too discreetly hostile, too ambitious, too untrustworthy, and too Shiite.

0

Trump’s Security Strategy: Its Messages for Turkey

| January 7, 2018

US President Donald Trump’s recently unveiled National Security Strategy paper does not specifically mention Turkey. Some Turks think this is good, as any mention would likely have been negative. But some think it is bad for Turkish interests because the absence of a mention highlights Turkey’s diminishing political clout in its region. Regardless, the strategy paper has messages for Ankara on several wavelengths.

0

Why Does the Average Turk Love Erdoğan?

| December 10, 2017

A quick glance at Turkey’s facts and figures helps to explain why the Turks love their leader, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. There are striking parallels between the political sociology of the average Turkish voter and Erdoğan’s Islamist worldview. In a way, Erdoğan is what the average Turk sees when he looks in the mirror.

0

Erdoğan’s Kurdish Gambit

| November 15, 2017

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan perceives the Kurdish belt along Turkey’s Syrian and Iraqi borders as the country’s top security threat, and has recalibrated his policies accordingly. But he has a Kurdish constituency inside Turkey and will need their votes in 2019. During the upcoming presidential campaign, Erdoğan will have to find a miracle equilibrium: how to win Kurdish votes without losing nationalist Turkish votes?

0

The Turkish Love-Hate Relationship with America

| October 10, 2017

About the same proportion of Turks view the US (72%) and ISIS (73%) as a threat to their country. That’s weird. Erdoğan’s generation of Islamists were anti-American largely because of the Arab-Israeli dispute – although they feared Soviet communism more than American imperialism. Future generations of Turkish Islamists will hate America even more because they will have gone through long years of anti-American indoctrination by a beloved leader and his powerful propaganda machine.

0

What’s On a Muslim Refugee’s Mind?

| September 10, 2017

Almost all the “poor” illegal migrants on the Greek islands want to go to Germany, where they have heard from friends and relatives that they will be the best paid for being refugees. The cliché “the-poor-souls-are-fleeing-war-in-their-native-country” is becoming less and less convincing by the day. True, most Syrians fled to Turkey after the start of civil war in their country. But is flight from war their motivation as they proceed onwards to Greece, Serbia, Hungary, and Austria?

0

A Turkish-EU Opera Buffa

| August 17, 2017

Turkey says it wants to join the EU, but has no intention of complying with membership rules. The EU says it wants Turkey to join, but is fully aware that it does not qualify. Turkey pushes forward in the hope that the EU might someday change its rules; the EU pushes forward in the hope that Turkey might someday qualify. Neither will happen.

0