Turkey’s “Defense Line”: An Ideological Front

| February 14, 2020

Turkey’s latest moves in Libya and the eastern Mediterranean should be viewed in the context of the recent Kuala Lumpur Summit, which announced the emergence of a new ideological bloc to counter Saudi Arabia consisting of Iran, Turkey, Qatar, and Malaysia. Turkey’s new geopolitical strategy is as much ideological as it is “defensive.”

Turkey and Israel: Can Pragmatism Defeat “Bad Blood”?

| February 6, 2020

The Turkish admiral who masterminded Turkey’s maritime deal with Libya thinks the same agreement should also be signed with Israel. Many might be tempted to think there is too much metaphorical “bad blood” between Turkey and Israel to permit any degree of rapprochement. But subtle signs suggest this may not be the whole picture.

The “Democratic Bloc” of the Eastern Med Cements Its Friendship

| January 20, 2020

2020 is expected to be another year of fruitful cooperation for Israel, Greece, and Cyprus, which are working together to counter rising instability caused by Turkey. Their recent agreement to commit to the construction of the EastMed pipeline opens a new chapter in a friendship they have worked on for over a decade. They are taking steps to obtain American support for the trilateral scheme despite Washington’s concerns about its potential impact on the US’s long-term partnership with Ankara. Notably, the recent killing by the US of Quds commander Qassem Soleimani found Greece standing by its allies, the US and Israel, though that position risks undermining its relations with Iran.   

The Battle for Libya: The UAE Calls the Shots

| January 20, 2020

Last week’s inauguration of a new Egyptian military base on the Red Sea was heavy with the symbolism of the rivalries shaping the future of the Middle East as well as north and east Africa.

Photo-Ops Notwithstanding, Iran Faces the US Alone

| January 15, 2020

Iran is now assessing whether it should retaliate further against the US for the targeting of Qassem Soleimani, and if so, how. Its relationships with Russia and Turkey might look warm, but they are troubled. Neither is likely to leap to Tehran’s side in its clash with the US. Israel should exploit Iran’s fissures with Russia and Turkey to its advantage.

The Soleimani Affair Reveals Turkey’s Directionless Regional Policy

| January 8, 2020

The Turkish Foreign Ministry’s belated statement in response to the Soleimani killing was dry in its language, reflecting the government’s confusion over what position to take. While the government is expressing itself with caution, the Islamist pro-Erdoğan press is expressing a wide range of often contradictory responses. The lack of clarity in Ankara over the Soleimani affair betrays Turkey’s directionless regional policy.

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.    

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.

The Upheaval in Syria Opens the Door for Iranian Attack

| November 4, 2019

The latest upheaval in northeastern Syria caused by Turkey’s invasion, and the division of the Syrian plunder among Turkey, the Assad regime, and Russia, presents Iran with new avenues for building up attack capabilities and further destabilizing the region.

Turkey and China Tie Themselves in Knots Over Syria and Xinjiang

| November 1, 2019

Turkey expects Chinese support for its incursion into Syria against the Kurds, but in return, China expects Turkey to turn a blind eye to its persecution of Turkic Muslims in Xinjiang. Turkey’s refusal to fully recognize Kurdish rights is thus intertwined with China’s brutal crackdown in its troubled northwestern province. Both parties justify their actions as efforts in the fight against terrorism.