Topic:

Turkey

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.

The Limits of Erdoğan’s “Nation”

| January 25, 2018

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s recent strategy of allying with the far right and his turn to nationalism are limited by the Sunni sectarian nature of his politics. A closer examination of the failure of his Alevi reform initiative of 2009-2010 reveals the structural obstacles Turkish Islamists encounter in their attempts to reach beyond the Sunni community to coopt Turkey’s Alevi electorate. In a similar manner, Erdoğan’s nationalist policies will continue to exclude Alevis, entrench sectarianism further, and expose the limits of belonging to his Sunni “nation.”

DEBATE: What Are the Implications of the Russian-Turkish Rapprochement?

| January 21, 2018

Q: In the aftermath of the failed coup d’état of July 2016, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is embarking on an attempt to improve Ankara’s relations with non-Western countries to avoid international isolation. The Russian-Turkish rapprochement is a characteristic example. As the EU and the US criticize Erdoğan for his domestic and foreign policy choices, he regularly meets with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, to discuss new patterns of cooperation. BESA join the debate by asking the experts: What are the implications of the Russian-Turkish rapprochement?

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.

Political Economy in the Name of Erdoğan

| December 18, 2017

The failed coup attempt against President Erdoğan shook Turkish society and accelerated Erdoğan’s concentration of power. The Turkish economy also suffered a shock, with the lira dropping in value, a flight of foreign investment, and an increase in inflation. The tension between Ankara and the West continues to mount, adding to the country’s economic uncertainty. In anticipation of the 2019 elections, the opposition parties hope the economic issue will adversely affect the Justice and Development Party. However, Turkey’s domestic consumption and growing exports have produced a challenging but stable economic picture that should benefit Erdoğan.

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.

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?

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.

Turkey and Germany: A Worsening Crisis

| September 24, 2017

The harsh measures taken by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan since the failed coup attempt last year have led to a deepening crisis with a host of Western states, first and foremost with Germany. Since the coup attempt, relations between Ankara and Berlin have been at an unprecedented low. However, in light of their history of close relations, the volume of stable economic trade over the years, and Turkey’s ability to stabilize the waves of immigration to Europe, the countries may yet find a channel of communication in order to contain the crisis.

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?