November 11, 2019
On Wednesday, President Erdoğan will be in Washington. In the past, Turkish diplomacy did its best for such high-level visits to underline the importance of the relationship. Aware of the respect the US pays to the separation of powers, it set up meetings with members of the Congress. It also tried to ensure positive media coverage. When Turkish-American relations were on the right track this last task proved a difficult one because the US is a global power, has its own loaded agenda and people pay little attention to visits by foreign leaders unless there is something out of the ordinary. Okumaya devam et
November 1, 2019
The signing of the Treaty of Lausanne on July 24, 1923 was the crowning achievement of Turkey’s War of Independence under Ataturk’s leadership. Soon after, Republic was declared and Turkey’s modernization began. Ataturk’s reforms included the emancipation of women, the introduction of Western legal codes, calendar and alphabet, replacing the Arabic script with a Latin one. Turkey became a secular state. A major overhaul of the education system and the economy was launched. Okumaya devam et
October 24, 2019
It has been two tumultuous weeks starting with President Trump’s decision to withdraw US troops from Syria, immediately followed by the launching of Operation Peace Spring, Vice President Pence’s visit to Ankara on October 17, President Erdoğan’s visit to Sochi five days later and the lifting of US sanctions against Turkey the next day.
The first visit resulted in a Turkish-US joint statement on northeast Syria and the second in a “memorandum of understanding” as President Putin called it. Okumaya devam et
October 18, 2019
Yesterday, Turkey and the US agreed that the Turkish side will pause Operation Peace Spring in order to allow the withdrawal of YPG from the safe zone within 120 hours. They also concurred that the operation would be halted upon completion of the withdrawal. The announcement of the agreement was followed immediately by a discussion in the US as to whose “victory” it was.
While this discussion is very much related to the political chaos in Washington, it also says something about the state of relations between Turkey and the US. Okumaya devam et
October 14, 2019
Tomorrow, it will be a week since the launching of “Operation Peace Spring”. International reaction to the operation is negative to say the least. One can count on the fingers of one hand the number of countries which appear to support the incursion. Unfortunately, the operation has shown yet again that Turkish government’s much touted “precious loneliness” is nothing but self-defeating isolation. Okumaya devam et
October 8, 2019
Turkey’s participation in the regime change project in Syria was a huge foreign and security policy mistake. Yes, there were many other countries which took part but none of them shared a 910-kilometer border with Syria. The choice Turkey had to make did not call for profound strategic/political/economic/diplomatic analysis. Refraining from intervention was the dictate of simple logic: a good neighbor would lend a hose to extinguish a burning house next door. Unfortunately for Turkey, the ruling Justice and Development Party prioritized ideology over national interest. Okumaya devam et
October 7, 2019
Following the September 14 attack on two of Saudi Arabia’s major oil facilities, country’s leadership blamed Iran. US Secretary of State Pompeo tweeted, “Tehran is behind nearly 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia while Rouhani and Zarif pretend to engage in diplomacy. Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply. There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen.” He later said this was an act of war. President Trump, after his “locked and loaded” tweet, said it looked like Iran was behind attack but he did not want to go to war. On September 20, Washington announced new sanctions on Iran’s national bank and the country’s sovereign wealth fund. Three days later the leaders of France, Germany and the UK issued a joint statement saying, “It is clear to us that Iran bears responsibility for this attack. There is no other plausible explanation. We support ongoing investigations to establish further details.” (*) Okumaya devam et