28 July 2015
The EU summit held in Brussels on December 17, 2004 decided that accession negotiations with Turkey would start on October 3, 2005. The process was accordingly launched at the Luxembourg Intergovernmental Conference.
This was two years after the Justice and Development Party’s (JDP) coming to power when “democratic reform” appeared to be high on the agenda.
In early April 2009 President Obama visited Turkey. He addressed the Turkish Parliament and referred to Turkey’s strong, vibrant, secular democracy as Ataturk’s greatest legacy.
Turkey’s contribution to regional stability was highly valued.
Six years later we still have the JDP in power but another Turkey.
Okumaya devam et →
23 July 2015
I have tried for long to underline the need for US-Russia cooperation in finding peaceful solutions to problems which top the international agenda, in particular in the Middle East. Ever since the Ukraine conflict became a major obstacle to such cooperation, I have expressed the view that “compartmentalization” of issues could help. Now, there seems to be a glimmer of hope in this direction with the finalization of the Iran nuclear deal. Okumaya devam et →
22 July 2015
A suicide bombing killed 32 people and wounded more than a 100 in the town of Suruç on Turkey’s border with Syria. Am I grieved? Of course I am. Am I disturbed? Of course I am. Am I surprised? No I’m not. Investigation to establish the exact identity of the perpetrators of the crime is continuing. But everybody already knows the perpetrator. The perpetrator is the misguided Syria policy of the Justice and Development Party (JDP) Government.
In the face of Arab Spring uncertainties, Turkey would have been well-advised to maintain its traditional policy of non-involvement in inter-Arab affairs, put emphasis on crisis management, diplomatic solutions and make use of whatever had remained of its soft power. Unfortunately, the JDP Government dismissed caution as a sign of weakness. It miscalculated Assad’s capacity to survive and became a party to the conflict, taking part in shifting Arab alliances. This turned our 1300 kilometer border with Iraq and Syria (400 and 900 kilometers respectively) into a war zone between ISIS, the anti-ISIL coalition, Al Nusra, the Assad regime and the Syrian opposition with a multitude of negative consequences for Turkey. With our porous borders ISIL eventually became an internal threat as well. Okumaya devam et →
July 18, 2015
Co-authored with Yusuf Buluc (*)
July 14 will no longer be remembered only as the French National Day commemorating the storming of the Bastille. It will also be remembered as the day of the nuclear deal with Iran or V-Day for diplomacy.
In an interview he gave in early April 2015, President Obama told Thomas Friedman of The New York Times that “engagement,” combined with meeting core strategic needs, could serve American interests vis-à-vis countries like Burma, Cuba and Iran far better than endless sanctions and isolation. Okumaya devam et →
9 July 2015
On July 6, 2015 President Obama delivered remarks after meeting with military leaders at the Pentagon to discuss US strategy to degrade and defeat the Islamic State (ISIL). Here are key quotes from his remarks and a few comments:
“… This will not be quick. This is a long-term campaign. ISIL is opportunistic and it is nimble. In many places in Syria and Iraq, including urban areas, it’s dug in among innocent civilian populations. It will take time to root them out — and doing so must be the job of local forces on the ground, with training and air support from our coalition…”
Very true. ISIL must have done enough by now to make sure that any assault by the coalition would lead to civilian losses among Iraq’s Sunnis and galvanize them against Baghdad and its allies. Okumaya devam et →
3 July 2015
US Defense Secretary Ash Carter and General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff recently told the House Armed Services Committee that:
• Assad appears to be weakening and on the defensive,
• There are not enough “moderate” recruits for the train-and-equip program.
One may conclude therefore that the “Army of Conquest” which is a coalition of groups such as Jabhat al-Nusra, Ahrar al-Sham and a few others deserves at least part of the credit for pushing Assad on the defensive. The “moderate opposition” seems to be lost, confirming what President Obama had said in the past (*).
It is widely reported that the Army of Conquest is supported by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey following an agreement between Riyadh and Ankara to shelve their differences, at least temporarily, over the Muslim Brotherhood. They are sometimes referred to as the “Sunni bloc”. Okumaya devam et →