Aylık arşivler: Aralık 2016

2016: A Year of Turmoil

December 29, 2016

I had started my summing-up for the year 2015 with the following:
“Arab Spring turmoil has continued to dominate world’s agenda with the war in Syria, ISIL terrorism and the refugee problem as top items. The confrontation over Ukraine has somewhat receded confirming predictions of a frozen conflict. The only good news in 2015 were the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The rising cost of its involvement in Syria aside, this puts Tehran on top of the very short list of winners in 2015…” (*) Okumaya devam et

The Obama Legacy and the Middle East

December 26, 2016

President Obama assumed office on January 20, 2009. Washington’s relations with Moscow were troubled as a result of the military conflict between Russia and Georgia. The US was moving closer to withdrawal from Iraq but the war in Afghanistan was not getting anywhere. Okumaya devam et

Aleppo’s Continuing Tragedy

December 19, 2016

The tragedy of Aleppo which has become the symbol of the devastation and the suffering caused by the Syrian conflict appears to have entered a new phase. The agreement reached between Russia and Turkey for the evacuation of rebel fighters and civilians from Aleppo was off to a rocky start characterized by confusion and setbacks. Understandably, this was not going to be smooth process. Because, regime forces regard all rebel fighters as terrorists regardless of their group affiliation and would be extremely reluctant to let them go with their arms to resume fighting elsewhere. If a substantial number of civilians caught in the crossfire can be evacuated in the coming days this would in itself be a major accomplishment. Okumaya devam et

The Battle for Aleppo and Beyond

December 12, 2016

On December 4, 2016 Secretary of State John Kerry addressed the Saban Forum (*). More than anything else he vented pent-up frustration with the Middle East. He was extremely blunt in his criticism of Israel’s settlement policy. And, this is how he described the complexity of the Syrian conflict:

“… There are about six wars in Syria, folks. I mean, you’ve got Saudi Arabia and Iran, you’ve got Israel and Hizballah, you’ve got Turk versus – you’ve got Turk versus Kurd, Kurd versus Kurd, Kurd versus Turk, PKK, you’ve got Sunni-Shia, you’ve got oppositionists against Assad, you’ve got – I mean, it’s just – it’s extraordinarily complicated in the proxyism.

“So you’ve got Turkey with its interests – its own Islamic and other interests – you’ve got the differences between Egypt and Kuwait and the Emirates versus Saudi, Qatari, and Turk…” Okumaya devam et

West’s Populist Surge and a Lesson from the Past

November 2, 2016

“Populist Surge” is now on top of West’s agenda and likely to stay there. Mr. Trump’s election victory surprised the world. As expected, President Hollande announced that he would not seek re-election. On Sunday, Austria will hold presidential elections. Reuters reported that Austria’s Nazi past encroached on the election campaign. Others say that a Freedom Party victory would make Norbert Hofer the first far-right head of state in Western Europe since the demise of Nazi Germany. On Sunday, Italians are also going to the polls for a constitutional referendum. And soon, Turkey may follow.
Years ago, I purchased in a second-hand bookshop, an original copy of Franz von Papen’s book “Memoirs” published in 1952. It was hardcover and in perfect condition. I was delighted. Going through it years later prompted me to write this post. Okumaya devam et

BROOKINGS ORDER FROM CHAOS U.S.-Turkey relations under Trump may hinge more on Turkey than on Trump

Kemal Kirişci
TÜSİAD Senior Fellow – Foreign Policy, Center on the United States and Europe
Director – The Turkey Project
Ali Tuygan
Retired Turkish ambassador to Canada, Saudi Arabia, Greece, and UNESCO; Former under-secretary, Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Donald Trump’s election as the next U.S. president surprised observers around the world. His campaign rhetoric has left many U.S. allies, in particular, deeply concerned; adversaries, for their part, look forward to the dismantling of many of President Obama’s foreign policy priorities.
For one key ally—Turkey—considerable uncertainty hangs in the air. With U.S.-Turkey relations already on the rocks, this does not bode well. But that’s more because of uncertainties in Turkey than uncertainties with Trump. Okumaya devam et