Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party’s (JDP) principal theme in the recent municipal election campaign was “the fight for Turkey’s survival”. The party and its supporters in the media claimed that Turkey was under the siege of external powers which were determined to block Turkey’s path to becoming a global player through an array of conspiracies. Who those powers are, was never spelled out. Nonetheless, Turkish government’s disappointment with Western reaction to the Gülenist coup attempt of July 15, 2016, continuing frustration with the support extended to the PYD/YPG and the s400s/s35 conundrum offer some clues and these only point toward the US and the EU, in other words, Turkey’s traditional Western allies. Okumaya devam et →
On March 31 Turkey had municipal elections. The result was a yellow card for the government. However, the ruling Justice and Development Party (JDP) immediately asked for recounts in Ankara and İstanbul where, according to initial figures, they lost the mayoralties after more than two decades. Is asking for recounts within the law? Yes, it is. But then government started saying that elected mayors who don’t command the majority in municipal councils, İstanbul being a case in point, would have a hard time governing. Thus, what should be a technical process has now turned into a political controversy whereby the government challenges more than the ballot box and that is pushing it too far. Turkey desperately needs to put this episode behind and turn to its heavily-loaded agenda. Okumaya devam et →
It has been a chaotic year with no or little progress in overcoming world’s outstanding challenges: U.S.-Russia tensions, Middle East turmoil with numerous sub-titles, Ukraine conflict, the future of the JCPOA, North Korea’s nuclear program, migration, trade wars, climate change.
On December 13, German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass issued a statement on the conclusion of the first round of UN-sponsored talks between the parties to the conflict in Yemen. He said, “This could not have been done without the United Nations.” The reality is, this could not have been done without Jamal Khashoggi.
November 10, 2018 marked the 80th anniversary of Ataturk’s passing.
Today marks the centenary of the Armistice signed between the Allies and Germany at Compiègne, France, ending the First World War.
Eleven days before that, the Armistice of Mudros signed on October 30, 1918 had brought about the cessation of hostilities between the Ottoman Empire and the Allied powers. The Armistice meant total surrender. Anatolia was in ruins.
And, on August 10, 1920 the Treaty of Sèvres was signed carving up the Ottoman Empire. In the decades leading to the First World War Ottoman Empire’s demise had become a foregone conclusion.
In brief, Ataturk lived only twenty years after the Central powers admitted defeat at Compiègne and eighteen years after the Ottoman Empire became history at Sèvres. Okumaya devam et →
In retrospect, one of EU’s major foreign and security policy mistakes was the blunting of whatever momentum Turkey’s accession process had. It goes without saying that this was also Turkey’s failure. Had both sides acted with foresight, even with an open-ended process, Turkey and the EU could have been at a different point in dealing with today’s myriad of Middle East problems. Turkey would have become a channel for promoting democracy in the region. And, Turkey and the EU would have engaged in more genuine cooperation to deal with the Middle East turmoil, beyond the controversial “refugee deal”.
At present, Turkey’s relations with the EU can at best be described as mutual dislike/distrust. The accession process exits only on paper. Okumaya devam et →
It was a few months before the 2008 US Presidential election. I was talking to my American colleague at UNESCO. I said to her that since American presidents’ decisions have global implications, democratic countries should also have the opportunity vote in those elections within a reasonable quota to be shared among them. She responded, “an interesting idea…”. We both laughed. It was a joke but the premise was not entirely without logic.
Now that we are only months away from the end of President Obama’s second term in office, pundits have started to express opinions regarding his legacy. I feel that without voices from the Middle East the portrayal President Obama’s legacy would be incomplete. Okumaya devam et →