It has been a week since the Hagia Sophia was reconverted to a mosque through the annulment of the government decree of 1935 which had turned it into a museum. The change was presented as an auspicious development not only for the people of Turkey but also the Islamic Ummah and the world. Yet, the Islamic Ummah has so far remained silent. Not a word of approval or support from any member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) which presents itself as “The Collective Voice of the Muslim World”. There were no congratulatory telephone calls, no messages. The Secretary General of this pseudo-entity has not uttered a word either. “Pseudo-entity” because the OIC has remained invisible in the face of a decade of fratricide. Okumaya devam et →
During the past year, climate change, corruption, street protests, polarization and disarray in the West dominated the global agenda.
Frequent fires are part of California’s natural state but since the 1970s, the amount of area burned in the state has increased by a factor of five. As the National Geographic has reported, climate change’s stamp is evident in many of the fires, scientists say, primarily because hotter air means drier plants, which burn more readily. Australia too has always had devastating bushfires, but experts say climate change can and does makes bushfires worse. Despite the evidence, however, the UN climate conference in Madrid could only achieve modest results. 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.
Yesterday President Trump announced that he is terminating United States’ participation in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran and re-imposing sanctions lifted under the deal.
From the very beginning of his presidency Mr. Trump has denigrated his predecessor, past administrations and their achievements. His principal target has been the Iran nuclear deal. He has said that the deal is one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into; that it has failed to address Tehran’s growing missile capability and expanding influence in the Middle East. He has called it “insane”. Such public criticism of one’s predecessors particularly in high office is bad enough but the language he has used must have offended the other four other permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany as well. Because what it means is that they were either duped or devious. CNN’s headline “World holds breath for Trump’s Iran deal decision” and others which said “European allies are on edge” must have delighted him. However, by withdrawing from the JCPOA before seeing the outcome of his summit with Kim Jong-un, Mr. Trump has put himself on the spot. And how all of this relates to his internal troubles is worth thinking about. Okumaya devam et →
The world is in disarray. The Arab Spring threw the Middle East in chaos. Then came the Ukraine conflict and Russia’s annexation of Crimea. As the Syrian conflict moved up on the international agenda the former receded. Despite on and off official statements on the unacceptability of Crimea’s annexation, everybody knows that there will be no going back. With a steadily rising China and a resurgent Russia “global realignment” has become a current topic. Now, moreover, there is talk about “Cold War II” and growing investment in military power. The rise of populism and authoritarianism has led to a pessimistic outlook regarding the future of democracy. The EU, a major global economic power, remains divided and ineffective as a foreign policy actor. Its public discourse on democracy and the rule of law has weakened. For a variety of reasons including migration, values are undergoing change. Okumaya devam et →
The following is from my summing-up of the year 2016 (*):
“The Ukraine conflict has led many analysts to frequently mention President Putin’s unpredictable tactics and actions if not policies. With Mr. Trump in the White House, world’s aggregate unpredictability will probably go up… Surely, one may understand a gradual shift of emphasis, setting of new priorities and a change in public discourse, but many already speculate on major changes to US foreign policy…”
What Federal Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on relations with the US at the Berlin Foreign Policy Forum on December 5, 2017 is particularly revealing in this Okumaya devam et →
This is an attempt to describe, as briefly as possible, state of Turkey’s foreign relations.
Russia-Turkey: For the optimist the word of choice could be “tension”, for the pessimist “enmity”.
EU-Turkey: One can pick any one of the following for a single word description: annoyance, frustration, grief, irritation, vexation. There is, however, a two-word alternative: “unworthy deals”. Okumaya devam et →
It was only a decade ago that Turkey, in recognition of its commitment to continuing political and economic reform, was given green light to start accession negotiations with the EU. Peoples of the region were following the process with envy. It was less than a decade ago that Turkey was playing a facilitator role between Syria and Israel. Our relations with neighbors were characterized by a determination to open new avenues of cooperation reflecting shared interest. It was in 2004 that a consortium led by a Turkish company won the contract to build the third terminal of the Cairo airport. The terminal was opened at the end of 2008 and doubled airport’s passenger capacity. In April 2009 Turkey became the first country to host President Obama on a bilateral visit. Okumaya devam et →