Etiket arşivi: Russia

Tough Times for the People of Belarus

August 31, 2020

Following the Belarus presidential election, protesters took to the streets claiming that the result was rigged. With Ukraine conflict continuing across the border, theirs was an act of courage. Riot police reacted with violence. President Lukashenko has been in power for 26 years and foreign election observers have been barred since 1995.  Two days after the election, opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, left Belarus for neighboring Lithuania. From safety in Vilnius she said, “The Belarusian people are no longer afraid. We will win.” Okumaya devam et

The Hagia Sophia: Balance Sheet of the Past Week

July 19, 2020

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

The Hagia Sophia

July 10, 2020

“Turkey is a bridge between East and West” is a widely used metaphor to define not only Turkey’s location between Asia and Europe but also its history, identity, culture with its blessings and contradictions. The city of Istanbul represents all of these.

A Turk may take a cup of coffee on the shores of the Bosporus, without thinking of the other side being Asia or Europe and centuries-long competition for the control of this strategic waterway. Because, a constant parade of passenger boats, tankers, cargo ships, naval vessels moving in both directions is always a beautiful spectacle. A foreign visitor may be more aware of the fact that across the blue waters of the Bosporus lies another continent.

Istanbul’s Historical Peninsula is different. There, with monuments of the Roman, Byzantine and the Ottoman empires, history engulfs everyone on a journey of thousands of years. Okumaya devam et

Sad Times for Democracy

July 5, 2020

China had a two-term limit on its president since the 1990s. Xi Jinping became president in 2012. In April this year, the National People’s Congress approved the removal the two-term limit, effectively allowing him to “remain in power for life”.

China is one of world’s leading powers. Henry Kissinger has said, “No other country can claim so long a continuous civilization, or such an intimate link to its ancient past and classical principles of strategy and statesmanship.” However, without even an interlude of democracy in its history, China has failed to make progress in that direction and President Xi’s two terms in office are no exception. Okumaya devam et

The Day of Reckoning

June 15, 2020

The end of the Cold War raised hopes for a more peaceful and stable world with the “international community” collectively confronting global challenges. This proved a myth. After three decades, all we hear now is Cold War II, which essentially means that world’s major powers have failed to redefine their self-centered foreign and security policy priorities and their relationships. Okumaya devam et

Sailing in Uncharted Waters

April 7, 2020

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 regarding the illegitimacy of Crimea’s annexation, everybody knew that there would be no going back. With a rising China and a resurgent Russia “global realignment” became a current topic. There was even talk about “Cold War II” and more investment in military power. The rise of populism and authoritarianism led to a pessimistic outlook regarding the future of democracy. Okumaya devam et

The Montreux Convention: Russia’s Perspective

January 28, 2020

“Canal İstanbul”, first introduced to the public as a “crazy project” by Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (JDP) Government, has become the subject of an increasingly heated discussion. Among the various aspects of the project currently debated are its environmental impact, the cost, huge private land purchases in the area and last but not least its implications for the Montreux Convention of 1936 regulating passage through the “Straits of the Dardanelles, the Sea of Marmara and the Bosphorus comprised under the general term ‘Straits’ ”. Okumaya devam et

NATO at Seventy

Co-authored with Yusuf Buluç (*)

December 5, 2019

Literature on “The Art of Human Survival” will have you believe that to have reached the age of seventy must be a testimony for having mustered this art. But for a military alliance to have functioned, changed, adapted and enlarged for seventy years would mean significantly more than mere survival, but an unequivocal success. While ripe and mature age seventy for a human being deserves celebration albeit with an eye on life expectancy averages, for a military alliance such celebration would call for unreserved pride and a solemn commitment to cohesion, collective re-dedication to allied goals. But those were not the type of public announcements or more discreet messages that were coming from the London Summit to celebrate NATO’s 70th anniversary. Okumaya devam et

Trump’s Decision to Withdraw from Syria

December 22, 2018

President Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria seems to have surprised even shocked many, particularly in Washington. His brief announcement left many questions unanswered. Had he been a consistent leader steering his administration in close consultation with a steady team of senior officials, explaining the rational of his policies using conventional methods instead of tweets, maintaining close consultation/cooperation with allies, the reaction could have been different.

In response to criticism he tweeted: “Getting out of Syria was no surprise. I’ve been campaigning on it for years…”

He was not the only one. This is precisely why David E. Sanger’s New York Times article of December 19 carried the title, “A Strategy of Retreat in Syria, With Echoes of Obama”, whom Mr. Trump has constantly reviled. Okumaya devam et