July 10, 2019
Seven years ago, Ankara was partnering with Western countries and some Gulf states for regime change in Syria. Leaders of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (JDP) were claiming that this was going to be accomplished within months if not weeks. Seven years later, those partners none of which shared a 910-kilometer border with Syria are no longer with us. Yes, the U.S. is still there but now we are on very different paths. Despite our failing economy, JDP leaders proudly announce that so far Turkey has spent 40 billion dollars for the four million Syrian refugees in Turkey. This is only the tip of the iceberg if one were to look at the political/economic/security losses we incurred as a result of our involvement in the conflict. Okumaya devam et
June 14, 2019
The last episode of the S400 missiles/F35 fighters controversy has taken Turkey-US relations to unprecedented lows. Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan sent a letter to his Turkish counterpart. For some, this was an “ultimatum”. Ankara’s earlier proposal to Washington was forming a “working group”. It now says the language of the letter is incompatible with the spirit of alliance between two NATO members. The huge gap between the “ultimatum” and the “working group proposal” is worrisome to say the least. In the meantime, Russia is making one announcement after the other saying the S400s will be delivered before the end of July. Only a week before the rerun of the Istanbul municipal election Turkish media keeps condemning the “ultimatum”. Anti-Americanism is on the rise. Okumaya devam et
June 2, 2019
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) held summit meetings in Mecca last week. All three were chaired by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman. The choice of the holy city of Mecca for the meetings was probably aimed at reiterating Saudi Arabia’s now contested claim to the leadership of the Islamic world.
The final communiques of the GCC and the Arab League strongly targeted Iran and the Houthis. While they did not exactly overlap, the message was clear.
The GCC and the Arab League underlined the need for Iran to abide by the principles of Charter of the United Nations and the international law including non-interference in internal affairs and refraining from the threat or use of force. They called on Iran to stop supporting, financing and arming terrorist militias and organizations as well as feeding sectarian conflicts. Okumaya devam et
May 22, 2019
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
May 16, 2019
During his first visit to Moscow on 6-8 July 2009 President Obama tried to “reset” relations. Unfortunately for the international community this failed to materialize. The Arab Spring led to a new set of confrontations. Snowden affair became an irritant and led to the cancellation by Washington of an Obama-Putin summit that was to take place during the G-20 meeting in St. Petersburg on 5-6 September 2013. Yet a brief encounter of the two leaders there paved the way for the agreement on the elimination of Syrian chemical weapons only to be followed by the crisis in Ukraine. Okumaya devam et
February 22, 2019
The war in Syria appears to be coming to an end and the return of ISIS fighters and families to their countries is becoming a major issue.
The UK is unwilling to agree to the return of Shamima Begum, an unrepentant ISIS wife. And the US State Department has said that Hoda Muthana, another ISIS wife “is not a U.S. citizen and will not be admitted into the United States. She does not have any legal basis, no valid U.S. passport, no right to a passport, nor any visa to travel to the United States.”
Turkish daily Hürriyet reported today that the US has asked Turkey to undertake the protection of ISIS children. What that means is not clear, but it probably involves a US financial contribution to meet their needs, provide for their education, etc. It is more than likely that soon will come another proposal for the settlement of ISIS families in Turkey. After all Washington must think, a Turkish foreign minister had once referred to them as “angry kids”. Okumaya devam et
February 19, 2019
The war in Syria appears to be coming to an end. During the past eight years it was migration which led to internal political challenges for European governments and to divisions within the EU. Now it is ISIS wives and fighters returning home. The prospect has preoccupied Western security services and think tanks for long, but it was Shamima Begum who triggered the public discussion. Since the UK has no diplomatic or consular personnel in Syria security minister Ben Wallace said he would not put officials’ lives at risk to rescue UK citizens who went to Syria and Iraq to join Islamic State, adding “actions have consequences”. Many in the UK are said to oppose the return of ISIS fighters. Others believe the UK cannot refuse the return of UK citizens. Okumaya devam et