May 3, 2021
During my years at the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, I sometimes asked the ambassadors in Ankara how they viewed their job in our capital since they usually stressed Turkey’s location as a unique observation post for the broad region. Many said, “never a dull moment”. I always responded that I was hoping for the day when the answer would be “boredom”, and we laughed. Because, while Turkey’s geostrategic location is an asset, it comes at a price. The end of the Cold War was a relief. But with the wars in Yugoslavia, the Caucasus and the first Gulf War, all of a sudden, we found ourselves in the middle of three major conflict areas. There was a refugee flow from Bosnia to Turkey. Our trade with Europe was disrupted. The Iraq-Turkey oil pipeline remained closed for years. Our trade with Iraq and the Gulf suffered. Energy projects in the Caucasus became more complicated. The 2003 US invasion of Iraq and the Arab spring created new challenges.
Okumaya devam et
February 15, 2021
Despite his heavy domestic agenda President Biden has been calling foreign leaders.
Last Thursday, in a Jerusalem Post article titled, “What signals is Biden sending about his Middle East policy?”, Herb Keinon took a look at why the 46th President of the United States still has not called PM Netanyahu.[i]
As I read the article I thought, “that makes the two of us.”
Okumaya devam et
February 10, 2021
In December 2009, the communique[i] issued at the end of the Damascus meeting of the “Turkish-Syrian High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council” referred to a “strategic partnership”, at the time a fashionable label for Turkey’s close external relationships. It mentioned common threats and challenges confronting the two countries.
A year later, Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu, in remarks to the press with his Syrian counterpart in Latakia, underlined that the exemplary relations between Syria and Turkey was serving as a model for regional partnerships and that the two countries were aiming at total economic integration with neighbors.
Okumaya devam et
(Co-authored with Yusuf Buluç)[i]
February 20, 2020
Ten days ago, President Putin had a telephone conversation with President Erdogan at Turkish side’s initiative. A statement by the Kremlin said that the two leaders noted the importance of the full implementation of the existing Russian-Turkish agreements, including the Sochi Memorandum of September 17, 2018 and additional contacts between the relevant government agencies were planned for these purposes.
A few days later Presidents Erdoğan and Trump had a phone call. “The President expressed concern over the violence in Idlib, Syria and thanked President Erdogan for Turkey’s efforts to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe,” White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere said in a statement. “President Trump also reiterated that continued foreign interference in Libya would only serve to worsen the situation,” he added, a discouraging reference to Ankara’s support to the Government of National Accord (GNA), led by Fayez al-Sarraj. Okumaya devam et
February 6, 2020
The agreement reached in May 2017 by Russia, Iran and Turkey in Astana called for the cessation of hostilities between rebel groups and regime forces in four “de-escalation” zones in the mainly opposition-held areas of Syria with Russia, Turkey and Iran acting as guarantors.
In broad terms, the deal covered four areas:
Zone 1: Idlib province,
Zone 2: The Rastan and Talbiseh enclave in northern Homs province,
Zone 3: Eastern Ghouta in the northern Damascus countryside,
Zone 4: The rebel-controlled south along the border with Jordan. Okumaya devam et
December 15, 2019
On October 29, Turkish National Day, the US House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to formally recognize the “Armenian genocide”. The Senate voted unanimously on Thursday for the same resolution. Lawmakers in the Senate and the House are busy working on more measures targeting Turkey. Okumaya devam et
Co-authored with Yusuf Buluc (*)
November 23, 2019
As the US House Intelligence Committee continued with its impeachment hearings, NATO foreign ministers met in Brussels in preparation for the summit which will take place on December 3-4 in London to mark NATO’s 70th anniversary.
Following the Brussels meeting NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said, “We had excellent discussions and we all agree that NATO remains indispensable for our security. And that despite our differences, we are stronger as we face the future together.”
The NATO Secretary General is the Alliance’s highly respected top international civil servant and he is duty bound to underline the importance of the Alliance and solidarity among its members. Unfortunately, however, NATO is not only faced with external challenges but also with skepticism from within. Okumaya devam et
November 14, 2019
On Wednesday, President Erdoğan made his long-anticipated visit to Washington. At the White House, he met not only with President Trump but also senators Joni Ernst, Jim Risch, Ted Cruz, Rick Scott and Lindsey Graham, one of President Trump’s staunchest allies. Okumaya devam et
November 11, 2019
On Wednesday, President Erdoğan will be in Washington. In the past, Turkish diplomacy did its best for such high-level visits to underline the importance of the relationship. Aware of the respect the US pays to the separation of powers, it set up meetings with members of the Congress. It also tried to ensure positive media coverage. When Turkish-American relations were on the right track this last task proved a difficult one because the US is a global power, has its own loaded agenda and people pay little attention to visits by foreign leaders unless there is something out of the ordinary. Okumaya devam et
August 19, 2019
In early August, American and Turkish military delegations met in Ankara to discuss plans to coordinate the establishment of a safe zone in northern Syria. A joint statement issued at the end of the talks said they agreed on the rapid implementation of initial measures to address Turkey’s security concerns; to stand-up a joint operations center in Turkey as soon as possible in order to coordinate and manage the establishment of the safe zone together; and, that the safe zone shall become a peace corridor, and every effort shall be made so that displaced Syrians can return to their country. Okumaya devam et