November 1, 2019
The signing of the Treaty of Lausanne on July 24, 1923 was the crowning achievement of Turkey’s War of Independence under Ataturk’s leadership. Soon after, Republic was declared and Turkey’s modernization began. Ataturk’s reforms included the emancipation of women, the introduction of Western legal codes, calendar and alphabet, replacing the Arabic script with a Latin one. Turkey became a secular state. A major overhaul of the education system and the economy was launched. Okumaya devam et
June 23, 2019
Everybody knew this was a landmark election, the last exit on the road authoritarian rule. And finally, the people of Turkey, for a multitude of reasons including their disapproval of the annulment of the March 31 Istanbul mayoral election said, “enough is enough” to the ruling Justice and Development Party (JDP). With a failing economy, extreme polarization, a chain of foreign and security policy disasters, government’s only hope of winning the rerun was JDP supporters restating their devotion to President Erdoğan and even that didn’t work. 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 31, 2019
A fundamental reality of foreign relations is that a country’s international standing is largely a reflection of its internal strength. And this invariably depends on respect for the rule of law, strong institutions and a broad national consensus on where the country should be heading.
And, geographic location largely impacts a country’s foreign policy.
This is a given which can constitute a challenge in itself. The contrast between Portugal’s and Turkey’s locations is a striking example. Portugal is a member of NATO and the EU and its only neighbor is Spain, another NATO and EU member. The Portugal–Spain border is 1,214 kilometers, the longest uninterrupted border within the European Union. Portugal is located at the western end of Europe where peace, prosperity and stability have reigned for decades. It is far away from conflict areas. 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
May 9, 2019
That Turkey has a strategic location is an axiom of our foreign policy. Although this is generally presented as an asset, it has always been a double-edged sword since we border on conflict areas, prominently among them the Middle East. In the past, we believed that non-involvement in regional problems particularly inter-Arab feuds, doing our best to control damage and to promote stability served our interests.
Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990 had severe consequences for Turkey’s security, trade and economic relations with the region. Later, the US invasion of Iraq, the Arab spring, the Syrian conflict and the rise of the Islamic state threw our immediate vicinity into turmoil. Okumaya devam et