October 31, 2014

TURKEY’S TWISTS AND TURNS ON SYRIA

Syrian refugee center on the Turkish border 50 miles from Aleppo, Syria (August 2012).

PDF version available here Since 2008, Turkey has gone from supporting the Bashar al-Asad regime, to encouraging Asad to undertake democratic reforms, to shifting to a policy of regime change (RC)--a full 180-degree turn in less than three years. Given Turkey’s twists and turns, is it possible for Turkey to reverse course again, as Asad consolidates his victories on the ground, and effectively switch sides in the interest of reestablishing its economic links with Syria? This article … [Read more...]

THE ISSUE OF THE RECOGNITION OF THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE AS A POLITICAL PHENOMENON

2012 Brussels commemoration in front of the Memorial for the Armenian Genocide

PDF version available here This article focuses on the current perceptions of the Armenian genocide in the various countries involved, specifically within the EU, Armenia, and Turkey, in order to explore the political rationale behind the commitment of some states to recognize the historical events of 1915 as an act of genocide or the commitment of other states to refute this. A brief historical overview is followed by a discussion of internal EU perceptions of the essentiality of … [Read more...]

THE MAIN KURDISH POLITICAL PARTIES IN IRAN, IRAQ, SYRIA, AND TURKEY: A RESEARCH GUIDE

The Kurdish flag.

Kurdistan is divided, and the Kurdish people are not united geographically. They are split among numerous political parties and institutions in several different countries. Various early attempts to build Kurdish national movements after 1918 failed. Modern Kurdish parties began to emerge after World War II.  In the post-Cold War era, Kurdish movements have gained momentum politically, economically, socially, as well as at the regional and international levels. The current period may well be a … [Read more...]

CYPRUS, A RUSSIAN FOOTHOLD IN THE CHANGING EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN

Cypriot Offshore Gas Fields

Russian interests in the Eastern Mediterranean have been highlighted both by the country’s diplomatic and naval activity related to the Syrian crisis as well as by its stance on economic and energy issues in Cyprus. During the 2000s, Moscow’s influence on the island has steadily increased, making Cyprus a new Russian foothold in the Eastern Mediterranean. While Moscow’s ties with Nicosia have served Russia’s Mediterranean energy interests, they have also revived tensions with Turkey. In … [Read more...]

RUSSO-TURKISH DIVERGENCE (PART II): THE ENERGY DIMENSION

  Part I of this article is available here.  Energy issues figure prominently in the Russo-Turkish relationship. Their impact is not nearly as clear-cut as are the Iranian and Syrian issues. Turkey and Russia have a complex, evolving relationship characterized by mutual dependencies in the oil and gas spheres. As Richard Weitz stated, “Energy relations between Russia and Turkey have long been characterized by overt friendship and subtle competition.”[1] In the first part of this … [Read more...]

THE ARAB SPRING, ITS EFFECTS ON THE KURDS, AND THE APPROACHES OF TURKEY, IRAN, SYRIA, AND IRAQ ON THE KURDISH ISSUE

  This article addresses the approaches of Turkey, Iran, Syria, and Iraq in dealing with the Kurdish issue, with a special focus on historical background. In addition, the article discusses how this issue affects relations among the aforementioned countries and whether cooperation on this issue is possible. The article also examines how the Arab Spring has impacted the Kurds and the attitudes of these countries toward the Kurdish issue.    Click here to download the PDF version of … [Read more...]

TURKISH-ISRAELI RELATIONS IN THE SHADOW OF THE ARAB SPRING

barry-rubin

This article is a short analysis of how Turkey changed under AKP rule so that the regime no longer wished to have an alignment with Israel but, on the contrary, needed to treat Israel as an enemy. In order to understand the initial reasons behind the creation of the Turkish-Israeli alliance, one must also recognize why that alignment came to an end. The cause was not within the partnership itself nor was it due to the 2008/2009 Gaza War or the 2010 flotilla events; rather this resulted from … [Read more...]

RUSSO-TURKISH DIVERGENCE (PART I): THE SECURITY DIMENSION

Since the early 1990s, Turkey and Russia's strategic outlooks have gradually been converging. The two countries have incrementally shed their mutual apprehensions and started a comprehensive and multifaceted cooperation. Turkish–Russian interaction in the Middle East, Caucasus, and Mediterranean reveals that there might be limits to the future expansion of their partnership.   Russo-Turkish relations encompass a multi-regional agenda from the Balkans to Central Asia, including the … [Read more...]

BETWEEN TURKEY, RUSSIA, AND PERSIA: PERCEPTIONS OF NATIONAL IDENTITY IN AZERBAIJAN AND ARMENIA AT THE TURN OF THE NINETEENTH AND TWENTIETH CENTURIES

This article traces the emergence of the modern national identities of Azerbaijanis and Armenians back to the last quarter of the nineteenth century. In doing so, it emphasizes the ways national identities were shaped by Azerbaijani and Armenian intellectual elites, reflecting their historical heritage of being parts of Turkish, Persian, and Russian empires. Accordingly, the evolution of mutual perceptions of Azerbaijanis and Armenians vis-à-vis their imperial neighbors--and vice versa--is … [Read more...]

TURKEY’S SEPTEMBER 12, 2010, REFERENDUM

This article considers the reasons for and the overall impact of holding a national referendum in Turkey on September 12, 2010, for a series of constitutional amendments passed by the governing AKP (Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi or Justice and Development Party). Although the measures were publically accepted with nearly 58 percent approval, the prospects for the drafting of a new constitution based on political consensus to replace the military-created 1982 document remain weak. While the … [Read more...]