June, 2016 Turkey

Erdogan and Netanyahu. Turkey and Israel are very close to finalizing their reconciliation deal. (Photo: AP, Kobi Gideon/GPO) (Photo: AP, Kobi Gideon/GPO)

Itamar Eichner

The two sides are meeting in order to finalize a deal to normalize relations; It appears that missing Israeli Avera Mengistu and the remains of soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin will not be mentioned in the final draft.Israeli and Turkish negotiation teams were set to meet Sunday in Rome, in order to finalize the two countries' reconciliation deal, six years after their relationship soured due to the Mavi Marmara incident.

Miniature Flag of Israel and Turkey
Barbara Opall-Rome, Defense News
TEL AVIV — An agreement between Israel and Turkey, announced Monday to normalize ties after a six-year estrangement between the countries, is unlikely to trigger near-term resumption of defense trade or bilateral military cooperation.

Author Semih Idiz

Its long-term implications aside, Britain’s vote to leave the EU will have little immediate impact on Turkish-EU ties, which were on a downward spiral anyway before this referendum.

The Brexit campaign made a big issue about the unlikely scenario of a Turkey imminently joining the EU and 80 million Turks suddenly migrating to their island. At least some of the “leave” votes on Thursday must have been cast due to that fear. And paradoxically, Brexit made Turkey more important. Why? Because it has destabilized post-1945 Europe, and I think Turkey could help re-stabilize it. Let me elaborate.

Author Ben Caspit, TranslatorDanny Wool

The teams of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan finally agreed today on the details of a bilateral reconciliation agreement. But why didn't this happen three years ago? On March 22, 2013, US President Barack Obama left Israel after a successful three-day visit to Jerusalem and Ramallah. At the time, the United States and Israel were exerting considerable efforts to ensure the visit’s success. It was supposed to mark a turning point, setting Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on a new and better path. It was intended to turn back the four disastrous years that preceded it.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has received a letter in which his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan apologized for the death of the pilot who was killed when a Russian jet was downed over the Syrian-Turkish border last November, the Kremlin said.
Erdogan expressed readiness to restore relations with Moscow, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu © Reuters

Israel and Turkey have reached an agreement to normalize ties, a senior Israeli official told reporters, according to Reuters. This will end bitter rift over the Israeli Navy’s killing of nine Turkish citizens during a Gaza flotilla raid in 2010.

Residents look at buildings which were damaged during security operations and clashes between Turkish security forces and Kurdish militants, in Sur district of Diyarbakir, Turkey May 22, 2016. REUTERS/Sertac Kayar

Turkey's parliament has granted immunity from prosecution to members of the armed forces conducting counter-terrorism operations as security forces battle Kurdish militants in fighting that has killed thousands in the past year.


Author Jasper Mortimer

ANKARA, Turkey — Binali Yildirim had been prime minister only two weeks when suicide bombers from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and its affiliate, the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons, detonated two car bombs — one in Istanbul, one in Midyat, southeast Turkey. They killed 18 people.

Economics and security are pushing the two back together.
Seth J. Frantzman

Turkey and Israel are reported to be on the verge of reestablishing full diplomatic ties after more than half a decade. This will have implications for the Syrian conflict, natural gas exports and Saudi-Israeli relations. The history of how Israel and Turkey had such a deep falling out goes back seven years.



Ostensibly it is a political issue. In reality, research to understand the mental dynamics/calculus of Turkey’s observant Muslims should fall into the disciplines of social psychology and, in some cases, psychiatrics.

Author Semih Idiz

Ankara’s bid for EU membership used to underlie Turkey’s appeal for many of the Middle East’s progressive elements in the past. The Arab Spring enhanced Turkey’s importance as a “model country” for other Islamic countries. With the Arab Spring gone sour and the EU battling its own crises, while Turkey becomes more authoritarian under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, these hopes have all but faded.

Turkish flag in front of empty sun beds

By Mark Lowen
BBC News, Antalya, Turkey

No fights necessary over sun beds at hotels in Antalya
The group of British tourists playing water polo in the pool could shriek as loudly as they liked: there were virtually no other guests they'd disturb.
The four-star Garden Resort Bergamot Hotel in Kemer, just outside Antalya, should be 70% full at this time of year. But just 25 of the 233 rooms are taken.

Culture, Politics, Turkey

by Burak Bekdil, The Gatestone Institute
On June 4, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told university students, "Just like our [Turkish] arrival into Anatolia, just like the conquest of Istanbul ... I know you will be behaving with the same consciousness ... A new Turkey will rise on your shoulders."
1071 is a very special year for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan -- and his Islamist ideologues. Erdogan often speaks about his "2071 targets," a reference to his vision of "Great Turkey," on the 1000th anniversary of a battle that paved the Turks' way into where they still live.


BRUSSELS — NATO is discussing how to step up its response to the European migrant crisis by expanding its presence in the Mediterranean region, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said this week. But the proposals, discussed during a meeting of the alliance’s defense ministers, are being questioned by Turkey, which says limited resources would be better used to protect member nations from more traditional threats like Russia. Turkey is also pressing for an end to the limited effort by the alliance to combat the smuggling of migrants in the Aegean Sea from Turkey to Greece.

People being deported from Thailand are seen brought off an airplane by police at an unidentified location in China on July 9, 2015 in this still image taken from CCTV video aired on July 11, 2015. Reuters Photos

Some of the Uighurs deported to China last week from Thailand had planned to go to Syria and Iraq to carry out jihad, state television said, showing pictures of them being bundled out of an aircraft with black hoods over their heads.


ISTANBUL — Meral Akşener relishes the idea that she frightens Turkey’s most powerful man. With a smirk, she lists headlines from pro-government newspapers painting her as a dangerous conspirator plotting against the state — a sure sign that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is worried about her.

MURAT YETKİN, hurriyetdailynews
The idea of “precious loneliness” was introduced to international relations literature by İbrahim Kalın, in order to describe the much criticized state of Turkey’s Middle East policy almost three years ago in August 2013.

John Hannah
Houston, we have a problem. A serious problem. Slowly, but inexorably, Turkey is headed off a cliff. The signposts ahead are bleak indeed. Despotism. Terrorism. Civil war. Just over the horizon, scenarios like “failed state” and “forced partition” are coming into view. The day may be approaching when U.S. policymakers, much as they’d prefer not to, will finally be forced to grapple with the question: What do you do with a NATO ally gone seriously bad?

by Burak Bekdil, The Gatestone Institute

There is every indication that Turkey and Israel are not far away from normalizing their troubled diplomatic relations. According to Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, for instance, the former allies are "one or two meetings" away from normalization.

Alparslan Türkeş, the founder and former head of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

William Armstrong

All major parties in Turkey harbor some form of nationalism. Turkish nationalism has many different flavors and has proven remarkably resilient over the past century. Since 1923 it has run through various ideological trends in Turkey like writing in a stick of Brighton rock.

Selcan HacaogluFirat Kozok| Bloomberg
Turkey’s leaders plan to remove references in the constitution binding public servants to the ideology of the nation’s secular founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, as part of a comprehensive overhaul of the state, its principles and institutions under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. “The prevailing view is that there should be no reference to any specific ideology in the new constitution,” Mehmet Ucum, a chief adviser to Erdogan, said in an interview at the presidential palace in Ankara. “It’s thought to be more appropriate if the constitution’s preamble states that Mustafa Kemal Ataturk is the founding leader of the Turkish Republic.”

Politics, Turkey


By Manolis Kostidis


Is Erdogan preparing a steep turn in foreign policy?

By decision of the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, the whole core that was forming the foreign policy of Turkey in recent years has been changed. However, it is believed that Recep Tayyip Erdogan has a say in these changes.

On May 28, Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan spoke to a crowd in southeastern Diyarbakır, the pivotal Kurdish city. He condemned the ongoing violence of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is really Turkey’s most burning problem these days. Besides rightfully renouncing the terrorists, however, the president took the problem to a religious level, condemning the PKK as an enemy of Islam as well. “They are atheists,” he declared. “They are Zoroastrians.”

Politics, Turkey

Bulgaria: Bulgaria to Start Building Gas Interconnection with Turkey in June

The construction of an interconnection pipeline linking the gas transmission systems of Bulgaria and Turkey would start in the next two weeks, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov said on Thursday, according to public radio broadcaster BNR.

Turkish President Erdogan (Photo: AP)

Itamar Eichner

Turkish intelligence head Hakan Fidan, considered an 'agent' for Iran and an obstacle to reconciliation talks with Jerusalem, replaced; Foreign Affairs Under Secretary Feridun Hadi Sinirlioğlu, who led the talks, also removed from post.


By Halil Karaveli

The celebration of the conquest of Constantinople 1453 is an expression of Turkey’s quest for purity. The “ideology of conquest,” the need to symbolically and repeatedly reclaim what has been Ottoman and Turkish for centuries, ultimately speaks of an existential unease with a historical legacy that is marked by a heterogeneity that is unsettling for an authoritarian state that seeks uniformity.

Culture, Politics, Turkey

Woman walks with umbrella in snow-covered Ankara

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan demanded that Turkish women abandon contraception in a televised address May 30, Reuters reported. “We will multiply our descendants. They talk about population planning, birth control. No Muslim family can have such an approach,” Erdogan said. The Turkish leader has denounced Turkish women for refusing to have more babies on many earlier occasions.

 Civilian Agency Records
State Department and Foreign Affairs Records

Records of the Foreign Service Posts of the Department of State (RG 84)

Turkey began World War II bound to Great Britain and France by the military alliance of October 1939, moved to non-belligerency in June 1940 after the fall of France, and adopted a policy of "active neutrality" in the spring of 1941 after German occupation of the Balkans and the conclusion of a German-Turkish Treaty of Friendship on June 18, 1941.

Europe, History, Turkey

BURAK BEKDİL, hurriyetdailynews
It is one of the many ugly faces of political Islam: You must defend absolute majoritarian, Gulf-like practices in lands where Muslims are the majority and Western democratic culture and pluralistic ideas in lands where Muslims are in the minority. This is not a new hypocrisy but a hypocrisy that becomes more visible with every passing day – thanks, in part, to the Turkish Islamists.

Politics, Turkey

BURAK BEKDİL, hurriyetdailynews
Turks can be fun when they collectively express their foreign policy perceptions, perspectives and passions. The findings of research in this field often produce the typology of the teenage-minded big angry Turk who has not yet finished half his soul searching: Who am I? Who are my friends? And my enemies? Which people pose a threat to me? Who can I evolve better with and advance my personal interests? These – and more – can be annoying questions for a passionate teenager whose most recent life is hardly a success story.