September, 2016 Turkey

Sultan revival

Author Mustafa Akyol
In Turkey, there has been an unmistakable revival of the image of Sultan Abdulhamid II. The powerful Ottoman monarch who ruled the empire single-handedly from 1876 to 1909 is praised with a flood of articles in the pro-government press, endless messages on social media and various conferences and panels.

Turkey ISIS

Murat Yektin
On Sept. 28 agencies reported that the last two hospitals serving in the east of the Syrian city of Aleppo were bombed by Syrian or Russian planes.

state of emergency

Mustafa Akyol
After Turkey’s failed coup on July 15, the Turkish government declared a state of emergency. I was among the supporters of this move, for as I publicly said, what could be a bigger emergency than a coup plot that killed 240 innocent citizens?

Politics, Turkey
New Turkey

Turkey's more than 18 million students began school in mid-September this year as usual. Unlike normal times, however, they began their education year not with an introduction to mathematics or science, but rather by learning about the treachery the nation faced July 15 with the failed coup attempt. 

Politics, Turkey
Obama Erdogan

By Finian Cunningham

 "Information Clearing House" - "SCF" - Following US President Barack Obama’s dubious stellar performance this week at the UN General Assembly recounting a litany of lies for almost one hour before the eyes of the world, it was the turn of Turkey’s leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan to insult humanity’s intelligence.

US Turkey ties

Until two years ago, deep-rooted US-Turkey military relations were cited as a model of strength in the defense industry, military training and exercises, global peace support operations, global struggle against terror, NATO missions, and joint operations in Afghanistan. These were all signs of the high level of cooperation and interoperability between the US military and Turkish Armed Forces (TSK).

Turkey Syria

Turkey's move across its southern border represents a failure, writes Christopher Phillips.

Last month, Turkey intervened directly in northern Syria, sending tanks and troops in support of Syrian rebels. Operation Euphrates Shield targeted the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) after the deadly Gaziantep suicide bombing but Ankara made little secret of its desire to simultaneously engage another enemy, the Democratic Union Party (PYD), Syria’s affiliate of the Turkish Kurdish separatists the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). 

Erdogan public speech

Urgay Aktan

After listening to one of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s fiery anti-Western speeches, an uninitiated outsider might get the impression that the Ottoman Empire is rising from its ashes to do battle with “the Crusaders.” Indeed, many in the West accuse President Erdoğan of pursuing a “neo-Ottoman” agenda. He, in turn, has accused them of orchestrating just about every major incident of political unrest in Turkey as part of an ongoing plot to thwart its resurgence: “They can’t stand to see Turkey become powerful and prosperous.”

Turkish military

Author Metin Gurcan
In the aftermath of the July 15 abortive coup attempt, four major purges on July 27, July 30, Sept. 2 and Sept. 7 dismissed thousands of officers and noncommissioned officers from the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK). Since then, speculation has been rife on how these purges have affected the TSK’s combat effectiveness and on whether there will be problems filling critical posts.

Military, Politics, Turkey
Turks threat Mosul

Verda Ozer
A prospective U.S.-led operation against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Mosul has become an endless story, having been delayed repeatedly. It had been announced that the operation would start in late September. Simultaneously, President Tayyip Erdoğan has also signaled Turkey’s military involvement in the Mosul battle.

Erdogan warmonger

Burak Bekdıl
The anomaly of war, French essayist Emile Auguste Chartier wrote, is that the best men get themselves killed while crafty men find their chances to govern in a manner contrary to justice. How much of that applies to modern Turkey remains unknown – though predictable.

Eid Al Adha Turkey

Semih İdiz
The Eid al-Adha (Feat of the Sacrifice) bayram holiday should be a period of amity, sharing and rejoicing. It is hard to say this year’s bayram is such.

Politics, Turkey
ISIS Turkey collusion

By Patrick Cockburn

Patrick Cockburn interviews an Isis militant who claims the movement will rise again in North Africa, that Turkey turned a blind eye to shipments of weapons across the border and that Isis fighters are still present in Jarabulus

 Erdoğan’s Tragic Choice

Project Syndicate, Dani Rodrik
CAMBRIDGE – Ever since Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan won his first general election in late 2002, he has been obsessed with the idea that power would be wrested from him through a coup. He had good reason to worry even then. Turkey’s ultra-secularist establishment, ensconced in the upper echelons of the judiciary and the military at the time, made no secret of its antipathy toward Erdoğan and his political allies.

 Islamist Brothers  Mortal Enemies

Alex Alexiev
It is by now abundantly clear that Recep Tayyip Erdogan is in the process of rapidly transforming Turkey into a religious dictatorship that is increasingly resembling a totalitarian rather than just an authoritarian state. Having suspended all constitutional rights and guarantees, as well as the European Convention of Human Rights, under a blanket emergency rule law, Erdogan governs Turkey today much as the Stalinist regimes did in Eastern Europe after Soviet bayonets installed them there at the end of WWII.

Politics, Turkey
Turks in Syria  Kurds in “Rojava

By Col. (res.) Dr. Eran Lerman 

BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 364, 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: As Turkish forces pursue their long-overdue campaign in northern Syria, it is increasingly clear that their main goal is to reduce or destroy the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, largely Kurdish in composition, rather than fight IS. A far preferable alternative would be if both sides – backed by a strong and coherent US policy – overcame their long history of hostility and struck a compromise under which the Kurds give up their dream of a long Western territorial arm reaching the Mediterranean, while Ankara accepts the reality of Kurdish autonomy in northeastern Syria.

World War 1 Ottoman troops


M Hakan Yavuz, Mujeeb R Khan
The failure of the July 15 coup attempt in Turkey once again exposed a cognitive chasm between many in the Western and Muslim worlds when it comes to upholding ostensibly universal values surrounding democracy and self-determination.

Politics, Turkey


Turkish PM refrains from providing a timeline for restoring ties with either of the Arab nations.

ANKARA - Turkey, which patched up strained ties with Israel and Russia, aims to normalize relations with Egypt and even rebuild ties in future with Syria, where it has launched a cross-border offensive, the prime minister said on Friday.

Akif Beki
The decision of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) to not attend the ceremony of the opening of the judicial year at the Presidential Palace in Beştepe is one thing, but it would have been much better if the CHP had not returned to its “this palace was built illegally” discourse.

Politics, Turkey

by Burak Bekdil
"The Cemaat did it," says the child in this cartoon, using popular shorthand for followers of exiled Turkish preacher Fethullah Gülen.
The Gülenists' failed putsch has provided the government with an unconvincing opportunity to blame all past mistakes on this clandestine group. Because it is shadowy, you can blame every failure on its shadowy elements, real or fake.

 A KURDISH peshmerga soldier stands at a lookout near Bashiqa in northern Iraq

After its incursion into Syria, Turkey will have to decide whether to declare ‘Euphrates Shield’ a success or to continue seeking to destroy the Kurdish-led SDF in the face of US opposition.The Turkish incursion into the north Syrian town of Jarabulus and its environs, which began on August 24, is the latest dramatic re-shuffling of the deck in a long and agonizing conflict.

Yusuf Kanli

The Cyprus talks are in an accelerated process. In the next few rounds of talks until Sept. 14 the two communal leaders of the island are slated to go through the areas they so have far failed to produce convergences. Thus, if the two leaders manage to produce sufficient convergences, ground will be ready for an end of the month tripartite meeting in New York under the good offices of U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Semih Idiz
Washington is unhappy about Turkey’s “Operation Euphrates Shield.” The potential for a serious confrontation between fighters from the Peoples Protection Units (YPG), the armed wing of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), is very real and clearly of deep concern to it.

shutterstock_219396661 (1)


So within the space of a few days, the United States has, first, commanded the government of Syria to keep its air force away from part of its own sovereign territory, Hasakah, occupied by American soldiers and their Kurdish “partners”; it then, with applause from other NATO countries, provided air support for a Turkish invasion of Syria and seizure of the Syrian town of Jarablus from those “partners.” These are unambiguous acts of war, and Orwellian acts of doublethink aggression.

Turkey’s radically new approach to Syria since President Recep Tayyip Erdogan replaced Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in May with his trusted acolyte Binali Yildirim is unfolding fast. Turkey’s military operation in northern Syria, named Operation Euphrates Shield, which includes Turkish-trained Free Syrian Army (FSA) elements, reflects the new climate prevailing in Ankara.

Alex Fishman

Op-ed: The US simply joined the Russian-Turkish party in Syria, essentially allowing Assad's rule to continue—at least for now—and Iran and Hezbollah to establish their hold on the war-battered country. This is the worst possible outcome for Israel.

Burak Bekdil
Learning by suffering is a bitter scenario, but Turkey often does not even learn after suffering. The Gülenists’ July 15 coup attempt has left behind a fragile country that looks increasingly like a land consisting of large swathes of quagmire, lunatic asylums specializing in paranoia and schizophrenia, and an emerging class of opportunists.

Politics, Turkey