February, 2017 Turkey

Two new Kurdistans

By Bilal Wahab 
For nearly a century now, the question of whether there should be an independent Kurdish state has loomed over the Middle East. The issue achieved new urgency after U.S. forces evicted Saddam Hussein from northern Iraq after the Gulf War in 1991, effectively creating the preconditions for Kurdish autonomy there. The American-led invasion in 2003 and the war that followed have merely accelerated that process.

Turkish tanks

AARON STEIN AND RAO KOMAR
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After months of halting and costly progress, the Turkish military and allied Syrian rebels are in a good position to take the Syrian city of al-Bab from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). With the capture of al-Bab, Turkey will have accomplished the clearly defined goals of its “Operation Euphrates Shield” intervention in northern Aleppo governorate: driving ISIL from the Turkish border and blocking hostile Kurdish forces from linking their territory to Turkey’s south.


 Turkey's 'Devout Generations'


by Burak Bekdil
The Gatestone Institute
Originally published under the title "What Turkish Islamists Understand about Education."

 Asked what she would do if she were president, a Turkish schoolgirl told CNN-Turk last month, "I would reinstate the death penalty."
It is customary for Turkish TV crews to interview young students at the start of their mid-term holidays, with the cliché closing question invariably being, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" This year's school holiday in January was no exception. One interview, however, produced a chilling portrait of a girl, aged just 7 or 8.

 Ankara’s dilemmas in Syria and Iraq

Semih Idiz
Statements from Ankara regarding developments in Syria suggest that things are moving in a direction that Turkey wants. Take the operation against al-Bab in northern Syria for example. The head of the military recently announced that it has been completed and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has been defeated.

Erdoğan's Referendum ‎

Hay Eytan Cohen Yanarocak examines the tumultuous discourse surrounding the Turkish referendum on consolidation of ‎Erdoğan’s political authority.
In the aftermath of unprecedented ‎terrorism in ‎Turkey last month, ‎social ‎networking ‎sites (SNS) ‎are engaged ‎in ‎fierce ‎political ‎debate ‎over ‎the ‎ruling ‎party's attempt to replace the ‎current parliamentary ‎system ‎with ‎a ‎presidential ‎system. ‎

Politics, Turkey
Trump-Putin-Erdogan deal

 DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis 

The NBC report that Russian President Vladimir Putin may be considering making President Donald Trump the “gift” of turning over former NSA analyst Edward Snowden is part of a much broader scheme that is already sending tremors through the Middle East. Snowden won asylum in Moscow after leaking secrets to journalists four years ago.

 Al-Bab

Deniz Zeyrek
There are two weak links lying behind the delay in advancing the al-Bab operation.

The first is the disorder in the groups that form the Free Syrian Army (FSA), which seriously troubles the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), to the extent that if the TSK had been able to plan and conduct the Euphrates Shield operation alone it would have chosen a different path. Commanders, who know their capacities, would have been able to analyze “the enemy,” executing plans with an adequate number of units and equipment under a tactic formulated in the operations center.

 Turkey 'frenemy' jihadis

SUMMARY
Turkey’s mixed messages in crackdown terrorist groups; Ankara on sidelines, again, in Syria; Syrian Kurds consider federalism, view Turkish attack on al-Bab as "fiasco."
Turkish police detained four terrorist suspects linked to the Islamic State (IS), as well as a cache of explosives and suicide belts, as CIA Director Mike Pompeo arrived in Turkey for official talks Feb. 9.

 AN ANCIENT RIVALRY


BY DAVID BATASHVILI 
Much of the regional international developments in the Middle East will probably be defined by their rivalry.
The two most prominent local players in the complex Middle Eastern game are Iran and Turkey. It is their strategies that will define the political future of this region in the coming decades. Inevitably, sometimes these strategies will be in direct contradiction with each other.

 Turkey’s Wealth Fund

Murat Yektin 

The government has transferred the public stakes in a number of major public companies to a recently established sovereign wealth fund, stating that the aim was to secure credit at lower rates for big projects by using the shares in these valuable companies as collateral.
Economy, Politics, Turkey
Fake defense news?

 
Author Metin Gurcan, TranslatorTimur Göksel
As the United States is plagued by a politically motivated "fake news" epidemic, it seems there's been an outbreak in Turkey as well.

Ahmet Davutoğlu


Ahmet Davutoğlu, former Turkish PM, writes on the legacy of Obama's foreign policy and the challenges ahead for Trump.

Former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Turkey and a Member of Parliament from the AK Party, Turkey

There are few Western politicians whose election aroused as much excitement and hope both in the West and East, in the north and south, as Barack Obama. But there are also few politicians that have caused as much dismay and disappointment worldwide as Obama. Therefore his legacy will certainly be controversial.

Turkey-Greece confrontation


AUTHOR, Cengiz Çandar

This week's revival, after two decades, of the Kardak rivalry between Turkey and Greece is less about those countries' relationship and more about Turkey thumbing its nose at the European Union.

Erdogan

This is the second in a series of articles based in part on eyewitness accounts about the rapidly deteriorating socio-political conditions in Turkey and what the future may hold for the country. The first article is available here.

Politics, Turkey
IGAM


Barçın Yinanç

The Research Center on Asylum and Migration (IGAM) recently released a report titled “Challenges and Opportunities of Refugee Integration in Turkey.” Funded by the German Heinrich Böll Foundation, the report was prepared by Doğuş Şimşek from Istanbul’s Koç University and Metin Çorabatır, the UNHCR’s former spokesperson in Turkey who is currently heading IGAM.

 Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Author Semih Idiz

Developments in Syria may once again be slipping through Turkey’s fingers. The new Donald Trump administration in Washington has already disappointed Ankara. Rather than being welcomed, Trump’s advocacy of safe zones in Syria — an idea first proposed by Turkey — has ruffled official Turkish feathers. Ankara now fears that such zones will be a step toward granting Syrian Kurds autonomy. Turkish officials have been noticeably mute on the matter, saying they need to see a full proposal before commenting.

Hulusi Akar

Yusuf Kanlı
It appears that there are efforts to reactivate the Kardak (Imia) issue between Turkey and Greece… Will, like the 1996 case, the islets bring the two countries to the verge of war in 2017, 21 years later?