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Turkey-West Relations: The Escalating Crisis of Trust and Path Dependency


Oya Dursun-Özkanca examines the post-2019 developments in Turkey-West relations and argues that there is increasing use of boundary-breaking intra-alliance opposition process, creating a dangerous path dependency.

Informal Control of the Turkish State: Lived Experiences from Kurdish Borderlands


Dilan Okcuoglu’s “Informal Control of the Turkish State: Lived Experiences from Kurdish Borderlands” is part of JMEPP’s upcoming Spring 2021 edition, Beyond Borders: Middle East in Empire, Diaspora, and Global Transitions. The full edition is expected to come out on April 30, 2021. “In 2009, we planted our wheat in front of Turkish soldiers; they […]

Turkey’s Hagia Sophia Decision as Foreign Policy Signal


On July 10, 2020, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan signed an order which would allow the disintegration of Hagia Sophia’s museum status and turn it back into a mosque. Pro-government Turkish news outlet Yeni Şafak  headlined the same day: “The West Goes Mad.” (Batı çıldırıyor) [1]  With the signature of the Council of State’s memorandum […]

Citizenship-Stripping as a Political Tool: A Comparative Perspective


Since the attempted coup on 15 July 2016, Turkish state authorities have engaged in what they characterize as a counterterrorism campaign against the political enemy they blame for the attacks: the expatriate cleric and government critic Fethullah Gülen, as well as hundreds of his followers who fled the country. The Turkish government still maintains that […]

From Prudence to Recklessness: Erdogan’s Risky Plays with International Law


Amidst abundant signs of turmoil and challenges in Turkey’s seemingly rudderless foreign policy, the country apparently needs a more diplomatic approach and legal expertise in international law rather than aggressive military posture in its immediate vicinity. As Turkey lurches into one crisis after another in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea, the prudent invocation […]

“Erdoğan the Good” or “Erdoğan the Bad?” A conversation with Soner Çağaptay on US-Turkey relations following US withdrawal from Syria


Editor-in-Chief Reilly Barry sits down with US-Turkey relations expert Soner Çağaptay to discuss what is important to keep in mind in the bilateral context following major changing events in Syria and renewed US dialogue on the path ahead for the alliance, Turkey’s role in NATO, and the lasting persona of Erdoğan affecting the relationship.

Turkey’s Kidnappings Abroad Defy International Law


BY YASIR GÖKÇE “Our life was turned upside down. In one night, we were declared ‘terrorists,’” said Sevval, a 13-year-old who was among the victims of a massive crackdown on dissidents conducted by Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan. The crackdown continues today and impacts people who identify as critical of the Erdogan regime. Since a failed […]

U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Timothy R. Koster

What’s in a deal anyway: Idlib DMZ violations harm peace process


The Idlib de-militarized zone (DMZ) deal is a powerful tool for advancing peace, but only if Turkey and Russia commit the resources to properly enforce it. The implementation of the Idlib DMZ holds powerful consequences for the ongoing Syrian constitutional committee and the broader peace process.

Election Banners, Kilis - Adam Jones

Reconciling History: Secularism, Faith and Allegiance after Turkey’s June 24th Elections


The decision to support or reject the opposition in its appeals to AKP voters is bound up with its identity as the representative of official secularism, a reputation that has proved difficult to shake. The memory of the divisive 1970s and the terror-filled aftermath of the 1980 coup remains a deeply impactful force conditioning voter behavior. An understanding of these traumatizing years, which left few segments of society untouched, contextualizes the steep odds against which the opposition was forced to contend.

It’s the Economy, Saftirik


A casual observer of Turkish politics would be forgiven for thinking that regional geopolitics, social issues, the Kurdish issue or the hosted refugees are the central points of the election. Not so. Somewhere in Turkey, a political strategist is hammering home to her client: “it’s the economy, saftirik (stupid).”


Intervention fever: The politics of Turkey’s Operation Olive Branch


On January 20, 2018, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) entered the Syrian city of Afrin in what the Turkish government claims is a response to threats posed by Kurdish political groups within Turkey itself, and in northern Syria along the Syrian-Turkish border. Now Ankara must contend with an unclear near-future in which it may remain in Syria for an indefinite period of time.

In Turkey, the cult of Ataturk gives way to the cult of Erdogan


In Turkey, Erdogan tries to distance himself from Ataturk’s legacy even as his actions recreate some of the very policies he decries in his predecessor. Is Erdogan in the process of building a cult of personality that could surpass that of the country’s founding father?

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