The predicament of Turkey and the Kurds
The protracted conflict between Turkey and some of the Kurds has obscured an opportunity for both sides to advance their goals by returning to cooperation. This shared interest has become especially urgent as the region’s failed states, Syria and Iraq, near an inevitable fragmentation.
Northern Syria after Turkish intervention
Turkey’s decision to intervene in Syria has demolished U.S. plans to press home the ground war against Daesh. Ankara must now decide whether to respect an American-sponsored cease-fire or venture deeper into Syria to break up the emerging Kurdish autonomous zone. If they choose the latter course, as seems likely, the Turks could find themselves in a military quagmire.
Turkey: an awkward partner
As Turkey’s unstable internal politics have lurched toward repression, its foreign policy appears to have lost direction. The escalating war with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has pushed resolution of the Kurdish question into the distant future, while terrorist strikes and a conflict with Russia have dragged Ankara deeper into the Syrian quagmire. Meanwhile, the suppression of voices critical of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has raised doubts about just how far the rule of law applies. Where is Turkey headed? This question is being asked in Brussels, Berlin and Washington. Since 2011, Turkish politics have been unpredictable.The answer matters because Turkey has a key role to play in any effort to resolve the conflicts in Syria and Iraq. In Western capitals, it is expected that Ankara will take a clear stance in the fight against Daesh, also known as Islamic State.
Global trends: players and paths for Islamic State (part 1)
There is little doubt that Islamic State is here to stay as a headache in the Middle East. The only question is how serious a headache for local and foreign powers it will be by mid-2017. Even under the best-case scenario, its clandestine cells will remain active in eastern and northern Syria and in the Sunni areas of Iraq. ...
New opportunity to get Turkey right emerges
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is back in the driver’s seat after his ruling party scored a decisive win in the November snap elections. While Mr Erdogan has never been a favourite of Western decision makers and opinion shapers, his renewed mandate makes him a useful partner in efforts to resolve the Syrian civil war and the migrant crisis that threatens to...
Russia’s intervention in Syria shows need for new deal in Middle East
What will become of Syria in the medium term? After four years of civil war, it is certainly not possible just to wind the clock back and let President Bashar al-Assad govern as if nothing had happened. But it is equally impossible to imagine a ‘democratic’ and united Syria, because the fracture lines run too deep. It tak...