Recep Tayyip Erdogan
2019 Global Outlook: The Fertile Crescent
The single most important development in the Middle East has been the end of Syria’s civil war, which was unequivocally won by the Baath regime. Even the hammer blows of a determined religious opposition could not destroy the post-World War I system that created Syria, Iraq and Jordan as Arab states. But with the announced U.S. withdrawal from Syria and the victory of the Assad regime and its Russian and Iranian sponsors, the way could be cleared for an explosive confrontation with Israel.
Opinion: Populism as Reformation
Though it is popular to contrast “populism” with “democracy,” the two are more alike than different. Like the Reformation 500 years ago, today’s populist movements aim to wrest power from the elites and give it back to the people. Instead of petering out, variations on the democratic populist system are likely to multiply, and traditional democratic models may undergo a radical renewal.
Saudi Arabia’s key role in the Middle East
Journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder has upset the Middle East’s geopolitical balance in two dimensions: the three-sided rivalry between Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, and the conflict between the Muslim Brotherhood and stable monarchies in the region. For the Saudis, the crisis poses an unexpected opportunity to improve governance. For the West, it presents a choice between triggering chaos and a possible radical takeover, or helping the kingdom make a difficult transition.
Turkey’s energy foreign policy at a crossroads
Energy cooperation between Turkey and Russia has ramped up in recent years. If it grows any closer, it could threaten EU interests, especially the key Southern Gas Corridor project. But Turkey's own interests are also at risk if its dependence on Russian gas supplies grows. The question is whether President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will prioritize diversification – and therefore cooperation with the EU and Azerbaijan – or placating his domestic political allies.
Opinion: Africa and foreign influence
Europe has a mixed history when it comes to its involvement in Africa. In recent years, it has mostly abandoned its interests there, leaving a vacuum that is being filled by China, Russia and Turkey. European policy toward Africa currently is shortsighted, mainly aiming to address the migration crisis. But Europe has an opportunity to form a long-term mutually beneficial partnership there – and teaming up with Turkey could benefit all sides.
Before leaping at the opportunity to question the results of Sunday's election in Turkey, politicians and media in Europe and the United States would do well to consider the basis of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's appeal. Until Western leaders take into account Turkey's emerging regional role and interests, they cannot hope to have any influence on its politics.
GIS Dossier: Syria, Round 2
As Islamic State and jihadist rebels head for defeat in Syria’s civil war, the conflict is becoming more internationalized. Turkey has intervened military in the north against the Kurds, the U.S. has bombed Russian military contractors, and a rocket-propelled chess game between Israel on one side and Iran and Hezbollah on the other is heating up. If the key players aren’t careful, Round 2 in Syria could be a regional conflagration.
Turkey and the West – distant yet inseparable
Turkey’s growing estrangement from the West stems from its domestic and regional ambitions, as well as from a feeling of being unwanted in the European Union. There is also a deeper undercurrent, present since the founding of the Turkish Republic, that questions the Kemalist strategy of a radical alignment with Europe. Even so, a total break with its Western partners is not on the cards.
Turkey, Iran and the potential for peace in Syria
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hosted a summit in Ankara with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on April 4. The focus of the meeting was Syria. The move showed how Turkey is renewing efforts to overcome past rivalries and improve relations with its neighbors to solve one of the biggest threats to its interests. If these three regional powers can manage to use realpolitik, there may be hope for a resolution to the Syria conflict – at least in the short term.