Recep Tayyip Erdogan
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.
GIS Dossier: Turkey and Europe
Europe can no longer take Turkey for granted or ignore its vital interests. Many in the West are rightfully displeased with the weakening of important institutions that the country has seen under the leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, but realpolitik dictates cooperation in mutual interest. Europe and Turkey are in urgent need of each other in an increasingly unstable world.
Opinion: Turkey changing the dynamics in the Horn of Africa
Late last year, Turkey secured the lease of an island on Sudan’s Red Sea coast. The location of this ancient port – situated on one of the world’s most important trade arteries – will put Ankara in a position to exercise much greater influence from the Nile to the Persian Gulf. The Turks scored this success because they took a broad strategic view, which must now be reconciled with their obsessively narrow focus on a single issue – the Kurds – in their immediate neighborhood.
Turkey’s energy dilemma: Brussels or Moscow?
The relationship between Turkey and the EU has been rocky ever since the political crackdown after last year’s coup. Moscow has stepped in to enhance cooperation with Ankara, especially in energy. While Turkey is attempting to limit its dependence on Russian gas imports, all its options are complicated. This new relationship between Turkey and Russia has stark consequences for Europe’s energy security.
GIS Dossier: Autumn of the patriarchs
In many parts of the world, the outlook for political stability in 2018 will depend on aging, often long-serving politicians. Some are senescent leaders trying to manage a generational transition, others have caught their second wind and are bracing for a long run. Here is a short list of rulers who are losing their grip, handling tricky successions, or building their legacies with a late burst of vigor. They are a key human element in geopolitics.
The contours of a future Middle East emerge
Events are moving fast in the Middle East. The hoped-for rapprochement between Russia and the U.S. that could bring an end to the war in Syria appears to have collapsed. Growing tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia could spark a war at any moment. But the most explosive issue for this region of minorities is the prospect of independence for Iraqi Kurdistan.
Scenarios for the future of the EU-Turkey relationship
The relationship between Turkey and the European Union is on the rocks. Turkey cannot be considered eligible for membership, but the accession process remains officially ongoing. A collapse of the talks seems likely – but that would cause more problems than it would solve. Forging a new kind of partnership would have plenty of benefits, but would require ending accession negotiations. Sticking with the status quo gives both sides what they want, for now.
Opinion: The West still needs Turkey
Since the 19th century, Turkey has played a vital role in shoring up European security, but attempts to build a mutually beneficial relationship between its Muslim society and mostly Christian Europe have failed. Tensions continue today, and Turkey is the odd man out in the transatlantic system. Even so, Western leaders should find a way to work with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Realpolitik makes sense when vital European interests are at stake.