Security

Turkey Drifts Away from the West

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Turkey has lost its soft power attractiveness due to its leadership’s increasing absolutism and failed foreign policy priorities. Antonia Dimou ModernDiplomacy The “zero problems with neighbors” concept that unraveled almost at the time of the Arab Spring has given its place to “nothing but problems with every single neighbor”. Key dimensions of Turkish foreign policy, namely relations with the United States (US), NATO, the European Union and MENA countries face growing challenges. Despite that Turkish-NATO relations are still valued and ... Read More »

Is There Hope for EU Foreign Policy?

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While the foreign policy reforms in the Lisbon Treaty have improved the European Union’s foreign policy machine, the EU’s overall international position has weakened in the ten years since the treaty’s signing. Stefan Lehne Carnegie Europe Insufficient leadership and dysfunctional institutional arrangements, the tendency of bigger countries to prioritize their national foreign policies, and the habit of some smaller ones to get free rides have all impeded effective collective action. The EU’s current consolidation, however, offers an… Is There Hope… Read More »

Assad vows to continue Ghouta assault

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Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has vowed to continue a military offensive in eastern Ghouta, a rebel-held area where 400,000 civilians live. SBS AAP Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is vowing to continue an offensive in eastern Ghouta near Damascus as his forces advance into the last major rebel enclave near the capital. The offensive is one of the deadliest in the war and one local insurgent group called it a “scorched earth” campaign. The government is pressing on despite Western calls ... Read More »

Inside Syria: With its enemies diverted or fighting each other, Isis is making a swift and deadly comeback

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The Wars in Syria: In the second part of his new series, Patrick Cockburn finds a growing line of graves being dug after fresh battles between Kurdish fighters and soldiers of the so-called Islamic State. Yet, after the defeat of Isis was soundly declared last year, this should not be happening. Patrick Cockburn Independent Suleiman Khalaf, also known as Abu Fadi, was killed 10 days ago in a fight with Isis in eastern Syria when the vehicle he was in was ... Read More »

Frenemies: Putin and Erdogan

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At a joint press conference in early December 2017, the presidents of Turkey and Russia lauded the dramatic improvement in their bilateral relationship: Carol R. Saivetz LawFare Between August 2016 and December 2017, trade rebounded, the Turk Stream Pipeline is going forward, Syrian negotiations are ongoing, the Akkuyu nuclear reactor is under construction, and Turkey finalized a deal to purchase Russian-made S-400 surface-to-air missiles. The goodwill between Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Vladimir Putin stands in marked contrast to the animosity ... Read More »

Syria’s war at home is giving way to dangerous proxy conflicts

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As Syrian government forces crush the country’s largest remaining rebel strongholds and with Bashar al-Assad apparently here to stay, Syria is turning into an arena for three new proxy conflicts. Moritz Pieper The Conversation In the south, Israel is facing off against Iran; in the northern region of Afrin, Turkey is fighting the Kurds. Meanwhile, in the eastern provinces, Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are pitted against the Russian-backed Syrian armed forces. If and when the Syrian conflict proper comes to ... Read More »

Putin’s Foreign Policy: Nuclear Blackmail Of The West

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“You didn’t listen to our country then… Listen to us now.” Vladimir Putin, announcing that Russia has developed and is testing a new line of strategic nuclear-capable weapons Gary Cartwright EU Today Looking to bolster his image with the electorate prior to Russia’s impending Presidential elections, Vladimir Putin’s has chosen the tried and tested route for such leaders – create an enemy for the people to worry about, and to focus their minds. Putin has very little to offer the ... Read More »

Turkey Is Turning Into the Next Pakistan

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The U.S. should make clear to ersatz allies that betrayal has consequences. Eli Lake Bloomberg There isn’t much that Turkey’s president can do these days to further debase his reputation in the West. Recep Tayyip Erdogan has crushed peaceful protests at home and abroad, closed newspapers, threatened American soldiers, and collectively scapegoated Kurds. But over the weekend, Erdogan managed to go even lower. At a rally at Kahramanmaras, the Turkish leader brought a trembling 6-year-old girl on stage dressed in military garb and told her she ... Read More »

Turkey has invested $35 bln in defense industry in 15 years: PM Yıldırım

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State investment in the defense industry has exceeded $35 billion in the past 15 years, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım has said. Hurriyet “We have made investments worth $35 billion over 15 years and we are now an exporter country in the field of the defense industry. The volume of our exports is over $2 billion,” Yıldırım said in an address at the National Defense University on March 2. “Our state continues to provide all sorts of technological opportunities for the ... Read More »

We need to talk about peace again

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We’re in an age when ambition is called for. And it just may come in the shape of a 32,000 tonne ocean liner Scott Ludlam * The Guardian A cruise liner is not the first place you’d go looking for conflict prevention, sustainability education, disarmament diplomacy and international collaborations on everything from disaster relief to low-carbon marine transport. From the outside, the Ocean Dream looks like any other 32,000 tonne ocean liner; a long, seafaring apartment block slung with lifeboats, ... Read More »

922 cases of war crimes documented in Turkish attacks on Afrin

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A group of lawyers documented 922 cases of war crimes since the beginning of Turkey’s invasion attacks against Afrin on January 22. ANF A group of lawyers in Afrin held a press conference to release the information about war crimes committed by Turkish state. According to the statement, Turkish army and Al-Qaeda affiliated gangs committed 922 war crimes and all of these have documented by canton officials in Afrin. Here are some highlights from the report released by… 922 cases ... Read More »

China senses and acts on US weakness in South China Sea

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China is a rising power and it is only natural that it would seek to expand its areas of naval operations and political influence. Robert E. McCoy Asia Times However, arriving late to the geopolitical game, China does not want to play by the rules that have long been established but which Beijing did not help to formulate. China seems to think that, because it was once the center of its world, more respect for its exalted status is needed. ... Read More »

Timor Leste Is an International Intervention Success Story

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If the West truly believes in the power of democracy, it must commit to intervening where necessary and providing sufficient ongoing support to see success achieved. John Watts The National Interest As Western appetite for international intervention is eroded by growing nationalist and isolationist sentiment, Timor Leste presents a timely reminder of the value of defending the freedoms of the oppressed. It is one of Southeast Asia’s smallest, poorest and newest nations. But it is also its most democratic and, ... Read More »

Countering Jihadist Militancy in Bangladesh

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With political polarisation reaching historic highs and local jihadist groups forging links with transnational movements, new forms of militancy threaten security and religious tolerance in Bangladesh. ICG The government should reinforce the capability of law enforcement agencies and the judiciary, and build political consensus on tackling the menace. What’s new? Two groups, Jamaat-ul Mujahideen Bangladesh and Ansarul Islam, dominate Bangladesh’s jihadist landscape today. Attacks since 2013 have targeted secular activists, intellectuals and foreigners, as well as religious and… Countering Jihadist ... Read More »

Why Turkey Wants to Invade the Greek Islands

SEDDULBAHIR, TURKEY - APRIL 24:  Soldiers march in front of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during the Turkish International Ceremony at Mehmetcik Abidesi Martyrs Memorial to commemorate the centenary of the Gallipoli campaign on April 24, 2015 near Seddulbahir Turkey.. Allied and Turkish representatives, as well as family members of those who served, will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the campaign with ceremonies scheduled for April 24-25. The Gallipoli land campaign, in which a combined Allied force of British, French, Australian, New Zealand and Indian troops sought to occupy the Gallipoli peninsula and the strategic Dardanelles strait during World War I, began on April 25, 1915 against Turkish forces of the Ottoman Empire. The Allies, unable to advance more than a few kilometers, withdrew after eight months. The campaign cost the Allies approximately 45,000 killed and up to 200,000 wounded, the Ottomans approximately 85,000 killed and 160,000 wounded. on April 24, 2015 in Eceabat, Turkey. Allied and Turkish representatives, as well as family members of those who served, will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the campaign with ceremonies scheduled for April 24-25. The Gallipoli land campaign, in which a combined Allied force of British, French, Australian, New Zealand and Indian troops sought to occupy the Gallipoli peninsula and the strategic Dardanelles strait during World War I, began on April 25, 1915 against Turkish forces of the Ottoman Empire. The Allies, unable to advance more than a few kilometers, withdrew after eight months. The campaign cost the Allies approximately 45,000 killed and up to 200,000 wounded, the Ottomans approximately 85,000 killed and 160,000 wounded.  (Photo by Carsten Koall/Getty Images)

There is one issue on which Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its main opposition, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), are in complete agreement: The conviction that the Greek islands are occupied Turkish territory and must be reconquered. Uzay Bulut Gatestone Institute  So strong is this determination that the leaders of both parties have openly threatened to invade the Aegean. The only conflict on this issue between the two parties is in competing to prove which is more ... Read More »

Congress, State Department divided on sanctions against Turkey

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As the US Congress continues to weigh potential sanctions against Turkey over its unremittingly hostile stance toward the United States, there is growing debate within the policy community about the merits of such action, with some arguing it could bow Turkey into submission and others insisting it will make the problem even worse. Amberin Zaman Al-Monitor Fury at what Washington calls the unlawful detention of US consular staff and US citizens, in particular that of North Carolina pastor Andrew Brunson ... Read More »