Middle East

Turkey’s intel agency trafficked drugs and stolen vehicles to jihadists in Syria

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A hushed-up investigation in Turkey’s capital city of Ankara in early 2014 reveals how intelligence officers on the payroll of the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) were involved in drug trafficking and… Abdullah Bozkurt TurkishMinute The confidential probe pursued by Turkish military intelligence into the activities of drug traffickers and an auto theft gang in Ankara exposed seven MİT agents who were unlawfully transporting drugs and… The clandestine operation was in clear breach of dozens of Turkish criminal laws as well ... Read More »

Turkey calls on country’s religious authority in struggle to keep prices down

BURSA, TURKEY - JUNE 10: An imam leads the first Friday Prayer during the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan at Fatih Sultan Mehmet Mosque in Bursa, Turkey on June 10, 2016. Ali Atmaca / Anadolu Agency

As the Turkish lira continues to be hit by losses in value against foreign currencies, the government has been struggling to keep prices down, even going to the extent of using the… TM “[Islam] certainly forbids unlawful profits such as bribery, usury, speculation, black marketing and rigging prices, which challenge moral values and disrupt the peace in the society,” the weekly sermon said, according to the… Earlier this week one of Turkey’s biggest retailers, BİM, known for its cheap prices ... Read More »

Trump, Erdogan and the New Global Order

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The Trump administration must not choose drastic and destabilizing steps to put further pressure on Turkey or strong-arm allies into playing along with its decisions. Nick Danforth The New York Times The current crisis between Ankara and Washington over the fate of the imprisoned American pastor Andrew Brunson is the culmination of a long-simmering dispute over the fundamental nature of the relationship between the United States and Turkey. Both sides want the relationship to continue but have irreconcilable expectations about ... Read More »

Turkey might not like the West, but needs it

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When President Trump sanctioned two Turkish ministers—an unprecedented measure involving a NATO ally—and announced the doubling of trade tariffs early in August, he further aggravated the steadily deteriorating U.S.-Turkish relationship. Kemal Kirişci Brookings The moves came after the Turkish government refused to allow Pastor Andrew Brunson, who is facing spurious espionage and terrorism charges, to return to the United States. Turkey’s currency, already fragile, went into a tailspin, and has lost nearly half its value compared to the beginning of ... Read More »

The Sick Man of Europe Returns

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When the Republic of Turkey emerged from the wreckage of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, its national ambition was to join Europe as a modern, secular state. Joschka Fischer * Project Syndicate But after much progress, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has now all but squandered his country’s chance of realizing its founders’ vision. BERLIN – One of the great geopolitical issues in nineteenth-century Europe was the so-called Eastern Question. The Ottoman Empire, then known as the “sick ... Read More »

The Erdogan Question: Is It Time To Shrink NATO?

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The Turkish president’s thuggish autocracy and reflexive anti-Americanism make him very popular in his country. Philip Terzian Weekly Standard There was once a country in what used to be called the Near East that was much admired in the United States and often regarded as America’s most valuable asset in the region. Although the country was predominantly Muslim, its government was resolutely secular in outlook and committed to “modernizing” its deeply traditional culture: Women enjoyed unprecedented equality, for example, and ... Read More »

Turkish currency isn’t the real problem for Erdoğan, it’s democracy

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is presiding over the damaging loss of value of the Turkish currency, the lira, against foreign currencies. Gary M. Grossman The Conversation It’s the most severe economic crisis the country has faced since he assumed power. Erdoğan has been the dominant figure in Turkish politics for almost two decades. Can he and his party maintain political control through this moment? As an American scholar, I began my engagement in Turkey in 1990, working with various ... Read More »

Time for President Donald Trump to Bury the U.S.-Turkey Alliance

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The alliance was already dead—just not everyone realizes it yet. The U.S.-Turkey alliance is dead. Certainly, as long as Tayyip Recep Erdoğan is Turkey’s president. Doug Bandow The National Interest And probably well beyond that. The current dispute over the imprisonment of evangelical pastor Andrew Brunson dominates the news. But more important is an increasing divergence in the two nations’ geopolitical interests. The traditional claim that Ankara was a “vital” partner long reflected the triumph of hope over experience. During ... Read More »

A Preview of Donald Trump’s Next Speech on Erdogan’s Turkey

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Reflections on how to Make Turkey Great Again. When Recep Tayyip Erdogan jailed an American pastor, Andrew Brunson, and held him as a hostage, Donald Trump tried to get the fellow released. Ira Straus the Globalist This effort failing, he chose to respond with sanctions. Erdogan struck back with demagogic speeches about this being an attack on Turkey. The man in the Oval Office is unlikely to back down. He is not one to let go if someone locks horns ... Read More »

Ankara Tries Turkish Cypriot Journalist for Criticizing Turkey

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A veteran journalist in Europe’s last divided city, Nicosia, has been targeted and intimidated by Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for criticizing Turkey’s actions in Cyprus and elsewhere in the region. Uzay Bulut Gatestone Institute Şener Levent, editor-in-chief of the Turkish-language daily newspaper, Afrika, in Cyprus, has been charged with crimes by Turkish prosecutors in Ankara. The charges concern the January 21 front page of the newspaper, which criticized Turkey’s invasion of the Syrian city of Afrin as well as ... Read More »

Seafood diplomacy? Erdogan invites ‘dearest friend’ Putin to meet at fish restaurant

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Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan may soon be discussing the S-400 anti-air systems deal while eating fish or lobsters, as Putin has been reminded of an arrangement to meet at a… * RT An invitation from Erdogan, delivered to Putin by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavusoglu on Friday, said: “Your dearest friend, Mr. Erdogan, has asked to convene his greetings and best wishes, he is hoping for your visit to Istanbul in the near future. You have ... Read More »

Turkey police fire tear gas at mothers’ protest

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Police in the Turkish city of Istanbul have forcefully broken up a regular protest by mothers remembering relatives who disappeared during violence in the 1990s. BBC Officers used water cannon and tear gas and detained about 50 people, including veteran protester Emine Ocak, said to be in her 80s. The group, called the Saturday Mothers, have met in central Istanbul since 1995 and this was to be their 700th protest. Rights groups condemned the crackdown. It was “shameful, cruel treatment ... Read More »

The Turkish Currency Crisis And What It Can Teach Us

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Turkey’s currency turmoil follows a well-known scenario. It is one more case in the long series of financial crises that afflict the international monetary system. Antony Mueller Seeking Alpha Just over the past two-and-half-decades, international markets experienced the crisis of the British pound (1992), the Mexican and Argentinean currency crises (1994), the East Asia currency turmoil (1997), and the collapse of the… In 2007, the liquidity-driven housing boom in the United States began to falter and Lehman Brothers filed for ... Read More »

Putin and Erdoğan Knock Again at Merkel’s Door

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Sanctions force the two autocrats to negotiate with Germany over Syria. By Josué Michels theTrumpet Germany’s diplomatic relations with Turkey and Russia are warming up again. For several years, these relationships have been frosty. Reuters reported last week “But now, a diplomatic firework erupted” (Trumpet translation throughout). German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with Russian President Vladimir Putin for a three hour discussion on August 18. A meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is planned for September. Ahead of the meeting ... Read More »

UN meeting on new Syrian constitution set for next month

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The United Nations peace envoy for Syria will host Iran, Russia and Turkey for talks on drafting a new Syrian constitution on Sept. 11-12, a United Nations spokeswoman said on Aug. 24. GENEVA – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura has been tasked with setting up a committee to write a new constitution for the war-ravaged country. The main foreign powers backing the project are Syrian government allies Russia and Iran, as well as Turkey, which supports some opposition groups. Representatives of the… UN meeting on… Read More »

The Ally That Isn’t

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Almost two years ago, the American Presbyterian minister Andrew Brunson was taken hostage by the Turkish government. The Editors Weekly Standard The charges against him—“political or military espionage” and “support for a terrorist group”—are absurd. Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan wants the Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen extradited from the United States—he holds a paranoid grudge against Gülen, whom he blames for a coup attempt in 2016—and erroneously thought the… President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have both paid ... Read More »