Middle East

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 »

Naval experts concerned over China’s increasing presence in Mediterranean

The workshop held at the University of Haifa studied and assessed the issues concerning the future and character of maritime warfare in the region as well as various strategic developments. Anna Ahronheim JPost The increasing presence of China in the Mediterranean region as part of the Asian giant’s Belt and Road Initiative should be a cause of concern, experts told The Jerusalem Post this week. “What concerns us is China’s Belt and Road Initiative and its growing role in Israel’s ... Read More »

ISIL chief Baghdadi urges ‘jihad’ in purported new recording

The leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi called on Muslims to wage “jihad” in a purported new audio recording released on Aug. 22. BEIRUT – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet He also called for attacks in the West in the Telegram message on Eid al-Adha, which comes as ISIL has lost most of its territory in Iraq and Syria. It is the first purported recording of the ISIL leader to be released since September last year. “Those who forget their religion, patience, jihad against their enemies, and their certainty inthe creator’s promise lose… ISIL chief Baghdadi… Read More »

Turkey will reportedly start getting Russia’s advanced missile defense system in 2019, despite US efforts to block it

Russia will start delivering its advanced S-400 missile defense system to Turkey in 2019, the Interfax news agency cited Russian state arms exporter Rosoboronexport as saying on Tuesday. Christopher Woody and Reuters Business Insider A Turkish defense official said in April that the delivery of the S-400 batteries had been brought forward from the first quarter of 2020 to July 2019. Turkey and Russia negotiated the purchase throughout 2017, finalizing a deal worth some $2.5 billion at the end of ... Read More »

Is Washington pushing Turkey and Europe toward each other?

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is seeking new allies to offset Ankara’s worsening ties with Washington, which have come to a breaking point over Turkey’s continued detention of American pastor… Semih Idiz Al-Monitor Erdogan’s remarks show that his heart is set on Russia and China. Ironic as it may seem, though, Turkey’s crisis with the United States is rekindling its ties with Europe, even though these ties had hit rock bottom not so long ago. Recent European statements of support for ... Read More »

Turkey-U.S. Tiff Shows How Deep NATO’s Problems Run

Europe can’t just blame Trump if everything falls apart. Hal Brands Bloomberg NATO is having a rough summer. Fresh off President Trump’s deliberately disruptive behavior at the alliance summit in July, NATO has suffered a high-stakes blowup between two key members: the U.S. and… That dispute crystallized over the fate of an American pastor, Andrew Brunson, being held in Turkey on spurious charges of supporting a failed coup against Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2016. It has been punctuated by economic sanctions, ... Read More »

Russia Considers Its Next Moves in Syria

The Syrian civil war has entered a new phase since the government takeover of Daraa and Quneitra in the country’s southwest. Stratfor Now, for the first time in the conflict’s seven-year history, all meaningful territory in Syria is either under the direct control of loyalist forces or subject to a significant foreign presence. The Syrian Democratic Forces and allied U.S. troops control the northeastern portion of the country, while Turkish troops are embedded in northern Aleppo province and Idlib province, ... Read More »