NATO at Seventy

Co-authored with Yusuf Buluç (*)

December 5, 2019

Literature on “The Art of Human Survival” will have you believe that to have reached the age of seventy must be a testimony for having mustered this art. But for a military alliance to have functioned, changed, adapted and enlarged for seventy years would mean significantly more than mere survival, but an unequivocal success. While ripe and mature age seventy for a human being deserves celebration albeit with an eye on life expectancy averages, for a military alliance such celebration would call for unreserved pride and a solemn commitment to cohesion, collective re-dedication to allied goals. But those were not the type of public announcements or more discreet messages that were coming from the London Summit to celebrate NATO’s 70th anniversary. Continue reading

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The Arab Spring Nine Years On

 

December 2, 2019

The Arab Spring began on December 17, 2010 in Tunisia as street vendor Mohammed Bouazizi set himself on fire to protest the arbitrary seizing of his vegetable stand by police. Mass protests forced President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to resign in January 2011, after 23 years in power and go into exile in Saudi Arabia.

In February 2011, mass protests forced Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to resign after three decades in power. Continue reading

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Lessons from the Impeachment Inquiry

Co-authored with Yusuf Buluc (*)

November 23, 2019

As the US House Intelligence Committee continued with its impeachment hearings, NATO foreign ministers met in Brussels in preparation for the summit which will take place on December 3-4 in London to mark NATO’s 70th anniversary.

Following the Brussels meeting NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said, “We had excellent discussions and we all agree that NATO remains indispensable for our security.  And that despite our differences, we are stronger as we face the future together.”

The NATO Secretary General is the Alliance’s highly respected top international civil servant and he is duty bound to underline the importance of the Alliance and solidarity among its members. Unfortunately, however, NATO is not only faced with external challenges but also with skepticism from within. Continue reading

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A Frank Exchange of Views

November 14, 2019

On Wednesday, President Erdoğan made his long-anticipated visit to Washington. At the White House, he met not only with President Trump but also senators Joni Ernst, Jim Risch, Ted Cruz, Rick Scott and Lindsey Graham, one of President Trump’s staunchest allies. Continue reading

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The Visit

November 11, 2019

On Wednesday, President Erdoğan will be in Washington. In the past, Turkish diplomacy did its best for such high-level visits to underline the importance of the relationship. Aware of the respect the US pays to the separation of powers, it set up meetings with members of the Congress. It also tried to ensure positive media coverage. When Turkish-American relations were on the right track this last task proved a difficult one because the US is a global power, has its own loaded agenda and people pay little attention to visits by foreign leaders unless there is something out of the ordinary. Continue reading

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The Spiraling Cost of Turkey’s Regime Change Project in Syria

November 1, 2019

The signing of the Treaty of Lausanne on July 24, 1923 was the crowning achievement of Turkey’s War of Independence under Ataturk’s leadership. Soon after, Republic was declared and Turkey’s modernization began. Ataturk’s reforms included the emancipation of women, the introduction of Western legal codes, calendar and alphabet, replacing the Arabic script with a Latin one. Turkey became a secular state. A major overhaul of the education system and the economy was launched. Continue reading

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A Shift Towards Diplomacy in Syria

October 24, 2019

It has been two tumultuous weeks starting with President Trump’s decision to withdraw US troops from Syria, immediately followed by the launching of Operation Peace Spring, Vice President Pence’s visit to Ankara on October 17,  President Erdoğan’s visit to Sochi five days later and the lifting of US sanctions against Turkey the next day.

The first visit resulted in a Turkish-US joint statement on northeast Syria and the second in a “memorandum of understanding” as President Putin called it. Continue reading

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