What if…

November 15, 2017

What if the Turkish Government had,
• remained on the democratic path, thus an invaluable partner for the West,
• continued to be a source of inspiration for the Middle East, Continue reading

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State of Confusion in Riyadh

November 13, 2017
Candidate Trump called Saudi Arabia “the world’s biggest funders of terrorism.”
President Trump made his first foreign trip to Saudi Arabia.
On November 7, in the wake of the purges in the Saudi capital, he tweeted,
“I have great confidence in King Salman and the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, they know exactly what they are doing….”
Others tend to wait and see what exactly is being done. Continue reading

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Prime Minister Yıldırım’s Visit to Washington

November 6, 2017
On October 29, Secretary Tillerson made the following remarks on the occasion of Turkey’s National Day:
“… Turkey has been a close American ally for more than 60 years. We are strategic partners in addressing the causes of instability throughout the world, including the Syrian civil war and our mutual fight against terrorism and violent extremism. We continue our steadfast efforts to enhance border security, increase trade and investment, and promote peace and prosperity across the globe.
“As Turkey marks this anniversary, we reaffirm the strong and resilient ties that unite us, and are confident the close relationship between the Turkish and American people will continue to grow.” Continue reading

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Turkey in Low Spirits

October 30, 2017

Turkey’s current mood is one of gloom. Much of this is unpredictability related. We Turks don’t know what tomorrow may bring not to speak of the months and years ahead. We are constantly on edge, anxious and worried. Yesterday marked the 94th anniversary of the founding of the Republic, celebrated as our National Day. In the morning, Turkey’s political leaders assembled at Ataturk’s Mausoleum as they do every year. This was supposed to be a day of joy, celebration. Yet, none of them managed to put on a smile. All one saw was a group of tense people not even talking to each other. On the other hand, those celebrating the National Day with great enthusiasm were making a political statement in support of Turkey’s Republican traditions and their increasing numbers is a ray of hope. Continue reading

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The Imperative for Iraq’s Internal Peace

October 23, 2017

Most observers agree that Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) independence referendum backfired; Massoud Barzani overplayed his hand and lost; and, his inclusion of “disputed territories” in the referendum was an overreach. The mood in Arbil is one of resentment because the referendum received no international support. One could perhaps add in this respect that Mr. Barzani’s timing was also wrong coming just one week ahead of the Catalan referendum which made use of double standards impossible.

The people of Iraq have not lived in peace since 1980, the beginning of the Iraq-Iran war. This eight-year war was followed by the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and the First Gulf War. Then came the US invasion in 2003. And, the battle against ISIS has been going on for more than three years and has resulted in great human suffering and devastation. Continue reading

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Diplomacy Is Only Part of the Solution

October 16, 2017

In earlier posts, I have often referred to President Obama’s visit to Turkey in early April, 2009. This is what I said:

“The President arrived in Turkey after attending a G20 summit in London, a NATO summit in Strasbourg and an EU summit in Prague. In other words, this was his first bilateral visit abroad. The following paragraph from the speech he delivered before the Turkish Grand National Assembly reflected the purpose of the visit:

“This morning I had the great privilege of visiting the tomb of your extraordinary founder of your republic. And I was deeply impressed by this beautiful memorial to a man who did so much to shape the course of history. But it is also clear that the greatest monument to Atatürk’s life is not something that can be cast in stone and marble. His greatest legacy is Turkey’s strong, vibrant, secular democracy, and that is the work this assembly carries on today…

“The message: Turkey, with its secular democracy has set an example for the Islamic world. Turkey should continue this path, and others should follow.” Continue reading

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Turkey’s Syria Policy Coming Full Circle

October 10, 2017

The Syrian conflict is in its seventh year and much has changed after the Russian intervention. Gone are the days of the Friends of Syria Group meetings and international coalitions targeting regime change. This Group was formed after Russia and China, in the light of the Libya experience, vetoed a UN Security Council resolution intended to pave the way for another Western intervention. The Group held its first meeting in Tunis on February 24, 2012. On April 1st, 2012, it met for the second time in Istanbul. Continue reading

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