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  • Author: Can Kasapoglu
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: In three decades, Ankara’s strategic agenda in Syria has considerably changed. First, back in the late 1990s, Tur- key’s primary goal was to put an end to the Hafez al-As- sad regime’s use of the PKK terrorist organization as a proxy. To address the threat at its source, Ankara resort- ed to a skillfully crafted coercive diplomacy, backed by the Turkish Armed Forces. A determined approach – championed by Turkey’s late president Suleyman Demi- rel – formed the epicenter of this policy: it was coupled with adept use of alliances, in particular the Turkish-Is- raeli strategic partnership. In October 1998, Syria, a trou- blesome state sponsor of terrorism as designated by the US Department of State since 19791, gave in. The Baath regime ceased providing safe haven to Abdullah Oca- lan, the PKK’s founder who claimed thousands of lives in Turkey. The same year, Damascus signed the Adana Agreement with Ankara, vowing to stop supporting ter- rorist groups targeting Turkey. In the following period, from the early 2000s up until the regional unrest in 2011, Turkish policy aimed at reju- venating the historical legacy. During that time, Ankara fostered its socio-cultural and economic integration efforts in Syria – for example, cancelling visas, promoting free trade, and holding joint cabinet meetings. Turkey’s foreign policy was shaped by then Foreign Minister and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s thought, popularly formulated in the concept of “Strategic Depth”. Refer- ring to David Laing’s anti-psychiatry school, Davutoglu claimed that the nation was alienated from its roots and embraced a “false self”. To fix the “identity crisis”, Tur- key pursued charm offensives in the Middle East. This ideationally motivated stance even led to speculative neo-Ottomanism debates in Western writings.2 From 2011, when the Arab Spring broke out, there were high hopes as to Turkey’s role model status. In April 2012, before the Turkish Parliament, then For- eign Minister Davutoglu stated that Ankara would lead the change as “the master, pioneer, and servant” of the Middle East.3 Five years later, the Turkish administration dropped these aspirations. At the 2017 Davos meeting, then Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek stated that the Assad regime’s demise was no longer one of his gov- ernment’s considerations.4 In fact, by 2015, Turkey had to deal with real security problems on its doorstep, such as the Russian expedition in Syria, ISIS rockets hammer- ing border towns, the refugee influx, and mushrooming PKK offshoots.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Atlantic, Turkey, Syria, North America
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: In October 2018, the Mitvim Institute held its annual Israel-Turkey policy dialogue, for the seventh consecutive year. The dialogue took place in Istanbul, in cooperation with FriedrichEbert-Stiftung, and was participated by Dr. Nimrod Goren, Dr. Roee Kibrik and Arik Segal of the Mitvim Institute. The policy dialogue included a series of meetings and discussions, with Turkish scholars, journalists, former diplomats, and civil society activists. It focused on Israel-Turkey relations, in light of the current crisis in ties, and on Turkey’s foreign policy in the Middle East. The policy dialogue aimed at helping improve Israel-Turkey relations, by enabling experts from both countries to exchange views on regional developments, to identify opportunities for better bilateral relations, and to increase cooperation between researchers and policy analysts from both countries. Throughout the dialogue, there was a sense that Turkey and Israel can find a way to overcome their current crisis and to reinstate ambassadors. Nevertheless, such progress is not expected to lead to a significant breakthrough in the relations. The Turkish counterparts expressed hope that Israel and Turkey will resume talks on natural gas export from Israel; shared their concern over what they perceive as Israel's support of the Kurds in northern Syria; and pointed out that Turkey and Iran should not be considered by Israel as allies, but rather as countries that cooperate at times regarding shared interest but are also competing with each other and adhering to different ideologies and beliefs. The dialogue also emphasized the importance attributed in Turkey to Jewish community in the US, and to the impact it has on the American discourse towards Turkey as well as on US policy towards the Middle East. This paper highlights key insights from the meetings and discussions that took place throughout the policy dialogue. It does not reflect consensus among all participants.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Israel
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: In recent years, the Eastern Mediterranean has become a central focus of world powers, of states in the Middle East, Europe, and beyond, and of international corporations. Regional geopolitical developments, as well as economic opportunities generated by natural gas discoveries in the Mediterranean, have contributed to this trend and turned the Eastern Mediterranean into a distinct sub-region perceived as having unique features. Israel plays a central role in this development. Israeli diplomacy identified these trends correctly, successfully becoming an active and dominant player in the region. The natural gas findings in Israel’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) provide it with a wider range of diplomatic options, helping it promote relationships with various states in the region; including some engaged in conflict with each other. Israelis regard the Mediterranean as an important component of their identity, as reflected in the 2018 Israeli Foreign Policy Index of the Mitvim Institute, in which 22 percent of those surveyed claimed Israel belongs predominantly to this region (compared with 28 percent who said it belongs to the Middle East and 23 percent to Europe).
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Conflict, Peace
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Israel, Greece, Palestine, Lebanon, Cyprus, Mediterranean
  • Author: Roee Kibrik, Nimrod Goren
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: This document briefly outlines major trends in Israel’s regional foreign policies over the past six months. It is based on the Mitvim Institute’s monthly reports that cover ongoing developments in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process/conflict, Israel’s relations with the Middle East, Europe and the Mediterranean, and the conduct of Israel’s Foreign Service.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, International Affairs, Peace
  • Political Geography: Russia, Turkey, Middle East, Israel, Greece, Jerusalem, Gaza, Syria, Egypt, Jordan, Cyprus, European Union
  • Author: Fatma Yilmaz-Elmas, Mustafa Kutlay, Hamdi Furat Buyuk, Öznur Gümüs
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Strategic Research Organization (USAK)
  • Abstract: What is the current course of the refugee crisis? What has the EU done so far as a response to the crisis? Is it possible to mention a balanced and comprehensive policy response in compliance with international norms and responsibilities? Are the EU-Turkey migration cooperation policies on the right track? This policy brief answers these and further questions in depth. It handles main results and policy outputs both for the EU and Turkey. We argue that the current mode of cooperation is highly fragile and is likely to fail in case substantial revisions are not taken into consideration. It reveals consideration the sensitive nature of the situation and highlights the parties need to adopt a joint response that takes on the priorities and capacities of both sides.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Diplomacy, Refugee Issues, European Union
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Dmitri V. Trenin, Memduh Karakullukçu
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Even though tensions over Ukraine will inevitably cast a shadow over the bilateral relationship, Russia and Turkey—a NATO member—continue to share a range of important interests. Indeed, there are a number of areas in which the two can work together in their common neighborhood, which stretches from the South Caucasus and the Levant to Central Asia and Afghanistan. A high-level working group on Russian-Turkish regional cooperation has sketched a forward-looking approach for Russia and Turkey in tackling regional challenges.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: Sinan Ülgen, Marc Pierini
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Relations between Ankara and Brussels are about more than Turkey's potential accession to the European Union (EU). The relationship is diversified, but it needs to be deepened and modernized. While Turkey's EU membership vocation should be maintained, Ankara and Brussels should take steps to update their partnership and vastly improve cooperation on current challenges that are of vital importance for both.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey
  • Author: Mehmet Ugur Ekinci
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: While some observers, referring to recent developments in the Middle East, are questioning whether Turkey's “zero problems with neighbours” doctrine is still in effect, Turkey's relations with the Balkans are enjoying their golden age. Since the mid-2000s, bilateral relations with all governments in the region have been in good terms, social and economic relations have intensi­fied and Turkey's public image has become increasingly positive.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Balkans
  • Author: Eyüp Ersoy, Mehmet Yegin
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Strategic Research Organization (USAK)
  • Abstract: Unlike other studies on Turkey-U.S. relations, this report examines the key actors influential on U.S. policy and their perspectives about Turkey, theoretically discusses the regional aspects in Turkey-U.S. relations, and finally emphasizes the economic and social dimensions of the bilateral relations.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, International Trade and Finance, Islam, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Turkey, India
  • Author: Sinan Ülgen
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Though most states that want a nuclear weapon can get one through determined effort, the fact remains that most choose not to proliferate. Turkey is no exception. Not even the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran is likely to push Ankara to develop its own nuclear weapons. The only circumstance where such a scenario would acquire a degree of likelihood is a breakdown in Turkey's security relationship with the United States.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Diplomacy, Economics, Nuclear Weapons, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States, Turkey, Middle East