By Micha’el Tanchum
August 29, 2019
With Turkey poised for a cross-border invasion to clear northeastern Syria of U.S.-aligned Kurdish forces, Washington and Ankara announced an agreement on August 7, 2019 to jointly create and patrol a safe zone in the region, averting the possibility of the two NATO allies exchanging fire. Far from a climb down for Ankara, the agreement enables Turkey to achieve its minimal goals, and probably more. At the same time, it provides a significant yet delicate reset opportunity for Turkey-U.S. relations that have been severely strained since the U.S.-Kurdish military partnership than began with Battle of Kobani.
By Cengiz Çandar
February 14, 2019
The perception of a Kurdish threat from Syria, abetted by the United States, has provided the Turkish regime with its raison d’être. It is the glue that holds the power coalition of a variety of ultranationalists together. As long as the regime of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan relies on the Kurdish “other” for its internal cohesion – and ultimately for its survival – that imperative will continue to determine Turkish foreign policy. But Turkey’s strategic reorientation is also sustained by a long history of deep-seated suspicion of American motives. Indeed, Turkish-American relations were never harmonious and their history has taught the Turkish state elite not to trust the United States, and never before had so much been at stake as today.
By Micha’el Tanchum
January 24, 2019
The December 19, 2018 announcement of the withdrawal of American forces from northeastern Syria was heralded as Washington's concession to Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, giving him a green light for the eradication of the PKK-affiliated Kurdish forces of the People's Protection Units (YPG). However, Turkey's planned intervention to create a 'safe zone' in northern Syria east of the Euphrates river has been complicated by the recent reconciliation of key Arab nations with the regime of Bashar al-Assad to oppose Turkish ambitions. The Arab alignment with Russia's opposition to Turkey's intervention weakened Erdoğan's bargaining position in his January 23, 2019 meeting in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin and may force Turkey to accept alternative arrangements for the safe zone based on the 1998 Adana Protocol between Ankara and Damascus.
By Matus Jevcak
September 24, 2018
The pressure of the Turkish security forces on the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has been growing in recent months. After moving into the Kurdish enclave Afrin in Syria, Turkish forces have entered Northern Iraq and have advanced to the proximity of the PKK’s headquarters in the Kandil mountains. Turkey has vowed to continue its counter-terrorism operations against the PKK which might once again resort to a bombing campaign in Turkish cities in retaliation. A new round of PKK bombings would inevitably deepen the existing ethnic division in Turkey.
By Gareth H. Jenkins
April 3, 2018
The conquest of Afrin in northwest Syria has boosted President Erdoğan’s popular support and raised expectations amongst his supporters at a time when they already believe that they are active participants in a sacred struggle. But, with Russia, Iran or the US expected to block any further attempts at major territorial acquisitions in Syria or Iraq, Erdoğan is running out of options and in danger of losing electoral momentum long before Turkey is due to go to the polls in November 2019.
The Turkey Analyst is a publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Joint Center, designed to bring authoritative analysis and news on the rapidly developing domestic and foreign policy issues in Turkey. It includes topical analysis, as well as a summary of the Turkish media debate.