By Micha’el Tanchum
July 3, 2019
Turkey's provocative action of sending two drillships into Cypriot waters to explore for natural gas is a response to a grander provocation coming from the Republic of Cyprus, Greece, Egypt, and Israel to exclude Turkey from the marketing of Eastern Mediterranean gas. This common front, composed of interlinked security partnerships among the region's current natural gas producers and Greece, has been increasingly supported by the United States, France, and Italy, each of whom has significant economic investments in Eastern Mediterranean gas. For Ankara, its NATO allies' support of this common front is tantamount to a policy of soft containment against Turkey. The hardening of this containment through substantial naval support to the Republic of Cyprus as a response to Turkey's actions could send the Eastern Mediterranean into a dangerous escalation spiral that could permanently alter Turkey's relationship with NATO.
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 Barış Soydan
February 11, 2019
It is impossible to understand the electoral successes so far of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the undisputed leader of Turkey since 2003, without taking the spectacular growth of consumerism in the country into consideration. Notwithstanding the fact that the neoliberal economic policies of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) have disproportionately benefited the wealthiest in Turkish society, low-income earners have also benefited from the economic growth of the last sixteen years. Yet this growth has to a large extent relied on the quantitative easing program of the U.S. Federal Reserve. The end of quantitative easing will be consequential for Erdoğan and his party. Erdoğan is not going to be able to retain the same level of support that he has enjoyed among low-income earners. Get ready for substantial drops in AKP votes in the municipal elections in March.
By Barış Soydan
August 22, 2018
Last year, Turkey was the fastest growing economy among the G20 countries. Now it is going through a severe currency crisis. The lira has lost more than 40 percent against the US dollar this year. A recession is at the door. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accuses the United States of waging economic 'war' against Turkey and has threatened to ‘look for new allies’. Yet Turkey has no alternative to Western capital, and will sooner or later going to have to do whatever it takes to restore the confidence of Western investors.
By Svante E. Cornell and Halil Karaveli
December 6, 2017
Reza Zarrab’s testimony in early December to a New York court was hardly helpful in breaking the impasse in Turkish-American relations. By implicating Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan directly in the oil-for-gold trade that is the subject of the trial, Zarrab may have contributed to a new low in the fraught alliance. However, the case is symptomatic of the fact that Turks and Americans lack basic trust. It also illustrates that they are now on completely different frequencies. The Zarrab case means entirely different things to Turks and Americans, and this disconnect risks contributing to a break that neither party may actually want.
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.