By Tülin Daloglu (vol. 2, no. 13 of the Turkey Analyst)
For a long time, the relationship between Turkey and Iraq has been defined by the fact that Iraqi Kurds provide a safe haven for the separatist Kurdish terrorist organization, the PKK. Yet Gen. Ilker Basbug, Turkey’s Chief of Staff, said recently in Washington that Iraq’s Kurdish region is no longer a safe place for PKK terrorists. that gain cannot yet be counted as permanent. Next January, Iraq will see general elections as well as a referendum on controversial issues like the future of Kirkuk. With U.S. troops withdrawing from Iraqi cities, escalating high-profile attacks raise concerns about the Iraqi forces’ ability to secure the country. In this make it-or-break it year for Iraq, the Kurds must decide the price they will pay to retain Kirkuk inside their territory. They will also have to decide whether they are willing to risk a possible breakaway from Iraq.
By Halil M. Karaveli (vol. 2, no. 12 of the Turkey Analyst)
Once again, commentators raise the question whether there is a risk of a military coup in Turkey. There is no reason at all to believe that the General staff entertains any such thoughts. However, recent developments have nevertheless provided a reminder that the military’s position remains delicate. The Chief of the General staff, General Ilker Başbuğ, is in fact engaged in an awkward battle on two fronts, against old coup habits in the military, and against the challenge posed by the Islamic movement of Fethullah Gülen.
By Tülin Daloğlu (vol. 2, no. 11 of the Turkey Analyst)
The relationship between the United States and Turkey has traditionally relied heavily on military cooperation. However, President Barack Obama’s April trip to Turkey created an impetus to build a stronger economic connection – provided that businesses find a profitable incentive to work together. But the most significant step toward “normalizing” relations between the countries came when the U.S. recognized that the separatist Kurdish organization PKK poses a threat not only to Turkey but also to America, and Iraq, as well. It was a step destined to ease the tension that has characterized, even poisoned the U.S.-Turkish relationship since the invasion of Iraq.
By Halil M. Karaveli (vol. 2, no. 4 of the Turkey Analyst)
The struggle for the control of the Turkish state, pitting the military against the Islamic conservative movement, has implications for Turkey’s external relations as well, not least for those with the United States. Misgivings about American intentions account in great part for the lure of Eurasianism, the search for eastern alternatives to NATO membership, among the military. Although it is a dead end in strategic terms, Eurasianism risks compounding the ideological de-westernization of Turkey.
By M. K. Kaya (vol. 1, no. 18 of the Turkey Analyst)
Faced with an increasingly intractable problem of PKK terrorism, coupled with increasing tensions in society between citizens of ethnic Turkish and Kurdish origin, the governing AKP appears to have moved to the right. Erdogan’s rhetoric has become increasingly nationalistic, aligning itself more with the military brass on issues concerning the PKK, the Kurdish question in general, and Iraq. This has led to some discontent among ethnic Kurdish forces within the AKP, which have been an important support base for the party. The split was most clearly visible in the resignation of the AKP’s deputy Chairman and prominent politician of Kurdish origin, Dengir Firat. This likely has important implications for the AKP’s electoral hopes in upcoming local elections, not least in the Southeast.
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.