Independent and cutting-edge analysis on Turkey and its neighborhood

Turkey's Neighborhood: A New Strategic Landscape?, Fall 2013

Turkey's Neighborhood: A New Strategic Landscape?, Fall 2013

In this issue of Turkish Policy Quarterly (TPQ), we examine topical developments in the Caucasus, Central Eurasia, and the Middle East to draw the contours of the emerging strategic configuration in Turkey’s neighborhood. As key countries in the current geostrategic contestations of the region, we focus particularly on Georgia, Afghanistan, Iran, and Syria. We also assess Turkish foreign policy in the broader neighborhood, both to take stock of missed opportunities and identify potential...

Nigâr Göksel | 05 December 2013

Interview with Irakli Alasania: The Defense of Georgia, Fall 2013

Interview with Irakli Alasania: The Defense of Georgia, Fall 2013

In this exclusive interview with the editor-in-chief of TPQ, Georgia’s Defense Minister relates Georgia’s vision of Euro-Atlantic integration and outlines the strategy of the current government for overcoming challenges stemming from conflict with Russia. Besides the multifaceted collaboration between Turkey and Georgia, he elaborates on the trilateral framework of relations developing between Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey. The Minister notes the importance of Ankara’s...

Irakli Alasania | 05 December 2013

Security and Peace, at Home and in the World: Building Bridges, Fall 2013

Security and Peace, at Home and in the World: Building Bridges, Fall 2013

Today’s security challenges are more complex than ever before and no longer have any regard for national boundaries. They therefore require a global response. As a relatively small country, the Netherlands depends on alliances for its security. A successful security policy can be achieved only through multilateral collaboration in various contexts and organizations. “A secure Netherlands in a secure world” is the title of the new Dutch international security strategy. It is...

Frans Timmermans | 05 December 2013

Eastern Mediterranean Natural Gas: Potential for Historic Breakthroughs Among Israel, Turkey, and Cyprus, Fall 2013

Eastern Mediterranean Natural Gas: Potential for Historic Breakthroughs Among Israel, Turkey, and Cyprus, Fall 2013

Recent large-scale discoveries of natural gas in Israel and Cyprus could help reshape the geopolitical trajectory of the Eastern Mediterranean, a region that is emerging with its own strategic identity at the confluence of the Middle East, North Africa, and Eurasia. If managed with collaborative vision and skill, these new natural gas fields could provide Cyprus and Israel energy independence, catalyze new industries, generate significant export revenues, and foster diplomatic breakthroughs on...

Matthew J. Bryza | 05 December 2013

The Game-Changers in World Energy: Geopolitical Implications, Fall 2013

The Game-Changers in World Energy: Geopolitical Implications, Fall 2013

The forward march of globalization has paused since the financial crisis, giving way to a more conditional, interventionist, and nationalist model of development. The geopolitical scene is strongly affected by factors related to this trend – such as protectionism, economic and resource nationalism, technological, the rise of new energy producers and consumers, changing pricing mechanism, declining levels of investment, and shifting trade flows toward Asia. With a particular focus on...

Mehmet Öğütçü | 05 December 2013

The Rise and Fall of the “Turkish Model” in the Arab World, Fall 2013

The Rise and Fall of the “Turkish Model” in the Arab World, Fall 2013

After the AKP gained power in 2002, Turkey’s newly assertive “zero problems with neighbors” foreign policy strategy sparked debate in the Arab Middle East. This grand strategy revealed Ankara’s ambitions as not only a regional player, but also as a democratic “model” for a liberal political system able to incorporate a strong Islamic party. Arab fascination for Turkey reached its peak between 2009 and 2010 after Prime Minister Erdoğan’s condemnation of...

Jean-Loup Samaan | 05 December 2013

France and Turkey: Between Democracy and Secularism, Fall 2013

France and Turkey: Between Democracy and Secularism, Fall 2013

In France, even though debates about Islam sometimes risk bordering racism, religious minorities are aware that secularism remains their best protection. In Turkey, the choice of secularism cannot simply be summed up as a confrontation between authoritarian secularists bullying democracy and Islamists using democracy to undermine secularism. If the recent allowing of the headscarf to be worn by Turkish university students, civil servants, and members of parliament is part of a trend towards a...

Caroline Fourest | 05 December 2013

Strategic Autonomy in Central Asia: What Turkey Can Learn from India’s “Connect Central Asia” Policy, Fall 2013

Strategic Autonomy in Central Asia: What Turkey Can Learn from India’s “Connect Central Asia” Policy, Fall 2013

Despite its NATO membership and relationship with the United States, Turkey has embarked on strategic policy of deepening its ties with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. This article analyzes the possible outcomes for Turkish policy in Central Asia though a comparative analysis with India’s similar policy in the region. New Delhi has sought to maintain its strategic autonomy from both Moscow and Washington. India’s policy has caused Russia, in addition to China, to marginalize...

Micha'el Tanchum | 05 December 2013

Friends and Foes of a United States-Iran Nuclear Agreement, Fall 2013

Friends and Foes of a United States-Iran Nuclear Agreement, Fall 2013

The recent U.S.-Iran nuclear deal, though still preliminary, might lead to a reshaping of Gulf geopolitics. Both have much at stake: the U.S. would achieve a major non-proliferation success, Iran would get respite from sanctions and enjoy international recognition. A deal could open up new possibilities for U.S.-Iran cooperation on Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and the fight against Al Qaeda. Regional powers such as Turkey and Russia can live with a U.S.-Iran détente, but Israel and Saudi...

Riccardo Alcaro | 05 December 2013

A Caution Against Framing Syria as an Assad-Opposition Dichotomy, Fall 2013

A Caution Against Framing Syria as an Assad-Opposition Dichotomy, Fall 2013

The Western media, think tanks, and policy community routinely portray the Syrian conflict as a dichotomy of the Assad regime and the opposition. Yet, this has never been the case on the ground. The conflict has been –and still is, primarily – a popular movement of Syrians from all walks of life and backgrounds for better governance, freedom of expression, and other liberties. By reducing the Syrian conflict to an “Assad-opposition” duality, we effectively marginalize the...

Philip Gamaghelyan | 05 December 2013

Pragmatism and Rivalry: The Nature of Turkey-Iran Relations, Fall 2013

Pragmatism and Rivalry: The Nature of Turkey-Iran Relations, Fall 2013

This article examines the recent developments in Turkey-Iran relations. Over the last decade there has been an obvious rapprochement between the two countries. Ideological rivalry gave way to pragmatism, especially obvious in economic cooperation. However, the Arab Spring and particularly the civil war in Syria led to a deterioration of the relations between Turkey and Iran and revealed the fragility of this relationship, especially in terms of security and rival visions for the region....

Şafak Baş | 05 December 2013

Can Turkey De-Isolate Abkhazia?, Fall 2013

Can Turkey De-Isolate Abkhazia?, Fall 2013

Ever since Russia recognized Abkhazia as an independent state after the Five-Day War of 2008, Abkhazia has gained nation-building momentum. Although Turkey does not recognize Abkhazia’s independence, there are high levels of communication and exchange of goods between the two. Turkey is Abkhazia’s second biggest trade partner and home to the largest Abkhaz diaspora. This article analyzes Abkhazia’s relationship with Turkey, examining whether Turkey can play a positive role in...

Eric R. Eissler | 05 December 2013

FES Project Overview: Envisioning a Secure and Independent Afghanistan Post-2014, Fall 2013

FES Project Overview: Envisioning a Secure and Independent Afghanistan Post-2014, Fall 2013

The future of Afghanistan and the future of its region are interdependent. A secure Afghanistan is crucial to establishing a secure region. In turn, Afghanistan’s direct and regional neighbors have a responsibility to support its transition toward political stability, security, peace, and economic development. This excerpt of the “Joint Declaration on Regional Peace and Stability” that will be published as of 17 November 2013, has been prepared by a regional expert group...

Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung | 05 December 2013

TPQ Seminar Review:Women’s Rights and LGBT Freedoms in Turkey – Progressing or Regressing?, Fall 2013

TPQ Seminar Review:Women’s Rights and LGBT Freedoms in Turkey – Progressing or Regressing?, Fall 2013

On 6 November 2013, Turkish Policy Quarterly (TPQ) held a seminar to debate the trends in women’s and LGBT individuals’ rights in Turkey with a wide range of activists, decision makers, and journalists. This event, which was made possible with support from the MATRA Fund of the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Istanbul, featured discussion on topical issues such as European benchmarks for LGBT and women’s rights, Turkey’s polarization as it relates...

Zeynep Alemdar | 05 December 2013

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