MENASource|News, Analysis, Perspectives

As different capitals in the West form and inform their policies on Turkey in the aftermath of the attempted coup of July 15, three guiding analytical frames ought to clarify Turkey’s relationship with the West. The first relates to Turkey’s position within the international system; the second relates to the attempt at political change in Turkey through military intervention; the third pertains to measures taken in response to that attempt. Without understanding all three, policy mistakes could lead to a deteriorating relationship between Turkey and its international allies.

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On July 28, former head of Egypt’s Central Auditing Authority (CAA) Hesham Geneina was convicted of spreading false news over a December 2015 report alleging that hundreds of thousands of pounds had been lost to government corruption. He was sentenced to a year in jail, and a fine of 20,000 Egyptian pounds. Paying an additional 10,000 Egyptian pounds will allow Geneina to avoid serving the prison sentence.  

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In mid-July, nine opposition parties, seven human rights organization, and over 100 political figures signed a statement denouncing what they described as a harsh three-year prison sentence, and a fine of 100,000 Egyptian pounds, issued by a Cairo court against ten demonstrators. They were sentenced on charges relating to a protest against the controversial maritime border agreement signed with Saudi Arabia in early April. Their lawyers have said they will appeal the sentences.

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Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states hailed Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s triumph over last week’s failed coup attempt. The Council’s powerhouse Saudi Arabia expressed support for Turkey’s “elected government” with “constitutional legitimacy.” By detaining Turkey’s military attaché to Kuwait on Sunday at Dammam Airport, at Ankara’s request, the Saudis also demonstrated their willingness to collaborate with Erdogan’s crackdown in the failed coup’s aftermath.

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The failed coup attempt last Friday challenged a number of key assumptions about the Turkish Republic. Turkey, a NATO ally since 1952, has always been a difficult partner for the United States to work with. However, its shared border with the Middle East has, since 1991, made it an important component of US combat operations, first during the first Gulf War, and, now, in the air war against the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL).

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This year’s Bastille Day will go down in France’s modern history as its most bloody. On July 14, 31-year-old Tunisian Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel ploughed through festive crowds in the Mediterranean city of Nice, killing 84 and injuring 200 others. France’s struggles with terror—whether through lone attacks in Nice or the coordinated Islamic State attacks in Paris in November 2015—offer many lessons: the devolution of the organization to low tech terror means, its reliance on a growing supply of Jihadi returnees, and its exploitation of weaknesses of France’s intelligence system.  

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As Hillary Clinton emerges as the presumptive Democratic nominee for the 2016 presidential elections after an endorsement by rival Bernie Sanders, challenges loom ahead, both as policy issues and as strategies that need to be planned for when a potential presidential term begins.

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The results of a new comprehensive public opinion survey released by the International Republican Institute (IRI) in Jordan show an increasing sense of dissatisfaction among citizens. Jordan, a Sunni Muslim-majority constitutional monarchy wedged between Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the West Bank is a key strategic ally of the United States and a recipient of a tremendous amount of American aid. The resource-deprived Kingdom plays an important stabilizing role in the region and is also a vital partner in the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS) and other extremist groups working to establish power and influence throughout the Levant.

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In early June, forces loyal to the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) claimed to have entered the city of Sirte. Indeed, fighting continues in the last strong hold of the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) in Libya.  The defeat of ISIS in Sirte would be a significant development in the war against the group in Libya. However, the defeat would not mean the end of the group in Libya, and significant challenges and threats would still remain among the remaining forces in the Sirte region.  

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As the Arab world and Muslim communities worldwide react in horror to a suicide attack in Medina on the last eve of Ramadan—capping a violent few days that has taken close to 300 lives in Iraq, Turkey, and the Gulf kingdom—the world once again asks: what is this vigilante scourge that persists in engaging in wanton violence in the name of Islam? How to describe precisely what it is in words, particularly against the backdrop of Donald Trump’s previous demand that Hilary Clinton calls it ‘radical Islam’ – and how to explain its attractiveness?

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