Turkey

On October 2, 2018, Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi national living in self-exile in the United States, walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. That was the last time he was seen alive. The reason for Jamal’s visit to the consulate is familiar to foreigners who marry Turkish nationals. To set-a-date for one’s wedding, the Turkish government requires a document certifying that you are not already married. Ultimately, it was Jamal’s fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, that alerted Turkish authorities about the disappearance, touching off a gruesome and tragic story, rooted in Saudi incompetence and Turkish opportunism to try and take advantage of global outrage over the reported death of a popular figure.

Read More

The release by an Izmir court of US Pastor Andrew Brunson on October 12 reflects a new round of pragmatism by Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, to undo some of the damage recent policies have done to Turkey’s ties with the United States, other Western allies, and neighbors as he struggles to ease the country’s economic, security, and foreign policy problems.

Read More

After a bizarre morning during which many of the prosecution’s secret witnesses recanted statements made in support of the idea that Pastor Andrew Brunson, an American, supported terrorists, a Turkish court on October 12 sentenced Brunson to time served and lifted travel restrictions. In short: Brunson is free to leave Turkey and is on his way back to the United States. The US government has, over the past year, been in talks with its Turkish counterparts about the terms of Brunson’s release. His release will close a strange chapter in US-Turkish diplomatic history. It will not, however, resolve tensions.

Read More

A Turkish court on October 12 freed from house arrest a US pastor whose case had severely strained ties between Washington and Ankara—NATO allies.

Pastor Andrew Brunson was arrested in 2016 and convicted on terrorism charges in relation with a coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016. He was sentenced to three years in prison. Brunson has denied the charges.

Read More

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, backed by Russia and Iran, has made clear its intentions to seize control of Idlib province—the last remaining rebel-held stronghold in the war-ravaged nation. Now, with Russian ships moored in the Mediterranean Sea and Assad’s forces closing in from the south, it is methodically going about doing just that.

Read More

The American alliance with Turkey is in crisis. The two NATO allies have divergent interests in the Middle East, stemming from differing policies towards non-state actors. The United States, as the dominant external power in the Middle East, has made counter-terrorism the focal point of its Middle East strategy. American policy is linked to pervasive beliefs about the causes of the 9/11 attacks and the idea that Sunni jihadist groups are most effective when they have safe havens to plan and then execute plots against the US homeland. For Turkey, the threat of Sunni Jihadist non-state actors is secondary to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The PKK is a Kurdish insurgent group that has been active in Turkey since 1984.

Read More

The F-35 is the next generation fighter jet designed to ensure NATO’s air superiority for the next twenty to thirty years. The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter development program is a nine-country international consortium, which includes a tiered system of states that collectively contributed to the aircraft’s development and manufacture. Turkey is a Level III partner, meaning it invested an initial $125 million in the program. This investment affords Turkey a program office staff member in the F-35 office, but also means that Turkey has no direct vote on the F-35’s basic engineering and mission requirements. Ankara has invested $1.25 billion in the program since 2002, and Turkey manufactures several key components of the F-35. Despite these investments, Turkey’s future involvement in the F-35 program is no longer certain.

Read More

On August 8, US President Donald J. Trump announced the doubling of steel and aluminum tariffs on Turkey, escalating the tension between the two NATO countries that has reached a boiling point over the last several weeks.

In his announcement, the American president said, “our relations with Turkey are not so good at this time!” The new tariffs follow the sanctioning of the Turkish interior and justice ministers on July 31.

The Turkish lira tumbled following Trump’s announcement and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has asked Turkish citizens to convert any US dollars and gold into lira to help the country in its “national struggle.”

Read More

The 2008 war between Georgia and Russia was a critical test for Turkey. It highlighted Ankara’s delicate balancing act between the West and Russia, one that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is still pursuing today.

The conflict presented a formidable challenge. Georgia was not just another neighbor for Turkey – the two countries had built robust diplomatic and commercial ties since the collapse of the Soviet Union. But Russia, too, had become a leading commercial and political partner for Ankara. Turkish policymakers viewed Russian pushback against the West in the Black Sea as a serious threat and sought to mitigate the conflict. 

Read More

This piece is part of a two part series on current US-Turkey relations. See the first piece here

Relations between Turkey and the United States may have hit a new low after the US Department of the Treasury sanctioned two Turkish government officials in response to the imprisonment of an American pastor in Turkey on July 31st.

The sanctions were placed on Turkey’s Minister of Justice, Abdulhamit Gül, and the Minister of Interior, Süleyman Soylu, on the basis of the 2016 Global Magnitsky Act and 2012 Magnitsky Act. These acts give the United States government the authority to sanction foreign nationals who abuse human rights or are involved in corrupt practices.

Read More



    

RELATED CONTENT