Southeastern Europe

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Snapshot,
Soner Cagaptay

From Turkey’s perspective, Kurdish autonomy is starting to look like a good thing. The portions of northern Iraq and Syria that are under Kurdish control are stable and peaceful -- a perfect bulwark against threats such as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). And that is why Turkey has been on good behavior with the Iraqi Kurds, is working on its relations with the Syrian Kurds, and might finally be breaking the impasse with the Kurds in its own territory.

Snapshot,
Edward P. Joseph and Janusz Bugajski

To help contain Russia, Washington must use its influence to break the stalemate within Europe over NATO and EU expansion in the Balkans.

Response,
Erik Meyersson and Dani Rodrik

Turkey’s authoritarian turn is typically portrayed as a recent one, following on the heels of what are commonly described as significant democratic reforms in the last decade under Erdogan. With the latest turnaround blamed squarely on Erdogan, it is a relatively short jump from there to optimism about democracy’s prospects after him. But that view is incorrect.

Snapshot,
Akin Unver

From the Turkish perspective, Russia’s invasion of Crimea fits a 340-year pattern, in which Russian domination of the Black Sea is a precursor to aggression in the eastern Mediterranean. No wonder, then, that Turkey is suddenly feeling rather vulnerable.

Snapshot,
Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

The turmoil unfolding in Ukraine provides the people of Ukraine with an opportunity to make their country a better place, but only if their leaders follow democratization's best practices. For the West, helping Ukraine become a functional democracy is also the best defense against Russian meddling.

Snapshot,
Halil Karaveli

Turkey might seem like a confident rising power, but its leaders fear being abandoned by the West as much as ever. As it has in the past, the United States can push Turkey toward political reform by reminding Ankara that it has to live up to Western democratic standards if it wants to continue to enjoy the benefits of being counted as an ally.

Essay, May/June 2014
Marina Ottaway and David Ottaway

Iraqi Kurdistan has achieved new prosperity by exporting its own oil and gas to Turkey, against the objections of Iraq’s central government. By challenging Baghdad’s claims to exclusive control of Iraq’s natural resources, the Kurds are showing how economic cooperation can make Middle Eastern borders more porous.

Snapshot,
Kemal Kirisci and Raj Salooja

Turkey has maintained a generous open-door policy for Syrian refugees. As Syrian refugees continue to pour into the country, Turkey must address their long-term status within its borders.

Snapshot,
Steven A. Cook

Watching Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan resort to increasingly authoritarian measures in recent months, many observers have called on President Abdullah Gul to step in. But that is unlikely to happen.

Snapshot,
Halil Karaveli

Last week, Erdogan banned Twitter to try to prevent the spread of recordings of incriminating conversations between him and members of his family and inner circle. By exposing the prime minister’s abuses of power, the dirty dealings of the Gülenists (Erdogan's foes and likely purveyors of the recordings), and the weakness of the opposition, the scandal raises doubts about the future of Turkish democracy.

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