Turkey

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Snapshot,
Elmira Bayrasli

In an election, coming in third place is rarely cause for celebration. But for Selahattin Demirtas, the charismatic and telegenic 41-year-old politician who ran in Turkey’s August 10 presidential election, it was. Nearly ten percent of Turkish voters cast their ballots for Demirtas, a Kurd.

Snapshot,
Claire Sadar and Brent E. Sasley

Given his imperious attitude, Erdogan is often compared to Ataturk. But Erdogan has something Ataturk did not, namely the near-complete loyalty of his party, which provides a ready mechanism for setting policy. In that, another Turkish political figure offers an even better point of comparison: Turgut Ozal.

Snapshot,
Halil Karaveli

Erdogan will likely win this weekend's presidential election. But the foundations of his power are unstable. His policies will eventually put him at odds with some of his most important backers: Istanbul-based big business and the religiously conservative business community in Turkey’s heartland, Anatolia. Indeed, they already have.

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.

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,
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.

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