Analysis & Commentary - Turkey Program

Turkey Program Media

19th July 2018 – FDD Policy Brief

Turkey’s Refusal to Release American Pastor Elicits Strong Bipartisan Reaction

Aykan Erdemir

A Turkish court refused yesterday to release U.S. Pastor Andrew Brunson, detained for 21 months on trumped-up charges of terrorism and espionage. Brunson is one of the more than 50 Western nationals, residents, and employees arrested on dubious charges as part of Turkish strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s “hostage diplomacy,” designed to extract concessions from the West. The Turkish court’s decision to remand Brunson until October elicited a strong reaction across the U.S. political spectrum. more...

1st July 2018 – Foreign Podicy

Podcast: Turkey’s Election, Erdogan’s Counterrevolution

Clifford D. May, Eric S. Edelman, Aykan Erdemir, Merve Tahiroglu

Not so long ago, Turkey appeared to be the model: a Muslim-majority nation that was becoming free, democratic and prosperous; a NATO ally; a friend of America and Europe. more...

22nd June 2018 – FDD Policy Brief

Turkish Elections: A Win That Cannot Be Stolen

Aykan Erdemir

Turkey will go to the polls Sunday to elect both its president and the members of its 600-seat parliament. Confronted by a looming economic crisis as well as pressure from his allies on the far right, incumbent strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan chose to call early elections 17 months ahead of schedule. more...

4th June 2018 – The Globalist

Erdogan’s Hostage Diplomacy: Why We Need a Transatlantic Response

Aykan Erdemir, Eric S. Edelman

An American pastor imprisoned in Turkey on espionage and terrorism charges will appear before a Turkish court on July 18th, ten days after the country’s second round of presidential elections. more...

31st May 2018 – FDD Research

Erdogan’s Hostage Diplomacy: Western Nationals in Turkish Prisons

Aykan Erdemir, Eric S. Edelman

more...

18th May 2018 – FDD Policy Brief

Turkish Banker Sentenced for Iran Sanctions-Busting Scheme

Aykan Erdemir

A Manhattan court Wednesday sentenced Mehmet Hakan Atilla, deputy general manager of Turkey’s second-largest public lender, Halkbank, to 32 months in prison for his role in a multi-billion dollar scheme to evade U.S. sanctions on Iran. more...

8th May 2018 – FDD Policy Brief

Turkey’s Case Against U.S. Pastor Gets Even More Bizarre

Aykan Erdemir

U.S. Pastor Andrew Brunson had his second hearing before a Turkish court on Monday after sitting in a Turkish prison for the last 18 months while facing groundless accusations of espionage and terrorism. The Turkish judges again refused to release the pastor, asking him to return on July 18. Brunson is one of the numerous Western nationals Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is holding as pawns to advance his “hostage diplomacy” with the West. more...

3rd May 2018 – Co-authored by Deniz Yuksel - Providence Magazine

US State Department Report Exposes Turkey’s Human Rights Abuses

Aykan Erdemir

The United States State Department released a report on April 20 detailing significant human rights abuses in Turkey, including the torture of detainees, forced disappearances, arbitrary arrests, and the detention of “tens of thousands” of individuals, including members of parliament as well as US consular staff in Turkey. The report marks a turning point in US-Turkish relations since it is the most critical one issued since the 1990s. more...

21st April 2018 – War on the Rocks

Turkey’s Snap Elections: Erdogan’s Improvised Gambit

Aykan Erdemir

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called snap elections on Wednesday, bringing forward parliamentary and presidential elections to June 24, almost 17 months earlier than scheduled. Erdogan was once a sworn enemy of early elections, referring to them previously as “a sign of underdevelopment” and “treason.” While his supporters now defend the surprise as the work of a master strategist, the Turkish president’s sudden change of heart and rush to call elections in 67 days reflects his insecurity. more...

15th April 2018 – The Washington Post

Turkey’s president is holding Americans hostage. Why aren’t we doing anything about it?

Aykan Erdemir, Eric S. Edelman

On April 16, an American pastor unjustly detained in a Turkish prison for 18 months will finally get to defend himself in court. Andrew Brunson, a Presbyterian minister from North Carolina, faces up to seven years of pretrial detention under Turkey’s draconian state of emergency. more...

7th April 2018 – Quoted by Amberin Zaman - Diken

Türk-Amerikan ilişkilerinde Pompeo dönemi

Aykan Erdemir

ABD dışişleri bakanlığının yeni patronu Mike Pompeo, Türkiye’ye nasıl yaklaşacak? Rex Tillerson’un son günlerde benimsediği yumuşaklık politikasını mı sürdürecek? Yoksa Türkiye’nin Amerika’ya yönelik agresif tutumu karşısında sertleşecek mi? more...

6th April 2018 – Quoted by Joel Gehrke - The Washington Examiner

Turkey: Deal to buy Russian weapons ‘is final’

Aykan Erdemir

Turkey, a NATO ally of the U.S., will follow through with a deal to purchase anti-aircraft defenses from Russia, which could pose a significant international relations challenge to the Trump administration. more...

6th April 2018 – Quoted by Laurie Mylroie - K24

Pentagon affirms commitment to US presence in Syria as questions remain

Aykan Erdemir

Pentagon officials reaffirmed the US commitment to a continued presence in Syria until the Islamic State (IS) is defeated and the US has ensured the terrorist group cannot reemerge. more...

14th March 2018 – FDD Policy Brief

Turkey Abused Western Dual-Use Technology to Inject Spyware

Aykan Erdemir, Trevor Logan

Turkey’s leading internet service provider, Turk Telekom, in which the Turkish government owns a minority golden share, has been reportedly using web-filtering technology to install spyware on customers’ computers – an allegation the company denies. The Citizen Lab, an award-winning digital freedom watchdog at the University of Toronto, announced on March 9 that Turkish internet users who sought to download popular programs, including Skype and Avast Antivirus, were being redirected surreptitiously to versions of those applications bundled with spyware. more...

19th January 2018 – VOA Persia

VOA Persia

Aykan Erdemir, Merve Tahiroglu, Mark Dubowitz, Jonathan Schanzer

FDD's Mark Dubowitz, Jonathan Schanzer, Aykan Erdemir and Merve Tahiroglu discuss the greatest sanctions evasion scheme in recent history on VOA Persia. more...

17th January 2018 – Foreign Podicy

Podcast: Busted! Iran, Turkey and the Largest Sanctions-Evasion Scheme in Modern History

Clifford D. May, Jonathan Schanzer, Aykan Erdemir, Merve Tahiroglu

It was likely the largest sanctions-evasion scheme in modern history, involving top state officials from both Ankara and Tehran. more...

4th January 2018 – The Atlantic

The Biggest Sanctions-Evasion Scheme in Recent History

Jonathan Schanzer

Yesterday, Turkish banker Mehmet Hakan Atilla was found guilty in a Manhattan courtroom for a range of financial crimes. more...

6th December 2017 – Quoted by Bill Powell - Newsweek

Why The Trump Team May Be Worried About A Billion-Dollar Money Laundering Case

Aykan Erdemir

Over nearly six years, Zarrab had smuggled up to $1 billion of gold into Iran in exchange for cash, violating sanctions against Tehran, which the U.S. put in place in response to the country’s nuclear program. Zarrab had also arranged to sell Iranian oil and gas (another sanctions violation) using phony invoices to legitimize the deals under a legal U.N. oil for food program. more...

5th December 2017 – Quoted by CAMERA

The Hill Omits Turkey’s Support for Hamas

Jonathan Schanzer

A Hill dispatch about Turkey threatening to cut ties with Israel, omitted key information about Ankara’s support for Hamas, a U.S.-designated terror group committed to the Jewish state’s destruction ("Turkey: Recognizing Jerusalem as Israeli Capital Would Be 'Red Line' for Muslims," Dec. 5, 2017). more...

5th December 2017 – Quoted by Jamie McIntyre - The Washington Examiner

Can the US-Turkey marriage be saved?

Jonathan Schanzer

The United States and Turkey, nominally close NATO allies, are looking more and more like an old, bickering married couple who can’t agree on much of anything, but are putting on a brave face for the sake of the children. more...

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