Analysis & Commentary - Turkey Program

Turkey Program Media Articles

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...

9th November 2017 – FDD Policy Brief

Turkey’s Premier Visits Washington

Aykan Erdemir, Merve Tahiroglu

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim is in Washington this week in a bid to mend his country’s flailing ties with the U.S. His trip follows the worst crisis in Turkish-American relations in decades, whereby both sides suspended visa services for each other’s citizens. It also comes three weeks before the start of a high-profile trial in New York of a Turkish-Iranian gold trader and four Turkish officials, who stand accused of evading U.S. sanctions against Tehran. more...

8th November 2017 – Foreign Affairs

Kurd Your Enthusiasm

Behnam Ben Taleblu, Merve Tahiroglu

On October 16, the world woke to footage of the Iraqi army barreling toward Kirkuk, several hundred miles north of Baghdad. Their mission was to reclaim the city, but not from jihadists; rather, they planned to win it back from the Kurds. Three years ago, as the Islamic State (ISIS) tore into Iraq, the country’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) fought back against the fundamentalists and captured Kirkuk for itself. more...

3rd November 2017 – FDD Policy Brief

The S-400: Erdogan’s Fail-safe

Boris Zilberman

Moscow and Ankara continue to signal that the $2.5-billion sale of four S-400 anti-aircraft batteries will proceed. While questions remain about when delivery will occur and under what conditions, both sides have an overriding interest in seeing the deal through. President Vladimir Putin wants the deal not only for monetary reasons, but also to chip away at NATO unity and to validate such sales to other nations traditionally aligned with the West. For President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the acquisition of the system enhances both Turkey’s military capabilities and Erdogan’s security in office. more...

31st October 2017 – FDD Policy Brief

Erdogan’s Power Grab Continues with Municipalities

Aykan Erdemir

The mayor of Istanbul, Turkey’s largest metropolis with almost 15 million inhabitants, stepped down from office last month. Since then, five other mayors from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) followed suit, responding to their party leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s command to resign, nearly a year and a half before their mandates were to end. more...

11th October 2017 – FDD Policy Brief

Worst Crisis in Decades for Turkey and U.S.

Merve Tahiroglu

The U.S. and Turkey suspended visa services for each other’s citizens this weekend. The crisis represents the most serious deterioration of bilateral ties in the last half-century – since the U.S. arms embargo against Turkey after the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in the 1970s. more...

6th October 2017 – FDD Policy Brief

Diplomatic Spat Erupts Between Ankara and U.S. Over Arrest

Merve Tahiroglu

A controversy erupted this week between Washington and Ankara over Turkey’s arrest of a U.S. consulate employee in Istanbul. The employee, a Turkish national identified only by the initials M.T., was arrested on charges of espionage and attempts to “destroy” the constitutional order and Turkey’s government. more...

5th October 2017 – FDD Policy Brief

Fearing an Independent Kurdistan, Erdogan Travels to Tehran

Behnam Ben Taleblu, Merve Tahiroglu

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan traveled to Iran on Wednesday for meetings with the country’s supreme leader, president, and other regime officials. more...

29th September 2017 – FDD Policy Brief

Referendum Triggers Turkish Vitriol against Kurds – and Jews

Aykan Erdemir

Iraqi Kurds voted overwhelmingly on Monday in favor of a referendum on independence for the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and neighboring disputed territories. The Turkish government, in close coordination with Iran and Iraq, has been a vocal opponent of Kurdish independence. more...

21st September 2017 – The Washington Post

Why is Turkey so disjointed over the Iraqi Kurds?

Aykan Erdemir, Merve Tahiroglu

Iraq’s Kurds are preparing to hold their referendum on independence on Sept. 25, and in Turkey anxieties are high. Ankara, headed by the iron-fisted President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, officially opposes the plebiscite. The Turkish government has long feared Kurdish independence outside its borders lest it provoke similar aspirations within them. more...

15th September 2017 – FDD Policy Brief

Turkish Officials Charged in Iran Sanctions-Busting Case

Aykan Erdemir

U.S. authorities last week charged Turkey’s former economy minister with conspiring to evade sanctions against Iran. The fourth superseding indictment in a case that initially involved Iranian-Turkish gold trader Reza Zarrab and two Iranian accomplices has brought the total number of defendants to nine. more...

1st September 2017 – FDD Policy Brief

Turkish Public Lender Joins Erdogan’s Washington Lobbying Spree

Aykan Erdemir, Merve Tahiroglu

Turkey’s second-largest public lender Halkbank has reportedly signed a $1.5-million deal with Ballard Partners, a U.S. lobbying firm that already represents the Turkish government. more...

25th August 2017 – FDD Policy Brief

Turkey Trumps Up the Charges against the Imprisoned U.S. Pastor

Aykan Erdemir

Yesterday, Turkish strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan issued an emergency decree giving himself the authority to trade foreign citizens held in Turkish prisons for individuals incarcerated abroad. This unusual decree follows Turkish prosecutors’ filing of additional charges against American pastor Andrew Brunson, who has been imprisoned for the last ten months on trumped up charges of “membership in an armed terrorist organization.” more...

25th August 2017 – FDD Policy Brief

Iran and Turkey Agree on Opposing Kurdish Independence, but Not Much More

Merve Tahiroglu, Amir Toumaj

Last week, Iran’s top military commander Major General Mohammad Bagheri made an unprecedented appearance in Ankara, where he met with top Turkish officials including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Erdogan is expected to visit Tehran in the upcoming weeks. Bagheri’s visit came as Iraqi Kurds prepare to hold a controversial referendum for independence on September 25, which is opposed by all neighboring states as well as Washington. more...

17th August 2017 – War on the Rocks

Turkey’s Drift From The West: From Transactionalism To Hostility

Aykan Erdemir, Merve Tahiroglu

Turkey’s relations with its Western allies, in a downward spiral since 2013, are at a breaking point. Ankara not only accuses Washington of plotting last year’s abortive coup, but also blames it for arming and supporting Kurdish rebels that it sees as an existential threat. Bitter diplomatic spats unfold with one European country after another. more...

21st July 2017 – FDD Policy Brief

Istanbul’s Iconic Synagogue Besieged by Islamist Nationalists

Aykan Erdemir

An ultranationalist-cum-Islamist group attacked Istanbul’s Neve Shalom Synagogue with stones and kicked its gates Thursday night. Attackers carried signs threatening to “besiege temples without warning one night” and vowed to “prevent worship” at the synagogue. more...

18th July 2017 – Hardnews Foreign Policy

‘For Erdogan, personal interest trumps national interest’: Former Turkish Member of Parliament

Aykan Erdemir

As Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan faces widespread protests and accusations of clamping down on dissent by using the last year’s coup as a pretext, Aykan Erdemir, a former member of the Turkish Parliment and senior fellow at Foundation for Defense of Democracies, speaks to Hardnews about the ongoing crisis, Turkey’s fate under Erdogan’s rule and the dangers of straying into Qatar row. more...

14th July 2017 – FDD Policy Brief

Turkey Defies Coup, But Not One-Man Rule

Aykan Erdemir, Merve Tahiroglu

Last year, on July 15, the Turkish people defied a group of rogue soldiers who attempted a bloody coup d'état, killing 249 citizens in the process. One year on, Turkey is still in a state of emergency and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is ruling by decree. more...

11th July 2017 – FDD Policy Brief

Millions Demand Justice in Turkey

Aykan Erdemir, Merve Tahiroglu

Turkish citizens rallied in Istanbul on Sunday at the conclusion of the 250-mile “March for Justice” led by 68-year-old opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu. more...

5th July 2017 – Foreign Affairs

Turkey’s Patchwork Foreign Policy

Aykan Erdemir, Merve Tahiroglu

Turkey’s steady descent into authoritarianism under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been accompanied by an erratic foreign policy. more...

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