Analysis & Commentary - Turkey Program

Turkey Program Media Articles

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...

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...

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...

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