Subscribe to FDD

Analysis & Commentary - Merve Tahiroglu

Merve Tahiroglu's Latest

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...

3rd January 2018 – FDD Policy Brief

Landmark NY Trial Proves Turkish Government Complicity in Iran’s Sanctions-Busting

Aykan Erdemir, Merve Tahiroglu

Today, a federal jury in the Southern District of New York returned a guilty verdict in a landmark case focused on Turkish efforts to help Iran evade U.S. sanctions. The jury found Turkish banker Mehmet Hakan Atilla guilty on five of six counts, including sanctions evasion, bank fraud, and obstructing the actions of the U.S. Treasury. In November, gold trader Reza Zarrab, the ringleader of the Turkish scheme, pled guilty to similar charges and chose to cooperate with prosecutors. more...

12th November 2017 – Qutoed by Thomas Seibert - The Arab Weekly

As Turkey and US agree to disagree, Erdogan heads east

Aykan Erdemir, Merve Tahiroglu

Turkey and the United States have failed to iron out differences in key ar­eas of their relationship, including a visa dispute, during high-level talks that put a spotlight on tensions between An­kara and the West. 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...

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...

9th October 2017 – Quoted by Patrick Goodenough - CNS News

American Pastor Begins Second Year in Turkish Prison Despite Pressure From Trump, Pence

Merve Tahiroglu

American Pastor Andrew Brunson has begun a second year behind bars in Turkey, with no sign that the Islamist government is inclined to heed U.S. calls for his release. 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...

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...

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

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...

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...

7th July 2017 – Washington Post

Why Trump should not swap prisoners with Erdogan

Eric S. Edelman, Merve Tahiroglu

Rumors are swirling in Washington about a potential prisoner swap with Turkey. The Turks want the United States to release a Turkish-Iranian millionaire awaiting trial in Manhattan, in return for which they might free a North Carolina pastor being held in a prison in Izmir. 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...

25th June 2017 – The National Interest

Why Turkey Chose Qatar

Aykan Erdemir, Merve Tahiroglu

A few weeks after the Saudi-led diplomatic blitz targeting Qatar, there is no doubt that Ankara stands firmly with Doha. Under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey has developed a close albeit asymmetrical partnership with Qatar. more...

4th June 2017 – Radio Free Europe

Majlis Podcast

Aykan Erdemir, Merve Tahiroglu

FDD senior fellow Aykan Erdemir, and research associate Merve Tahiroglu, discuss the state of Central Asians who join extremist groups in Iraq and Syria. more...

25th May 2017 – The Weekly Standard

It’s Time for NATO to Call Turkey’s Bluff

Eric S. Edelman, Merve Tahiroglu

Thursday's NATO Summit provides an opportunity for the alliance to get tough on its putative Turkish ally. Under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's destabilizing policies in Europe and the Middle East have made it appear less an ally and more a Russian Trojan horse. more...