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Analysis & Commentary - Aykan Erdemir

Aykan Erdemir's Latest Articles

12th October 2018 – FDD Policy Brief - Co- authored by John Lechner

Khashoggi Crisis Holds a Mirror to Turkey

Aykan Erdemir

Saudi journalist and dissident Jamal Khashoggi has gone missing after visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, sparking a diplomatic crisis between Turkey and Saudi Arabia. The Turkish government alleges that a Saudi “assassin team” arrived in Istanbul to murder and dismember Khashoggi, a critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The Saudi government maintains that Khashoggi safely left the building that day. more...

14th September 2018 – The Interpreter - Co-authored by John Lechner

Conspiracy and cronyism: Turkey’s economic spiral

Aykan Erdemir

Hours before the Thursday’s decision by the Central Bank of Turkey to raise its benchmark rate 625 basis points to 24%, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan launched into one of what is now a trademark tirade against higher rates. He denounced interest rates as “a tool of exploitation” analogous to the “heroin trade” – and the Turkish lira tumbled in value in response, just as it did when the Turkish strongman decried interest rates as “the mother and father of all evil” back in May. more...

7th September 2018 – The American Interest - Co-authored by John Lechner

The Machiavellian VIRTUs

Aykan Erdemir

Two weeks before Turkey’s Black Friday, the August 10 meltdown of the lira, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was in Johannesburg attending a summit of the BRICS countries. Taking its name from the initials of its member states—Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa—BRICS is a club for five major emerging national economies. Erdogan attended their summit to promote Turkey as the newest member of the club. “If you take us in, the name of the platform would become BRICST,” the President told reporters. more...

23rd August 2018 – War on the Rocks

The Pastor is Not the Only U.S. Hostage in Turkey

Aykan Erdemir, Merve Tahiroglu

Turkish-American relations are at a boiling point. This month, the United States not only issued Global Magnitsky sanctions against two Turkish ministers, it also doubled tariffs on steel and aluminum from Turkey, sending the lira into freefall. These measures were Washington’s official response to Ankara’s imprisonment of North Carolina pastor Andrew Brunson for almost two years under farcical charges. more...

17th August 2018 – The American Interest

The Fallout of Qatar’s Bailout

Aykan Erdemir, Varsha Koduvayur

Turkey’s economy has been in a dramatic tailspin, with its currency plunging more than 40 percent in the past 12 months. Qatar stepped in Wednesday to stanch Turkey’s bleeding, albeit not as soon as Ankara would have liked. In the process, Doha also inserted itself in the middle of a major U.S.-Turkish dispute, by taking sides with a Turkish government that holds U.S. citizens and State Department employees hostage. more...

16th August 2018 – Hardnews Foreign Policy

Turkey’s Economy Czar Fails to Save the Lira

Aykan Erdemir, Merve Tahiroglu

With the Turkish lira caught in a downward spiral, millions in Turkey tuned last Friday into the long-anticipated speech of Berat Albayrak, the country’s newly minted economy czar and son-in-law of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Addressing the restless business community, Albayrak revealed his “new economic plan” aiming to put the breaks on the lira’s precipitous drop and restore economic confidence in Turkey. more...

11th August 2018 – Politico Europe

Turkey’s perfect storm

Aykan Erdemir

Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, came to power on the heels of the 2001 financial crisis that ended entire political careers. Following Friday’s meltdown in the Turkish economy, a day Turks are already hailing as “Black Friday,” many are left wondering whether Erdoğan will also fall from power. more...

10th August 2018 – FDD Policy Brief

Turkish Economy Minister Fails to Save Currency

Aykan Erdemir, Merve Tahiroglu

With the Turkish lira caught in a downward spiral, millions in Turkey today tuned into the long-anticipated speech of Berat Albayrak, the country’s newly minted economy czar and son-in-law of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. more...

8th August 2018 – Co-authored by John Lechner - The National Interest

How Russia Plans to Get Turkey on Its Side

Aykan Erdemir

June has been a tough month for the board of Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), the joint Turco-Russian megaproject and Turkey’s first nuclear reactor. On June 19, Russian authorities arrested on charges of espionage Karina Tsurkan, an energy executive at Moscow-based Inter RAO and former board member of Akkuyu. more...

8th August 2018 – Co-authored by Gonul Tol - The Globalist

U.S. Sanctions on Turkish Ministers Require Recalibration

Aykan Erdemir

The Trump administration has now made good on its threat to sanction Turkey if Ankara refused to release an American pastor from custody. more...

2nd August 2018 – FDD's CSIF Policy Brief

Treasury Sanctions Top Turkish Officials

Aykan Erdemir, Merve Tahiroglu

In an unprecedented move against a NATO ally, the U.S. Treasury imposed sanctions yesterday against two Turkish cabinet ministers for their human rights abuses, especially the detention and arrest of North Carolina Pastor Andrew Brunson. more...

25th July 2018 – FDD Policy Brief

Turkish Court Takes a U-Turn, Releases American Pastor to House Arrest

Aykan Erdemir

In response to an appeal by U.S. Pastor Andrew Brunson’s attorney, a Turkish court ruled today that authorities should transfer him from prison to house arrest on health grounds. The same court, during the pastor’s previous hearing a week ago, refused to release Brunson, prolonging his 21-month detention on trumped-up charges of terrorism and espionage. more...

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...

17th July 2018 – WORLD

The Brunson farce

Aykan Erdemir, Merve Tahiroglu

On Wednesday American pastor Andrew Brunson—unjustly detained in a Turkish prison for almost 20 months—will appear in court. Turkish judges refused to release him after his previous two hearings on April 16 and May 7. more...

23rd June 2018 – The Globalist

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. 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...

15th June 2018 – FDD's Long War Journal

Islamic State’s Turkish executioner killed in Deir Ezzor

Aykan Erdemir

US-backed Syrian Defense Forces (SDF) reportedly killed the Islamic State executioner Talip Akkurt, known by his nom de guerre Abu Talha al Turki, who burned two Turkish soldiers alive in Syria in 2016. 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


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...