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Analysis & Commentary - Aykan Erdemir

Aykan Erdemir's Latest Articles

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

13th August 2017 – Politico Europe

Turkey’s economy: The next casualty of Erdoğan’s state of emergency

Aykan Erdemir

For the past year, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has exploited his country’s state of emergency to rule by decree, purging government ranks, imprisoning political dissenters and crushing independent media. But for all the attention paid to Turkey’s slippage in democratic norms, critics have largely ignored the heavy toll his brand of authoritarianism has taken on the country’s economy. The effects could be disastrous for Turkey’s future. 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...

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...

15th May 2017 – The Washington Post

A Turkish TV blockbuster reveals Erdogan’s conspiratorial, anti-Semitic worldview

Aykan Erdemir

“The Last Emperor” is Turkey’s newest television blockbuster, consistently rating among Turkey’s top dramas since its February premiere. Every Friday night, 1 in 10 viewers tunes in to relive the last years of Abdulhamid II — an absolutist, pan-Islamist Ottoman sultan who resisted the secular-reformist Young Turk movement until it finally overthrew him in 1909. more...

27th April 2017 – FDD Policy Brief

Turkish Airstrikes Complicate Campaign against IS

Aykan Erdemir

Turkish jets carried out airstrikes Tuesday and Wednesday against Kurdish forces in northern Syria and northern Iraq. more...

17th April 2017 – FDD Policy Brief

Turkey’s Inconclusive Referendum

Aykan Erdemir, Merve Tahiroglu

Turkey held a historic referendum on Sunday to decide whether to grant the country’s authoritarian President Recep Tayyip Erdogan his long-standing desire to transform the government from a parliamentary system to one heavily centralized around his own presidency. more...

7th April 2017 – The Cipher Brief

Erdogan’s Referendum Ploy

Aykan Erdemir

Turkey is heading toward a critical referendum on April 16 to decide whether to transform the country’s parliamentary system into a centralized presidential one. Since his election in August 2014, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in defiance of the constitution, has refused to be a non-partisan figurehead president. more...