Turkey Program

About FDD’s Turkey Program:

Turkey, a Muslim country with a tradition of secularism, is both a NATO member and a United States ally. In recent years, however, with the rise of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), Turkey has adopted foreign policies that are increasingly at odds with the West. Meanwhile, the government grown increasingly authoritarian, with systematic crackdowns on press freedom and other human rights violations at home.

FDD’s Turkey program seeks to inform policymakers and the American public about the AKP's dangerous policies that have risked Turkish and Western security. This includes Turkey's tolerance of Islamist and even jihadist activities.  FDD seeks to help Washington manage its relationship with a troubling partner.

The program is chaired by Eric Edelman, former US ambassador to Turkey. FDD’s senior counselor John Hannah provides additional guidance. The program is staffed by senior fellow and former member of the Turkish parliament, Aykan Erdemir, vice president for research Jonathan Schanzer, and research associate Merve Tahiroglu.

FDD's Turkey Program enjoys the support and guidance from a board of advisors. These seasoned policy makers and Turkey analysts help shape our work.

Khashoggi Crisis Holds a Mirror to Turkey

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...

Analysis & Commentary

4th October 2018 – FDD's CSIF Policy Brief

New U.S. Sanctions on China Should Send Turkey a Message

New U.S. Sanctions on China Should Send Turkey a Message

Boris Zilberman

On September 20, the Trump administration sanctioned a Chinese agency and its director for conducting significant transactions with Russia’s defense sector. The designations – imposed pursuant to the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act of 2017 (CAATSA) – specifically targeted China’s Equipment Development Department for its acquisition of Sukhoi-35 fighter jets and the S-400 surface-to-air missile system from Russia. more...

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

Conspiracy and cronyism: Turkey’s economic spiral

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...

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...

25th July 2018 – FDD Policy Brief

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

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...