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Sword of Damocles at EU Summit

Sword of Damocles at EU Summit

BY ZEYNEP GURCANLI The European Union (EU) held its much-awaited summit and announced its decision on Turkey with a declaration published at the end of the meeting. No doubt the declaration relieved the current government in Ankara because it didn’t report a decision on additional sanctions on Turkey. However, this relief is applies just ‘for...

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Solving Afghanistan?

It’s been a year of fits and starts in the Afghan peace process. In February 2020, the U.S. signed a bilateral agreement with the Taliban that offered a full U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in exchange for a vague promise of peace negotiations with the Afghan government. The May 1 deadline for the U.S. withdrawal is...

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Revitalizing NATO

Revitalizing NATO

The overarching theme of last week’s NATO summit was revitalization. After years of uncertainty, with the U.S. under Donald Trump all but turning its back on the alliance, and even some European members expressing doubts about its future, there is the sense again that NATO is the keystone to maintaining the western-led international order. But...

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The U.S. and EU agree: No sanctions ‘for now’

The U.S. and EU agree: No sanctions ‘for now’

BY ZEYNEP GURCANLI The AK Party government has taken surprise steps one after another. Turkey’s withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention on combating violence against women, the closure case against the People’s Democratic Party (HDP), the dismissal of HDP’s human rights defender Omer Gergerlioglu from his post, taking him into custody from the parliament (where he...

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Turkey’s dilemma: A slew of letters from U.S. senators

Turkey’s dilemma: A slew of letters from U.S. senators

BY ZEYNEP GURCANLI The long-waited phone call from President Joe Biden to Erdogan still frames the debate over U.S.-Turkey relations. It’s understandable, of course: Turkey is traditionally one of the first countries an in-coming U.S. president calls but Biden seems to have abandoned this tradition. However, the missing phone call is just the tip of...

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Turkey to Egypt: Let’s be friends

If you believe the headlines, a rapprochement may be in the works between Turkey and Egypt, or it seems at least that is what Turkey would like to see. But as in all things geopolitical, it’s not as simple as all that. Turkey and Egypt have historically had a complex relationship, and the years have...

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The Pope in Iraq: Threading a risky needle

Pope Francis’ visit to Iraq last week was both hailed as a historic moment and criticized as an unnecessary risk during a time of pandemic. The risk of causing a super-spreader event, of course, is well understood but there were other risks, too, both political and cultural. Christians and other minorities in Iraq have suffered...

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Its own worst enemy

It was a rough week for Armenians. In the wake of a sobering loss of territory in Nagorno-Karabakh, tensions have escalated between the military and the Armenia’s civilian government. Military leaders and the opposition have denounced prime minister Nikol Pashinyan for signing the peace agreement that saw large swathes of the disputed territory return to...

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Is Greece America’s plan B?

Military tensions are back on the rise in the Aegean. Last week, Turkey accused Greece of harassing a Turkish research vessel operating in international waters after its fighter jets released chaff near the ship’s position. The Greeks denied the accusation but the flare up exposes just how fragile exploratory talks are and the looming potential...

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Geopolitics and transnational terrorism

The execution of 13 Turkish hostages by the PKK in northern Iraq has sent shock waves through Turkey. The deaths have once again opened up the debate over how to deal with the designated terror organization’s sanctuaries across Turkey’s southern border. Cross-border operations, both in Syria and Iraq, have proven extremely delicate and complicated, and...

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