Turkey's Turmoil In An Unsettled Middle East

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Turkey's Turmoil In An Unsettled Middle East
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Turkey's Turmoil In An Unsettled Middle East says
Since the failed July 15th coup attempt in Turkey, policy makers are questioning norms about the country’s pro-western credentials. As the fallout progresses, it is increasingly apparent that the Erdogan regime aims to exact maximum benefit out of the incident in order to solidify his presidential power base. On the one hand, there has been a purge of the country’s military and bureaucratic cadres. On the other, there’s a reinvigorated attempt to dismember the Gulen movement and hold it accountable for instigating the coup. Both approaches are likely to strain Turkey’s relationship with NATO and the European Union. By imposing a “State of Emergency” rule, the Erdogan regime appears to be inciting public fervor in an attempt to bring back the death penalty—specifically for the coup plotters and Fetullah Gulen.

This approach is being sold to Turkey’s EU partners as necessary for preventing future coups. Furthermore, the State of Emergency rule is being used as a wide-net that not only targets coup conspirators, but also Erdogan opponents. This non-transparent, unaccountable state of rule is eroding Turkey’s already weakened democratic institutions and possibly curtailing Turkey’s EU bid.

Similarly, Erdogan and the AKP government of Binali Yildirim appear to be encouraging both anti-American/NATO and anti-EU sentiments in their public speeches and through their media outlets. Their aim is to put pressure on the US government to extradite Fetullah Gulen to Turkish authorities. Both the EU and the United States are still dependent on Turkey’s cooperation in prosecuting the war against the Islamist State and stemming the flow of refugees from Syria into Europe. To what extent will Erdogan take their efforts? Will the EU and US governments turn a blind eye to Turkey’s pronounced undemocratic slide? Or will they burn bridges with these two entities unless he gets what he wants?

Sinan Ciddi is an expert on Turkish domestic politics and foreign policy. In addition to his teaching and researching at Georgetown, Ciddi also serves as the Executive Director of the Institute of Turkish Studies.He obtained his Ph.D. from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London in 2007 in the field of Political Science. Ciddi authors scholarly articles, opinion pieces, and book chapters on contemporary Turkish politics and foreign policy. Ciddi was born in Turkey and educated in the United Kingdom. Ciddi’s book, "Kemalism in Turkish Politics: The Republican People’s Party: Secularism and Nationalism" focuses on the electoral weakness of the Republican People’s Party.
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By: World Affairs Council of Greater Houston

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