Why Does Turkey Have The Leverage?

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(Photo Credit: White House Photostream) The Gaza flotilla crisis and Ankara’s refusal to accede to American leadership on the Iranian nuclear issue have led Washington policymakers to ask what exactly is going on in Turkey these days and why it seems that our NATO ally is pursuing policies that run counter to American preferences. While Turkey is increasingly confident and prosperous, it is nowhere near the military, political, or economic power that the United States is. How is it, then,…

Evet It Is

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The big news in Istanbul this week is that Turkish voters approved in a referendum a set of 26 constitutional reforms put forth by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) that fulfills some of the European Union’s human rights criteria, while also protecting the party from being closed by the judiciary (as nearly happened in 2008) and providing the executive branch with more power over judicial appointments. The referendum passed with 58% voting in favor. The result is a…

More than Half-Way but Not Full Friends: Israel and Jordan

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This morning I received an email from former Israel Labor Party Deputy Leader and former Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh. It started “To my Muslim friends – Ramadan Karim”. Sneh maintains a friends mailing list for his thoughts and articles, and I’m honored to be included — and appreciate very much that in a time that the United States is twisting itself in moral knots over the false debate about a mosque near the World Trade Center site in New…

Build, Build Despite the Occupation

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This is a guest note by Fadi Elsalameen, Executive Director of The Palestine Note, the website where this post originally appeared. Ramallah – For three years, Salam Fayyad, the Prime Minister in the West Bank Palestinian Authority (PA), has been a focal point for Mideast debate. As an unelected official, he is reviled by Hamas and democracy activists alike for taking over the PA after the disillusion of the 2007 Palestinian unity government. He is also said to have alienated…

King Abdallah, Syria and Iran

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University of Vermont Political Science Professor F. Gregory Gause, III, writing at the Foreign Policy/Middle East Channel, is pessimistic about Saudi Arabia King Abdallah’s efforts to woo Syria away from Iran and reconstitute the Riyad-Cairo-Damascus Arab triangle. Gause argues that the Arabs’ divergent threat perceptions vis-vis both Iran’s regional ambitions and the best way to bring pressure to bear on Israel will prevent collective action. He concludes that: The recent hopes for a revival of the Arab solidarity of the…

Turkey and the Iranian Nuclear Issue

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(Photo Credit: State Department) This post also appears at The Race for Iran. Iranian Petroleum Minister Masoud Mirkazemi’s visit to Turkey last week highlighted Turkey’s multifarious equities vis-a-vis Iran. A new article by Kadir Ustun, “Turkey’s Iran Policy: Between Diplomacy and Sanctions” in the current issue of Insight Turkey offers a Turkish perspective on Ankara’s relations with Tehran in the context of the nuclear issue and relations with the United States. Several conclusions can be drawn from the piece. First,…

Why The Need To Bomb Iran?

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On Foreign Policy‘s Middle East Channel today, George Washington University professor and Middle East Channel co-editor Marc Lynch has an incisive piece critiquing the recent surge in calls to bomb Iran or allow Israel to do so. While I think Lynch overplays the extent to which this push for war is new (it’s never really gone away), Lynch does an admirable job of demonstrating how different the political situation is in the Middle East compared to when President Obama took…

No More Troubles in Belfast…?

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(Photo Credit: lyng833’s Photostream) This is a guest note by Sean Kay, who is a professor of politics at Ohio Wesleyan University and an associate of the Mershon Center for International Security Studies at the Ohio State University. He is the author of Global Security in the Twenty-first Century: The Quest for Power and the Search for Peace (Rowman and Littlefield). Over the past week, I visited Northern Ireland as part of a book I am writing on post-Celtic Tiger…