Are the Kurds the Next Kingmakers in Turkey? (BESA Center)

Between 1994 and 2015, the Kurdish vote in Turkey rose from 4.1% to 13.1%. A greying Turkey is facing a baby boom in Kurdistan: the Kurdish fertility rate, at 3.41, is a demographic weapon against the Turkish fertility rate of 2.09. These numbers suggest that Kurds could be the kingmakers in Turkey’s presidential election in 2023.


Turkey: Post-Coronavirus Challenges Are Likely to Hurt (BESA Center)

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is faced with a dilemma: in order to avoid US sanctions, he must keep the S-400 system he purchased from Russia unopened, but doing so might open Turkey up to Russian sanctions. Erdoğan’s worst nightmare is President Donald Trump following through on his threat last year to “devastate the economy of Turkey.”


Turkey and the Libyan and Syrian Civil Wars (BESA Center)

Turkey under Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is constantly looking for opportunities to enhance its status as a regional superpower and promote its Islamist ideology in the Arab Middle East. Libya is the newest arena in which Erdoğan is trying to capitalize on inter-Arab rivalries, this time in service to his desire to lay claim to gas under the seabed of the Mediterranean.

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Turkey Wades into Libya’s Troubled Waters (ICG)

Turkish intervention in Libya’s war stopped the besieged Tripoli government from collapsing. But fighting with Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar’s forces has since escalated, threatening a protracted conflict. Both Ankara and Haftar’s regional backers should urge their allies toward a return to negotiations and a ceasefire.

Turkey’s “Defense Line”: An Ideological Front (BESA Center)

Turkey’s latest moves in Libya and the eastern Mediterranean should be viewed in the context of the recent Kuala Lumpur Summit, which announced the emergence of a new ideological bloc to counter Saudi Arabia consisting of Iran, Turkey, Qatar, and Malaysia. Turkey’s new geopolitical strategy is as much ideological as it is “defensive.”


Can Idlib Ruin the Turkey-Russia Entente? (Valdai Discussion Club)

Russia and Turkey are not natural partners in Syria, but share enough overlapping interests to maintain dialogue about the direction of the conflict. Ankara’s position in the Syrian civil war has been shaped by its initial risk averse approach to the conflict and refusal to use military force to try and shape outcomes. In eastern Syria, Ankara was initially unable to upend the American war strategy and its reliance on the Syrian Kurds, a group Turkey has labeled a terrorist organization. In Syria’s West, the Russian entrance into the war directly challenged Ankara’s support for the anti-regime insurgency, which had made considerable gains in Idlib before September 2015.

Aaron Stein

Turkey and Israel: Can Pragmatism Defeat “Bad Blood”? (BESA Center)

The Turkish admiral who masterminded Turkey’s maritime deal with Libya thinks the same agreement should also be signed with Israel. Many might be tempted to think there is too much metaphorical “bad blood” between Turkey and Israel to permit any degree of rapprochement. But subtle signs suggest this may not be the whole picture.