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    Turkey’s stance on the civil war in Syria
    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD 07 June 2012
    Day by day, the clashes in Syria have been spreading to a larger area and getting more and more frequent. The government is losing control in some places and the number of casualties is getting bigger. A civil war is on the threshold. We may get more tragic news in the days ahead if nothing miraculous happens. Worst of all is that millions of people are now living in fear that they will turn out to be refugees both inside and outside the country. The clashes in Syria are transforming from a counter insurgency to a civil war, while changing in character. In such a case, it won’t be surprising to see more bloody clashes, because as they have more civilian casualties, the hostility will be fed more and directed to ethnic and sectarian differences, which would make parties more merciless. As i [More]
    Turning points in the PKK’s fortune
    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD 31 May 2012
    With the fall of the Syrian government, the PKK would not only obtain new arms and logistics capabilities but would also find new recruits. The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has been active for four decades. Like other terrorist groups, the PKK has had to face serious and deadly crises over this time span. Despite these difficulties, it has succeeded against all adversities and has been improving its capacity. [More]
    Kurdish oil, the pipeline, and the PKK
    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD 24 May 2012
    Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Necirvan Barzani paid a visit to Ankara last week. The Turkish government showed him great hospitality, because there were a lot of issues on the table. For example, the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) issue, Baghdad, Iran, Syria, economic relations and, most importantly, oil. Although the priorities of both sides differ, oil is the top issue.Minister of Energy Taner Yıldız wasted no time and flew to Erbil to attend an energy conference there, which proves how vital the issue is. At the conference, KRG Energy Minister Hawram’i said “In August 2013, we will be able to directly export crude from the Kurdish Region’s oilfields.” Apparently the KRG wants to export oil directly to the market, bypassing Baghdad. Turkey has been s [More]
    Syrian insurgency and fragmentation of political Islam
    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD 17 May 2012
    Political Islamists have met the insurgencies in the Arab world with sympathy, because they thought it would give them a chance for political power. Certainly political Islamists in Turkey, who were bored with loneliness, were inclusive. But unpredictable outcomes of the “Arab Awakening” have started to emerge as it is in every major economic, social and political change. Especially the developments in Syria are leading to confusion on one hand and triggering fissions on the other hand. As a matter of fact, one can see this better if one follows the debates and newspapers of the Islamist groups in Turkey. Principally, the divisions being talked about provide significant clues regarding the Islamic movements and in which direction they might develop in the long run. One may colle [More]
    Turkish citizens in uniform
    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD 10 May 2012
    Looking into the debates, officers and NCOs have recognized that the “age of heroism” is coming to an end. The Turkish military has been passing through an interesting period. Arresting generals and officers has now become an ordinary event. Criticizing the military in the media has mostly turned into a “contempt ceremony.” This is understandable for “democrats,” victims of the past and the former sympathizers of the military. [More]
    Bright Ideas on Syria
    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD 03 May 2012
    Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu delivered a speech regarding the Middle East in general and Syria on Apr 24. His remarks were quite interesting and decorated with “foreign policy values of today’s world”. During all of his speech he emphasized that his government absolutely does not pursue religious, ethnic and sectarian differences. Again, he explained that they do not intend to change the regime. It was exciting.The speech has got a series of messages for both the international and domestic public. I want to focus on two subjects regarding the speech. After all, like Davutoğlu said “a new order is being set - we are setting a new order in the Middle East” and we are witnesses to this.The argument used by Davutoğlu to criticize the opposition at parliament was the first thing [More]
    Iran, sectarianism and proxy war
    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD 26 April 2012
    The government continues its war of words with the Iraqi prime minister. Remarks exchanged between them have become stiffer, especially following the visit of the Sunni vice president of Iraq, Tariq al-Hashemi, to Turkey. Shiite Iranian Prime Minister al-Maliki has renewed his claim that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is interfering in Iraq’s internal affairs. [More]
    From Libyan to Syrian military intervention?
    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD 19 April 2012
    In Libya, many countries were involved in different ways soon after the anti-Gaddafi uprising started. The uprising managed to topple the regime fairly swiftly, with the powerful support of western countries. Had the strong air strikes, military equipment and training support not existed, things may not have come to an end in such a short time. Recently, a similar uprising has been experienced in Syria. The al-Assad regime treated the developments seriously at the very beginning and attacked the rebels. When examining the developments, without the support of Western countries the rebels do not have a chance of increasing their capacity and achieving success. But we also see that countries which mobilized for Syria are not going with the grain of the rebels.In my opinion, there are five fun [More]
    Towards a long and dirty war?
    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD 12 April 2012
    Things are getting complicated in Syria. As for the Annan Plan, it always looked like a weak text full of optimistic wishes, unprepared for solving the problems or giving a chance to those who wanted to step up to the plate in the next phase. As a matter of fact, Erdoğan did not take it seriously from the start. Parties tried to find new allies or to strengthen existing ones, even if only for the short term. But the truth is that the arrow has come off the bow and internal peace is a remote chance in Syria. As a matter of course, fights will be “long standing” and mostly civilians – women and children – will suffer. Unfortunately, society will disintegrate rapidly by experiencing great traumas. Not only the balances in Syria that were established by force, but also the regional [More]
    Syria and insurgency
    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD 05 April 2012
    The debate over Syria still has a place on the agenda, and it is keeping Turkey busier than any other agenda item. The Syria issue has become not only a foreign policy but also a domestic policy problem. It appears as though no outcome will be achieved by diplomatic efforts in the short run. Those opposed to the Syrian government do not have the military capacity to force al-Assad out. [More]