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    What and who is this safe zone for?
    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD 18 August 2019
    According to a statement by the Defense Ministry, deputy commander of the U.S. European Command, arrived in Turkey on Aug. 15. The reason for his visit is the matter of the east of River Euphrates, which has been occupying the agenda for a long time, and technical preparations for the to-be established “safe zone.” In other terms, his visit is to decide what will be done militarily for the safe zone and the establishment of the “Joint Operations Center.” [More]
    The S-400s from a different point of view
    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD 26 May 2019
    We are passing through a period that is both interesting and unpredictable. One of the developments that this opinion stems from is the incident of S-400 air missile defense systems that have been occupying Turkey’s agenda. We are witnessing the change of character of a problem that is on an “operative” level and concerns military security. In other words, the problem you decide to solve by purchasing high-level air defense missiles can rapidly and unexpectedly turn into problems of “perpetuity.” [More]
    A change of political arena in Idlib
    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD 16 May 2019
    During these days, when domestic policies are occupying the agenda, interesting developments are happening in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib. Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad’s forces, backed by Russia, are continuing to push the frontiers of Idlib by downgrading armed groups. It is clear that this is not an exchange.  As a result we see that there will be humanitarian, military and political consequences. [More]
    'Russia may retaliate against Turkey by using terror organizations'
    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD 30 November 2015
    Turkey's downing of a Russian military aircraft due to it violating its airspace became a major discussion topic in news media around the world. Moreover, Russia's possible response to Turkey and the consequences of this incident on the Syrian civil war and international politics in the medium-term is still unknown. Daily Sabah talked to Associate Professor Nihat Ali Özcan from TOBB University of Economics and Technology (ETÜ) and discussed the consequences of this incident. According to Özcan, Russia's violation of Turkish airspace was not due to either inadequacy of the pilots' training or technical inadequacy. On the contrary, he asserted that Russia wanted to test Turkey's reaction, the speed of decision-making processes and to what extent Turkey's allies would support Turkey. However, [More]
    Turkey’s chronic PKK problem enters a new phase
    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD 12 September 2013
    Negotiations between the Turkish government and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) are in a state of controlled crisis. Both domestic and foreign affairs are under pressure. In the highly divisive environment defined by nearing elections and mass protests, the idea that the PKK can utilize its capacity to perform “professional violence” must be driving Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan mad. [More]
    Warlords in Syria and Turkey
    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD 05 September 2013
    Today I will leave aside the “strategically deep” topics and focus on a smaller problem. The Turkish General Staff has recently shared on its website a number of news items, such as the following: “In the area under the responsibility of the Hatay/Narlıca Oğulpınar Border Station on the Turkish-Syrian border, at around 9:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 23, 2013, a large group of smugglers, 200-250 of them on horseback and 2,500-3,000 on foot, with 150-200 vehicles, gathered on the Syrian side of the border and tried to enter our territory.” The size of the numbers and the continuing nature of the phenomenon point to a problem in need of urgent solution or management. If the situation persists, border security will no longer be a mere “law enforcement” issue, but will turn into a “nation [More]
    Turkey: Willing for the coalition
    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD 29 August 2013
    The chemical weapon attack in Syria caught the world’s attention. Experts who see this as a turning point are debating how to respond to Bashar al-Assad. The most likely option is seen as a military operation that would force al-Assad to start negotiating. The operation will most probably be conducted by a coalition of the willing.Interestingly, although a clear political objective concerning a possible operation is lacking, the Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu stated that Turkey would participate in such a coalition. This hasty statement is understandable. It is good news for Davutoğlu that the prolonged civil war in Syria has entered a new phase. He considers a military response an opportunity to break the Syrian deadlock in relation to the following aspects:First of all, althoug [More]
    The PKK and the problem of disarmament
    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD 22 August 2013
    The goal of the Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan government in negotiations with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) was to disarm the organization and integrate it into the political system. The process would start with a cease-fire and continue with the militants’ exit from Turkey. The government would respond with legal and constitutional reforms. Then, the PKK would bid a farewell to arms. The process would end with a minimal form of “power sharing,” though the government would not acknowledge this publicly. The recent statements on both sides point to difficulties in this plan. The most accurate assessment of the current situation seemed to have come from Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç: “We got into this process, the outcome of which we are not 100 percent sure [More]
    How did the chief of General Staff become a terrorist?
    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD 15 August 2013
    The Recep Tayyip Erdoğan government had two goals when it “trimmed” the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) in legal, psychological, political, technical, intelligence and social terms: Establishing “absolute party control” over the military and “clearing the road” for negotiating with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).The government worked patiently and systematically to reach its goals. It entered into interesting alliances both at home and abroad. It empowered the police forces to balance the army. It opened several legally controversial investigations. It used the pro-government media. As a result, many retired and active generals and officers were arrested. “Potential contrarians” in the lower ranks were preemptively removed. Some opted out voluntarily. The government, it seemed, wa [More]
    Turkey’s prospects
    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD 09 August 2013
    Turkey’s political, psychological and security climate is getting heavier. Three elections lie ahead along with significant developments that can affect the process. At the top of the list is the Kurdish question. Negotiations with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the developments in Syria are triggering a drastic change in its character. [More]