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    How does the PKK act like a state in Syria?
    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD 01 November 2012
    U.N. special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi called for a truce in Syria during Eid al-Adha, or the Feast of the Sacrifice. His call was received with prejudice by all sides, who put forward their own preconditions. Once again, the political uncertainty and chaotic structure in Syria was demonstrated and, as the truce failed, we witnessed the brutality of war.The most important development during the “truce” was the targeting of Kurds in Aleppo, first by President Bashar al-Assad’s forces and then by certain elements of the Free Syrian Army. The armed militia of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the Kurdistan Workers’ Party’s (PKK) front organization in Syria, responded to this attack in kind. Both sides suffered casualties and took civilian hostages. It won’t be a surprise if accusations [More]
    Prospects for federalism in Syria and for Kurds
    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD 25 October 2012
    The political situation in Syria is changing. Bashar al-Assad’s army maintains operational capacity, but it has lost most of northern Syria. There are two reasons for this: First, there is a vast geography defined by sporadic settlements that needs to be controlled. Second: there is a shortage of foot soldiers, and as a result al-Assad designed his strategy to focus his army on the big cities in the southeastern part of the country.As the conflict continued, different rebel groups gained de facto control of settlements in northern Syria. They need to defend this bridgehead and spread their influence. This primarily depends on popular support, without which the rebel movement cannot grow or develop.Therefore, the basic question is how to gain popular support. This is not provided [More]
    Syria and Turkey’s exit strategy
    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD 18 October 2012
    The best exit strategy for Turkey is to hope for the creation of a negotiation table in Syria. In Syria, as the number of dead and refugees increases, endless political and military debates ensue. Unless an important development ends this state of affairs, tragedies and controversies are likely to continue for a long time to come. [More]
    Syria and neo-Ottoman artillery fire
    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD 11 October 2012
    As internal and external complications kept piling up, a mortar strike coming from a country suffering from a civil war with no front line was not surprising. As Bashar al-Assad lingers in power, the Turkish government’s anger and repulsion intensifies. This is not only reflected in the diplomatic realm, but also visible in the refugee camps and its support to armed groups. [More]
    Political Islam and Kurdish nationalism
    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD 04 October 2012
    A number of Islamist Kurds are planning to stop supporting the AKP and establish a new party. Last weekend, Prime Minister Erdoğan demanded that Kurds show a reaction against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), just as a million citizens did after similar ethnically-motivated terrorist attacks in Spain. Turkey has not seen similar protests, because the two countries differ significantly in terms of history, culture, political systems, the zeitgeist, and individual perceptions. The Spanish case might be inspiring, but one hat does not fit all. [More]
    Where did the government make a mistake?
    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD 27 September 2012
    Turkey will have three different elections in three years and the PKK will exploit this process. One year ago the negotiations between the PKK and National Intelligence Service collapsed. Then, negotiation dialogues were leaked to the public. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was unhappy with this leak, because it could overshadow his 2011 general election victory. However, he was able to change the “negotiation idea” in public opinion positively or at least neutrally. He achieved this by attributing responsibility for the breakdown of negotiations to the PKK. This success encouraged the government to ignore the PKK factors in the next days. Yet, the reality is that the country will have three different elections in three years like local elections, presidential elections and ge [More]
    The country off the agenda: Syria
    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD 20 September 2012
    The bitter side is that the issue of Syria is progressively falling off the agenda of world public opinion. While the uprising in Syria turns into a civil war, gloomy news is continuing to come. Too many innocent people are either losing their lives or leaving their homes as refugees. On the other hand, it is seen that the struggle is coming to a deadlock. The bitter side is that the issue of Syria is progressively falling off the agenda of world public opinion. Unfortunately, there is neither the power nor will to solve this issue in the foreseeable future. [More]
    Turkey and the unity of Iraq
    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD 13 September 2012
    The problem in the region goes beyond hosting al-Hashemi or efforts to take the competition of Sunnis and Shiites as a reference point. Tariq al-Hashemi, vice president of Iraq, has been sentenced to the death penalty. The judgment of the court was not a surprise for many, because in Iraq and the Middle East everyone knows that the courts are one of the most-used and classical tools to eliminate the political opposition. Anyway, this paper does not aim to analyze the judgment of the court. My aim is to analyze regional developments on the basis of the internal strife of Iraq. [More]
    How can generals take initiative from the PKK?
    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD 06 September 2012
    Arguments about the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) reminded me of an event that happened years ago. In 1989 PKK attacks increased and many soldiers lost their lives. During the funeral of a soldier a large crowd gathered at Kocatepe mosque in Ankara. Some reproved Chief of General Staff for the soldier’s death by saying “why don’t you do anything?” Pasha tried to explain that they have a limited responsibility and authority against the PKK and that the Ministry of Interior was authorized by laws for this issue. However, he was not successfully able to convince the people and their criticisms continued. The general resigned during the Iraq crisis in 1991 when he said it wasn’t his mission. The Pasha designated after him acted differently due to the army’s feelings of “exagg [More]
    What would be Iran’s reply to Turkey?
    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD 30 August 2012
    It won’t be a surprise to see that Iran would give a start to its covert operations, waking its “sleeper cells” and activating its old networks. Turkish-Iranian relations have been facing the most strained days of the last decade. The clues of this tension can be seen from politicians’ explanations on both sides. [More]