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    Gen Başbuğ’s arrest: Political or legal debacle?
    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD 19 January 2012
    Turkey is not a country that can be understood easily by foreigners. The speed of developments and change leaves one reeling. But there’s no need to make much of a fuss about it because most people living in the country don’t get much of the picture either or struggle to gain an understanding. There are already people who think instead of them. In this way, they overcome understanding problems. The best example of this is the civil-military relationship, which has marvelously encapsulated the developments in Turkey. [More]
    Iran, Syria and beyond
    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD 12 January 2012
    Time is ticking away for everyone regarding Iran. While the United States tries to corner Iran, it runs out the clock as it did in the past. It hopes to possess nuclear weapons as early as possible, thus dickering with the U.S. and Western actors in a different position. Within this framework, it is possible to see the narrowing gap while looking at the bigger picture. This situation chivies not only Iran and the U.S. but also everybody to have to position rapidly. Undoubtedly, Turkey is in the lead among the countries in the most difficult position, since it is an ally of the U.S. in the region and a member of NATO. The government is very well aware of what it means to say no to the U.S. when the time is ripe because of its experience with the U.S. in the Iraq War of 2003. It is [More]
    Lessons learned from ‘Uludere’
    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD 05 January 2012
    The approaches and debates regarding the unfortunate Uludere incident are quite educational. Data provided by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and their transformation to intelligence instantly have made it rather popular in the last decade. Since the military are at less risk thanks to this technology, it provides a great advantage to generals and politicians who abstain from public opinion pressure. However, the system is not flawless. It might aim at the wrong targets, as demonstrated in Afghanistan and Iraq, for example. The most dramatic aspect for Turkey is its being used on its own soil, and there are legal, political, ethical and psychological bitter fruits of fatal errors. [More]
    Oil, the Kurds and the future of Iraq
    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD 29 December 2011
    The U.S. has withdrawn its troops from Iraq. While the last units were leaving Iraq, an important agreement was being signed in the Kurdish region. The Kurdish government has signed an agreement with global giant Exxon Mobil for the development of oil and natural gas resources in the region, despite Baghdad’s objection. [More]
    Changing character of struggle with the PKK
    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD 22 December 2011
    You might know the famous metaphor Mao used for clarifying the relationship between guerillas and people. The metaphor is based on the relationship between fish and the sea. The sea symbolizes people and the fish symbolize armed militants. If the sea doesn’t have proper conditions, then fish don’t have a chance to live. [More]
    Do you think the PKK is stupid?
    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD 15 December 2011
    Turkey-Syria relations are getting tenser by the day. Turkey is not only criticizing the Syrian government for its methods but also drawing attention to the PKK problem. Some people are pushing Turkey toward Syria by using the PKK argument, but nobody feels the need to question whether this argument is consistent. Nowadays, the question of whether these arguments can be substantiated is less important than the fact that there are “great men” who are willing to buy them. [More]
    Syria, Turkey and the Kurds
    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD 08 December 2011
    Syria is not falling off the agenda of the world media and politicians. Everybody relevant keeps on commenting on the point the problem has come to and what will happen. However, the most important question to be answered is this: When Bashar al-Assad falls, what happens next? Of course, it is not possible to indicate a certain date and tell what will happen like a fortune teller. But, by following the Kurds’ road map in Syria, one can largely predict whether the problem has reached a critical threshold and what might happen with the Kurds in a post-al-Assad era. [More]
    Turkey’s new position and Israel’s interests
    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD 01 December 2011
    We are witnessing multi-faceted changes triggered by the Arab Spring. Changing balances and weakening state structures create risks for some and opportunities for others. We are focusing mostly on countries and incidents separately, but when taken as a whole, we could recognize that incidents have the capacity of producing results that are more complicated than they seem. [More]
    Welcome, chaos
    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD 24 November 2011
    Despite all those exciting explanations and images, I am not hopeful – in the medium term – about the prognosis for the Arab Spring. I have four fundamental reasons for this: first, there is the lack of a road map with democracy that would end poverty and solve the problem of the scarcity of economic resources, one of the most important root causes of the revolution; second, democracy-building is an inherently long-term and formidable venture; third, the emergence of a newly competitive environment would lead to the rapid replacement of fallen central authorities with ethnic, religious, sectarian and tribal authorities; and finally, there is a lack of global leaders. [More]
    Turkey’s anxieties and Syria
    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD 17 November 2011
    As the ongoing bloodshed in Syria shatters hopes of a “soft” regime change, the country is proceeding rapidly toward the point of no return. Increasing violence and a rising death toll obstruct the country’s chances of attaining political stability after the overthrow of the current regime because violence is deepening the hostilities among social and political groups. The representatives of the Bashar al-Assad regime are committing more violence because they are afraid of reprisals. [More]