The article first published in americanthinker.com on 10/23/2017. Though Western Europe and Washington are reluctant to fess up to this unfortunate fact, Turkey under Recep Tayyip Erdogan has long ago given up even the pretence of being a democratic polity and is openly pursuing policies detrimental to democracy, the rule of law and Western security considerations. In short, Turkey has become an Islamist dictatorship every bit as inimical to Western interests as Iran, except for being allowed by the West to maintain the charade that it is still a member of NATO and the western community of nations. This is a dangerous charade that would inevitably come back to haunt us. For the reality is that Erdogan the Islamist, has ambitions that go beyond Turkey and even the Middle East. Well
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The article first published in americanthinker.com on 04/16/2017. On April 17, the Western world would wake up having to answer the urgent question: “Who lost Turkey? The day before that, Turkey would have completed its shocking transition from a long-term NATO ally and an imperfect democracy, into an Islamist dictatorship that threatens the West and peace in the Middle East more than any other state actor, Russia included. There will be many answers, excuses and justifications for this sad state of affairs, but what’s not at issue is that Turkey is lost, perhaps for a long time, as a friend of the West. In the run up to the Turkish referendum on the 16th there are still many pundits in the West who continue arguing that Turkey could
The article first published in americanthinker.com on 03/23/2017. The Dutch elections of last March 15 were billed around Europe and beyond as a battle royal between the forces of populist evil, as represented by Geert Wilders and his Freedom Party (PVV), and virtually everybody else in the motley crew of Dutch electoral politics. The victory of prime minister’s Mark Rutte’s VVD party (which lost 20% of its seats) over Wilders’s PVV (which added 25%), was greeted rapturously as a monumental defeat for populism and a great triumph for Europe across the political spectrum. In fact, it was nothing of the kind and if its coverage showed anything it was that the European press, much like the American mainstream press, had become a one-trick pony that was good at demonstrating its crass
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is closing in on capturing the executive presidency he has long desired and codifying it in law with a new constitution. But, whether or not Erdogan emerges victorious in Turkey’s upcoming constitutional referendum, the country will still be faced with critical issues that could prolong its destabilization. Sometime in April, Turkish voters are expected to go to the polls in a referendum calling for transforming Turkey’s government from a parliamentary system to a presidential regime. The referendum proposes eliminating the prime minister’s post and establishing an executive presidency in which the president can maintain ties to a political party. Erdogan could remain in power until 2029 if the referendum passes. If that is the case, Turkey will likely become more autocratic and
Bilateral Relations Background – theses ▲ Turkey relies on Russia for critical energy supplies, i.e. its demand is relatively inelastic until it resolves its over dependence on Russian oil and gas. This is likely to happen in the next 5-10 years ▲ Russia imports from Turkey foods and manufactured goods—clothing, machinery and equipment. Its demand is very elastic. Turkey’s tourist sector is dependent on Russian tourists. ▲ Bilateral trade has fluctuated at USD20-38bn but trade deficits of around USD15bn persisted for Turkey. ▲ Factors that will continue to exacerbate the deficit: (i) Grand projects such as nuclear power plant; (ii) weak economy in Russia that impedes import demand including from Turkey, (iii) security concerns and possibly renewed political tensions reducing Russian tourist inflow. ▲ Overall Turkey cannot reduce