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Insights Politics

Erdogan Seizes a Strategic Opportunity in Afghanistan

Following the Taliban takeover, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has decided that Turkey will maintain a diplomatic presence in Afghanistan while its fellow NATO allies complete their evacuation. This development in Turkish foreign policy may be seen as part of a shift in strategic thinking in Ankara. Although Erdogan’s assertive approach to foreign affairs has shored up his political standing at home, it has resulted in Turkey becoming increasingly isolated. With the situation in Afghanistan deteriorating, Erdogan is seizing the opportunity to reinvigorate his country’s strategic regional importance.

Middle East/North Africa Politics

China in a post-US Afghanistan: A paradigm shift in foreign policy?

China’s long-standing policy of non-interference is challenged by the cruel geopolitical realities and developments in the country with which it shares its smallest border. The U.S. military withdrawal, coupled with Afghanistan’s seizure by the Taliban, have marked a major turning point, presenting China with both opportunities and challenges. It seems Beijing can no longer afford to stay away from the region.

Europe Politics

The Domino Effect of Normalizing Violence Against Women: Why Turkey’s Withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention Has Become the Norm Rather Than the Exception

Turkey’s decision to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention has been highly criticized by the European Union and human rights advocates. However, Turkey is not the first and most likely not the last country to opt out of the Convention on preventing and combating gender-based violence. Whereas much of the focus has been on Erdogan’s political motivations behind the decision, the issue of violence against women in Central and Eastern Europe in relation to the Istanbul Convention remains in the shadows and requires further attention.

Europe Security

The Turkish intervention in Nagorno-Karabakh may favour EU interests

As mediator in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Russia has sought to maintain influence in Azerbaijan and Armenia following the collapse of the Soviet Union. In pursuing a strategy based on balancing competing Armenian-Azerbaijani interests over the disputed territory, Moscow is able to wield leverage in the South Caucasus without antagonising either Baku or Yerevan. However, the Turkish intervention on the issue in 2020 in full support of Azerbaijan tilted the power-balance of the conflict and cemented Ankara as a new security actor in the region.

Middle East/North Africa Politics

A place in the sun? Assessing the Turkish government’s olive branch to Israel

Following the election of Joe Biden as the next US President, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has set the eyes of an increasingly diplomatically isolated nation on its regional neighbour and former ally. Israel, spurred by the threat of Iran in the region, has also sent signals that rapprochement with Turkey is on the cards. Can the two countries mend their fraught relationship?

Latin America Politics

Alex Saab and the State of Corruption in Venezeula

The Venezuelan government of Nicolás Maduro has been accused of turning a blind eye to or engaging actively in corruption for both the personal enrichment of state officials and as part of sanction-dodging efforts. Among other individuals linked to corruption by the Maduro government, in June 2020 Colombian national Alex Saab was arrested in Cape Verde in connection with an Interpol Red Notice concerning money laundering. Now, 6 months after his arrest, it seems likely that he will be extradited to the US. How significant is Saab to the Maduro government and what impact might his extradition have?

Economics Middle East/North Africa

What is next for Turkey?

With the Turkish lira at a record depreciation amid the economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic,Turkish leadership is struggling to deal with an economic impasse and a seismic foreign relations shift as a result of the US election. 

Europe Security

Absence of an EU-Turkey strategic partnership undermines regional security

The European Council summit in December 2020 presented an opportunity for Brussels to formalise a strategic partnership with Turkey to manage the crises in the Eastern Mediterranean, Syria and Libya. Instead, it exposed divergence between France and Germany over how the EU should confront Ankara’s assertive foreign policy. Whilst French President Macron is in favour of putting strong pressure on Turkey’s President Erdogan, German Chancellor Merkel believes that it is vital to remain open to dialogue. This lack of strategic clarity puts regional security at risk given the importance of Turkish cooperation with Brussels over handling common issues in irregular migration and local conflict.

Europe Security

Armenia and Azerbaijan: Conflict in Nagorno Karabakh continues to erode regional security

A flare-up between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region raised concerns over the security and stability of the Caucasus for more than a month. A Russian-brokered deal between the two is highly likely to ensure the region’s security, although long-term peace is an unlikely outcome.

Eurasia Security

Violence in Nagorno-Karabakh: a New Proxy War in the South Caucasus?

For decades, the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh has evoked border clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Recently, armed violence between the two countries threatens to escalate into full-blown conflict, which could involve both Turkey and Russia.