Steven A. Cook

From the Potomac to the Euphrates

Cook examines developments in the Middle East and their resonance in Washington.

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Showing posts for "Turkey"

Weekend Reading: Tension in Turkey, Kuwait’s Election, and Reexamining Tunisian History

by Steven A. Cook
Kuwaiti women cast their votes during parliamentary election in a polling station in Kuwait City, Kuwait (Stringer/Reuters). Kuwaiti women cast their votes during parliamentary election in a polling station in Kuwait City, Kuwait (Stringer/Reuters).

Nick Ashdown discusses the tense political and social climate in Turkey in the months after the failed coup attempt.

Habib Toumi argues that reforms to Kuwait’s electoral law in July 2006 have succeeded in diminishing the influence of large tribal coalitions in last weekend’s parliamentary elections. Read more »

Why Turkey Is Salivating for President Trump

by Steven A. Cook
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan addresses police officers and cadets during a conference in Ankara, Turkey (Handout/Reuters). Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan addresses police officers and cadets during a conference in Ankara, Turkey (Handout/Reuters).

This article was originally published here on Politico.com on Thursday, November 24, 2016.

If Turks celebrated Thanksgiving, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s supporters would be giving thanks for U.S. President-elect Donald J. Trump. Read more »

Turkey: Writing “Erdo” Stories

by Steven A. Cook
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses the United Nations General Assembly in the Manhattan borough of New York (Eduardo Munoz/Reuters). Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses the United Nations General Assembly in the Manhattan borough of New York (Eduardo Munoz/Reuters).

Sometime last week, my friend Mustafa Akyol tweeted, “In Turkey, it is so easy and rewarding to give in to ‘Erdoganism’. In the West, it is also easy and rewarding to give in to anti-‘Erdoganism’.” I have been thinking about this remark ever since. The news from Turkey this summer has been relentless and virtually nonstop, beginning with the attack on Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul in late June, the failed coup about two weeks later, and the government’s ongoing purge of the military, the bureaucracy, the academy, and the media. It has been hard to take some time to reflect on the way analysts and journalists study Turkey. Has there been too much emphasis on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the expense of a broader and deeper understanding of what makes Turkey tick? The more I think about it, the more I find the answer to be yes, but also no. Before anyone rolls their eyes, I am not trying to have it both ways. There is indeed too much focus on Erdogan the person, but there are good analytic reasons why the Turkish leader gets so much ink. Read more »

Weekend Reading: Morocco’s Amazigh, Istanbul’s Rent, and the Teacher of al-Minya

by Steven A. Cook
Local Amazigh people attend a rally in celebration of the Amazigh New Year, and also to express solidarity with Libyan Amazigh people, in Rabat (Stringer/Reuters). Local Amazigh people attend a rally in celebration of the Amazigh New Year, and also to express solidarity with Libyan Amazigh people, in Rabat (Stringer/Reuters).

Celeste Hicks examines the political struggle of the Amazigh community in Morocco to designate Tamazight as an official state language. Read more »

Weekend Reading: Literature and Resistance in Turkey, Art and the Dictator, and a Year in Yemen

by Steven A. Cook
A farm boy, with his face covered with sand, is pictured as he leaves the farm he works on, near Sanaa, Yemen (Khaled Abdullah/Reuters). A farm boy, with his face covered with sand, is pictured as he leaves the farm he works on, near Sanaa, Yemen (Khaled Abdullah/Reuters).

Pinar Tremblay discovers that literary magazines in Turkey have become increasingly useful as a means of communicating messages of popular resistance while easily evading censorship. Read more »

Turkey Is No Longer a Reliable Ally

by Steven A. Cook
Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan during their meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia (Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters). Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan during their meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia (Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters).

This article was originally published here in the Wall Street Journal on Thursday, August 11, 2016.

The meeting this week between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin and their vow to expand bilateral relations is the latest sign of deteriorating U.S.-Turkish relations since Turkey’s failed coup last month. Read more »

Weekend Reading: Turkey’s Coups, Iraq’s Descent, and Saudi Arabia’s Jews

by Steven A. Cook
A supporter of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan waves a Turkish flag during a pro-government protest in Cologne, Germany (Vincent Kessler/Reuters). A supporter of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan waves a Turkish flag during a pro-government protest in Cologne, Germany (Vincent Kessler/Reuters).

Ayse Zarakol highlights how Western and Turkish observers have interpreted the recent failed coup in Turkey in different ways. Read more »

Turkey’s Failed Coup and the United States

by Steven A. Cook
Members of Patriotic Party shout slogans as they demonstrate against the visit of U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph F. Dunford in front of the U.S. Embassy in Ankara (Umit Bektas/Reuters). Members of Patriotic Party shout slogans as they demonstrate against the visit of U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph F. Dunford in front of the U.S. Embassy in Ankara (Umit Bektas/Reuters).

Ever since Turkey’s failed coup, the pro-government media has pointed the finger at the United States for actually planning the military intervention. It is not just the media, however. The leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (quoted below) and a number of government figures have all insinuated that the failed coup was carried out with Washington’s support and/or planning. This week, a Turkish parliamentary delegation is visiting Washington, DC, and New York City to press the Turkish government’s case on the extradition of Fethullah Gulen, the Turkish cleric who resides in Saylorsburg, PA, whom the Turks are alleging Washington colluded with in the failed coup. The delegation would likely get a more serious hearing in the United States if influential parts of the Turkish press and political leaders did not insist that Washington was responsible. Have a look… Read more »

How Erdogan Made Turkey Authoritarian Again

by Steven A. Cook
Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses the members of his ruling AK Party, as he stands in front of the portraits of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of modern Turkey, and himself during a meeting at his party headquarters in Ankara (Umit Bektas/Reuters). Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses the members of his ruling AK Party, as he stands in front of the portraits of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of modern Turkey, and himself during a meeting at his party headquarters in Ankara (Umit Bektas/Reuters).

This article was originally published here in the Atlantic on Thursday, July 21, 2016.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. In October 2004, the European Commission offered Turkey a formal invitation to begin negotiations for membership in that exclusive club of democracies, the European Union. The Justice and Development Party (AKP), which had been in power for just two years at the time, hailed the commission’s offer as validation of its self-described Muslim Democrat worldview. Read more »