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CRS — Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations (updated)

April 7, 2014 Comments off

Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via U.S. State Department Foreign Press Center)

Several Turkish domestic and foreign policy issues have significant relevance for U.S. interests, and Congress plays an active role in shaping and overseeing U.S. relations with Turkey. This report provides background information on Turkey and discusses possible policy options for Members of Congress and the Obama Administration. U.S. relations with Turkey—a longtime North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) ally—have evolved over time. Turkey’s economic dynamism and geopolitical importance have increased its influence regionally and globally. Although Turkey still depends on the United States and other NATO allies for political and strategic support, its increased economic and military self-reliance since the Cold War allows Turkey relatively greater opportunity for an assertive role in foreign policy. Greater Turkish independence of action and continuing political transformation appear to have been mutually reinforcing—with both led for more than a decade by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP). However, it remains unclear how Turkey might reconcile majoritarian views favoring Turkish nationalism and Sunni Muslim values with secular governance and protection of individual freedoms and minority rights, including with regard to Turkey’s Kurdish citizens.

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Does Secular Education Impact Religiosity, Electoral Participation and the Propensity to Vote for Islamic Parties? Evidence from an Education Reform in a Muslim Country

April 6, 2014 Comments off

Does Secular Education Impact Religiosity, Electoral Participation and the Propensity to Vote for Islamic Parties? Evidence from an Education Reform in a Muslim Country (PDF)
Source: Institute for the Study of Labor

Using a unique survey of adults in Turkey, we find that an increase in educational attainment, due to an exogenous secular education reform, decreases women’s propensity to identify themselves as religious, lowers their tendency to wear a religious head cover (head scarf, turban or burka) and increases the tendency for modernity. Education reduces women’s propensity to vote for Islamic parties. There is no statistically significant impact of education on men’s religiosity or their tendency to vote for Islamic parties and education does not influence the propensity to cast a vote in national elections for men or women. The impact of education on religiosity and voting preference is not working through migration, residential location or labor force participation.

CRS — Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations (updated)

March 31, 2014 Comments off

Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Several Turkish domestic and foreign policy issues have significant relevance for U.S. interests, and Congress plays an active role in shaping and overseeing U.S. relations with Turkey. This report provides background information on Turkey and discusses possible policy options for Members of Congress and the Obama Administration. U.S. relations with Turkey—a longtime North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) ally—have evolved over time. Turkey’s economic dynamism and geopolitical importance have increased its influence regionally and globally. Although Turkey still depends on the United States and other NATO allies for political and strategic support, its increased economic and military self-reliance since the Cold War allows Turkey relatively greater opportunity for an assertive role in foreign policy. Greater Turkish independence of action and continuing political transformation appear to have been mutually reinforcing—with both led for more than a decade by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP). However, it remains unclear how Turkey might reconcile majoritarian views favoring Turkish nationalism and Sunni Muslim values with secular governance and protection of individual freedoms and minority rights, including with regard to Turkey’s Kurdish citizens.

AU — The G20: a quick guide

March 26, 2014 Comments off

The G20: a quick guide
Source: Parliamentary Library of Australia

This is a quick guide to basic information about the G20, as well as links to useful summary resources. The G20 background section includes the G20’s history, its members, the hosting system and G20 meeting processes, as well as a brief discussion of selected policy areas. Material on Australia and the G20 includes Australia’s involvement in the G20, Australia’s G20 goals for 2014 and speeches and press releases on the G20. A short list of links provides access to more resources on the G20.

OECD Review of Fisheries: Country Statistics 2013

January 13, 2014 Comments off

OECD Review of Fisheries: Country Statistics 2013
Source: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

Fisheries (capture fisheries and aquaculture) supply the world each year with millions of tonnes of fish (including, notably, fish, molluscs and crustaceans). Fisheries as well as ancillary activities also provide livelihoods and income. The fishery sector contributes to development and growth in many countries, playing an important role for food security, poverty reduction, employment and trade.

This publication contains statistics on fisheries from 2005 to 2012. Data provided concern fishing fleet capacity, employment in fisheries, fish landings, aquaculture production, recreational fisheries, government financial transfers, and imports and exports of fish.

OECD countries covered

Australia, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States

Non-member economies covered

Argentina, Chinese Taipei, Thailand

Turkey and Syrian Refugees: The Limits of Hospitality

November 19, 2013 Comments off

Turkey and Syrian Refugees: The Limits of Hospitality
Source: Brookings Institution

There are five major challenges currently facing Turkey in responding to the Syrian crisis:

  1. Sustaining the Turkish response to an ever-growing number of refugees
  2. Mobilizing international solidarity to support the state’s efforts
  3. Effectively implementing Turkey’s innovative “zero point delivery policy”
  4. Addressing security issues resulting from both the violence in Syria and presence of an ever-increasing number of Syrian refugees in Turkey
  5. Recognizing that humanitarian action cannot take the place of political action to resolve the broader crisis

Turkish-Iranian Relations in a Changing Middle East

September 4, 2013 Comments off

Turkish-Iranian Relations in a Changing Middle East
Source: RAND Corporation

Turkish-Iranian cooperation has visibly intensified in recent years, thanks in part to Turkish energy needs and Iran’s vast oil and natural gas resources. However, Turkey and Iran tend to be rivals rather than close partners. While they may share certain economic and security interests, especially regarding the Kurdish issue, their interests are at odds in many areas across the Middle East. Turkey’s support for the opposition in Syria, Iran’s only true state ally in the Middle East, is one example. Iraq has also become a field of growing competition between Turkey and Iran. Iran’s nuclear program has been a source of strain and divergence in U.S.-Turkish relations. However, the differences between the United States and Turkey regarding Iran’s nuclear program are largely over tactics, not strategic goals. Turkey’s main fear is that Iran’s acquisition of nuclear arms could lead to a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. This, in turn, could increase pressure on the Turkish government to consider developing its own nuclear weapon capability. U.S. and Turkish interests have become more convergent since the onset of the Syrian crisis. However, while U.S. and Turkish interests in the Middle East closely overlap, they are not identical. Thus, the United States should not expect Turkey to follow its policy toward Iran unconditionally. Turkey has enforced United Nations sanctions against Iran but, given Ankara’s close energy ties to Tehran, may be reluctant to undertake the harshest measures against Iran.

CRS — Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations

July 5, 2013 Comments off

Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via U.S. Department of State Foreign Press Center)

Several Turkish domestic and foreign policy issues have significant relevance for U.S. interests, and Congress plays an active role in shaping and overseeing U.S. relations with Turkey. This report provides background information on Turkey and discusses possible policy options for Members of Congress and the Obama Administration. U.S. relations with Turkey—a longtime North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) ally—have evolved over time. Turkey’s economic dynamism and geopolitical importance—it straddles Europe, the Middle East, and Central Asia and now has the world’s 17 th -largest economy—have increased its influence regionally and globally. Although Turkey still depends on the United States and other NATO allies for political and strategic support, its growing economic diversification and military self-reliance allows Turkey to exercise greater leverage with the West. These trends have helped fuel continuing Turkish political transformation led in the past decade by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Justice and Development Party (AKP), which has Islamist roots.

Tens of thousands of mostly middle-class Turks join ed protests in June 2013 to express dismay at what they assert to be an increasingly authoritarian leadership style from Erdogan. The protests and the government’s response have raised questions for U.S. policymakers about Turkey’s domestic political trajectory and economic stability. It has also raised questions about the extent and nature of Turkey’s regional influence. Future domestic political developments may determine the extent to which Turkey reconciles majoritarian views favoring Turkish nationalism and Sunni Muslim values with protection of individual fr eedoms, minority rights (including those of Turkey’s ethnic Kurdish population), rule of law, and the principle of secular governance.

In addition to the attention it is paying to domestic discontent in Turkey, Congress has shown considerable interest in the following issues:

  • Working with Turkey in the Middle East to influence political outcomes in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere; counter Iranian influence; and preserve stability;
  • Past deterioration and possible improvem ent in Turkey-Israel relations and how that might affect U.S.-Turkey relations; and
  • A potential congressional resolution or presidential statement on the possible genocide of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire (Turkey’s predecessor state) during World War I.

Many U.S. policymakers also are interested in the rights of minority Christian communities within Turkey; the currently stalemated prospects of Turkish accession to the European Union (EU); promoting increased trade with Turkey; and Turkey’s role in the Cyprus dispute. Congress appropriates approximately $5 million annually in military and security assistance for Turkey. The EU currently provides over $1 billion to Turkey annually in pre-accession financial and technical assistance.

Since 2011, U.S.-Turkey cooperation on issues affecting the Middle East has become closer, as Turkey agreed to host a U.S. radar as part of a NATO missile defense system and the two countries have coordinated efforts in responding to the ongoing conflict in Syria. Nevertheless, developments during the Obama Administration on Syria, Israel, and other issues—including domestic concerns highlighted in June 2013—have led to questions about the extent to which U.S. and Turkish strategic priorities and values converge on both a short- and long-term basis.

2012 Global multichannel consumer survey

May 7, 2013 Comments off

2012 Global multichannel consumer survey

Source: PriceWaterhouse Coopers

The 2012 global multichannel retail consumer survey was completed by more than 11,000 respondents from 11 different countries. For PwC, this is our most comprehensive research to date on multichannel retailing. In order to truly understand the trends and spot the patterns in multichannel shopping, we surveyed only those consumers who self-identified as online shoppers.

The 11 countries covered in the survey were:

  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • China
  • France
  • Germany
  • Netherlands
  • Russia
  • Switzerland
  • Turkey
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

Number of jailed journalists sets global record

December 30, 2012 Comments off

Number of jailed journalists sets global record

Source: Committee to Protect Journalists

Imprisonment of journalists worldwide reached a record high in 2012, driven in part by the widespread use of charges of terrorism and other anti-state offenses against critical reporters and editors, the Committee to Protect Journalists has found. In its annual census of imprisoned journalists, CPJ identified 232 individuals behind bars on December 1, an increase of 53 over its 2011 tally.

Large-scale imprisonments in Turkey, Iran, and China helped lift the global tally to its highest point since CPJ began conducting worldwide surveys in 1990, surpassing the previous record of 185 in 1996. The three nations, the world’s worst jailers of the press, each made extensive use of vague anti-state laws to silence dissenting political views, including those expressed by ethnic minorities. Worldwide, anti-state charges such as terrorism, treason, and subversion were the most common allegations brought against journalists in 2012. At least 132 journalists were being held around the world on such charges, CPJ’s census found.

Eritrea and Syria also ranked among the world’s worst, each jailing numerous journalists without charge or due process and holding them in secret prisons without access to lawyers or family members. Worldwide, 63 journalists are being held without any publicly disclosed charge.

Vietnam, Azerbaijan, Ethiopia, Uzbekistan, and Saudi Arabia rounded out the 10 worst jailers. In two of those nations, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan, the authorities used retaliatory charges such as hooliganism and drug possession to jail critical reporters and editors. In 19 cases worldwide, governments used a variety of charges unrelated to journalism to silence critical journalists. In the cases included in this census, CPJ determined that the charges were fabricated.

CRS — Rising Economic Powers and U.S. Trade Policy

December 20, 2012 Comments off

Rising Economic Powers and U.S. Trade Policy (PDF)

Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

A handful of developing countries are becoming major players in the global economy due, in part, to their large populations, rising trade flows, and rapidly growing economies. These evolving economies are likely to be of increasing interest to the 113th Congress. Led by China, these rising economic powers (REPs) include Brazil, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, and Turkey. Based on purchasing power parity estimates, China, India, Brazil, and Russia are now among the 10 largest economies in the world and Mexico (#11), Indonesia (#15) and Turkey (#16) are not far behind. With large economies and rising shares of world trade flows, the REPs have greater involvement in World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations and dispute settlement cases, have protested with greater frequency U.S. economic and trade policies, and are more able and willing to deflect or reject U.S. trade and market access demands.

Although they have made great economic strides, any of these REPs could stumble if they do not take steps to improve their business climates by undertaking a range of trade, regulatory, and structural reforms. At the same time, other large developing countries that have enormous economic potential, such as Egypt, Iran, Nigeria, and Vietnam could rise if they successfully address underlying political and economic challenges.

U.S. exports to the REPs and other developing countries have become an increasingly important source of growth for the U.S. economy. If the United States is to maximize its export potential and boost its living standards, U.S. exporters and investors may need to have better access to the REP markets. Trade and investment barriers remain considerably higher in most of the REPs than in the United States and other advanced countries. Efforts have stalled in these countries to reduce their barriers further, and several REPs have reactivated industrial policies or found ways to take advantage of gaps in the world trade rules to promote home companies at the expense of foreign companies.

The United States’ ability to persuade these emerging economic powers to embrace the principles of free and fair trade is constrained by growing differences over the role of the state in economic activity. The more interventionist practices and philosophies of REP governments coincide with a desire to maintain “policy space” to promote development of their economies via policies that often appear to violate the letter or spirit of WTO rules and obligations. Persuading the REPs that a strengthened multilateral trading system is squarely in their national economic interests and a way to move their domestic economic reforms forward remains a challenge.

As global power and prosperity is reconfigured, U.S. trade policymakers face a number of overlapping and complex issues relating to the role of future trade liberalizing negotiations, U.S. leverage in influencing REP economic reforms, and the management of the global trading system. Given the checkered history of the Doha Round, future progress on trade liberalization within the WTO may require new approaches. Principles that have guided multilateral trade negotiations in the past, such as unconditional most-favored-nation (MFN) and special and differential treatment (S&D), may need to be reexamined. Similarly, if the United States wishes to negotiate free trade agreements (FTAs) with large and more significant trading partners, it may need to consider deviations from its standard FTA template. At the same time, ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations and a potential comprehensive U.S. FTA with the European Union (EU) could serve as incentives for the REPs to view multilateral or bilateral negotiations more favorably.

Current Tobacco Use and Secondhand Smoke Exposure Among Women of Reproductive Age — 14 Countries, 2008–2010

November 2, 2012 Comments off

Current Tobacco Use and Secondhand Smoke Exposure Among Women of Reproductive Age — 14 Countries, 2008–2010

Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (CDC)

Tobacco use and secondhand smoke (SHS) exposure in reproductive-aged women can cause adverse reproductive health outcomes, such as pregnancy complications, fetal growth restriction, preterm delivery, stillbirths, and infant death (1–3). Data on tobacco use and SHS exposure among reproductive-aged women in low- and middle-income countries are scarce. To examine current tobacco use and SHS exposure in women aged 15–49 years, data were analyzed from the 2008–2010 Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) from 14 low- and middle-income countries: Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Mexico, Philippines, Poland, Russia, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay, and Vietnam. The results of this analysis indicated that, among reproductive-aged women, current tobacco smoking ranged from 0.4% in Egypt to 30.8% in Russia, current smokeless tobacco use was <1% in most countries, but common in Bangladesh (20.1%) and India (14.9%), and SHS exposure at home was common in all countries, ranging from 17.8% in Mexico to 72.3% in Vietnam. High tobacco smoking prevalence in some countries suggests that strategies promoting cessation should be a priority, whereas low prevalence in other countries suggests that strategies should focus on preventing smoking initiation. Promoting cessation and preventing initiation among both men and women would help to reduce the exposure of reproductive-aged women to SHS.

World Cities Culture Report 2012

August 2, 2012 Comments off

World Cities Culture Report 2012 (PDF)
Source: Mayor of London (UK)

The Mayor of London’s World Cities Culture Report 2012 is the biggest international survey of its kind. It has collected an unprecedented amount of data on the scope and impact of the cultural assets and activities that are produced and consumed in 12 major cities:
Berlin
Istanbul
Johannesburg
London
Mumbai
New York
Paris
São Paulo
Shanghai
Singapore
Sydney
Tokyo
Using 60 indicators and reports from each of the participating cities, the World Cities Culture Report 2012 shows that culture is seen as important as finance and trade and sits at the heart of public policy.

Adult Awareness of Tobacco Advertising, Promotion, and Sponsorship — 14 Countries

May 28, 2012 Comments off

Adult Awareness of Tobacco Advertising, Promotion, and Sponsorship — 14 Countries
Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (CDC)

According to the 2012 Report of the U.S. Surgeon General, exposure to tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship (TAPS) is associated with the initiation and continuation of smoking among young persons. The World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) requires countries to prohibit all forms of TAPS (2); the United States signed the agreement in 2004, but the action has not yet been ratified. Many countries have adopted partial bans covering direct advertising in traditional media channels; however, few countries have adopted comprehensive bans on all types of direct and indirect marketing. To assess progress toward elimination of TAPS and the level of awareness of TAPS among persons aged ≥15 years, CDC used data from the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) collected in 14 countries during 2008–2010. Awareness of any TAPS ranged from 12.4% in Turkey to 70.4% in the Philippines. In the four countries where awareness of TAPs was ≤15%, three of the countries had comprehensive bans covering all nine channels assessed by GATS, and the fourth country banned seven of the nine channels. In 12 countries, more persons were aware of advertising in stores than advertising via any other channel. Reducing exposure to TAPS is important to prevent initiation of tobacco use by youths and young adults and to help smokers quit.

Damaging M7.2 Earthquake in Eastern Turkey; Insured Losses $100 to $400 Million

October 28, 2011 Comments off

Damaging M7.2 Earthquake in Eastern Turkey; Insured Losses $100 to $400 Million
Source: EQECAT, Inc.

A damaging M7.2 earthquake occurred Sunday, October 23 in eastern Turkey, and has been followed by several strong aftershocks that may have exacerbated damage caused by the main shock. Hundreds of fatalities have been reported, caused mainly by building collapses.

EQECAT’s preliminary estimate of insured losses from this event is in the range of $100 to $200 million USD. Total economic damage is estimated in the low single-digit billions USD. Total economic damage is estimated at approximately one-tenth that from the 1999 M7.6 Izmit earthquake in western Turkey and 10 times the damage from the 2010 M6.1 earthquake in eastern Turkey.

The earthquake was felt throughout eastern Turkey, Armenia, and northwestern Iran, from Georgia in the north to Syria and Iraq in the south. Most of the damage occurred in Turkey.

CRS — Cyprus: Reunification Proving Elusive

August 23, 2011 Comments off

Cyprus: Reunification Proving Elusive (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via U.S. Department of State Foreign Press Center)

Attempts to resolve the Cyprus problem and reunify the island have undergone various levels of negotiation for over 45 years. Talks between Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders have thus far failed to reach a mutually agreed settlement leaving the country with a solution for unification far from being achieved and raising the specter of a possible permanent separation.

Since the beginning of 2011, Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu have continued the negotiation process even though the talks appear to have increasingly exposed differences and frustrations between the two leaders. Although both sides have intimated that some convergence of views have been achieved in the areas of governance, economy, and EU issues, Christofias and Eroglu have not found common ground on the difficult issues of property rights, security, settlers, and citizenship, areas where both sides have long-held and very different positions and where neither side seems willing to make necessary concessions.

The results of parliamentary elections held in Greek Cyprus in May appear to have had no bearing on the status of the negotiations or the likelihood of a quick agreement. In July an Interpeace initiative, “Cyprus 2015,” released a new opinion poll that seemed to indicate that the current state of negotiations had hardened the political climate on both sides and had created a sense of public discontent that included a growing ambivalence among the Turkish Cypriots and a negative drift toward reunification among undecided Greek Cypriots.

On July 7, 2011, Christofias and Eroglu traveled to Geneva to meet for a third time with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in another attempt by the UN to boost momentum for the talks. It appears that Ban insisted that the negotiations conclude by October so that an international conference could be held to discuss security issues and that referenda could be scheduled in both the north and south by the spring of 2012. The hope among some is that a reunified Cyprus can assume the rotating presidency of the EU on July 1, 2012.

In mid-July, Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, on a visit to northern Cyprus, warned that an agreement needed to be achieved by the end of 2011 or the island could remain split and stated that no territorial compromises, including the return of Varosha or Morphou to Greek Cyprus would be acceptable. He also stated that Turkey would essentially freeze its relations with the EU during the Cypriot presidency of the EU if there were no solution to the Cyprus issue because Ankara could not accept the presidency of South Cyprus which it does not recognize. These comments led Cypriot President Christofias to state that there could be no prospect for peace if this was also the position of the Turkish Cypriots.

The United States Congress continues to maintain its interest in a resolution of the Cyprus issue; the lack of a negotiated settlement continues to affect relations between Turkey and the EU, the EU and NATO, and U.S. interests in maintaining a relationship with Turkey that can be useful in addressing many of the issues involving the greater Middle East as well as throughout the Black Sea/Eastern Mediterranean region. Language expressing continued support for the negotiation process has been included in the House FY2012 Foreign Assistance Authorization bill.

This report provides a brief overview of the early history of the negotiations, a more detailed review of the negotiations since 2008, and a description of some of the issues involved in the talks. A side issue involving trade between the European Union and Turkish Cyprus is also addressed.

On Europe’s Fringes: Russia, Turkey and the European Union

July 31, 2011 Comments off

On Europe’s Fringes: Russia, Turkey and the European Union
Source: Chatham House

  • Russia and Turkey, significant powers on the fringes of the European Union, both have awkward relations with Brussels.
  • As Russia’s and Turkey’s strength becomes greater and the EU’s declines, the relationships between them will increasingly involve political as well as economic factors.
  • Turkey is economically and politically closer to Europe than Russia is, while Russia’s relationship with Europe mainly consists of a mutual energy dependency.
  • Russia’s unpredictable business environment remains a key constraint on its deeper integration with the EU. The Turkish economy faces challenges, but Turkey has a much better business environment than Russia.
  • The EU’s own economic deficiencies suggest that it needs to remain circumspect in dealing with both countries. But Turkey, in particular, should be considered more of a foreign policy partner.
  • + Full Paper (PDF)

    Railway Reform in South East Europe and Turkey: On the Right Track?

    July 17, 2011 Comments off

    Railway Reform in South East Europe and Turkey: On the Right Track?
    Source: World Bank

    The railways of South East Europe and Turkey experienced significant declines in traffic volumes in 2009. This reflected the impact of the international financial crisis unleashed in the last quarter of 2008 and its contractionary impact on the economies of the region and elsewhere. Lower traffic volumes
    translated in most cases into a serious deterioration of the financial performance of the state-owned railways. This brought home the costs of failing to implement essential reforms to improve the operational and financial performance of the sector when the economy was strong. In Romania in 2010, large-scale layoffs were announced at short notice for the state rail companies. The situation is similar for the Bulgarian state rail incumbents—they face an acute liquidity crisis, and will require additional state aid merely to keep running. The lesson of these events is clear: it is unwise to delay implementing state railway sector reforms during good economic times—because the consequences can be too severe if a financial downturn occurs before those reforms have been taken and properly implemented.

    CRS — Turkey-U.S. Defense Cooperation: Prospects and Challenges

    April 26, 2011 Comments off

    Turkey-U.S. Defense Cooperation: Prospects and Challenges (PDF)
    Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

    Congress and the Obama Administration are seeking to manage longstanding bilateral and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)-based defense cooperation with Turkey at a time when a more independent Turkish foreign policy course and changes in regional security conditions are creating new challenges for both countries. Defense cooperation rooted in shared threat perceptions from the Cold War era and built on close U.S. ties with the Turkish military leadership now must be reconciled with a decline of the military’s political influence in Turkish society and some negative turns in Turkish popular sentiment toward the United States over the past decade. At the same time, Turkey’s importance as a U.S. ally has arguably increased on issues of global significance in its surrounding region that include Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. In early 2011, Turkey’s regional role has arguably become even more prominent—exemplified by its significant involvement politically and militarily on the question of NATO’s intervention in Libya.

    How Congress and the Administration manage defense cooperation with Turkey in this evolving context is likely to have a significant bearing on U.S. national security interests, as well as on both U.S. and Turkish calculations of the mutual benefits and leverage involved in the cooperative relationship. Some officials and analysts believe that, in at least some respects, the United States needs Turkey more than Turkey needs the United States. Others counter that claims of Turkish leverage over the United States are exaggerated.

    Possible general congressional and Administration approaches to U.S.-Turkey defense cooperation (“Possible U.S. Policy Approaches”) include

    • avoiding major recharacterizations of the alliance, while emphasizing and expressing confidence that existing NATO and bilateral relationships—with their long legacies—can address mutual security challenges;

    • according high priority to the alliance and revising expectations for it by accommodating new developments within and outside of Turkey;

    • linking cooperation in some way to Turkey’s relations with certain third-party countries or non-state actors—including Iran, Israel, Hamas, Armenia, and China—or to Turkish actions on issues of U.S. national security interest; and

    • using or combining any of these approaches on a case-by-case basis.

    Specific issues that remain of significant importance for Congress (see “Specific Issues and Possible Options for Congress”), given its authority to appropriate funds, review major arms sales, consider non-binding resolutions, and provide general oversight include the following:

    Continued military access to Turkish bases and transport corridors: The ongoing availability to the United States and NATO of Turkish bases and transport corridors—which have been used heavily for military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya—is valuable and remains a possible point of contention and leverage. The extent of its importance and of alternatives may be subject to further analysis.

    Future of Turkey-Israel relations: U.S. efforts to maintain alliances with both Turkey and Israel could be made more complicated if relations between them do not improve—potentially influencing the regional security environment.

    Country Specific Information: Turkey

    April 24, 2011 Comments off

    Country Specific Information: Turkey
    Source; U.S. Department of State

    COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Many of Turkey’s regions are well-developed with a wide range of tourist facilities of all classes in the main tourist destinations. Read the Department of State Background Notes on Turkey for additional information.

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