Nathaniel Handy

Nathaniel Handy is a writer and academic with over ten years of experience in international print and broadcast media. He is the author of the chapter “Turkey’s Evolving Relations with the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) of Iraq since the Arab Spring” in Turkey’s Relations with the Middle East: Political Encounters after the Arab Spring (Isiksal & Goksel, Springer, 2018); the article “Turkey's Shifting Relations with its Middle East Neighbors During the Davutoglu Era: History, Power and Policy” (Bilgi Dergisi Journal, 2011); and he presented a paper at the British Society of Middle Eastern Studies (BRISMES) annual conference in 2014 on Turkish relations with the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq. He holds an MA in Middle East Studies from the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter.

The War on Terror Was Never Turkey’s Fight

September 09, 2021

Do you know where you were on August 14, 2001? Perhaps not, since it isn’t a defining day in world history in quite the same way as September 11, 2001, or 9/11, as it’s become known. Yet in the Turkish political landscape, August 14, 2001, can now be seen as...

Why Headscarves Matter So Much to Turkey

July 30, 2021

Many news outlets carried stories in mid-July of the Turkish government’s condemnation of a ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) upholding a ban on headscarves in certain circumstances, in which an employer wishes to convey a “neutral image.” In doing so, it is weighing into the culture wars...

Turkey Doubles Down on Hard Power

March 30, 2021

A few years ago, the very notion of Turkish foreign military interventions would have seemed extraordinary. The Turkish republic has been, for most of its history, determinedly introspective. Until the 20th century, it was largely disengaged from its immediate neighborhood, favoring ties with the West. Great power architecture tends to...

What Would a Biden Victory Spell for US-Turkish Relations?

October 19, 2020

In an interview for a new book from Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward, US President Donald Trump says: “I get along very well with Erdogan, even though you’re not supposed to because everyone says, ‘What a horrible guy.’” A lot is revealed in that statement. The key lies in the...

The Tangled Maps of Greece and Turkey

September 07, 2020

A person sitting at a café in the small town of Kaş, on Turkey’s southern coast, where the Taurus Mountains drop precipitously into the Mediterranean, would look out upon a blue bay and a small island. If they asked the waiter, he would tell them that the island — almost...

Turkey Takes on the UAE in Palestine

August 25, 2020

The news that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is considering suspending ties with the UAE over its deal to recognize Israel reinforces the battle lines of the Middle East. The announcement nevertheless comes as little surprise. The Palestinian cause seems destined to be eternally used by others as an instrument...

Why Making Hagia Sophia a Mosque Again Is Good News

July 14, 2020

The reaction to the decision by Turkish authorities to turn Hagia Sophia from a museum back into a mosque has been illuminating. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is accused of playing religious politics. If so, he is not alone. When Pope Francis describes himself as “pained” by the news and...

Turkey Secures a Reprieve in Libya

June 09, 2020

The announcement on June 4 that forces of Libya’s UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) had regained full control of the capital, Tripoli, could be viewed as an apparent victory for Turkish foreign policy in the eastern Mediterranean. Renegade General Khalifa Haftar is in retreat, Russia’s Wagner Group mercenaries are...

In an Era of Strongman Politics, Turkey Is Hard to Call

April 15, 2020

We are told we live in an era of strongmen. The narrative also runs that these strongmen stick together. From the cozy relationship between China and Russia at the UN Security Council — led by Presidents Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin — to the mutual support of the likes of...

Turkey Joins the Scramble for the Middle East

February 19, 2020

There was a time, not so long ago, when the idea of Turkish troops placing their boots on non-Turkish soil was almost unthinkable. Turkey might bomb Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) positions in Iraq, Turkish aircraft might skirmish occasionally with Greek counterparts, but no one got their boots muddy. All that...

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