The Good Old Days: Nostalgia’s Political Appeal

Donald Trump is gone, yet his specter continues to haunt American politics. The UK is no longer part of the European Union, yet Brexit continues to provoke emotions on both sides of the Channel. Both Trump’s victory in the 2016 presidential election and the outcome of the Brexit referendum of 2016 were driven by a range of widespread and profound emotions. One of the most prominent was nostalgia. Nostalgia has...

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Iraq’s Militias Send a Warning to Turkey

On April 14, a Turkish military base in Bashiqa, some 20 kilometers northeast of Mosul in northern Iraq, was a target of a missile strike that killed a Turkish soldier. The attack happened on the same day that an explosives-laden drone targeted Erbil International Airport in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI). The drone strike was claimed by an Iranian-backed Iraqi Shia militia, Saraya Awliya al-Dam, which is known to have...

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What Lies Behind Turkey’s Withdrawal From the Istanbul Convention?

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan issued a decree in the early hours of March 20 withdrawing Turkey from the Council of Europe treaty — dubbed the Istanbul Convention — on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. The convention sets comprehensive standards for protecting women against all forms of violence. The withdrawal prompted widespread protests from women’s groups and an uproar on social media, criticizing that it signals...

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Turkey Doubles Down on Hard Power

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 subdue regional tensions. Whether it’s unilateral US power or bilateral umbrella organizations like the European Union or NATO, a deterrent...

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Is Turkey’s Ruling Alliance on the Attack or the Defensive?

Since January 4, Istanbul’s prestigious and politically liberal Bogazici University has been gripped by student unrest. The protests were initially provoked by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s decision to appoint a member of his Justice and Development Party (AKP) as rector. The government has responded harshly, detaining students, raiding homes, criminalizing protesters and their supporters as “terrorists,” and vilifying the university and its students as deviants from the “nation’s true...

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Washington’s Sanctions on Turkey Are Another Gift to Putin

The latest sanctions against Turkey introduced by Washington on December 13 were invoked under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, a US federal law that imposes economic sanctions on Iran, Russia and North Korea. The act came into effect in August 2017. This is the first time it has been used against an ally and, what makes it even more remarkable, an ally who is also a NATO member....

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Turkey Must Be Held Accountable for Its Abuse of Syria’s Yazidis

An August report by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on the Turkish occupation of northern Syria did not mince words, testifying that there has been a dramatic increase in killings, kidnappings, unlawful transfers of people and seizures of land and properties by the Turkish military and its local Syrian allies. Yet while all segments of northern Syrian society are suffering under Turkish occupation, it is the Yazidis who are...

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