Semih İdiz is a contributing writer for Al-Monitor’s Turkey Pulse. A journalist who has been covering diplomacy and foreign-policy issues for major Turkish newspapers for 30 years, his opinion pieces can be followed in the English-language Hurriyet Daily News. He can also be read in the newspaper Taraf. His articles have been published in The Financial Times, The Times of London, Mediterranean Quarterly and Foreign Policy magazine, and he is a frequent contributor to BBC World, VOA, NPR, Deutsche Welle, various Israeli media organizations and Al Jazeera.
Semih Idiz writes that some nationalist Turks are so uneasy with the prospect of peace with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) that they're promoting a new separatism to avoid living with Kurds in a democracy.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's apology to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has led to questions about why Turkey has yet to apologize for incidents from its own past, writes Semih Idiz.
Negotiations between Nicosia and Moscow over gas reserves off the southern Cyprus coast are being watched with concern by Ankara, which does not accept Nicosia’s claim to full sovereignty over these reserves, writes Semih Idiz.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu is getting nowhere in his bid to have the European Union lift the arms embargo on Syria, and he should realize his pursuit of a military solution there is only prolonging the conflict, writes Semih Idiz.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s remarks about Zionism provide a catalyst for analyzing whether Turks are generally insensitive toward any kind of minority rights in Turkey, writes Semih Idiz.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan faces the challenge of divided loyalties within the government and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in dealing with anti-terrorism legislation, writes Semih Idiz.
Semih Idiz writes that in his offer to talk with the Syrian government, Mouaz al-Khatib, head of the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, has presented Ankara with a choice that has ethical and moral implications.
Semih Idiz writes that while Turkey has intensified its anti-Western rhetoric to curry ties with the Arab and Islamic world, it is still invested in deepening ties with NATO and furthering its bid for EU membership.
The anticipated meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan recognized the deep economic ties between the countries, but the real focus was Syria, writes Semih Idiz.
Turkey is earning some disastrous international grades. The European Union Progress Report and the latest Committee to Protect Journalists report were too embarrassing to bring home, writes Semih Idiz. To be listed among the worl'ds worst countries when it comes to freedom of the press is a big blemish on Turkey’s reputation.
It took an American three-star general to float the idea that Syrian rebels might be responsible for shelling Turkey to draw it into the conflict, Semih Idiz reports, bemoaning Ankara's opacity with regard to Syria.
Israel’s latest offer to Ankara to restore friendly diplomatic ties is unlikely to result in a better relationship between Turkey and Israel, argues Semih Idiz. Although the two nations have common interests when it comes to Syria, the simmering resentment over the Mavi Marmara flotilla incident is unlikely to be resolved.
Turkey’s Prime Minister Recip Tayyip Erdogan might have rescued his country's dwindling role as a regional leader by negotiating with Iran over Syria, writes Semih Idiz. Turkey's plans to negotiate in separate groups with parties unwilling to sit down with each other — like Saudi Arabia and Iran — could allow Ankara to play the lead role in brokering a resolution to the Syrian crisis.
Turkey's response to Syria’s deadly shelling of its border areas was a parliamentary authorization to use military force in neighboring countries. But Semih Idiz writes that Ankara must consider the dangers of getting sucked into a war with Syria.
Turkish Prime Minister Recip Tayyip Erdogan’s speech raised some eyebrows at last weekend’s Justice and Development Party conference, with its heavily Islamist tone and its failure even to acknowledge Europe, writes Semih Idiz.
The moderate governments in Libya and Tunisia were the biggest winners in the backlash to the violent protests against the anti-Islamic video, writes Semih Idiz. Tunisia and Libya, whose responses were hailed by the West, might look to Turkey for ideas on how to govern.
Israel’s souring political situation is prompting it to reexamine broken ties with Turkey, its chief Muslim ally, writes Semid Idiz. But since Turkey has no real motivation to reestablish those relations, Israel has had to make efforts to address Turkish grievances.
Now that the dust is beginning to settle on demonstrations against an anti-Islam video made in the US, it's clear they were not representative of the majorities of Muslims where they took place, writes Seminh Idiz. The relatively small numbers of protesters suggest this, along with the cooperation of their new governments with the West.
Syria’s crisis is a broader conflict with ripples that are changing politics in every country across the Middle East. Semih Idiz contemplates the ways in which Turkey can prepare for Assad’s fall and the continued bloodletting that may follow, adding that Ankara has to turn to diplomacy, not military intervention.
Semih Idiz argues that although they previously admired Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan and his democratic gains, EU diplomats are growing concerned over Turkey’s conservative trend. Their fears are fueled by the AKP’s pressure on the media, the detainment of intellectuals, mandatory prayer rooms in kindergartens and other similar reports.
Anti-Turkish demonstrations where Turkish flags were burnt were held in Basra, Iraq recently. Meanwhile, Turkish and Israeli jets confronted each other over Cyprus. But preoccupation with domestic affairs has led the Turkish government and media to put these important issues beyond its borders on the back burner, writes Semih Idiz.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan formally announced his support for an AKP plan to transform Turkey into a presidential system in which he could run for office again. Semih Idiz on Erdogan's blatant attempt to hold on to power—and how it resembles Vladimir Putin's modus operandi.
Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the chairman of Turkey’s main opposition party, has declared that Turkey’s ruling AKP should be charged with treason. He argues it has taken controversial positions on regional issues, allowed NATO to build a missile shield in Turkey without parliamentary approval, and sold out economic interests to Russia. Interview with Semih Idiz.
Russia and China have used their vetoes to intervene on Assad’s behalf, prolonging the Syrian crisis and potentially increasing the odds of civil war. The news could not be worse for Ankara, and Turkish intervention - whether alone or alongside Western allies - can no longer be ruled out, writes Semih Idiz.
Turks cannot ignore reports that Hamas could leave Syria and open an office in Ankara, writes Semih Idiz in an opinion piece. Were this to happen, Turkey would come under pressure from its Western allies, and could be seen as fostering divisions within Palestinian ranks, he argues.
Western academics and intellectuals agree with Turkey that the French Parliament’s recent bill condeming denial of the Armenian genocide is senseless, but only because they oppose the limit it represents on freedom of opinion and expression. Turkey’s own restraints on freedom of opinion leaves it weak in a weak position to criticize France, writes Semih Idiz.
The Algerian Prime Minister warned Turkey not to use the massacres of Algerians during the Algerian war of Independence as a political tool against France, which recently passed legislation criminalizing the denial of the Armenian genocide. His statements could very well be related to Turkey’s membership in NATO, and the fact that Algeria was against NATO’s campaign in Libya, writes Semih Idiz.
Turkey was hoping that 2012 would be a year of easy economic opportunities in the Middle East, and a time to gain ‘strategic depth’ in the region. The democratic transition underway in Egypt, as well as the crises in Syria and Iraq are all issues which have altered the strategic environment in which Ankara finds itself. These issues will require its utmost attention, writes Semih Idiz.
Diplomatic efforts regarding the Syrian crisis are gaining momentum, writes Semih Idiz, pointing out that the Turkish Prime Minister’s visit to Tehran coincides with the Arab League summit in Baghdad. He is surely to meet resistance after having previously accused Tehran of supporting Bashar al-Assad, with whom Turkey has broken all ties.
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