Libya’da Seçimlere kadar Yönetecek Geçici Konsey Seçildi

Libya’da taraflar arasında anlaşma sağlandı ve seçimlere kadar yönetecek geçici konsey belirlendi.
Birleşmiş Milletlerin girişimi ile İsviçre’de toplanan Libya Siyasi Diyalog Forumu (LSDF) üyeleri
yaptıkları seçimle Başkanlık Konseyi Başkanlığına Muhammed Menfi’yi ve Başbakanlığa da
Abdulhamid Dibeybe’yi getirmiştir.
Libya Siyasi Diyalog Forumu, 11 Haziran 2015 tarihinde 22 katılımcı ile BM öncülüğünde Fas’ta
toplanarak hazırlık döneminde yol haritası belirlemek için oluşturuldu. Bunlar özetle;
– İlk aşamada, Milli Mutabakat Hükümeti ile Tobruk’ta bulunan Temsilciler Meclisi arasında
diyalogu başlatmak ve İki kutuplu çatışmayı önlemek,
– Sonrasında Merkezi hükümetin kurulması ve anayasanın hazırlanması için yol haritası
– Geçiş dönemini takip eden 60 gündeyse Merkez Bankası, Denetleme Kurulu, Yolsuzlıkla
Mücadele Kurumu, Yüksek Seçim Kurulu, Anayasa Mahkemesi gibi bağımsız devlet
kurumlarının tesisi öngörülmektedir.

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Power in Middle East

The Middle East is a transcontinental region in Afro-Eurasia which generally includes
Western Asia, all of Egypt, and Turkey. Also, its importance comes from not only being
transcontinental but also having an energy source of oil. This situation results in a want to
have an active role in Middle East states which are there as well as external ones. Because of
that, there are always either conflicts or wars in that region. Many powerful states which are
the USA, Russia, China, etc get a goal that is being the leader and effective power in the
Middle East.
Iraq, which got rid of the British mandate in the 1930s, went through turbulent times in
domestic politics. In addition to riots and assassination attempts against those who happened,
social life was also not very regular. By the end of the 1970s, the Ba’ath Party and Saddam
Hussein wanted to be active in foreign policy as well as being active in domestic politics.
Accordingly, when the Iranian leader wanted to bring down Saddam by addressing the Shiites,
a war was fought with Iran in 1980-89. It is difficult to say that the winner is the result. In
addition, Kuwait was occupied in 1990 to dominate the Persian Gulf and gain oil and
leadership. With these situations, they have a say in the Middle East. However, the USA
invaded Iraq in 2003 due to both the September 11 events and the occupation of Kuwait. This
occupation lasted until 2011, and then the Arab Spring began. All of these prevented Iraq’s
internal gathering and regulation. With the emergence of the terrorist organization DAESH,
the leadership goal fell through.
We can see Egypt as the most developed state of the Middle East and the Arab world.
Between the years 1952-67, it was the most powerful country with the policies of Cemal
Abdül Nasır. He also rejected the Baghdad Pact against the Soviets in the bipolar system of
the Cold War and told the Arabs to stay away. In addition to these, he nationalized Suez in
1956 and made his country the leader of the Middle East. However, during the reign of his
successor Enver Sadat, he lost prestige in the Arab world with the peace made with Israel.
During the period of Hosni Mubarak, steps to rise to leadership were not taken, and internal
problems arose with the coup of Abdulfettah Sisi. The only advantage is that it can continue to
be the second most aid from the US.
Iran made a revolution with Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979 and opposition to both the USA
and the West was initiated. Progress was made with the motto “neither East nor West only
Islam”. Its goals include establishing a Shia crescent through Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. In

addition, it is aimed to be the dominant power in the Gulf region without accepting foreign
intervention. Accordingly, the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003 has come
to Iran’s interest. Besides, with the 2010 Arab Spring, with the outbreak of civil war in Syria
and the internal turmoil in Egypt, Iran did not rival regional empowerment. It also increased
its influence in Yemen, Syria, and Iraq. With the emphasis on nuclear studies, we can see that
Iran is now an important power in the region.
Saudi Arabia is trying to lead with the Sunnite sect. This situation puts Iranian Shiites

against each other. Consequently, proxy wars broke out in Yemen after the Arab Spring. Non-
state groups and sects clashed. It is difficult to say a clear result. Besides, the destabilization

of Iraq and the coup in Egypt gave Saudi Arabia a chance for regional leadership. In the
leadership of the region, a status quo approach was followed and a theocratic ground was
formed. In addition, the fact that the center of the Gulf Cooperation Council, which was
established in 1981, is Riyadh has given Saudi Arabia a positive effect. Also, relations with
the USA are very good.
Founded in 1948, Israel recently decided to abandon its hostility towards Arabs and become
collaborators with them. The biggest factor in this matter is the desire of countries to come
together against the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear studies and policies in general. The first
rapprochement was with Egypt and Jordan, and agreements were signed with Bahrain and the
United Arab Emirates about two weeks ago. Moreover, the USA is Israel’s biggest supporter.
In addition to all of these, Israel has a goal of becoming an effective power in the region
rather than being a regional leader. For this, both military and political steps are taken.
As a result, in the Middle East region, there are many countries which are Syria, Iraq,
Qatar, Cyprus, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, Iran, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates,
Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Yemen, Egypt, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tunisia, Algeria, Libya,
Sudan, Morocco; but in that writing, we examined five important countries which are Iraq,
Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Israel which have a goal of being the leader or effective power
in the Middle East. The relations they establish with each other and with countries outside the
region, their policies towards the region, their threat perceptions, and their relations shaped by
their allies serve to be the regional leader determined as a target by Middle Eastern countries.
Besides, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Iran are the states that have taken the lead in the region, but
it is very difficult to emerge a “full” leader due to the USA, Russia, and China’s influence in
the region.

This article is written by Buse Bakkaloğlu


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Idlıb crisis

The Civil War, which started with the increasing opposition to the regime in Syria in 2011,
continues today. Turkey is bordered by Syria and Turkey to remain silent in this war because
it was impossible. Although the first year of the war in Turkey’s foreign policy ;zero
problems with neighbors policy was not to interfere with armed.
Referring to a brief mention of Turkey’s bid to join the battle this process can be divided into
two periods; 2011-2016 and 2016 – present. The importance of Turkey for the first time in
2016 is due to the hard power driven into war. Operation Euphrates Shield, carried out with
the Free Syrian Army, was successful.
Later, in order to ensure the trust and stability in the region, he carried out operations called
‘Operation Olive Branch; in Afrin. Finally, Operation Peace Spring was organized in order to
eliminate the PKK and YPG threat in the region.
Determine which policy interventions that Turkey made the pursuit of the war; humanitarian
intervention, the fall of the Assad Regime and the prevention of terrorist groups. Turkey
towards these goals, primarily more moderate approach by not making armed intervention
against Assad. But under threat in the region and increase the security of Turkey’s confusion
insofar later used hard power with a realistic approach.
In this process, Turkey has made conciliatory initiatives. The most important one is Astana
Process which aim to find solution in Syria. For this, Turkey has made negotiations between
Iran and Russia.
These negotiations were not enough to stop the conflict in the region and the conflicts
in Idlib have increased more and more. The two opposing forces continue to struggle to be
effective and dominate in this region. Turkey’s first goal is to stop the advance of opposing
the regime. To dominate another power causes to lose the power of Turkey in the region.
Second, ensure the safety of people in the region and Turkey’s most important
objectives is, as I mentioned above, as well as ensure the security of their region. Therefore, it
argues that there should be a political solution. For this to happen, the status quo in Idlib must
be preserved until a solution is produced.

In 2020, Assad regime supporters did not stop using force. Turkey to use hard power
on it and decided to intervene militarily. Turkey was the first decision to attack Iranian forces,
Other powers Astana trio which is Russia, did not intervene as a mediator in this situation and
increase tensions. Turkey is highly likely to militarily retaliate to sustain the current status
quo. To the extent that this deterrence works, Idlib may interestingly evolve into a frozen
conflict, which can further complicate the political process. Turkey also decided to maintain
the presence of the military until a solution is found. It creates a frozen conflict environment
in this region at the moment. We will see in future moves whether this environment will reach
a solution or not.

This article is written by Esma Kaya

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Lebanon Needs a New Start


Lebanon is mired in its most serious crisis since the 1975-90 civil war, and the recent explosion in Beirut is just the tip of the iceberg. Any hope the country might have of rising from its ashes will lie, as in Tunisia, in allowing local voices to ring loud and dynamic social movements to develop from the bottom up.

MADRID – “The intellectual capital of the Arab East” and “the ideal place for maximum flowering and pluralism” is how the writer Amin Maalouf, one of Beirut’s most celebrated sons, has described the city as it was in the 1960s. In his latest work, The Shipwreck of Civilizations, Maalouf charts the decline of that vibrant and resplendent Lebanon after it was razed by the same sectarianism that robbed so many countries in the Middle East of a promising future.
At the beginning of August, much of the Lebanese capital was literally razed by a huge explosion at its port. All indications suggest that the tragedy was the result of repeated negligence directly linked to the country’s political sclerosis. On the eve of the disaster, the Lebanese foreign minister had resigned, warning that narrow party interests threatened to turn Lebanon into a failed state.

The explosion in Beirut is just the tip of the iceberg. Lebanon was already experiencing a deep economic and financial crisis that prompted a wave of protests last October against political deadlock, systemic corruption, and the continued interference of foreign powers. Since then, things have gone from bad to worse.

The United Nations World Food Program estimates that the price of food in Lebanon rose by 109% between October 2019 and June 2020. To this must be added the effects of COVID-19, which have been aggravated by the chaos resulting from the explosion. Moreover, this troubled country has the highest number of refugees per capita in the world: today, displaced Syrians make up 30% of the population.

Lebanon is mired in its most serious crisis since the 1975-90 civil war, although in fact the country has never succeeded in closing the door on that bloody chapter. Its recent trajectory represents a paradigmatic case of what the British academic Mary Kaldor calls “new wars.” In this type of conflict, opposing factions seek to encourage extremist identities and perpetuate hostilities, because doing so gives them free rein to pursue extractive policies.

Furthermore, factional leaders tend to use peace agreements to consolidate their positions of power and patronage networks, as was the case with the 1989 Taif Agreement that ended Lebanon’s civil war. This pact slightly modified the confessional quota system that has prevailed in the country’s public bodies since independence, hindering effective governance and the construction of a national identity.

As Kaldor points out, peace agreements often don’t even end the violence. The emergence of the Shia Islamist group Hezbollah during Lebanon’s post-civil-war period attests to that. The group, which many countries classify as a terrorist organization, has used Iranian and Syrian support to establish what has come to be regarded as a state within a state. On August 18, a United Nations-backed special tribunal found a member of Hezbollah guilty of involvement in the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in a truck bombing that also claimed the lives of 21 other people. Hezbollah’s leadership, however, was exonerated.

In short, Lebanon has been adrift for many years, and the international community simply cannot look the other way. Let us not forget that the predecessor of the current Lebanese state was conceived precisely a century ago by the victorious powers of World War I, following the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire. The League of Nations placed Lebanon under a French mandate that lasted until 1943, and France maintains close relations with the country.

French President Emmanuel Macron visited Beirut two days after the explosion and subsequently hosted a UN-backed virtual donor conference, emphasizing that France and other world powers have an obligation to provide emergency aid to Lebanon immediately. The European Union has done this quickly and generously.

But the West, in particular, has a broader historic responsibility that includes encouraging effective governance systems in Lebanon and the rest of the region. All too often, however, it has not been equal to this task, resorting to interventionist excesses and paternalistic attitudes in its desire to assert control.

The case of Libya, for example, shows how Western arrogance in backing regime change without viable reconstruction plans can contribute to state failure. Above all, any policy initiative undertaken on humanitarian grounds should respect a basic maxim of medicine: primum non nocere – “first, do no harm.”

This article is taken from

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Introduction and Question: Our topic now is the Middle East, a general perspective and perspectives for the near future. The speaker will be Prof. Meliha Altunışık. Head of the International Relations Department of the Middle East Technical University. My first question goes to her: There are quite a number of developments, some which are chronic and some of which flare up from time to time. I would like to refer basically to two questions. One of them is Iraq. Second is Lebanon

The Most Complex Problem – Iraq

MELİHA ALTUNIŞIK – Let us start with Iraq first. It is the most complex problem, I think, in the Middle East, albeit it is relatively new compared to, for instance, the Palestinian issue. In Iraq there are various issues and some of them are quite important for Turkey. Of course one issue is the issue of security. The security issue has not been resolved and it is going worse and worse. Related to that there is the issue of Shiite-Sunni conflict,, a civil war between the two sects which also is a detrimental factor in the regional politics as well, considering the relations between Shiites and Sunnis from different countries, particularly in the Gulf. There is the issue of political process and there are serious problems with that. What happens is that the whole political context is very much defined in terms of identities, religious identities and ethnic identities. So the political context was framed in that way. Therefore, politics is the politics of identities. This has been very detrimental. What happens is that all these communities are defining their interests in very exclusive terms and there is no win-win situation but there is zero sum game! My gain is the other’s loss. There is no ground for compromise. We have seen this in many issues, for instance the debate about federalism, the debate about Kirkuk issue, the faith of Kirkuk. The Kurds of Iraq have a very exclusivist position there. Similarly, we have seen this in the discussions of the Natural Resources Law. The communities there, unfortunately, because of how the politics are organized, they are adopting these very uncompromising positions. This is also very detrimental for Iraq and unfortunately there are not any external powers who could use their leverage to force them, force these communities to reach a compromise on the issues. When you look at the international community, the EU does not have any leverage on Iraq, the US is still the most important actor but it is not using the leverage that it has over the parties. So, in all these political issues we also have a deadlock. This is another problem. And in terms of the political process, there is the exclusion of the Sunnis from the political process and this is quite probable. There is the issue of what will happen to US presence. There is increasing expectation that the US is preparing to leave, at least parts of Iraq. Presidential election season is starting in the US. There are pressures on the US administration. We have seen what happened in the Congressional elections. Iraq was one of the issues. When US will withdraw and how it will withdraw, what will this mean in terms of security and stability in Iraq and the political situation in Iraq and even the territorial integrity of Iraq? These are all the questions out there. Similarly you have the problem of intervention of outside powers, particularly Iran has a tremendous influence in the Iraqi scene and this is creating further problems for Iraq. So the situation is very complex, still very volatile. It is hard for me to see that these conflicts will be resolved any time soon. I think, as Turkey we have to prepare ourselves to live with Iraq that is in turmoil in the coming decade or so. That is what we should expect.

Presence of PKK

Question – Of course, some of these developments in Iraq, particularly the presence of PKK in the Northern region and the possibility of the establishment of an independent Kurdish state with its implications on Turkey, Iran and partly Syria forces Turkey to adopt a certain political stand on the issue. What do you think will be the outcome? If these PKK attacks keep continuing on Turkey, could Turkey indefinitely stay put without doing anything to what is happening in Northern Iraq? What do you think?

MELİHA ALTUNIŞIK – You are very right. Actually there are problems for Turkey since 1991, these are not new and Turkey has been trying to deal with these problems by using different tools since 1991. Of course there is the presence of PKK and this gives PKK enormous powers, logistical power in terms of armaments and things like that and training. This has implications for Turkey. Plus the possibility of a Kurdish state is considered as a development that will have implications for Turkey. The attitudes of Kurdish leaders are problematic as well, particularly Barzani. I find it quite unhealthy that Barzani is trying to build a Kurdish nationalism based on Turkish hostility. He is making the Turks as the “other” in trying to build a Kurdish identity which is very dangerous. This may bring him points domestically and he is playing to his domestic audience as well vis-à-vis Talabani in trying to show himself more nationalistic, to oppose the Turks and Turkey, etc. But this is, in the long run, very detrimental for them as well. After all, we are neighbours and we have to learn to live with each other. I think this is not a wise policy. So, this policy also exacerbates the reactions in Turkey, particularly in a year like 2007 when the elections will be held. This affects nationalism in Turkey as well. So, it is not a wise policy on their side as well. Whether there can be a possibility of intervention? Even before this was not being discussed, I always thought that there could be a possibility. People talked about the EU impact and other things, economic consequences, etc. They are fine. But this issue is very important for Turkey as well. If the PKK attacks continue to accelerate, as particularly like the ones we had in Ankara, for instance, and we have learned that similar attacks were stopped in Istanbul and Adana, for instance, if these continue to accelerate there would be a lot of pressure on the policy makers as well to take drastic measures and so I would not rule out completely this possibility of such an intervention. Although what type of intervention is something that can change, some kind of intervention is a possibility, if these attacks continue. That would have negative consequences for Turkey as well, unfortunately. So, I hope that it would be avoided. But I think the US should see this and should effectively work on these issues. There is this perception in Turkey that somehow the US is not doing enough on these issues. It is not just for Turkey but for stability in this region, too, the US should use its leverage on the Kurdish groups as well and to take effective and real measures in dealing with these problems.

How to Balance Turkey’s Interests and Relations with Allies

Question – Well, of course, you are absolutely right. But what seems to happen is that, Mr. Barzani is being met in Washington in the White House as President of Kurdistan and all that, I believe that US has certain contribution to the creation of a so called Kurdistan concept. Also former British imperial policy of creating a Kurdish State in the region and European assistance to PKK, which is already documented, that casts Turkey in a very difficult position. On one side it has its own allies, on the other side its own interests. So, there is a conflict of interest arising. Wouldn’t you think that it may effect Turkey’s relations with the West in general, as well?

MELİHA ALTUNIŞIK – Definitely. Especially the issues related with Iraq and within that context the Kurdish issue has been affecting Turkey-US relations in particular, since 1991, not only today, despite the fact that in 1990’s we talked about a strategic partnership with the US. But Iraq issue is eroding Turkish-US relations, eroding the trust between the two longstanding allies, even then. This has accelerated in recent years. I believe that the US officials should understand that , why is there anti-Americanism in Turkey, what is happening in Turkey? This is the main reason. Iraq issue is the crux of the problem for Turkey and Turkey feels that the US does not think that way. Somehow, Iraqi Kurds, US’s allies now because it is the only stable region in Iraq and the US does not want to affect its relations with these groups but, never the less, Turkey is a very important country. And Turkey’s importance goes beyond the Middle East. It is not just the Middle East. I was just talking with some American experts the other day. They were asking me, what is this strategic significance of Turkey to the US? I said, I can tell you about the importance of Turkey. But Turkey has a strategic importance which goes beyond that region. We have to realize today that that there is some sole searching within the Muslim World. There is real competition for leadership. What direction the Muslim World should take? Iran clearly represents one model there. Look at Ahmedinejad. Iran today is no longer a Gulf power, also a Mediterranean power via Lebanon. We will talk about that country later. Iran is trying to be the leader of the Muslin World. Ahmedinejad talks in Indonesia, in Malaysia, talking in those terms, “we and them”. Turkey here represents something else. Turkey represents, “You can be Muslim but secular at the same time. You can be Muslim and democratic at the same time. You can be Muslim and be part of the Western institutions at the same time.” This is the most strategic thing you can get, in this day and age.

Secularity is the Key for Modernity

Question – We have shifted a little from Iraq. But it is very important. I think that there is a misconception that there can be a “mild Islam” in Turkey, that there can be a “mild Islam” in Jordan, there can be a “mild Islam” here and there. And it does not matter whether mild Islam produces anything for the people. But mild Islam and human rights, equality of genders, democracy and rule of law can only be achieved in an Islamic country if there is secularity. Secularism is the key for modernity, key for economic development, key to social development. I believe we have to explain a lot on this subject to our Western friends. Because they think that mild Islam is something that is granted because when one person is Moslem the whole national system is considered as a Moslem entity. However, this Moslem entity can be mild or violent. This Moslem entity cannot be a static entity but it may develop in mild or violent directions, The religion is personal affair in Turkey and that is the model. I think that model if it is thoroughly understood by our Western friends we may teach them something. Let us go back what you were saying about Lebanon and Syria. Of course, Syria is smarting because it was forced to get out of Lebanon and Syria is considered as an ally of Iran. They are both considered as rogue states by the US. But we are in the region. So what is our perception for Syria, Lebanon and to a certain extent for Iran?

How About Syria and Lebanon?

MELİHA ALTUNIŞIK – Well in terms of Syria, Turkey-Syrian relations have developed quite well, especially since 1998 when we had the crisis over the return Ocalan and then we signed the Adana Agreement, and after 2003 they got much better, I think Turkey basically argues that we have to engage Syria. I think that is a smart policy. It is a smart policy in the sense that this engagement by help in creating a rift in Syria Iranian alliance. This alliance is very detrimental for the region as a whole because of the crisis in Lebanon this alliance assumes a destructive importance. So if this Syrian,-Iranian alliance can be brought to an end this would also have repercussions for the Palestinian conflict and for Lebanon. I think Syria by trying to start the peace process with Israel etc. and by opening up to Turkey has given the signals that it is ready to cooperate. I think that is some thing that should be tried. The other thing is that in terms of Lebanon of course Syria feels cornered therefore tries to create difficulties for US in Iraq and Lebanon, and in that it cooperates with Iran. Both of these states are considered rogue states and are targeted accordingly. It is a classical power game. So I think there are possibilities for engaging Syria in regional politics, like in the case 1990s. In Lebanon of course there are various dynamics that are going on. Actually in the North, around Tripoli we have been noticing that there are some increasing Sunni radicalization for some time now. Generally when Lebanon is considered, there is a lot of emphasis on Hizbullah which is a Shiite radical movement. These last events are related to Sunni radicalization around Tripoli. There are also speculations about Syrian involvement and that may be the case. Because it makes sense in terms of balance of power in the region. There are various conflicts in Lebanon; some of them are of domestic nature that makes Lebanon a very interesting place. There is a contractual system but it is based on the balance of confessional percentages. Therefore, there is a constant struggle in Lebanon in terms of economic and political power sharing. All these groups are vying for the bigger part of the cake, if I may say so. In reality Lebanon has historically been an arena of competition among regional powers as well. So there are two levels of conflict and external powers have also tried to settle their accounts in Lebanon. The same thin g is also happening today. Your have on the one hand US and Israel and on the other Iran and Syria, are trying to settle their scores in Lebanon. Actually Lebanese actors are only a part of this struggle. Hizbullah’s struggle last summer was clearly in these terms, not just a war Lebanon but also one for the region for the direction the region would take: whether it would turn into a US made regional order or would it go the other way. And similarly where would Lebanon stand in this. Would Lebanon be in the US axis or in the Iran-Syria axis? Therefore Lebanon may be considered as laboratory of the region. Domestic issues may be easier to settle but unless the regional issues remain unsettled we will not have peace in Lebanon. In other words if you cannot break the alliance between Syria and Iran there will not no peace in Lebanon unless Arab-Israeli conflict especially between Syria and Israel are settled there will be no peace in Lebanon. This is why question of peace in Lebanon is quite complex and hard to achieve.

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