By Afro-Middle East Centre
Turkey is preparing for the first round of its historic presidential election scheduled for 10 August. The election will be the first time to elect the country’s president through a popular vote rather than by parliament, as has been the case since a legislative amendment in 2007. Previously a single seven-year term of office, the next president’s term will be five years, followed by a possible second term.
By AlJazeera Centre for Studies
It is not an exaggeration that domestic Turkish politics has been experiencing an ongoing crisis since the 1960 military coup, which resulted in the overthrow of the long-standing Menderes government and condemned the head of state to the gallows. In the five decades since the coup d’état, Turkey has witnessed two direct military interventions and three indirect interventions; this is apart from countless covert interventions.
By Juan Cole
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said last week in Toronto that, in the wake of the G20 conference, Turkey will no longer routinely give Israeli military aircraft permission to fly in Turkish airspace. The announcement came as Turkey forbade an Israeli military air-plane (taking officers on a visit to the sites of Nazi death camps for Jews in Poland) to fly over its territory. The Turkish press denies that the destination of the plane influenced the decision. Future Israeli military overflight permission will be granted on an ad hoc basis.
From the Guardian: 'Israel's Ynet news website reported that other military flights had also been quietly cancelled. "Turkey is continuing to downgrade its relations with Israel," an unnamed official told Ynet. "This is a long-term process and not something that began just after the flotilla incident. We are very concerned." '
By International Crisis Group
Istanbul/Brussels: Turkey's sometimes controversial new Middle East activism is an asset to the EU and U.S., and attractive in the region, but only if Ankara pursues its long-standing integration with the West.
Turkey and the Middle East: Ambitions and Constraints, the latest International Crisis Group report, assesses the country's growing regional engagement within the broader frame of its foreign and trade policy. In the past several years, Ankara has launched multiple initiatives aimed at stabilising the Middle East by facilitating efforts to reduce conflicts and engaging in multilateral regional platforms.