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.
By Bashir M. Nafi'
On Sunday, 19 May 2010, the Turkish city, Istanbul, hosted a Tripartite Summit which brought together Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Syrian President Bashar al-Asad and Qatar's ruler, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani. Before convening the summit, Mr. Erdogan held separate meetings with both Arab leaders. The holding of the summit came after a short period of planning and preparations of only a few weeks. According to some media sources, several regional issues - including Iran's nuclear ambitions and the situation in Iraq - were addressed at the summit. The brief final statement was articulated in what has come to be known as the "Istanbul Agreement", which expressed support for the Iraqi people's right to decide their political choices in their national election. The statement also expressed the support of both al-Asad and al-Thani for the Turkish stance regarding Iran's nuclear program.
By Afro-Middle East Centre
The protests in more than sixty cities in Turkey over the past weeks signal growing discontent with various government policies and with the prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The protests have morphed into something quite different from the initial protests, which began as an environmentalist and antineoliberal protest against the construction of new buildings in Taksim Square’s Gezi Park. Turkey's economic success in the last decade has resulted in sweeping urban development throughout the country, especially in Istanbul and Ankara, giving rise to a substantial countermovement of civil society groups, opposing what they regard as state support of business interests over people’s interests.
By Afro-Middle East Centre
On Wednesday 13 March, the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) freed eight Turkish soldiers and civil servants as part of the ongoing peace process with the Turkish government. Since the government announced that it was holding negotiations with imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan in December 2012, there have been hopes for an end to the three decades of PKK insurgency that has cost 40 000 lives and the beginning of the end to the discrimination faced by Turkey’s Kurds. Although this peace initiative, dubbed the ‘Imrali Process’ after the island where Öcalan is serving a life