Turkey & Iran

Turkey’s Travails: Purges Worsen Ankara’s Democracy Deficit mpc-journal.org

Turkey’s Travails: Purges Worsen Ankara’s Democracy Deficit

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan holds Fethullah Gulen, the self-exiled conservative, leader of Hizmet, one of the world’s biggest Islamic movements, responsible for last month’s attempt to overthrow his democratically elected government. Erdogan asserts that Gulen’s followers infiltrated the military, police, judiciary, bureaucracy and education system as well as the media. In response, he has arrested tens of thousands and fired a similar number of military and police officers, judiciary personnel, teachers and professors, and bureaucrats accused of being Gulen sympathisers. Erdogan’s claim is not without reason even if elements of the deep state, a cabal of ultra-nationalist politicians, officers and…
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Turkey: Who Is Fethullalh Gulen?

Believers say he preaches a new, modern form of Islam. Critics charge he is a power hungry wolf in sheep’s clothing preparing to convert secular Turkey into an Islamic republic; a conspirator who has created a state within the state and attempted this weekend to topple democratically elected Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a failed military coup.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan's frequent outbursts against Israel have earned him a hero's status in the Arab street Photo- EPA

Power in Turkey: Islamist Power Struggle Returns to the Pitch

The opening of a court case against Turkish soccer star Hakan Sukur on charges of insulting the president takes Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s autocratic ambitions back to their origins: an Islamist power struggle with exiled preacher Fethullalh Gulen that erupted five years ago on the pitch. A soccer player-turned-politician who in 2011 was elected to parliament as a representative of Mr. Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP), Mr. Sukur stands accused of asserting in February 2015 that the president was guilty of theft. Mr. Sukur, who sided with Mr. Gulen in his dispute with Mr. Erdogan, was referring to charges in…
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Iran’s Winning Ways

The Iranians, heirs to the ancient civilization of Persia which stretches back into the mists of time, have inherited both its ruthless and its subtle and devious ways of achieving its purposes. Persia was once the superpower of the ancient world, and Iran’s current repressive Islamist rulers seek again the hegemony the nation once enjoyed. Undeterred by apparent reversals of fortune, they are relentless in their pursuit of their objectives – jihad against western values in general, and the US and Israel in particular; jihad against Sunni states and peoples whom they regard as apostates against the true faith of…
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Turkey and Egypt: Battle to Control Dissent Pitches Fans Against Autocrats

Battles for control of stadiums and other public spaces in Turkey and Egypt have pitched militant soccer fans against authoritarian leaders determined to limit the supporters’ ability to challenge their authority. As a result, a struggle that comes on the back of years of confrontation in the stadiums and mass, watershed anti-government protests that in 2011 toppled Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and in 2013 rocked Turkey and reinforced President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s autocratic instincts, has moved beyond stadiums. In Egypt, general-turned-president Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi inaugurated a new office of the Interior Ministry at the Police Academy in New Cairo, east…
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Could an Anti-Iran Alliance Be a New Force for Peace?

Could an Anti-Iran Alliance Be a New Force for Peace?

Quite why or how it happened has yet to be fully determined, but the early years of the 21st century have seen the Middle East morph into a gigantic battleground.  Political and religious antagonisms, both ancient and newly conceived, have flared into armed conflict in a dozen places across the region. The ancient fault line within Islam, present from the earliest days of the faith but quiescent for long periods of time, has suddenly become one of the defining elements of the turmoil – the Sunni-Shia divide.  Saudi Arabia, with Mecca and Medina within its borders, is the flag-bearer for…
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Khamenei’s Strategic Steps to Name Iran’s Next Supreme Leader Image ©:SIPA/REX/Shutterstock mpc-journal.org

Khamenei’s Strategic Steps to Name Iran’s Next Supreme Leader

During a meeting on March 10 with the outgoing Assembly of Experts, Supreme Leader Khamenei clearly stated that it was time for the Iranian leaders to begin thinking about the transition of Iran’s top Leadership—that is, the arrival of the next Supreme Leader of Iran. He then gave advice to Iran’s elite about the professional and personal attributes of his successor and laid down the policies for the Assembly of Experts to begin working in preparation for the next Supreme Leader in case of his demise or in the event he chooses to step down from his power and install…
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Soccer fans supporting Turkey's Fenerbahçe S.K. Photo by Kızıl Şaman, Wikipedia Commons.

The Story of Hardening Fault Lines in Turkey

Turkish soccer pitches tell the story of the country’s multiple sharpening fault lines that are exploding into political violence on the streets of Turkey’s major cities as the government fuels deep-seated political and ethnic tensions. The warning signs were long visible on the pitch: increased militarism, ethnic tensions between Kurds and Turkish nationalists, and expressions of empathy with the Islamic State (IS), the jihadist group that controls chunks of Syria and Iraq and that alongside Kurds is believed to be responsible for some of the recent bombings in Istanbul, Ankara and south-eastern Turkey.

Präsident Rohani und der Regierungschef Erdogan verfolgen eine pragmatische Politik (Bild: Keystone / AP)

Iranian Role Trumps Turkish Model in the Middle East?

Since 2003, Turkey has appeared as a valuable asset for global powers to invest in and as a leading actor in a region long described as sluggish towards democratic transformations. However, with the advent of the Arab Spring, things changed and the role portrayed for Turkey by the United States has been declining, especially in light of the rise of another regional power: Iran. Inter alia, of the various elements that weakened the Turkish model was Iran’s mounting leverage in the Middle East and the Arab Spring, which delivered a blow to Turkey’s achievements as Iran was moving slowly but steadily…
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