A fresh wave of Turkish tanks rolled into Syria yesterday, in an effort to both fight the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL) and to keep Kurdish forces in check. Concerns about the Syrian YPG – a primarily Kurdish military force operating in northern Syria and viewed by ...

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden’s trip to Turkey on Wednesday marked the first time a senior White House official has called on the country’s president following last month’s failed coup.  Biden’s visit to Ankara was the Obama administration’s attempt at mending fences with a key partner in the fight against ...

Following Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s meeting this week in Russia, NATO issued a strong statement making clear it views Turkey as a “valued ally” whose membership is “not in question.” One day after Tuesday’s meeting in St. Petersburg — where the two leaders highlighted efforts ...

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin met on Tuesday in St. Petersburg, highlighting efforts to renew their strained relationship and indicating a joint effort to find common ground in the Syrian crisis is in the cards. The meeting — Erdogan’s first foreign visit following the failed July ...

The region often referred to as Kurdistan, split between four areas in Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria, has long played a role as a conflicted buffer zone between larger states. Within these countries, the Kurdish people have, according to Akin Unver, a professor at Kadir Has University and Cipher Brief ...

The systemic and historical structure of Turkish-Iranian competition over Kurdish geography is one of the oldest geostrategic riddles of the Middle East. Through its long history, the Kurdish lebensraum, which roughly corresponds to the Taurus-Zagros mountain corridor, has separated the Anatolian, Persian, and Mesopotamian plains and, in doing so, has ...

One week after the failed military coup took place in Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has taken significant steps to consolidate his power, firing thousands of government employees from many different sectors. To better understand Erdogan’s actions and how they are viewed by the Turkish public, The Cipher Brief’s Fritz ...

In a conversation with The Cipher Brief, Soner Cagaptay, the Director of the Turkish Research Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, says he finds it “incredibly worrisome” that the failed military coup in Turkey could be the beginning of civil strife in that nation. The Cipher Brief: ...

Now that the dust has settled over last Friday’s failed military coup attempt in Turkey, we are beginning to witness the full extent of that failure. With Istanbul and Ankara back firmly in his grasp, the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan – nominally led by Prime Minister Binali Yildirim ...

The attempted military coup in Turkey over the weekend may have been unsuccessful, but it raises questions about the stability of democracy in Turkey and the future of crucial Turkish military support for the campaign against the Islamic State (ISIS). The Cipher Brief had the opportunity to sit down with ...

On June 27, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that Turkey would be normalizing relations with Israel and Russia. This 180-degree policy shift came after his outreach to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, two countries with which Ankara has squabbled over the Arab Spring and the Muslim Brotherhood. Now ...

Once defined by the catchphrase “Zero Problems with Neighbors,” the foreign policy of current Turkish President—and former Prime Minister—Recep Tayipp Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) used to be a model for measured neutrality in regional affairs. But that model began to crack in the lead up to ...

The three suicide bombers who carried out Tuesday’s deadly attack at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport have been identified by a Turkish official as citizens of Russia, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan, according to press reports. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack that killed at least 44 people and wounded hundreds more, ...

Turkey’s tourism industry had been in trouble before Tuesday’s deadly terrorist attack — and with the targeting of Istanbul’s international airport, analysts say the impact on the industry will resonate far beyond this week. Tourism experts and Cipher Brief network contributors Dr. Yeganeh Morakabati and Dr. John Fletcher of Bournemouth ...

Tuesday evening’s terrorist attack at the Ataturk Airport in Istanbul may have severe implications for Turkey moving forward. Although there have yet to be claims of responsibility and questions still remain unanswered, many, including Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, have pointed their fingers towards ISIS as the culprit for Tuesday’s ...

The Cipher Brief spoke with Soner Cagaptay, Director of the Turkish Research Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, to discuss the dramatic implications of Tuesday’s terrorist attack at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport. The Cipher Brief: How could Tuesday’s attack on Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul impact Turkey’s security ...

The coordinated terrorist attack at the international airport in Istanbul on Tuesday is the latest in a rash of deadly attacks that have struck Turkey in the past 18 months. The Cipher Brief spoke with Aykan Erdemir, Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a former member ...

Terrorists killed at least 41 people and wounded hundreds more in a deadly attack on Istanbul’s Ataturk International Airport Tuesday evening. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the coordinated terrorist attack at the third-largest airport in Europe. Three attackers arrived at the airport by taxi and began shooting, officials ...

Terrorists killed at least 41 people and wounded hundreds more in a deadly attack on Istanbul’s Ataturk International Airport Tuesday evening. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the coordinated terrorist attack at the third-largest airport in Europe. Three attackers arrived at the airport by taxi and began shooting, officials ...

In this season of dramatic strategic surprises in the Middle East, seemingly almost anything is possible: Russia’s successful military re-entry into the region, America’s near abandonment of a 40-year commitment to that region under President Obama, the rise of an Islamic terrorist state, and a possible regional Sunni-Shia confrontation. In such a fluid ...

As Turkey continues to face a deteriorating security environment, The Cipher Brief sat down with Aykan Erdemir, a former member of the Turkish parliament and a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, to discuss Turkey’s political direction. According to Erdemir, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has taken ...

In the late 1970s, Turkey experienced a convulsion of political violence between leftist and rightist factions that killed almost five thousand people by the time the military pushed out the government in a September 1980 coup d’état. The respite from violence was relatively brief, however. Since the mid-1980s, the terrorists ...

The recent wave of violence in Turkey can be grouped into three categories. The first is the operations led by Turkish security forces in parts of eastern and southeastern Turkey to clear neighborhoods of their PKK (The Kurdistan Worker’s Party) presence. This strategy emerged as a response to the second ...

In light of the ongoing military coup attempt in Istanbul, here is The Cipher Brief's recent feature explaining the myriad problems facing Turkey.  We will bring you more analysis on the situation as the story develops. Facing an intensifying cycle of violence, a president seeking to consolidate power, and a ...

Russia is playing a game of Bismarckian realpolitik in the Middle East – political maneuvering based on current conditions, rather than on ideological premises, that uses the exertion of power to gain benefits for one’s country. Russian President Vladimir Putin is forming as many alliances as he can, in order ...

The chaos we’re seeing today throughout the Mideast continues to escalate and shows no signs of subsiding. The United States and the West seem unwilling or unable to take the necessary steps to help bring some semblance of order to the region.    The Russians have entered the fray further complicating ...

In the past five years, the Middle East has suffered from a double collapse.  First, having proven unable to provide capable political institutions or economic opportunity to their citizens, several of the region’s states have effectively collapsed.  Reconstituting them has proven to be a task of immense difficulty, leading to ...

A couple years ago, when the Middle East was in turmoil but considerably less complicated than today, I was at a small gathering of foreign policy specialists, including one eminent Middle East expert who has followed the region for 25 years.  As we speculated about the region's future, this expert ...

With the Middle East ablaze, new opportunities have emerged for regional cooperation. In fact, partnerships have formed in the most unlikely of places, as Israel and some of its Arab neighbors have joined together to combat common enemies, such as ISIS and Iran. Since its establishment in 1948, Israel has ...

Former head of Israel’s Shin Bet and current Knesset member Yaakov Perry discussed Israel’s cooperation with its neighbors to combat regional threats.  Perry explained that Egypt and Jordan are important partners for Israel in the fight against ISIS, and that Israel and many of the Gulf countries share mutual concerns ...

The collapse or weakening of state authority in different parts of the Middle East and Africa, together with growing inner challenges and chronic instability in large parts of the region and the widening and escalating Iranian-Arab power struggle, creates a chaotic environment militant Islamic groups exploit to expand their activities ...

An image of a drowned Syrian boy washed up on the beach clearly signifies a failure on the part of the global humanitarian system. A Syrian father attempted to save his family via a boat trip organized by human smugglers, but the journey ended tragically. While such incidents should serve ...

CIPHER SNAPSHOT: Turkey is a critical country for U.S. interests. Recent developments in Turkey’s domestic politics, economic outlook, and foreign policy have significant ramifications for U.S. stakeholders. Domestic Politics Turkey’s parliamentary elections in June yielded surprising results when the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), headed by President Recep Tayyip ...

The Cipher Brief spoke with Mr. Khush Chosky, Vice President for Turkey and Middle East Affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, to get his thoughts on the U.S.-Turkey economic relationship. The Cipher Brief: How would you characterize the current state of the U.S.-Turkish economic relationship, and where do you see ...

The Cipher Brief spoke with Mr. Sinan Ulgen, founder and managing partner of Istanbul Economics and a visiting  scholar at Carnegie Europe in Brussels, to talk about the current security environment in Turkey and its implications for Western businesses. The Cipher Brief: How do you see the political crisis in ...

There is a profound change in regional geopolitics in the Middle East after the Arab Spring. The societal demands for change in Arab countries led to the overthrow of several long-term authoritarian leaders and initially created an optimistic view of the future. However, the situation deteriorated, with state failures, the ...