Greek Vessel Attacks Turkish Cargo Ship in the Aegean Sea

On September 10, Greek forces attacked The Anatolian, a Turkish cargo ship, just 11 miles off the coast of Bozcaada, further straining relations between the two countries. According to the National Interest, the Greek ship assessed the Turkish cargo as “moving suspiciously,” which served as justification for their attack.

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Turkish President Visits UAE to Boost Long Strained Ties

On February 14, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited the United Arab Emirates for the first time in nearly a decade in an attempt to revive relations long strained by regional disputes, Barron’s reports. President Erdogan was welcomed in the capital Abu Dhabi by the de facto ruler of the UAE, Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, for the second meeting in three months between the Middle Eastern nations, after years of hostility over the role of Islamist groups in the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings.

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A Looming Humanitarian Crisis Hands Turkey Bargaining Power in Europe

Following the Taliban’s capture of Afghanistan’s capital city, Kabul, on August 15, countries around the world are bracing for another mass migration of refugees. However, some leaders of Western European countries, such as, Germany and France—two of the most sought-after destinations by asylum seekers—are refusing to allow another migrant wave that resembles the Syrian refugee crisis in 2015.

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Turkish President Erdogan Expels Ten Ambassadors for Backing Jailed Philanthropist

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared ten ambassadors “persona non grata” after they advocated for the release of a jailed philanthropist, reports The New York Times. Businessman and philanthropist Osman Kavala has been in jail in Turkey since 2017, despite having never been convicted of a crime.

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Turkey-U.S. Relations Deteriorating as Turkey Seeks Russian Alliance

On September 24, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey will consider buying a second S-400 missile system from Russia, drawing international scrutiny. This announcement concerned United States defense officials, particularly following the events of 2020, in which Turkey was kicked out of NATO’s F-35 program for similar actions, reports ABC News.

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U.S. President Biden Officially Recognizes Armenian Genocide

President Joe Biden has foregone the precedent of his predecessors by becoming the first U.S. president to formally recognize the mass killings of over one million Armenians as genocide. The acknowledgement comes over a century after the Ottoman Turks perpetrated the mass killings, and in spite of possible complications for U.S.-Turkey relations.

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Head of States from Ukraine and Turkey Meet Amid Tensions With Russia

According to The Associated Press, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Istanbul in early April to discuss matters of national security and the de-escalation of tensions surrounding the Black Sea region. The meeting between the two heads of state occurred as reports of a build-up of tens of thousands of Russian troops along the eastern Ukrainian border flooded international news headlines. 

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FOCUS on Separatist Movements: Kurdistan 

Among global separatist movements, the Kurds stand as the largest nation without an independent state and make up the fourth-largest ethnic group in the Middle East, according to BBC News. There is an estimated population of 30 million Kurds scattered across the mountainous regions within the borders of Armenia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. The Kurds often say that they have “no friends but the mountains.” The Economist also reports that “internal division has been one of their worst enemies.”

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Turkey Withdraws from the 2011 Istanbul Convention on Women’s Rights

Turkey announced in late March that it has withdrawn from the 2011 Istanbul Convention on women’s rights. The convention was held to promote the protection of women against domestic violence and promote gender equality by signatory states, reports Reuters. Notably, Turkey was the first country to sign on to the convention, which was forged in and is named after the country’s largest city.

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