During the final stages of Turkey’s elections, many observers pointed to distant moments from the country’s history to explain its contemporary political conflicts. One more recent event was particularly crucial to reinforcing the social polarization tearing at Turkish society today: the military coup of September 1980.
Middle East & North Africa Archive
EU officials are still digesting the result of Turkey’s general election, which saw the presidential race head to a second-round runoff. While President Erdogan’s antagonism toward Europe has won him few friends in Brussels, many are also wondering if the runoff might present a case of “better the devil you know.”
Turkey’s election results came as a disappointment not only to Turkish voters who wanted to bring an end to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s 20 years of increasingly autocratic rule. They also dashed the hopes of many outside observers that Turkey would become one of the countries where the global drift to autocracy begins to reverse.
Peace Between Israelis and Palestinians Has Fallen Off the Agenda
Yesterday marked the 75th anniversary of the establishment of the state of Israel and the Palestinian Nakba, or “catastrophe.” It comes at a time when the prospects for peace are particularly dim, with internal political challenges on both sides and recurrent violence punctuated by periodic outbreaks of heavier fighting.
The struggle between Iran and Saudi Arabia has insinuated itself into nearly every regional issue, fracturing international alliances and sustaining wars across the region, while raising fears of a direct conflict between the two powers. Meanwhile, the region is rife with ongoing conflicts, and the long-simmering dispute between Israel and Palestine continues to flare up periodically.
For the past 20 years, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has shaped Turkey’s domestic politics and foreign policy. But in Sunday’s presidential election, he faces his greatest electoral challenge yet. The opposition is united, and Turkey’s economy is flagging. Perhaps most importantly, Erdogan has lost his aura of invincibility.
The commanders of armed groups in African countries are often portrayed as erratic tyrants with little understanding of the world—in both Hollywood films and in news coverage. Yet as clashes in Sudan escalate into civil war, it is becoming increasingly clear that the geopolitical sophistication of such warlords has been underestimated.
The Arab League announced the immediate reinstatement of Syria as a member on Sunday, opening the door to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s participation in the league’s upcoming summit on May 19. The diplomatic breakthrough affirms Assad’s legitimacy and confirms the acceptance across the region that he has won Syria’s civil war.
Though the Iran-Saudi Arabia normalization deal was mediated by China, Baghdad played an important role in pushing it across the finish line. That diplomatic initiative reflects Iraq’s broader efforts toward regional reintegration, which has been a key priority, not least because regional animosities often play out inside Iraq.
Despite minimal payoff from U.S. President Joe Biden’s visit to the Middle East last summer, Washington has nonetheless scored some diplomatic wins over the past year. But the gains Washington has made have now run into significant yet predictable headwinds, highlighting the difficulties facing Biden’s regional agenda.
The U.S. military commitment to the Middle East has long been a core principle of U.S. foreign policy, stemming from the conviction that it keeps the region from falling into chaos and that a retreat would embolden enemies there and around the world. But the world is changing, and so should U.S. policy toward the Middle East.
Few conflicts have been predicted by so many observers, so far in advance, as the fighting that erupted on April 15 in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum. Almost every external and domestic powerbroker that has exerted influence over Sudan’s development over the past four decades shares in the blame for this devastating cycle of violence.
Netflix’s ‘Cleopatra’ Stirs Debate Over Racism and Representation
A controversy over a Netflix docudrama about Cleopatra escalated last week, when the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities asserted that Cleopatra was fair-skinned. The statement capped two weeks of debate about her ethnicity, after Netflix cast a mixed-race British actress in the leading role for “Queen Cleopatra.”
On March 21, nine Algerian migrants died when the boat taking them to Italy capsized in the Mediterranean Sea. The tragedy highlights the cost of migration, which is not limited to lives lost. The highly publicized reports of migrant deaths have increasingly shaped a vision of migration as a symptom of a broader social tragedy.