A couple of days ago I wrote a post on Facebook. It wasn’t against the French flag Facebook launched, thought it may have seemed that way. It was about the tragedy of ascribing different value to people, based on their geographies, culture and religion. My main point was that we mourn, care, act and react selectively, based on what we feel closest to us. Not based on a principled appreciation of human life. Which is reasonable, but we should maybe think about it more. This was not judgement. It was just highlighting a fact, based on my own opinion. Raising awareness of the reality that this is how our system works, and that this is how we are drawn to act and behave. I had no intention to downplay the Paris tragedy. Nor did I suggest that one life matters more than others, or that one tragedy deserves more attention than others. Quite the contrary. I’m as devastated as anyone who watched these events unfolding from afar. And I definitely do not see that post as any kind of “activism” – in the age of Facebook, this word has lost its meaning. It was just the expression of an opinion. Continue reading
Οι δημοσκοπήσεις και η αισιοδοξία που επικρατούσε ότι οι Τούρκοι ψηφοφόροι δεν θα επέλεγαν για ακόμα μια φορά το Κόμμα Δικαιοσύνης και Ανάπτυξης (ΑΚΡ) μετά από τα όσα διαδραματίστηκαν, παραπλάνησαν και θόλωσαν την πραγματικότητα. Σε αντίθεση με όλες τις προβλέψεις και τις δημοσκοπήσεις, το ΑΚΡ πήρε το 49,2% των ψήφων και απέκτησε την δυνατότητα να σχηματίσει αυτοδύναμη κυβέρνηση με 316 έδρες. Το Ρεπουμπλικανικό Λαϊκό Κόμμα (CHP) πήρε 25,41%, το Κόμμα Εθνικιστικής Δράσης (ΜΗΡ) έλαβε 11,98% με μια πτώση από τις εκλογές του Ιουνίου της τάξης του 4,2%, και το φιλοκουρδικό Κόμμα Δημοκρατίας των Λαών (HDP) έλαβε 10,47% σε αντίθεση με το 13,2% του Ιουνίου. Continue reading
The following is a review of my PhD thesis, written by Dr. George Kyris (University of Birmingham) for Dissertation Reviews:
A review of Turkish Foreign Policy towards the Middle East under the AKP (2002-2013): A Neoclassical Realist Account, by Zenonas Tziarras.
This thesis seeks to explain Turkish foreign policy towards the Middle East under the AKP (Justice and Development Party) government. Drawing on neoclassical realism debates and focusing on foreign policy towards Syria and Israel during the period from 2002 to 2013, the author seeks to offer a “comprehensive and systematically integrated approach which analyses drivers, causal chains and foreign policy behavior.” Continue reading
When the international anti-ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham) coalition was formed back in September 2014, Turkey was thought to be a pivotal participant. However, the international initiative divided Turkey’s political scene which appeared reluctant to follow in the footsteps of its traditional ally, the United States (US). Even after October 2, 2014, when the Turkish parliament voted on a motion that would authorize the government to conduct operations in Syria and Iraq as well as provide Turkish soil and military bases for allied operations, Ankara kept resisting any kind of meaningful military engagement of ISIS. Not only that, but it seemed to be turning a blind eye on foreign fighters crossing into Syria through its borders. Continue reading
Below you may find brief comments on Turkey’s elections that I provided to a Turkish news agency in the form of an interview after their own request; the answers were accepted for publication but then censored and eventually not published. Simply because they describe President Erdogan’s policies as authoritarian. The same thing happened to me last year, from a different Turkish news agency, with regard to Turkey’s policy vis-a-vis the so-called “Islamic State” in Iraq and the crisis with the Turkish hostages. Continue reading
The article was first published on Changing Turkey, 06 May 2015.
The presentation I delivered during the 6th Changing Turkey workshop at Warwick University sought to explore Turkish foreign policy change under the Justice and Development Party (AKP) towards the Middle East from a Neoclassical Realist (NcR) perspective and it was based on my PhD thesis.[i] It was argued that systemic changes in Turkey’s geopolitical environment have been primary in driving Turkey’s foreign policy behaviour with domestic politics being secondary. Within this NcR framework the system level comprises of three independent variables (international power changes, external threat perceptions, international economic interdependence) and two intervening variables (elite ideology and domestic interest groups). The dependent variable is essentially the foreign policy outcome – Turkey’s foreign policy behaviour – with the possibility of variation between status quo and revisionist foreign policy behaviour. To trace the change in Turkish foreign policy (TFP) since the AKP’s election to power (2002) I briefly evaluate the domestic and systemic context of the 2002-2011 and 2011-2013 periods. When it comes to the domestic level I remain focused on one of the two intervening variables (i.e. the AKP elite ideology) for brevity purposes. Continue reading
The humanitarian crisis caused by the Islamic State (IS) continues to terrorize and displace hundreds of thousands of people in the Middle East. The autonomous canton of Kobani is now bearing the brunt of the IS’s attacks as the international community has mostly been watching. The city has been under siege for three weeks. Despite fierce resistance by the defenders of the town, the advance of the IS forces towards Kobani is threatening to set off another massacre similar to that of Shengal. As scholars working on issues related to the Kurds and other peoples of Kurdistan, we are profoundly concerned about yet another imminent humanitarian crisis and stand in solidarity with the people of Kobani. We urgently call on the coalition forces against the IS and the broader international community to take immediate action to prevent an impending disaster by supporting the Kurds in their fight for self-defense. Continue reading