Syria was once the jewel in the crown of Turkey's "zero problems with neighbours" policy. However, the Arab Spring and Syrian revolution not only devastated that policy but also led to a big economic burden stemming from an ever-increasing number of Syrian refugees fleeing from the brutal violence and crossing into Turkey. The Syrian crisis also crystallised Turkey's Achilles' heel, Kurdish separatism, and the Sunni-Alawite split as the spillover effect of the Syrian conflict became more and more evident with the appearance of new, and unwelcome, neighbours along the 900 km border: the Jihadist groups Al-Nusra Front, ISIS and the Democratic Union Party ("Partiya Yekîtiya Demokrat" or PYD, the Syrian branch of the PKK).
Turkey's growing unease about the consequences of the Syrian crisis
- 01 July 2015
- Professor Özden Zeynep Oktav
Resentment, anger and violence
- 01 June 2015
- Prof George Joffé
The outcome of the 'Arab Spring' or 'Arab Awakening', as many inside the region prefer to call it, has been very different from the original expectations of those who had been involved in the massive popular demonstrations that started it off. Rather than radical or even revolutionary democratic change, to enshrine the demands for 'bread, freedom and dignity' in constitutional principle, the result has been violence, chaos and, in some cases, a renewal of autocracy or civil war. Only in Tunisia and, perhaps, in Morocco, have the hopes for democratic transition been fulfilled and then only in part. Tunisia's experiment is threatened by violent extremism and, in Morocco, the royal palace has managed to preserve its dominant position inside the political scene despite constitutional change. It is a record that, inevitably, demands an answer to the question, "But what went wrong?"
A few issues facing EU states in their policy towards the Arab-Israeli conflict
- 06 May 2015
- Dr Federica Bicchi
The Europeans have been forging an increasingly specific policy towards the Arab-Israeli conflict, centred on the Green (1949 Armistice) Line as the provisional border between Israel and Palestine. While this is a clever strategy, several important aspects will come to the fore in the near future and will need to be addressed for it to be fully effective in an increasingly difficult international environment.
Peace should be enforced before negotiated: It's time for a paradigm shift in EU policies towards the Israel-Palestine conflict
- 01 April 2015
- Dr Dimitris Bouris
Over the past few decades, the European Union has been instrumental in setting up the parameters upon which the so-called Middle East Peace Process was funded and in "feeding" the international community with ideas on what would constitute a fair solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict.1
Fundamental rifts: power, wealth and inequality in the Arab world
- 01 March 2015
- Dr Adam Hanieh
Over four years since mass uprisings ousted sclerotic regimes in Tunisia and Egypt it can seem that the initial hopes represented by these movements lie in tatters. Libya, Syria, Yemen and Iraq remain mired in bloody armed conflicts that have led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands and displaced millions more within and across borders. In the pivotal case of Egypt, military rule has returned through the violent crushing of protests, the arrests of an estimated 40,000 people and the rebuilding of the repressive structures of the Mubarak era. Elsewhere, autocratic governments look more secure in their rule today than they have for many years.