For weeks, idle Turkish tanks have been watching from the hills in southeastern Turkey as Islamic State forces pound the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobane, just a few hundred meters across the border. That lassitude has prompted many Westerners to voice doubts about Turkey’s commitment to eradicating the Islamic State.
Azerbaijan’s recent crackdown on institutions and individuals allegedly linked to the influential Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen may not have halted promotional work by Gülen-associated organizations in the United States for the Azerbaijani government.
In the spring of 1206, legend has it, the Mongol steppe saw the largest-ever gathering of nomadic tribes. Featuring athletic competitions and festivities, the weeks-long event marked the unification of warring Mongol tribes under the leadership of Genghis Khan, the legendary Mongol conqueror.
On a sweltering Istanbul afternoon, some 60 or so men sit in rapt silence inside a café, its doors and windows shut tight against street-noise. Besides the tinkling of tea glasses, the only sounds are those emanating from the mysterious cloaked boxes placed before the audience – the trilling of birdsong.
With presidential elections just three months away, Turkey’s May-13 Soma mine disaster, the country’s largest, has proven a huge political embarrassment for the government. Yet despite national protests, Ankara’s response stops short of addressing the larger issue of mine-safety.
The deepening Ukrainian crisis is placing Turkey in a difficult diplomatic position. At stake for officials in Ankara are Turkey's commitments to its Western allies and its cultural kin, Crimean Tatars, against its economic and political relationship with Moscow.