Latest Publications
Operation Euphrates Shield: Lessons Learned

Can Kasapoğlu, Doruk Ergun, Sinan Ülgen, 8 April 2017

Turkish authorities declared that Operation Euphrates Shield was successfully completed on March 29th 2017. In the operations that lasted over seven months, Turkey accomplished two of its main objectives, diminishing the ISIL threat emanating from beyond its borders, and preventing PKK-affiliated PYD from establishing a fait accompli corridor by bridging all territories under its de facto control. Yet, the Turkish operations have also had their costs, including the 71 Turkish military personnel that lost their lives. This infographic analysis assesses the military and political lessons learned for Turkey during its first major extraterritorial military operation since the 1990s’ cross-border counterterrorism incursions into Northern Iraq.


Turkey at the Gates of al-Bab

Can Kasapoğlu, 11 February 2017

Turkish forces and Turkey-backed FSA elements stand at the door of al-Bab, a paramount, if not the ultimate, objective of Operation Euphrates Shield now in its 170th day. With its recent successful breakthrough operations, Operation Euphrates Shield forces have altered the outlook of the battlespace and obtained very advantageous ground for pushing deeper into ISIS-held areas. The al-Bab campaign will now transform into urban operations as predicted in earlier EDAM analysis.

Yet Turkey now faces a significant risk of encountering Syrian Baathist forces on the battlefield, which have marched towards al-Bab from their positions in the south. Whether the opposing forces will act in unison against their common enemy will determine the scale of Turkey’s military exposure in Syria.

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Operation Euphrates Shield and the al-Bab Campaign: A Strategic Assessment

Can Kasapoglu, Sinan Ulgen, 16 January 2017

This policy paper penned by EDAM Defense Analyst Can Kasapoglu and EDAM Chairman Sinan Ulgen, provides a comprehensive military and political analysis of Turkey’s cross border military operation in Syria currently targeting the Islamic State held city of al-Bab. In their evaluation, the authors maintain that Operation Euphrates Shield stems from Ankara’s political – military necessities and defense imperatives of securing operational depth to confront the rocket threat posed by ISIS terrorist organization, as well as to prevent the PKK terrorist organization – and its PYD / YPG affiliates in Syria – from establishing a fait accompli situation along Turkey’s borders. They also emphasize that the operation was a necessity for Turkey’s domestic and international security prospects. Ulgen and Kasapoglu also analyze the critical elements of success. They also state that the Operation Euphrates Shield and the al-Bab campaign have brought about certain differences of opinion between Turkey and the US-led anti-ISIS coalition. The divergences are mainly rooted in disagreements on the PKK terrorist organization’s affiliates in Syria (PYD/YPG), the depth of the campaign, as well as its timing. 

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Managing the Risks of Nuclear Energy: The Turkish Case

EDAM’s ongoing work on nuclear energy intends to contribute to the public debate on nuclear energy by providing a thorough and impartial analysis on the state of play of Turkey’s nuclear power program. This year’s analysis breaks new ground by focusing on some under-explored dimensions of this program. The collection of policy papers incorporated in this book examines the policies related to the physical security of nuclear power plants, Turkey’s accident and consequence management approach, the transport security of fissile materials and nuclear waste, the financial, safety and security risks inherent in the unique Build-Own-Operate investment model that is to underpin the Akkuyu nuclear power plant project. The book also explores the prospects for regional cooperation in nuclear energy against the backdrop of the rekindled interest among regional states to acquire nuclear power plants.

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Is Trump Good for the Turkey-US Relationship?

Sinan Ulgen, Doruk Ergun, 11 November 2016

In contrast to the reaction in many other NATO capitals, the surprise election of Donald Trump has been met with high spirits in Turkey’s capital. The expectation in Ankara seems to reflect the understanding that the new US president will deprioritize democracy and rule of law issues, which have increasingly become thorns in the US-Turkey relationship. Ankara also hopes that the President elect would be more amenable to the Turkish stance on Fetullah Gulen and his network in the United States. The Turkish government also expects that the new US administration will be more open to accepting a lead role for Turkey in the stabilization of a benighted Middle East. Yet against these expectations, the Trump presidency may complicate the relationship between Washington and Ankara as the US reshapes its foreign policy outlook in the Middle East and Europe.

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Assessing the Potential Effects of a Carbon Tax in Turkey

Gökşin Bavbek, 26 October 2016

The adoption of a carbon tax can potentially help Turkey in achieving a considerable level of GHG mitigation. It would also have significant effects in the general make-up of the economy, particularly in the energy sector. In this policy paper written by EDAM Research Assistant Gökşin Bavbek, the potential effects of a carbon tax adoption in Turkey are analyzed based on different scenarios. The issues covered include the potential amount of revenues collected,  impacts on GHG mitigation, impacts on the electricity generation mix and impacts on the import dependence of the country in energy sources.

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Design Options for Employing a Carbon Tax in Turkey

Gökşin Bavbek, 26 October 2016

In this EDAM policy paper, Research Assistant Gökşin Bavbek analyzes the main design elements that should be considered in the potential adoption of a carbon tax in Turkey. The main issues included in the report are the determination of the tax rate, determination of the scope of the tax in terms of sectors and gases, the utilization of the revenues generated by the tax and possible ways to mitigate the potential negative effects of the tax. In the final part of the paper, several policy recommendations are also included with the aim of achieving the highest level of carbon mitigation with the least cost. 

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Carbon Taxation Policy Case Studies

Gökşin Bavbek, 26 October 2016

Carbon taxation stands out as one of the main policy options that can be utilized in the struggle against climate change. The policy instrument has been employed in several countries over a long period of time while other countries have recently decided to adopt a carbon tax. In this EDAM paper, Research Assistant Gökşin Bavbek provides an overview of 9 different cases where a carbon tax scheme has been employed. The experience of other countries can hopefully important insights for Turkey, a country that should consider different policy alternatives in fulfilling its responsibilities in the global climate change mitigation effort.

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Adopting a Carbon Tax in Turkey: Main Considerations

Gökşin Bavbek, 26 October 2016

In this EDAM policy paper, Research Assistant Gökşin Bavbek investigates the recent carbon pricing  situation in the world with a focus on carbon taxation. Carbon taxation and carbon trading have emerged as the two main carbon pricing policies currenty utilized in the world. The advantages and disadvantages of the two options are analyzed in the report, also providing recommendations for the potential utilization of a carbon tax in Turkey.


Carbon Taxation Information Note

Gökşin Bavbek, 1 July 2016

Carbon taxation is a policy mechanism that is becoming more widespread around the globe as the negative effects of climate change continue to be recognized. In this EDAM Information Note, Research Assistant Gökşin Bavbek provides a basic overview of the carbon taxation mechanism and details the countries that are currently implementing the policy tool. Additionally, a brief comparison of the carbon taxation mechanism is made with other carbon pricing options such as carbon trading. Carbon taxation also needs to be considered by Turkey as a policy option in its bid to devise a comprehensive policy framework that will align the energy needs of the country with its climate change responsibilities.

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Cross-Border Data Transfers and Data Localization

Akın Ünver, Grace Kim, 3 June 2016

With PayPal’s surprise decision to cease its Turkey operations, data transfer and localization policies of the Turkish government have started to receive more attention. It has been claimed that PayPal’s failure to obtain an operating license in Turkey for its e-money operations are connected to local data storage requirements. But data policy has also been on the political agenda of the country as data privacy requirements have surfaced as one of the unfulfilled components of the fragile refugee deal with Europe. EDAM’s latest cyber policy brief examines data transfer and data localization issues against this backdrop. Co-authored by Akin Unver, EDAM Board Member and Kadir Has University  and Grace Kim, EDAM research fellow, the policy brief also includes a set of key recommendations on data policy. 

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From Low-Intensity Conflict to Hybrid Warfare: MANPADS at the Hands of PKK

Can Kasapoglu, Doruk Ergun, 27 May 2016

The threat landscape that Turkey faces against ISIS’ rocket campaign, terror attacks in population centers and an urban low-intensity conflict with the PKK, has been further complicated by the introduction of advanced man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS) into the scene. The PKK downed a Turkish AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopter with an advanced SA-18 Russian/Soviet made MANPADS on May 13, 2016, marking the first use of advanced third-generation MANPADS by the terrorist organization. Such systems pose significant threats to both military and commercial aviation. Now with the threat of advanced MANPADS proliferation and trafficking, Turkey’s low intensity conflict may be metastasizing into hybrid warfare, which necessitates an overhauled political-military response and adaptation.

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Integrating Industrial Policy with Climate Change Policy: The Case for Turkey

Gökşin Bavbek, April 2016

In this EDAM research paper, the relationship between climate change policy and industrial policy is analyzed from a theoretical perspective. The concept of green industrial policy is examined along with its main components and the basic policy tools used for pursuing such a policy are detailed along with the main principles that need to be considered when devising such policies. The concepts of green growth and green industry are also key for Turkey which has considerable economic development needs and responsibilities in combating climate change.


Integrating Industrial Policy with Climate Change Policy: Country Case Studies

Gökşin Bavbek, April 2016

In this EDAM research paper, Research Assistant Gökşin Bavbek investigates the interrelationship between climate change policy and industrial policy through analyzing several case studies from different countries across the world. The concept of green industry is examined with a focus on the role green industries can play in achieving economic development and creating employment opportunities. The case studies include policy examples from the USA, Germany, China, India and Brazil.


Making Sense of the Russian Withdrawal: A Tactical Assessment

Can Kasapoğlu, Doruk Ergun, 16 March 2016

Just as its decision to intervene, Russia’s decision to withdraw from Syria has come abruptly. What Moscow means by the withdrawing the “main part” of its troops in Syria, and what the implications of this will be on the Syrian civil war and the future of NATO’s southern flank have thus emerged as burning questions. Seeking to answer these questions, EDAM’s latest discussion paper analyzes the military nature of what Russia has thus far withdrawn and kept, and what this could mean for the military and political context of the Syrian civil war.

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The Correlation between Turkey’s Nuclear Power Pursuit and Foreign Policy

Gülnur Aybet, 29 February 2016

Studies that focus on nuclear power and foreign policy have generally dwelled on the issue of horizontal or vertical proliferation of nuclear weapons. Yet the correlation between the pursuit of nuclear power for peaceful means and its impact on foreign policy is an under researched area. Given Turkey’s changing dynamics in its foreign policy over the past decade and its emergence as a regional power and projected rise as one of the fastest growing economies in the world, it is timely to ponder its recent venture into civilian nuclear power and its correlation with its ambitious foreign policy agenda. This EDAM discussion paper, penned by Gülnur Aybet of Bahçeşehir University, investigates the correlation between foreign policy and nuclear energy ambitions in Turkey.

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The Nuclear Bargain: Turkey and Tactical Nuclear Weapons

Aaron Stein, Nilsu Gören, 23 February 2016

This paper provides an overview of Turkey’s history with forward-deployed tactical nuclear weapons and the reasons for Ankara’s commitment to the maintenance of U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe. To do so, the paper compares the Turkish position on the maintenance of U.S. forward deployed nuclear weapons with the policies of the other NATO that states that host nuclear weapons. To evaluate whether nuclear weapons play a functional role in the Turkish security strategy, the paper analyzes Ankara’s military modernization program and includes a detailed analysis on Turkey’s procurement and development of air and ballistic missile defense and precision strike. It concludes that while Turkey invests in developing indigenous conventional capabilities and does not assign a role to nuclear weapons in its strategic planning, the NATO deterrent continues to be the backbone of Turkish security policy. As such, Ankara continues to perceive the tactical nuclear weapons as a symbol of alliance coherence against threats from the Middle East.

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Data Privacy and Surveillance in Turkey: An Assessment of the Draft Law on the Protection of Personal Data

Akın Unver, Grace Kim, 19 February 2016

For Turkey, one of the most important aspects of the package deal reached with the EU over Syrian refugees, has been the promise of lifting Schengen visa requirements for Turkish citizens. Yet the EU accepted this condition with a caveat. To achieve this goal on October 2016, there are technical criteria that Turkey has to fulfill. Amongst some of the most crucial criteria were the adoption of a legal framework on the Protection of Personal Data that would be congruent with EU norms. This framework has been prepared by the Ministry of Justice and is currently being negotiated at the General Assembly of the Turkish Parliament. EDAM has published a policy paper on this law, that is expected to bridge an important gap in the country’s legal infrastructure and in the path of becoming more modern economy. In this analysis, prepared by Akın Unver, faculty member at Kadir Has University, and EDAM research assistant Grace Kim, highlights several issues with the draft law. It is evaluated that the doubts over the independence of the Data Protection Board from the executive, and the exceptions provided in the name of providing access to public institutions, may present issues with regards to congruence with EU norms. The main risk of passing the law as it is, is the possibility for TUrkey to not gain a safe country status in the EU evaluation even after the adoption of the law. This would give some EU members that would like to delay Turkey’s visa freedom process the excuse they need and were hoping for. Furthermore, the creation of a legal structure for the Protection of Personal Data, will mean that national and international companies that could transfer data abroad until now, would have to abide by the arrangements. Yet, if the EU does not designate Turkey as a safe country, this would create ambiguities surrounding the data transfers from Turkey to EU countries.

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Green Energy Finance Prospects for Turkey

Gökşin Bavbek, 6 January 2016

On the eve of the Paris Climate Change Agreement, the issue of climate finance still stands at the heart of the global climate change discussion. In Paris, the developed states reiterated their promise to raise the levels of climate finance flows into the developing world to 100 billion US dollars by the year 2020. However, several major question marks still remain regarding the specifics of this pledge. In this EDAM research paper, Research Assistant Gökşin Bavbek highlights the existing controversies regarding global climate finance and underlines the major sources of finance. Additionally, the report focuses on Turkey’s current climate finance outlook and its prospects for attracting increased amounts of finance.

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A Primer on Cyber Security in Turkey and the Case of Nuclear Power

Rising threats in cyber security motivated EDAM to prepare this report that covers the basics of cyber security with a focus on critical infrastructure and especially nuclear power plants. This collection includes four complementary chapters to help the reader understand Turkey's cyber security challenges with a focus on nuclear power plants as components of the country's critical infrastructure. The first chapter introduces the concept of cyberwarfare as the next Revolution in Military Affairs, and looks into cyber trends, emerging state capabilities and threats from Turkey's perspective. The second chapter examines the cyber security scene in Turkey by both looking into the relative governmental agencies, institutions and security forces working on ensuring the country's cyber security and develops policies in these areas, and on the other hand, at malicious hacker groups operating from within the country. The third chapter provides a conceptual introduction to cyber space, cyber attackers and cyber security, and focuses on the international aspect of nuclear power plant cyber security by exploring the cases of United States and the International Atomic Energy Agency. The fourth and final chapter examines the relevance of cyber security for nuclear power plants, investigates previous cyber incidents, explores existing vulnerabilities and evaluates Turkey's current capabilities in terms of ensuring cyber security resilience.

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Recent Developments in the World and Chinese Coal Markets and Implications for Turkey

Gökşin Bavbek, 17 November 2015

Coal combustion is the leading cause of climate change. Despite this, the world coal consumption rose rapidly in the last few decades. However growing environmental concerns are set to put pressure on coal consumption. Curbing coal utilization will be one of the main focus points of the struggle against climate change. In this EDAM discussion paper, Research Assistant Gökşin Bavbek discusses the latest developments in the world coal markets with a focus on the largest coal market in the world, China. Any developments in the world coal markets will have important consequences for Turkey which aims to significantly increase its coal-fired electricity capacity over the coming decades. The paper aims to analyze these potential impacts and provide an outlook into the future of coal energy in the world and in Turkey.

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Turkish Position in the UNFCCC Climate Change Negotiations

Gökşin Bavbek, 17 November 2015

2015 will end with a critical effort to reach agreement on a new and binding international climate change regime. The 21st Conference of Parties to held in Paris in December 2015 will aim to shape the global climate change policies that will be pursued in the following decades. This EDAM discussion paper written by Research Assistant Gökşin Bavbek discusses the main issues that will be negotiated in the Paris Conference and their possible implications for Turkey. The paper also analyzes the potential role Turkey can  play in facilitating the negotiations.

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New Trends in the Terror Threat to Turkey: Improvised Explosive Devices and Suicide Bombings

Can Kasapoğlu, 27 October 2015

Improvised explosive devices (IED) and suicide bombings make up the new face of the spiral of low intensity conflict and suicide bombings in the Middle East. These means have been utilized heavily by both the PKK and ISIS and have deeply effected Turkey's counter terrorism efforts. This EDAM report, published in Turkish, provides a thorough analysis on the strategic, tactical and operational levels of IED and suicide bombing trends for the concern of the readers and policy makers.

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Russia in Foreign Skies: Assessing Russian Air Operations in Syria and Violations of Turkish Airspace

Can Kasapoglu, Doruk Ergun, 09 Ekim 2015

As Russian deployments and air operations in Syria unfold, it is becoming clear that Moscow has multiple interests in its involvement in Syria beyond its declared goal of fighting ISIS. In a move that may have multiple military and political objectives, Russia has recently violated Turkish, and hence NATO, airspace. Moscow’s actions so far have clearly displayed that Russian involvement in Syria will be precarious for Turkish and Transatlantic interests for the foreseeable future. Furthermore, increased Russian and Iranian influence and military presence in both Syria and Iraq may have long-lasting consequences over the geostrategic balance in the region. EDAM's latest discussion paper investigates the military and political rationales of Russia's latest overtures and their impacts for NATO, Turkey and the region.

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Act of Desperation or Game Changer? Russian Deployments in Syria

Can Kasapoğlu, Doruk Ergun, 22 September 2015

With its increased military assistance to Syria, Russia has altered the calculations of all parties involved in the Syrian Civil War. Although Russia's declared aim is to fight against ISIS, the military nature of its involvement as well as the political overtures that accompanied Russia's recent military activity suggest a broader and more complex set of political and military goals. This discussion paper investigates the military and political nature of the recent shift in Moscow's Syria policy and its potential ramifications for the civil war, the region and beyond.

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Forming an Intended Nationally Determined Contribution: Key Considerations for Turkey

Gökşin Bavbek, 19 August 2015

Following the collapse of the post-Kyoto negotiations, the Paris climate change conference due to take place on December 2015 presents a last opportunity for the  creation of a renewed global framework to fight climate change.   In advance of the critical Paris negotiations, UNFCCC member countries are required to submit their greenhouse gas mitigation plans. These contribution pledges are referred to as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions(INDC’s). Many countries in the world have already submitted their INDC’s but the Turkish INDC is still in preparation. In this discussion paper, EDAM Research Assistant Gökşin Bavbek highlights several points that need to be considered when preparing the Turkish INDC and provides examples from several developing country INDC’s that have been finalized with a focus on how ‘fairness and ambition’ is demonstrated in these documents.

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Opportunities for improving Energy Efficiency in Turkey

Gökşin Bavbek, 19 August 2015

Improving energy efficiency can be instrumental both for economic development as well as climate change mitigation. Improving the levels of energy efficiency can help increase economic competitiveness, reduce GHG emissions and curb the dependence on imported energy sources. In Turkey, several measures are currently being implemented to realize these benefits but there is still considerable room for improvement. In this research paper, EDAM Research Assistant Gökşin Bavbek investigates the energy efficiency policies and explores several policy options that Turkey can employ to further the energy efficiency gains across different sectors.

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A Review of Turkey’s Nuclear Policies and Practices

İzak Atiyas, 12 August 2015

In light of its decades long ambition to generate nuclear energy, Turkey is taking incremental yet tangible steps towards realizing its goal. In his EDAM Discussion Paper, Sabancı University Professor İzak Atiyas provides an assessment of recent developments in nuclear energy in Turkey and the country's practices and policies in this field. He does so by providing analyses on the legal and regulatory frameworks in the country and by providing a comparison between the Sinop and Akkuyu projects.

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Turkey Joins the Anti-ISIS Coalition: Safe-Zone Plan Revisited

Can Kasapoglu, Doruk Ergun, 6 August 2015

Following months of negotiations with the United States and after a deadly terror attack that has claimed the lives of 31 Turkish citizens in July, Ankara stepped up its anti-terror operations and conducted airstrikes against ISIS for the first time. Ankara has since deepened its participation in the anti-ISIS coalition and agreed to allow the coalition aircraft to use the Incirlik airbase, which lies only 110 km from the Syrian border. In return, Ankara has sought Washington’s assistance for purging ISIS in areas near the Turkish border and asked for guarantees that these areas would not be occupied by the Syrian Kurdish PYD. Furthermore, the debates on establishing a safe-zone within Syrian territory have resurfaced, albeit with much dispute as to what the characteristics of such a zone would be. In light of previous EDAM discussion papers on the Syrian Civil War, this paper aims to discuss the political, technical, and military aspects of the establishment of a safe-zone near Turkish borders, and the respective challenges and risks associated with them.

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Public gives Conditional Support for Turkey to take on Responsibility in the Struggle against Climate Change

According to EDAM’s public opinion survey on climate change policy in advance of the year end’s Paris COP meeting, there is a significant but minority support for Turkey to take on more responsibility to combat climate change on a conditional basis. Around 34% of the participants stated their support for the country to adopt greenouse gas (GHG)  mitigation policies if either developed countries or other developing countries also decide to reduce their emissions. A further 17% stated their support for Turkey to reduce its emissions independently of the actions of other countries. On the other hand, around 21% of the participants stated that they don’t view climate change as Turkey’s problem and there is no need to reduce the GHG emissions in the country. Another important finding from the survey is that around 28% of the participants either had no opinion on the matter or refused to give an answer. The survey also finds interesting correlations between policy choice on climate change and the political party affiliations and age groups of the participants.

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A Turkish Intervention in Syria: A Reality Check

Can Kasapoglu, F. Doruk Ergun, Sinan Ulgen 3 July2015

Recent events near Turkish borders have been followed by a mobilization along the Turkey border and increased discussions of a potential Turkish intervention into Syria. The Turkish press has provided various speculations on both the political objectives and military nature of such an operation. So far, it appears that Ankara feels that its national interests are threatened by both ISIS’ remaining presence near Turkish borders and the Kurdish PYD’s potential for solidifying its bid for statehood. Furthermore, policymakers in Ankara may be seeing a necessity to create a buffer zone with the aim of absorbing prospective mass refugee influxes or providing logistical assistance to rebel organizations favored by Ankara in their struggle against the Assad regime. This EDAM Discussion Paper reviews the potential goals, legality, and military dimension of a Turkish intervention into Syria.

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US-Turkey Track II Dialogue

A U.S.-Turkish track II dialogue has been organized by the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) and EDAM in Istanbul on February 26-27 2015. While addressing a range of issues affecting U.S.-Turkish strategic cooperation and the role of Turkey in NATO, the discussions focused on the challenges and opportunities that weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and the dynamics of nuclear weapons proliferation pose to U.S.-Turkish strategic cooperation.

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Solar Photovoltaic Market in Turkey: Prospects and Challenges

Gökşin Bavbek, May 2015

Solar photovoltaic is an energy source that is increasingly gaining widespread recognition and utilization in different parts of the world. Even though Turkey is ideally located to benefit from solar energy, its utilization in the country is still at a negligible level. In this report, EDAM Research Assistant Gökşin Bavbek identifies the main obstacles that have so far hindered the growth of the market and points to several policy changes that can help in removing these obstacles. With the right policy changes, solar energy can play a substantial role in solving the problems of energy dependence and environmental degradation faced by the country. 

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The Role of Turkey in the 2015 NPT Review Conference

Şebnem Udum 4 May 2015

“After five apprehensive years which ushered the P5+1 and Iran nuclear deal, the 2015 Non Proliferation Treaty Review Conference under way. The quinquennial conferences offer the only opportunity to re-interpret the Treaty’s provisions and push the agenda of non-proliferation further. Turkey has traditionally held non-proliferation attempts with high regard, and has been an active member of the Non-proliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI), since its inception following the 2010 Review Conference. In her discussion paper, Şebnem Udum evaluates Ankara’s views on the agenda of the NPT Review Conference and its willingness, ability and prospect for playing an active role leading to and during the conference"

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Nuclear Security: A Turkish Perspective

EDAM’s new report on Turkey's nuclear energy plans focuses on nuclear security. The first chapter provides a detailed account of the physical threats for nuclear facilities, material and personnel, and later discusses state-led and assymmetric threats that surround Turkey in relation to the risks they may pose to the country's prospective nuclear infrastructure. The second chapter looks into Turkey's regulatory, civilian/military and executive capabilities to effectively secure its prospective nuclear infrastructure and provides ways in which the deficiencies in these areas may be addressed. The third chapter looks into nuclear smuggling, a traditional challenge that Turkey has had to deal with as a transit country. The final chapter provides an assessment of the overall picture and discusses the steps that Ankara should take in order to bridge the gap between the capabilities it has today and the challenges it may face in the future.


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Turks in Favour of Cooperating with the European Union

According to EDAM's second public opinion survey in 2015, the Turkish public favors the European Union as the lead partner in order to have a stronger economy and foreign policy. While the poll suggests there are meaningful differences between political constituencies, the EU has emerged as the top choice for the voters of all four political parties currently in the Turkish parliament. Arab states were the second most favourable choice among the participants, and was followed by Russia, the United States and China. 11 percent argued that Turkey should cooperate with none of the countries. According to EDAM’s latest public opinion survey, the Turkish public favors the European Union as the lead partner in order to have a stronger economy and foreign policy. While the poll suggests there are meaningful differences between political constituencies, the EU has emerged as the top choice for the voters of all four political parties currently in the Turkish parliament. Arab states were the second most favourable choice among the participants, and was followed by Russia, the United States and China. 11 percent argued that Turkey should cooperate with none of the countries.

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Turks Regretful over the Armenian Tragedy of 1915 but Refuse to Qualify it as a Genocide

2015 will mark the centennial of the forced migration of Ottoman Armenians and will be an important year for the debate on true nature of this tragedy. EDAM’s public opinion poll shows that a significant part of the Turkish public want the Turkish government at most to express its regrets over the tragic events of a century ago. Only 9 percent want the Turkish government to accept the claims of of genocide, whereas another 9 percent favor an apology.  The most favored option is for the Turkish government to express its regret. 21 percent of the population is against taking any steps.  Among the foreign policy experts the support for the recognition of the events as a genocide are somewhat higher than the general public with 19 %. The most favored policy option of the experts group is for the Turkish government to emphasize that all sides have suffered losses and to state its regret. 

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Defending the Tomb of Suleyman Shah: Turkey's Options and Challenges

Can Kasapoglu, Doruk Ergun 01 October 2014

As Turkey has hardened its rhetoric towards Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) following the release of the hostages, a new crisis seems to be in the offing with the increased activity around the Tomb of Suleyman Shah, Turkey’s exclave near Aleppo. The Tomb’s vicinity remains under ISIL’s control making it a potential target for an ISIL attack. Penned by EDAM researchers Can Kasapoğlu and F. Doruk Ergun, this discussion paper outlines Turkey’s military, political and legal challenges in defending its exclave. Read more...”As Turkey has hardened its rhetoric towards Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) following the release of the hostages, a new crisis seems to be in the offing with the increased activity around the Tomb of Suleyman Shah, Turkey’s exclave near Aleppo. The Tomb’s vicinity remains under ISIL’s control making it a potential target for an ISIL attack. Penned by EDAM researchers Can Kasapoğlu and F. Doruk Ergun, this discussion paper outlines Turkey’s military, political and legal challenges in defending its exclave. Read more...”


A Turkish Perspective on the Rise of the Islamic Caliphate

Sinan Ulgen, Doruk Ergun, 1 September 2014

In their paper entitled “A Turkish perspective on the rise of the Islamic Caliphate”, Sinan Ulgen and Doruk Ergun elaborate on the challenges posed by ISIL and analyze Turkey’s potential role in the containment of ISIL. Much of the recent analysis focusing on ISIL fails to underline the depth of the concern that the rise of Islamic extremism generates in neighbouring Turkey. The apparent reason for failing to capture this acute sense of alarm is the ambivalent public rhetoric of the Turkish authorities on ISIL. Ankara may not discriminated enough among the different factions of the Syrian opposition in the past. But today the Turkish government’s perspective on ISIL has changed radically. The attack on the Turkish consulate in Mosul three months ago that has led to the capture of 49 of Turkey’s diplomatic staff by the ISIL militants was certainly a factor. But Ankara is equally concerned about the security and geopolitical implications of the potentially game changing nature of the Islamic Caliphate.

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Fighting the Caliphate : What are the Military Options?

Can Kasapoglu, 1 September 2014

In his paper entitled “Fighting the Caliphate : what are the military options ?”, EDAM expert Can Kasapoglu reviews the scope of the military reaction to ISIL and evaluates the effectiveness of the military option in any future containment strategy. He also assesses the readiness and capability of the Iraqi forces. A transnational adversary that enjoys good military coordination at strategic and operational levels, sustainable recruitment resources, adequate financial sources, and violent ideological formation cannot be defeated without a joint effort that includes a robust ground forces element. Geostrategic imperatives of confronting transnational non-state armed groups necessitate denying safe havens by cross-border operations. An air assault campaign, can mitigate an irregular actor’s resiliency, limit its military and paramilitary options, deny some critical areas, win some tactical engagements, and, if lucky, target high-value personnel. Yet, counterinsurgency and counterterrorism records of the past few decades have proven that without a surge in ground forces and holding onto territory, a robust transnational insurgency cannot be defeated decisively.  In order to overcome the ISIL threat, the KRG’s Pashmarga and the Iraqi Security Forces should not only be reinforced but also encouraged to act in coordination.

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40 Years after the Intervention: Turkish Public Opinion on the Cyprus Dispute

EDAM’s ninth public opinion survey shows that 40 years after the intervention, the Turkish public is divided on how to resolve the Cyprus issue. When asked about their preferences for the outcome of the ongoing negotiations, a quarter of the participants argued that the issue has lasted for too long and that any solution is acceptable, whereas another quarter argued that there is “no need to insist for a solution” and preferred the two-state solution with the international recognition of the TRNC. Furthermore, the results of the survey have shown that there are meaningful differences of opinion both within and among different constituencies. The same question was directed to a panel of foreign policy experts, half of which favored the foundation of a united and EU member Cyprus.

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Russian Military Modernization and Implications for NATO: Lessons-learned from the Ukraine Crisis

Can Kasapoğlu, 11 June 2014

Following Moscow’s intervention in Ukraine, which brought about the annexation of Crimea and led to turmoil in eastern provinces, NATO members at Russia’s doorstep now perceive Kremlin’s political – military aggressiveness as substantially more threatening. This threat perception is underpinned by a visible effort by Moscow to modernize and upgrade its military capabilities. More importantly, Russia’s military modernization is combined with geopolitical expansionism through political – military escalation towards neighboring nations. This puts extra burden on the North Atlantic Alliance’s shoulders to boost military strategic posture for the defense of fragile members at Moscow’s doorstep. This paper aims to investigate Moscow’s rising military posture and pressing threats vis-à-vis its geopolitical hinterland. In doing so, this assessment focuses on three key aspects, which have been playing critical roles since the 2008 Russo – Georgian War, namely the Russian Airborne Forces (VDVVozdushno-Desantnye Voyska) and this elite unit’s uptrend in the overall force posture, the role of strategic deployment in Moscow’s ambitious expansionism, and finally, Kremlin’s view of its strategic weapons arsenal in order to maintain operational security at global scale.

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Turkish Public Opinion Favours Recognition of the Presidential Elections in Egypt

2014/2: Turkey’s AKP government has been very critical of Egypt’s new leadership. Ankara even called for the deposed Muslim Brotherhood leader Moursi to be reinstated as the country’s popularly elected President. EDAM’s survey shows that the Turkish public opinion favors more conciliatary approach. 60 % of the population, according to the survey results, want Ankara to recognize the outcome of the Presidential elections in Egypt. There are however clear differences according to party affiliations with 25 % of the AKP voters that have taken part in the survey favoring the non-recognition of the election results.

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Turkey’s Nuclear Power Plans and Nuclear Fuel Cycle Options

Çiğdem Bilezikçi Pekar, May 2014

One of the ambiguities surrounding Turkey’s nuclear energy program is the country’s nuclear waste policy. Turkey has yet to adopt a strategy on how to deal with the issue of spent nuclear fuel which would be produced at the planned nuclear power plants in Akkuyu and Sinop. In the case of Akkuyu, it is anticipated that the spent fuel will be stored on-site for a period of time until being transferred to Russia and stored there. However, in the case of Sinop, while the possibility of shipping out spent fuel for reprocessing remains, residual irradiated waste will then have to be stored in Turkey. In the EDAM Discussion Paper authored by Çiğdem Bilezikçi Pekar, Turkey’s spent nuclear fuel options are articulated.

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Turkey's Space Policy

Aaron Stein, 13 May 2014

Turkey has remained committed to developing space capabilities for close to two decades. Ankara has also embarked on a very practical approach to developing a satellite industry. The main focus of the indigenous program is on low-cost minisatellites, designed to perform dual-use functions. Yet Turkey does not appear to have the local capacity to develop the rocket engines needed to lift 500 kg payloads into low-earth orbit. Moreover, the Missile Technologies Control Regime will complicate any effort to procure such systems from abroad. The program would also  benefit from greater transparency. Ankara’s failure to clearly articulate the scope of the Satellite Launch Vehicle project has led to concerns that Ankara is intent on developing a ballistic missile technology. Yet, such concerns should not detract from the sustained commitment the Turkish government has shown for the development of satellites. While Turkey’s space program is still in its infancy, Ankara is certain to further develop its intelligence, reconnaissance  and communications capabilities in the near future.

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The Crimean Standoff: Implications for Turkey

Can Kasapoglu, F. Doruk Ergun, 10 March 2014

The standoff between Russia and Ukraine over Crimea presents numerous challenges for Turkey. As the only state to control the gateway into the Black Sea, the Dardanelles and Bosphorus, Ankara's stance may have a significant impact on how the crisis and a potential military conflict plays out in the region. But Turkey will be divided between favoring the requests of its NATO allies and appeasing Russia, one of its major economic and diplomatic partners. The status of Crimean Tatars also presents a challenge for Ankara, which has emphasized the kinship aspect of its foreign policy over the last decade as a means of fostering soft power projection capabilities.


Barrel Bombs in the Syrian Civil War: A Game Changer?

Can Kasapoglu, 4 March 2014

EDAM’s sixth Discussion Paper published under the “Syrian War Series” focuses on the expanding usage of barrel bombs in the Syrian civil war. A barrel bomb is an improvised explosive device (IED) employed in air-ground missions, mainly by rotary-winged assets. These weapons are cheaper and easy to produce, even “home-made”, and pose an important threat to civilians because of their indiscriminate character. Barrel bombs are filled with explosives, shrapnel, or incendiary material, and dropped by personnel from a helicopter flying at lower altitudes depending on air defense threats. Thus, employment over urban and sub-urban areas are dangerous due to the “dumb” character of this totally unguided weapon, possible errors by flying pilots and dropping personnel in the bombardment missions, as well as the contents of the bomb. Moreover for the regime, an increase in civilian casualties may possibly be an intended objective.


Reaction Mounting Against Syrian Refugees in Turkey

2014/1: EDAM's first public opinion survey in 2014 shows that the consensus among the public opinion is that the country should stop taking in more refugees from Syria. 86 percent of the participants argue that no further Syrian refugees should be allowed in the country. Only 11 percent of the participants believe that the country should continue taking in future refugees from Syria.

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Crossing the Red Line: The United States and Its Allies Prepare to Strike Syria

Can Kasapoğlu, Aaron Stein, Sinan Ulgen, Doruk Ergun, 27 August 2013

EDAM’s fifth Discussion Paper published under the “Syrian War Series” examines the different aspects of a military intervention in Syria. The issue of the legal foundation of such an operation is discussed. But more importantly the military preparations are reviewed to assess the scope and nature of a potential operation. Finally Ankara’s perspective is analyzed and the potential risks for Turkey assessed. The study concludes that “The more Turkey is operationally involved the higher the risk of a retaliatory strike from Syria. Ankara will therefore need to ensure that the first wave of Allied attacks includes strategic targets in Syria with a view to greatly diminish the Syrian regime’s ability to strike back. But for the longer term, Ankara’s security will be affected by the conditions prevailing in the aftermath of an international intervention. If the military engagement is able to substantially weaken the regime both diplomatically and militarily, Turkey will have fulfilled a goal that proved to be elusive until now. But equally likely is the possibility that a limited strike would further fuel the willingness of the Assad regime to cement regional instability backed by a pro-Assad regional alliance intent on challenging the West and its allies.



The Syrian Civil War: Assessing the No-Fly Zone Option

Can Kasapoğlu, 14 August 2013

In the fourth discussion paper on EDAM's Syrian Civil War Discussion Paper Series, EDAM Research Fellow Can Kasapoğlu analyzes the no-fly zone options for Syria. The imposition of a no-fly zone would significantly undermine the regime’s ability to target Syrian citizens and opposition elements given the importance of air-superiority to the regime’s military campaign. But enforcing a no-fly zone over Syria would be a harder task than the recent Libya case. While Syria’s ageing static air defenses, inadequate C4I (command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence) network, and relatively incapable fighter aircraft would not be sufficient to withstand a U.S.-led operation, an unpredictable deployment of man portable air defense systems (MANPADS) and mobile air defense systems could cause problems for Western aircraft, especially at lower altitudes. While passive and active defenses (distant basing, missile defenses and longer range stand-off weapons such as cruise missiles) provide some security against ballistic missile threat, Assad’s possession of robust stockpiles of chemical (and allegedly biological) agents and ballistic missiles also poses considerable challenges for neighboring countries. Thus, in order to limit the regime’s long-range retaliatory capabilities, the air operation would likely have to target Syria’s ballistic missiles, as well as aircraft capable of delivering WMD.



The Syrian Civil War: Understanding Qusayr and Defending Aleppo

Can Kasapoğlu, 28 June 2013

In the third discussion paper on EDAM's Syrian Civil War Discussion Paper Series, EDAM Research Fellow Can Kasapoğlu analyzes the developments that brought about the regime’s latest military momentum along with critical game-changers with regard to the Battle for Aleppo that would be crucial for the fate of the civil war.



The Syrian Civil War: Chemical Weapons Assessment

Can Kasapoğlu, F. Doruk Ergun, 6 June 2013

This Discussion Paper analyzes critical questions concerning the WMD landscape of the Syrian Civil War as a complementary assessment to our initial focus on the Syrian battleground, The Syrian Civil War: A Military Strategic Assessment. Firstly, the research addresses the simple but critical “what to use” question, examining Assad’s WMD inventory in military terms. Secondly, EDAM analysts answer the “how to use” question which refers to delivery options of the Baathist regime. Finally the research aims to shed light on the claims related to the use of Chemical Weapons (CW).



The Syrian Civil War: A Military Strategic Assessment

Can Kasapoğlu, F. Doruk Ergun, 2 May 2013

This study was designed as an “introduction to the Syrian battleground”. The paper is planned to answer two main questions as follows: (1)What are the ongoing conflict’s major determinants; (2) and how can they shape possible trajectory and final outcome of this armed struggle that has been taking place right at Turkey’s doorstep.

In this way, we have concluded four key categories that are likely to determine fate of the Syrian civil war. The first determinant is the geostrategic aspect of the conflict which dictates the belligerents some critical imperatives to be addressed. The second determinant is the military strategic context of the conflict. Third, we preferred to focus on “the means of the force”, namely the arms supply. And fourth, we focused on how the conflict is perceived and fought; namely, on operational art and tactical doctrine angle. Through this analytical approach, the paper aims to put forward critical findings that might shed light on possible future trajectory of the Syrian civil war.


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Turkey Goes Chinese for Missile Defense

Aaron Stein, Can Kasapoglu, Sinan Ulgen 7 October 2013

Turkey has announced plans to coproduce a long-range air and missile defense system with China’s Precision Machinery Import-Export Corporation. Ankara’s decision which came at the expense of US or French-Italian offers, surprised Turkey’s NATO Allies and quickly led to criticism. The decision to purchase a critical equipment that will not be inter-operable with NATO reflects the evolution in Ankara’s long term thinking about gaining an autonomous capability for theater missile defense.


Turkey’s Air and Missile Defense Acquisition Journey Continues

Nilsu Goren, October 2013

Nilsu Gören examines Turkey's efforts to strengthen its balistic missile defenses. Nilsu argues that given the high costs, technical limitations, and political repercussions of air and missile defense systems, Turkey should choose to remain integrated into the NATO structure and push for a change in NATO policy to receive an assurance to cover entire Turkish territory by alternative area defense systems such as THAAD. Given the huge financial burden of these systems, consideration of how imminent the missile threats are to Turkey is also a crucial consideration in the procurement decision. Operating in a complex web of security and trade relations in the Middle East, investing in a massive, confrontational defense program would also be detrimental on Turkish cooperative engagement in the region.



EDAM Turkish Foreign Policy Public Opinion Survey - 6

October 2013

In EDAM's sixth public opinion survey, Turkish public was asked the question: “Now I will read out to you some developments that might pose a threat to Turkey’s external security. Which one do you think represents the biggest threat to Turkey?”. According to the results of the survey, the biggest threat perceived by the Turkish public remains the foundation of an independent Kurdish state in southern part of Turkey. For the expert community however the biggest threat is the dominance of Islamist extremists in Syria.



Lords of the Ring: Turkey, the UK and post-crisis CFSP

Adam Balcer, June 2013

The future position of the EU in the global arena will be determined to a large degree by its ability to establish a new institutional setup of the euro zone and to accommodate Turkey and the United Kingdom, two countries which will remain outside the euro zone and Schengen in the foreseeable future but possess very substantial assets with regard to the CFSP. The UK and Turkey can be called “lords of the ring”, namely important stakeholders in the external world simultaneously located on the institutional and geographical outskirts of Europe. The attachment of the UK and Turkey to sovereignty makes their accommodation in the EU institutional framework a substantial challenge, though it is not mission impossible.



Turkish Export Control: A System in Need of an Update

Aaron Stein, March 2013

As Turkish military producers seek to export more defense technology, Ankara’s enforcement of export controls is of critical importance. Turkey has taken a number of steps in recent years to harmonize its domestic export control legislation with a number of multi-lateral initiatives designed to prevent proliferation. Turkey, which has adopted a zero tolerance policy with regards to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), is committed to ensuring that it takes steps to prevent the spread of WMD. These efforts, however, have been hampered by Turkey’s decentralized export control system, as well a number of loopholes in the current legislation. In addition, Ankara’s geo-strategic location makes it a target for the illicit transshipment of dual-use items. Despite its efforts to prevent proliferation, Turkish export controls have failed in several instances. The previous failures have, in turn, raised concerns about the enforcement and effectiveness of Turkey’s current laws. Given Ankara’s zero tolerance policy, the government should enact the reforms proposed in 2008, in order to help prevent the use of Turkish territory for the transshipment of dual use goods.

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Understanding Turkish-Israeli Rapproachement: Why Now, What Next?

Can Kasapoglu, 15 April 2013

President Obama’s recent visit to Israel was expected to be a very high profile one, but with modest actual outcomes. Many experts shared the view that Obama’s presence in White House has been a positive factor that may foster a rapprochement between Turkey and Israel (despite the very fact that deterioration itself took place in the midst of the President’s first term), thereby, almost everyone was excited by the US-brokered apology that gave hopes of a major restoration between the two democracies of the Middle East, Turkey and Israel. This paper aims to understand the factors, which paved the ground for the Turkish – Israeli rapprochement, and to analyze prospects of further cooperation between the two nations. For starters, Turkish – Israeli ties have always been crucially important due to their potential of creating stability and forming a robust political-military posture. Apart from being true evidence of “democratic peace assumption”; in practical, Turkish – Israeli cooperation is the most important and viable partnership of the Middle East and North Africa that is capable of counterbalancing Iran – Baathist Syria alliance effectively, and exerting influence in a wide geopolitical axis, ranging from Levant to Caucasus. Furthermore, especially during the debates on US strategic pivot shift to Asia – Pacific and following US-withdrawal from Iraq, Turkish – Israeli relations would serve as the West’s anchor in this important region. To be precise, this fact points out the very difference between being “West-friendly and Western-minded”, which is tantamount to the tangible difference between the GCC states and Turkey & Israel.



EDAM Turkish Foreign Policy Public Opinion Survey - 5

April 2013

In EDAM's fifth public opinion survey, Turkish public was asked the question: “3 years ago Turkish-Israeli relations plunged into a crisis due to the killing of 9 Turkish passengers aboard the Mavi Marmara ship. In order to mend the relations, which one of the following statements that will be read is the most appropriate one?”. According to the results of the survey, while 35 percent of the public thinks that Israel should apologize and pay compensation, 29 percent believe that in addition to the apology and reparations, Israel should lift its embargo on Gaza. In parallel to this public opinion poll, EDAM carried out a survey among Turkey's foreign policy expert community with the participation of opinion makers.



Turkey's Nuclear Regulatory Regime: Questions about Independence

Aaron Stein, February 2013

On Tuesday 8 December 1953, American President Dwight D. Eisenhower stood before the United Nations and warned of the threat of nuclear proliferation and the horror of nuclear war. Eisenhower soon pivoted away from his emphasis on nuclear threats and began to herald the peaceful uses of the atom. Eisenhower proposed the development of an international atomic energy agency tasked with overseeing the peaceful development of nuclear energy. Eisenhower, in 1955, directed the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) to provide technical and financial assistance, as well as fissile material to “free world” countries interested in taking advantage of atomic energy. The Turkish Republic was the first country to take advantage of the new policy and signed a nuclear agreement with the United States on 10 June 1955.


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Public Portrayal of Turkey in Visegrad Countries [The Visegrad Report]

Edited by Pelin Ayan Musil and Juraj Mahfoud, January 2013

This report brings together the findings of a research, which investigates the approach of each Visegrad country—Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia—toward Turkey’s accession to the EU. The main research questions that are asked in this report are: How is Turkey publicly portrayed in each country? How does the public portrayal of Turkey correspond to the political and public opinion on its accession to the EU? What are the reasons for supporting or opposing Turkey’s membership in each country?



EDAM Turkish Foreign Policy Public Opinion Survey - 4

January 2013

In EDAM's fourth public opinion survey, Turkish public was asked the question: “This year is the 50th anniversary of the Ankara Agreement signed between Turkey and the European Union. It is also the 8th year of the accession negotiations. Which of the following policies that I will read now do you think that Turkey should follow in the next 5 years?”. The survey shows that the Turkish public is divided on the issue of relations with the European Union. While one thirds of the public thinks that Turkey should persist on her aim of full membership; the remaining two thirds agree that she should abandon the pursuit of full membership. In parallel to this public opinion poll, EDAM carried out a survey among Turkey's foreign policy expert community with the participation of opinion makers.



Avoiding a Divorce: A Virtual EU Membership for Turkey

Sinan Ulgen, Carnegie Europe Papers, December 2012

In this Carnegie paper, EDAM chairman and Carnegie Europe visiting scholar Sinan Ulgen argues for Turkey's virtual EU membership. He notes that "Turkey's prospects of becoming a member of the European Union (EU) are now more uncertain than ever. Having been forced to spend their residual political capital on passing unpopular austerity packages to combat the eurozone crisis, European leaders have little enthusiasm for championing an equally unpopular proposition like EU enlargement.. But the longer the negotiations process remains stalled, the more acrimony is being injected into the Turkey-EU relationship, poisoning relations in many domains ". He therefore proposes a virtual membership framework for Turkey as a complement to the accession process. The virtual membership would cover such domains as trade, climate change, mobility, foreign and security policy.



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