Turkey at the Centennial – Part II: A Nation at the Crossroads of Continuity and Change

Read Part I of this series here.

Photo Credit: sulox32

By Shawn Rostker
Editor in Chief

It is from the rise of the AKP that Turkey’s current president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, ascended to power. Erdogan’s emphasis on the horizontal ties of solidarity that bound together the people of Turkey rather than the vertical ties of obligation that bound society to state helped elevate him to political prominence. During his time as Prime Minister (2003-2014), the AKP pursued an aggressive reform agenda aligned with its contemporary vision. Economic stabilization programs continued, and ties between foreign commercial and private industry were expanded. Steady declines in the rule of law and fiscal health have led to a running five-year decline in overall economic freedom, and Turkey’s economy has consistently ranked near the bottom of regional and global indexes. It has rebounded from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, growing by 11% in the past year. Still, it remains plagued by inefficiencies across its vital sectors and susceptible to long-term effects of the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Continue reading “Turkey at the Centennial – Part II: A Nation at the Crossroads of Continuity and Change”

The Long Game: Why Protraction Continues to Underpin Moscow’s Strategy to Reclaim Ukraine

Photo Credit: Ministry of Defense of Ukraine

By Shawn Rostker
Editor in Chief

Conditions were cloudy with a chance of showers as the sun rose over Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, on Thursday, February 24. The literal fog of war had set in across the nation of roughly 43 million people, and for residents in and around the cities of Kharkiv, Kramatorsk, Kherson, Dnipro, and Odessa, the showers raining down took the form of high-powered ordnance. In the waning hours of Russia’s Defender of the Fatherland Day—a holiday commemorating the inauguration of the Red Army—Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a national address stating that Russia would execute a “special military operation” in eastern Ukraine to “demilitarize” the nation. Though framed as an obliged response to Ukrainian aggression and ambitions of strategic capabilities, the actions amount to a deliberate invasion of Ukraine and a blatant violation of its sovereignty. A costly and protracted war is now likely to be in the forecast for the foreseeable future, but this has always been the Kremlin’s plan. Putin has always played the long game when it comes to regional ambition, and the strategy for reclaiming Ukraine has always been one of protracted conflict resulting in long-term economic strangulation. The storm of violence currently pummelling Ukraine is one of historical vendetta—one with the potential to threaten the prevailing security arrangements that have underpinned Europe and the international order for over a generation.

Continue reading “The Long Game: Why Protraction Continues to Underpin Moscow’s Strategy to Reclaim Ukraine”

Burkina Faso Coup d’État Sparks Political Crisis

Photo Credit: CIF Action

By Clarissa Monet Brown
Contributing Writer

The West African nation of Burkina Faso is currently facing political instability after a successful military coup ousted President Roch Kaboré on Sunday, January 23. After months of political unrest resulting from widespread dissatisfaction with President Kaboré’s efforts to quell a surge of Islamist militant attacks, the nation fell into an active gun battle that lasted until early Tuesday. The militant group, led by Lt. Col. Paul-Henri Sandaogo Dambila, demanded the president put an end to military losses and attacks by al-Qaeda and other Islamic State groups. President Kaboré has been detained by the Patriotic Movement for Safeguarding and Restoration and has supposedly submitted his resignation as the leader of Burkina Faso.

This is the latest coup in a string of military uprisings across West Africa in recent months, and has heightened the alarming concern over democratic stability in the region. Many international organizations including the United Nations have denounced the coup, with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres reiterating the United Nations’ “…full commitment to the preservation of the constitutional order” in Burkina Faso. The U.S. State Department issued a statement condemning the coup and calling for the reinstatement of President Kaboré. Burkina Faso seemingly has the full support of the United Nations and its member states, but there remains considerable uncertainty and confusion as the country faces yet another challenge to its democratic development. This week’s coup in Burkina Faso is the latest challenge to a region, and a continent, where democracy continues to struggle to gain traction and stability amid widespread political unrest.