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”

Sweden and Finland Consider Joining NATO Alliance

Photo Credit: FinnishGovernment

By Hezekiah Crawford
Contributing Writer

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has prompted Sweden and Finland to reconsider their national security and foreign policy priorities. In the past few days, Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and Finnish Prime Minster Sanna Marin have publicly stated that a decision regarding NATO accession tops this list of priorities. Nordic states have historically remained neutral during international conflict, but the proximity and volatility of the war in Ukraine have begun to shift sentiments, with Finnish and Swedish leaders pledging to react swiftly to the changing global landscape. 

Their Nordic neighbor Norway is a founding member of NATO, although it has refused to permit “NATO bases and nuclear weapons on their territories.” Their membership within the alliance guarantees them protection under NATO’s Article 5, however, which states that “an attack against one Ally is considered as an attack against all Allies.” Unlike Norway, neither Sweden nor Finland—the latter of which shares a border with Russia—enjoys such a protection clause. 

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg recently expressed that if Finland were to seek NATO membership, they would be “warmly welcome.” In addition to the fact that Sweden and Finland are currently in compliance with many of the political and economic requirements for NATO accession, NATO is eager to expand its list of partners on its eastern flank. When combined, these factors indicate that accession of the remaining Nordic countries could likely be carried out with relative expediency. 

Kremlin spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, claimed that if Finland and Sweden were to join NATO, Russia would retaliate in order to “rebalance the scales.” What this means exactly is unclear, although it likely alludes to the reinforcement of Russia’s western front and further diplomatic recalcitrance.

The Historical and Modern Antecedents to the Russo-Ukrainian Conflict

Pictured Above: The People’s Friendship Arch, built in 1982, symbolized the political and cultural unity between Russia and Ukraine. Following significant deterioration over the following decades, Ukrainian activists painted a crack on the arch to resemble this rupture.

Photo Credit: Timon91

By Manuel Aguilera-Prieto
Contributing Writer

The political circumstances surrounding Ukraine have been marked by a series of tumultuous events that have considerably impacted the international stage. Considering its potential outcomes, the most recent of said events has proven itself to be the most precarious one. Russian proxy forces have occupied the eastern Donbas region after the annexation and incorporation of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014. With the Russian invasion of Ukraine in late February, an already dangerous situation has escalated into total war. As of March 4, Moscow’s forces have made substantial headway on the Black Sea front. However, the Northern front has seen the Russian military unable to penetrate its heavy fortification. The port city of Kherson became the first major city to succumb to Russian forces, while Kyiv and Kharkiv have been able to hold their ground and repel the ongoing siege. To understand why this conflict has transpired, it is worth analyzing the relevant historical aspects of the crisis.

Continue reading “The Historical and Modern Antecedents to the Russo-Ukrainian Conflict”