Turkey

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Straddling Europe and Asia, the Republic of Turkey is a democratic and secular member of the G-20 with an almost entirely Muslim population. RAND has long studied Turkey's evolving strategic significance, including its role in the UN and NATO, its history as a U.S. ally in the Cold War, and its efforts to join the European Union.

  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan speaks during a ceremony marking the second anniversary of the attempted coup at the presidential palace in Ankara, July 15, 2018, photo by Umit Bektas/Reuters

    Report

    Turkey's Nationalist Course and How It Affects U.S.-Turkish Relations

    Jan 14, 2020

    America's longstanding partnership with Turkey, a powerful NATO ally, has become strained in recent years. The two countries' interests are not as aligned as they once were, and tensions between Turkey and Europe have exacerbated these strains. What can be done to sustain the U.S.-Turkish relationship?

  • Um Akram, a Syrian refugee, creates soap under Jasmine, a project which hires and trains Syrian refugee women to create handicrafts, in Amman, Jordan, July 11, 2016

    Commentary

    As Refugees, Syrian Women Find Liberation in Working

    Feb 19, 2019

    Syrian refugee women in Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan want opportunities to work. But there are multiple barriers and challenges that limit them. Improving the chances of safe and dignified work opportunities for Syrian women in these countries could yield broad positive social benefits for both the refugee and host communities.

Explore Turkey

  • Syria's President Bashar al-Assad welcomes Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif before a meeting in Damascus January 15, 2014

    Research Brief

    The Conflict in Syria: Regional Spillover Effects

    The literature on armed conflict shows that external military support, large numbers of refugees, and the fragility of neighboring states contribute to the spread of violence from civil war and insurgency.

    Aug 27, 2014

  • Iraqi Shiite tribal fighters in Baghdad

    Report

    Spillover from the Conflict in Syria

    External military support, large numbers of refugees, and the fragility of neighboring states are factors that contribute directly to the spread of violence from civil war and insurgency in Syria. How do these factors affect Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq, and Jordan, and how can a spillover of violence be prevented?

    Aug 27, 2014

  • Palestinians mourn their relatives, whom medics say were killed by Israeli shelling, at a hospital morgue in the southern Gaza Strip, July 21, 2014

    Blog

    With the Death Toll Rising in Gaza, Is There Any Hope for Peace?

    Casualties are rising in the conflict between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip. Are there any realistic expectations for peace in the region? Who could broker a settlement between Hamas and Israel?

    Jul 22, 2014

  • News Release

    News Release

    Rivalry, Cooperation Between Turkey and Iran Changing Along with the Middle East

    Economic cooperation between Turkey and Iran has increased over the past decade — mainly due to Iran's vast oil and natural gas reserves — but the degree of cooperation between the two nations should not be exaggerated.

    Aug 29, 2013

  • Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (right) talks with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (left) during their meeting in Tehran in 2009

    Report

    Rivalry, Cooperation Between Turkey and Iran Changing Along with the Middle East

    Economic cooperation between Turkey and Iran has increased over the past decade — mainly due to Iran's vast oil and natural gas reserves — but the degree of cooperation between the two nations should not be exaggerated.

    Aug 26, 2013

  • Members of the Free Syrian Army gather as gunfire is heard between them and the armed Kurds of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) in the northern Syrian town of Ras al-Ain, Nov. 25, 2012.

    Commentary

    Is Turkey Rethinking the Syrian Kurd Issue?

    An autonomous Kurdish region that remains an integral part of Syria, even one dominated by the PYD (the Democratic Union, the largest and best organized Kurdish opposition party), would be far less dangerous than one dominated by forces affiliated with al Qaeda. And that should be welcome news to more than just Turkey.

    Aug 21, 2013

  • Turkey Prime Minister Erdogan speaking at the World Economic Forum on the Middle East, North Africa and Eurasia in Istanbul, June 2012

    Commentary

    The Biggest Loser of Cairo's Coup: Turkey

    The military coup deposing Egypt's first democratically elected president, Mohammed Morsi, has sparked an important shift in the regional balance of power in the Middle East. Morsi's ouster deals a strong blow to the Turkey-Qatar-Egypt “pro-change” axis and to Turkey's hopes of playing a larger role in the region.

    Jul 19, 2013

  • Recep Tayyip Erdogan - World Economic Forum Annual Meeting Davos 2009

    Commentary

    Erdoğan's Next Steps

    Safeguarding Turkey's interests — and Erdoğan's own political agenda — depends on Erdoğan's willingness to adopt a more even-handed approach to his domestic opponents, writes F. Stephen Larrabee.

    Jun 28, 2013

  • Protestors clash with Turkish riot policemen on the way to Taksim Square in Istanbul on June 5, 2013

    Commentary

    Turkey's Perfect Storm

    The spontaneous protests in Turkey, which began in Istanbul and have spread to over 70 Turkish cities, have raised serious questions about Turkey's political stability and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's leadership, writes F. Stephen Larrabee.

    Jun 14, 2013

  • Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and U.S. President Barack Obama arrive for a joint news conference in the White House Rose Garden in Washington, May 16, 2013

    Commentary

    Turkey and Intervention in Syria

    When President Obama and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan meet in Washington on May 16, a long list of topics will likely be on the table. The big question, however, is whether anything substantive comes from their discussions of Syria.

    May 15, 2013

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu at a news conference in Ankara, March 1, 2013

    Commentary

    Why It's No Longer the Chummy 1990s for Turkey, Israel

    President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry are working hard to repair relations between Turkey and Israel and deserve credit for their efforts. But much has changed for both countries since they cooperated in the 1990s, and progress toward rapprochement will likely be slow.

    Apr 8, 2013

  • Pro-Kurdish politicians read the statement of jailed Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan ordering his fighters to cease fire and withdraw from Turkish soil during a gathering to celebrate Newroz in the Turkish city of Diyarbakir on March 21, 2013

    Commentary

    Why Erdogan Wants Peace with the PKK

    With the leader of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) now apparently ready to try to peacefully resolve differences with Turkey, the prospects that the uprising will come to an end have improved, writes F. Stephen Larrabee.

    Mar 27, 2013

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov prior to their bilateral meeting in Berlin, Germany, February 26, 2013

    Commentary

    The Russia Gambit

    Unless he can convince allies like Turkey as well as skeptics like Russia that the United States is serious about altering the trajectory of the conflict, Kerry might as well skip the Syria talking points and focus on other issues.

    Feb 26, 2013

  • A Patriot missile is launched by soldiers at McGregor Range near El Paso, Texas

    Commentary

    Turkey Edges Toward Seeking NATO Support in Syria Crisis

    As the crisis along the border between Syria and Turkey intensifies, Turkey appears on the brink of a formal request to the North Atlantic Council that NATO deploy Patriot missiles to help defend the border, writes Christopher Chivvis.

    Nov 21, 2012

  • Free Syrian Army fighters take cover in the old city of Aleppo August 27, 2012

    Commentary

    Taking Syria Seriously

    The US needs a more activist, assertive policy toward Syria aimed at ending the conflict in such a way that bolsters regional stability and facilitates a peaceful democratic transition, write F. Stephen Larrabee and Wasif Syed.

    Aug 27, 2012

  • Report

    Report

    Understanding and Influencing Public Support for Insurgency and Terrorism

    Public support for al-Qa'ida's transnational jihadist movement, the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan, the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in Turkey, and the Maoist insurgency in Nepal is examined using a conceptual model that draws on social science and social movement theory.

    Jul 31, 2012

  • Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad shakes hands with Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul May 9, 2011

    Commentary

    The Turkish-Iranian Alliance That Wasn't

    As pressures for greater democracy in the Middle East have intensified, Turkey and Iran have clashed more openly and each side has sought to expand its influence at the expense of the other, writes F. Stephen Larrabee.

    Jul 12, 2012

  • A U.N. vehicle damaged by an angry crowd in al-Haffeh, Damascus, June 13, 2012

    Blog

    Violence in Syria Intensifies as UN Plans Action Group Meeting in Geneva

    Violence in Syria has only intensified since the failed ceasefire, leading the UN to suspend its observer mission and prompting comparisons to the war in Bosnia in the 1990s.

    Jun 28, 2012

  • News Release

    News Release

    U.S. Military's Role with Petroleum Is to Assure Security

    Energy purchases made by the U.S. Department of Defense do not influence world oil prices, making cutting fuel use the only effective choice to reduce what the Pentagon spends on petroleum fuels.

    Jun 19, 2012

  • Report

    Report

    U.S. Air Force Engagement with Turkey on Energy Security Looks Promising

    Turkey aspires to become a key transit state for moving both natural gas and oil from the Caspian region and from the broader Middle East via pipelines crossing its territory. U.S.-Turkish cooperation on energy security issues offers a promising yet modest opportunity to strengthen the bilateral relationship.

    Jun 19, 2012