Posts Tagged ‘Turkey’

The Syrian Refugee Crisis: Saving the Lost Generation and the Communities that Serve Them

October 23, 2015

Edward M. Gabriel (Ambassador to Morocco, 1997-2001)


The Syrian refugee crisis is nearing a tipping point, beyond which no near-term solutions are possible. On this website, many of us have discussed policy options to stem the Syrian crisis and get to the negotiating table. In the meantime, we have a crisis that can’t wait for diplomacy or military action: the lost generation of uneducated young refugees, and the host communities struggling to bear their weight.

More than four million Syrians have fled the country, mostly to Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq. Though in absolute numbers Turkey hosts the largest community, about 30% of Lebanon’s population and 20% of Jordan’s population are now Syrian nationals. To the 4 million refugees, add the 6.5 million Syrians internally displaced and you end up with about half of Syria’s population as either displaced or refugees. One-third – and as much as half – of the housing stock and a large percentage of economic infrastructure have been destroyed or damaged in Syria, and mistrust of the current Syrian security forces abounds. Without homes and jobs and fearful of the government, refugees will not return any time soon and host countries will have to cope with refugees for years to come.



Turkey and the West — Getting Results From Crisis

August 11, 2015

Stuart E. Eizenstat (Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, 1999-2001; Under Secretary of State for Economic, Business and Agricultural Affairs, 1997-1999; Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade, 1996-1997; Ambassador to the European Union, 1993-1996)

Cross-posted from Ambassador Eizenstat’s August 7, 2015 special to Foreign Policy. The article was co-authored by Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan.


The Turkish government’s dramatic decision to engage militarily in Syria against the Islamic State, its agreement to allow the United States to use its air base in Incirlik to strike Islamic State targets, and its request for consultations with NATO last week no doubt can be helpful to the West. Turkey’s change of heart came after an attack, attributed to the Islamic State, near the Syrian border on July 20 which killed over 30 Turkish citizens and wounded scores more. In the days that followed, the Turkish government implored NATO to help it combat the terrorist threats it faces from both the Islamic State and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, also known as the PKK, the latter sworn enemies of Ankara. These security developments should also be a wake-up call for the European Union, the United States, and Turkey to comprehensively reinvigorate a relationship that has fallen into disrepair.

Ankara’s dramatic military actions have created an opening which the European Union and United States should seize to help Turkey regain the political, economic, and security footing lost because of its own shortsighted actions. In recent years, the Turkish government has too often chosen to repress rather than address the views and frustrations of its people. The economy continues to deteriorate as a result of poor economic and political policies. In no small measure, these bad policy choices are what cost President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, its 13-year majority in the June parliamentary elections.


How a U.S.-Iran nuclear deal could help save Iraq

July 15, 2014

Ryan Crocker, Ambassador to Afghanistan (2011-2012), Iraq (2007-2009), Pakistan (2004-2007), Syria (1998-2001), Kuwait (1994-1997) and Lebanon (1990-1993)

Cross-posted from Ambassador Crocker’s July 11, 2014 op-ed in the Washington Post. Ambassadors William Luers and Thomas Pickering co-authored the article.


An Arab proverb advises, “A problem is solved when it gets tougher.”

Illustrating that point, the advance in Iraq and Syria of the Islamic State poses a threat to the United States while clarifying choices for U.S. policymakers. The question confronting the United States and Iran is no longer whether to work together but how to do so. And in light of decades of distrust and animosity, communications between the two countries can be greatly facilitated by reaching a comprehensive nuclear agreement in talks underway in Vienna. Failure, however, would leave only bad options.

If the Islamic State is to be contained, the United States and other nations will have to reconsider past policies and manage enmities.

For Iran, the breakup of Iraq and the creation of a radical Islamist Sunni state next door would be catastrophic. Iranian leaders now must decide whether to join Iraqi Shiites in a bloody sectarian war or, along with the use of force, work with others to build a federalized Iraq in which ethnic groups share in the responsibilities and benefits of statehood.