Key Points

Beyond its potential to expose the corrupt involvement of senior Turkish leaders in Iran’s sanctions-evasion schemes, the Halkbank case also offers an important reminder about the Islamic Republic’s systematic abuse of humanitarian sanctions exceptions to enrich the regime and fund its nuclear weapons program, proxy wars, and sponsorship of terrorism.

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It would, however, be naïve to see this as a sign of an imminent shift in the Turkish government’s complicated relationship with Iran. As long as Erdogan remains at the helm of Turkey, and manages to impose his peculiar ideological vision as a replacement of the country’s now-foregone foreign and security policy tradition, Ankara and Tehran will find deals to cut and frustrate Turkey’s NATO allies and others worried about the Islamic Republic’s sponsorship of terrorism and ambition for developing weapons of mass destruction.

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Given Turkey’s continued disagreements with Saudi Arabia over the situation in Libya, Syria, Sudan, and Iran, the indictment may turn out to be the open declaration of a new, more tumultuous phase in Turkish-Saudi relations. Khashoggi’s murder brought an already faltering relationship to its knees, while the court ruling and continued competition over the wider Middle East might bring about the formal end to the relationship between the two countries. What remains to be seen is how far Riyadh is willing to let Erdogan to push the envelope.

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The American public has a right to know where its news comes from. It is time for Al Jazeera to register under FARA.

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In February 2019, Ayman al Zawahiri criticized Turkey as a “secular” regime, warning its Syrian affiliates not to trust or rely on Turkey as well as the “secular Turkish checkpoints” present in Idlib. These statements from al-Zawahiri undoubtedly fueled the suspicion and mistrust of al-Qaeda commanders in groups such as Hurras al-Din, thus providing an ideological basis on which these groups will continue to resist Ankara’s influence in Idlib as well as the implementation of any Russo-Turkish agreements. Whatever the future of Turkey’s involvement in Idlib may look like, Ankara will have eventually be forced to deal with the al-Qaeda-affiliated jihadists in one fashion or another.

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Events

EVENT: Results of Erdogan's Snap Election Gambit: Implications for U.S.-Turkey Relations

June 27, 2018 | 11:45

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