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Omer Taspinar

Ömer Taşpınar is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a professor of national-security strategy at the National Defense University in Washington. He is the author of two books: “Political Islam and Kurdish Nationalism in Turkey” and “Winning Turkey: How America, Europe and Turkey can Revive a Fading Partnership” (with Philip Gordon). His research focuses on the Middle East, Europe, Muslim minorities in the West, radicalization and the global political economy. He is a frequent commentator for major Turkish, American, European and Middle Eastern news outlets.

Articles By Omer Taspinar

What Erdogan’s ‘Turkish Gaullism’ Means to the Middle East and the West  By Ömer Taşpınar - Feb 11, 2019

Samuel Huntington still cast a long shadow over modern Turkey. And that is unfortunate. The late Harvard professor once characterized the country as “torn” between East and West. And so according to the Huntington binary worldview of civilizational confrontation, the current Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is a dangerous Islamist determined to overhaul the secularist … Continue reading “What Erdogan’s ‘Turkish Gaullism’ Means to the Middle East and the West “

Trump’s Syria Withdrawal Plan Pushes Turkey Closer to Russia By Ömer Taşpınar - Jan 20, 2019

When Donald Trump declared last month that American forces in Syria would return home immediately, Turkey was one of the few countries to cheer. Some in Ankara even declared “victory.” For after all, America’s main partners on the ground against ISIS have been Kurdish forces that Turkey considers terrorists linked to the Kurdish Workers’ Party … Continue reading “Trump’s Syria Withdrawal Plan Pushes Turkey Closer to Russia”

America’s Troop Departure from Syria Can Improve Turkish-Kurdish Relations By Ömer Taşpınar - Jan 8, 2019

Has America used the Kurds in Syria only now to dump them? Observers who believe in moral debt, rather than the cold logic of realpolitik, understandably are concerned about the implications for the Kurds of an immediate US withdrawal from Syria. After having served as boots on the ground for the military effort against ISIS, the Kurds – so the thinking … Continue reading “America’s Troop Departure from Syria Can Improve Turkish-Kurdish Relations”

The Sunni-Shiite Divide in the Middle East Is About Nationalism, Not a Conflict Within Islam By Ömer Taşpınar - Dec 31, 2018

The West has been obsessed with Islam ever since Samuel Huntington’s prediction of a “clash of civilizations” turned into self-fulfilling prophecy after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The perception and vocabulary of “jihad versus crusade” now is commonplace in a polarized global context that increasingly defined by identity politics. A shallow, religion-oriented analysis … Continue reading “The Sunni-Shiite Divide in the Middle East Is About Nationalism, Not a Conflict Within Islam”

Politics in Turkey Is More than Just the Tension Between Islam and Secularism By Ömer Taşpınar - Dec 10, 2018

The polarity of Islam and secularism has long defined Turkish politics. But despite its continuing popularity among the commentariat, this binary mental map in fact often generates only superficial thinking and lazy analysis of the nature of the Turkish state. More importantly, it no longer captures the complex nature of politics. The time, thus, has … Continue reading “Politics in Turkey Is More than Just the Tension Between Islam and Secularism”