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  • We talked to co-founder of the Arab Reform Initiative Bassma Kodmani about international society’s approach to Syrian civil war, current situation of Syrian opposition and expectations from international actors.
    We talked to Ambassador Mohamed El Fatah NACIRI, who served as the Head of Mission of the League of Arab States to Ankara since February, 2010, about the Middle East before and after Arab Spring; and the League of Arab States which is a international and regional actor.
    ORSAM has launched the new issue of the ORSAM Inteviews on Regional Affairs. This edition features an interview with Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu, the President of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB).
    ORSAM has launched An in-depth interview series, entitled ORSAM Interviews on Regional Affairs. The first edition features an interview with the Predident of Prime Ministry’s Disaster and Emergency Management Agency Dr. Fuat Oktay.
    On the occasion of the 90th Anniversary of the Diplomatic Relations Between Japan and Turkey, ORSAM in cooperation with Japanese Embassy and SAM organized a joint symposium entitled “Japan and Turkey: Where Did We Come From? Where Are We Going?"
    A delegation from The Japan Institute of International Affairs (JIIA) visited Center for Middle Eastern Strategic Studies (ORSAM) on 19 August 2014.
    On 30 April 2014, national elections took place in Iraq. Not only Iraqi people followed these elections but also countries in the region and international actors watched them closely.
    The Center for Middle Eastern Strategic Studies (ORSAM) in coordination with the Italian research institute of Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI) organized a meeting in Rome entitled “Turkish Policy toward the Syrian Crisis and the Impact of Refugees” on June 6th 2014.
    ORSAM, in collaboration with the Middle East Institute and the Migration Policy Institute organized a meeting entitled “Syrians on the Edge: The Status of Refugees in Neighboring Countries” in Washington D.C.
    ORSAM and Center for Strategic Studies-University of Jordan (CSS) organized a workshop entitled “Exchanges on the Middle East: Turkey-Jordan Relations within the Changing Regional Environment” in Amman on 26 May 2014.
    ORSAM will held a conference entitled “Syrians on the Edge: The Status of Refugees in Neighboring Countries”, in partnership with Middle East Institute and Migration Policy Institute in Washington, DC.
    ORSAM, in cooperation with TOBB ETU and the United Nations held a panel entitled “Forum for the Support of the Palestinian People “on May 14, 2014.
    On 6-7 May 2014, ORSAM, in cooperation with Türkmeneli Cooperation and Cultural Foundation, Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA) and Turkish Historical Society organized a symposium entitled “Middle Eastern Turkmen”.
    A mission which is composed of Lebanon Turkmens and chaired by Hussein Mohamad- Secretary General of the Tripoli and Dinniye Lebanon Türkoman League has visited Turkey in order to contact with some institutes.
    A delegation of Turkish academicians led by ORSAM President Assoc. Prof. Şaban Kardaş paid a visit to Iranian universities and research institutions on 19-20 April 2014.
    A group of students from SDE Academy, established within the Institute of Strategic Thinking on April 27th, 2014, paid a visit to ORSAM within the scope of their “Weekly Event Schedule”.
    ORSAM, in partnership with SAM ve TOBB ETU, held a lecture entitled “How will the International Order Accommodate Rising Powers? A Liberal Perspective" by G. John Ikenberry in 16 April 2014 in Ankara.
    On 24 March 2014, ORSAM, in partnership with the SAM and the Mosul University Department of Turkish Language and Literature organized a panel entitled “Changing Equilibrium in the Middle East and Turkey-Iraq Relations” in Mosul.
    Jordanian journalists visited the ORSAM on March 12, 2014 as part of a program organized by the Office of Public Diplomacy under the Prime Ministry of the Republic of Turkey.
    ORSAM and TESEV, with support from the Stabilization Unit of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, held a joint workshop entitled “Regional Impact Analysis: Syrian Conflict” in Istanbul on 6 March 2014.
    ORSAM Books No: 5
    ORSAM Middle East Books No: 3
    Mosul in The Ottoman Vilâyet Salnâmes
    ORSAM Books No: 4
    Central Asia Books No. 1
    Energy Security,
    Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and Central Asia
    EGYPT IN TRANSITION
    AND
    TURKEY-EGYPT RELATIONS IN NEW ERA
    TUNISIA AND TURKEY-TUNISIA
    RELATIONS IN THE ANNIVERSARY
    OF THE REVOLUTION
     
    Syrian Turkmen in Grip of Assad Regime, ISIS and PYD
    Oytun Orhan, ORSAM Middle East Specialist
    The polarization between the al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) fighting against the regime in Syria and all other armed opposition groups is deepening.
     
    In fact, although there is no conflict between ISIS and another al-Qaeda-linked group, al-Nusra Front, the dispute is deepening between the two. Also, the Syrian opposition groups have clearly distinguished ISIS from al-Nusra Front. While al-Nusra has a positive image and has been at the forefront of the fight against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime along with the Free Syrian Army, ISIS is seen as a group that does not fight against the regime and that is trying to seize areas liberated by the opposition forces. The opposition is convinced that ISIS is affiliated with the Syrian regime and Iran. The presence of ISIS in northern Syria increasingly worries the opposition. ISIS has been arresting and killing the fighters of other armed groups. Since they have a central authority, they have an advantage over the dispersed opposition.
     
    Another development in northern Syria is the fact that the Kurdish People’s Defense Units (YPG), which is the armed militia of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) of the Syrian Kurds, is advancing throughout the area. First, the YPG seized control of tripartite Kurdish regions (Jazirah, Kobani and Afrin). Currently, it is trying to connect the three separate Kurdish regions to one another and spread the conflict into areas populated by Arabs and Turkmen.
     
    The Syrian Turkmen took sides with the opposition along with the Free Syrian Army from the beginning of the uprising. However, the Free Syrian Army is in an extremely weak position in the present multilateral conflicts in Syria. The regime is increasingly growing stronger and, at the same time, al-Qaeda-linked groups or Islamic groups are growing stronger among the armed opposition. Another group with growing influence in Turkmen-populated northern Syria is the Kurdish YPG. Currently, the Turkmen are doing the math on how they can survive in the face of pressure from these three groups.
     
    They are almost all across the country, but the populations of Syrian Turkmen are dense in the rural areas of Aleppo and Latakia near the Turkish border crossing. Although they are not many in number, they live in areas that have strategic importance for Turkey. Two regions of Aleppo and Latakia near the Turkish border gate are also of great importance for the Assad regime, the PYD/YPG and ISIS.
     
    The Turkmen-populated region in northern Latakia is known as Bayir-Bucak. The region is greatly significant for Assad’s regime to establish a geographic connection with the Hatay province in Turkey, which is on the border with Syria. Damascus, which has never accepted the annexation of Hatay by Turkey, considers Hatay its own territory and Syria has tried to bring the Hatay issue -- which had been put aside when the sides were in good relations -- to the agenda once again. The Syrian state news agency has recently published maps on its website showing Hatay within the borders of Syria. The Syrian regime attaches great importance to keeping its claim over Hatay alive so that its hand doesn’t weaken in regards to the Hatay issue.
     
    The Free Syrian Army troops composed of Turkmen and Arabs in the region have seized control of some 30-kilometers of land between the Latakia province and Hatay. Nevertheless, the regime continues to attack the region by land and air, and thus it is not a safe zone. Therefore, the residential areas have been evacuated to a large extent and the people have migrated to Turkey. Recently, a bigger threat than the regime has appeared for the Bayır-Bucak Turkmen. ISIS has recently been infiltrating the region under the authority of the opposition, and it has been oppressing civilians and Turkmen military groups.
     
    The same situation also applies to the Turkmen population living in northern Aleppo near the Turkish border crossing. Turkmen in this area are densely populated in the area located between Azaz and Jerablus. Turkmen seized control of their own settlements. However, ISIS has recently increased pressure on Turkmen in the region. The commander of a Turkmen military troop was arrested by ISIS on the grounds that he opposed the system ISIS wanted to establish in Jerablus. In addition to this, ISIS threatened fighters of another Turkmen military group, forcing them to join its ranks. Some Turkmen civilians have been killed, particularly in Manbij. Turkmen are worried about the rising oppression of ISIS, although no large-scale violence against the Turkmen has taken place yet.
     
    There are various threats against and fears of the Turkmen populations in Aleppo. The first is that the regime will seize control over the entire central part of Aleppo if it is successful in military operations around Aleppo. Besides, the regime might also seize control of Al-Bab, which serves as a gate from the Turkmen districts in rural areas to central Aleppo. Thus, the regime’s army could easily turn toward the region between Azaz and Jerablus. In that case, all the Turkmen in Aleppo who have not yet migrated from their villages and towns will have to migrate to Turkey, because the regime is trying to restore stability by evacuating the settlements in opposition areas.
     
    The third threat for the Turkmen population in Aleppo is that their settlement is among the targets of the Kurdish YPG militia. If the YPG seized control of Tel Abyad, establishing a connection between the eastern (Jazirah) and central (Kobani) parts of the tripartite Kurdish region, its next target would be to seize control of the Azaz-Jerablus region to establish a connection between central and western (Afrin) parts. If the goals stated by YPG spokesman Redur Khalil are achieved, it would come to mean that Turkmen military groups and the YPG will fight against one another.
     
    In the face of all these developments, it should be stated that Turkmen military groups are in no shape to fight against any group. The Turkmen have tried to remain neutral in their region due to their weak position. Furthermore, the Turkmen military groups are worried about the fact that they have fought alongside the Free Syrian Army against al-Akrad, a military group subordinate to the YPG in Jerablus, Azaz and Manbij. The PYD’s militia force, the YPG, is showing a tendency of moving toward the Turkmen settlements and the Turkmen groups are not strong enough to resist the YPG if the YPG advances against their settlements.
     
    In that case, the Turkmen in Aleppo may prefer to reach a diplomatic agreement with the PYD/YPG rather than fight against them. Recently, the PYD/YPG has been making efforts to establish closer ties in order to act together with the Free Syrian Army and Turkmen.
       
       
       
     10 December 2013
              
    24 October 2014
    ORSAM Report No: 192
    October 2014
    Turkey-Tunisia Relations on the Eve of Elections in Tunisia
    (Tr - Eng)
    ORSAM Report No: 191
    September 2014
    US Strategy against ISIS and its Potential Implications for Iraq & Syria
    (Tr - Eng)
    ORSAM Report No: 190
    June 2014
    The 2014 Elections, ISIS Operations and the Future of Iraq
    (Tr - Eng)
    ORSAM Report No: 189
    April 2014
    The Situation Of Syrian Refugees in the Neighboring Countries:
    Findings, Conclusions and Recommendations
    (Tr - Eng - Ar)
    ORSAM Report No: 179
    November 2013
    İnterviews With Syrian Refugees in Reyhanlı - VI
    (Tr - Eng)
    ORSAM Report No: 178
    November 2013
    İnterviews With Syrian Women in Reyhanlı - V
    (Tr - Eng)
    ORSAM Report No: 164
    August 2013
    The Clashes in Northern Syria and the Possible Effects
    (Tr - Eng)
    ORSAM Report No: 160
    May 2013
    Interviews With Syrian Refugees in Reyhanlı
    (After Reyhanlı Bombings) - IV

    (Tr - Eng)
    ORSAM Report No: 159
    May 2013
    Interviews With Syrian Women in Reyhanlı - III
    (Tr - Eng)
    ORSAM Report No: 158
    May 2013
    Interviews With Syrian Refugees in Reyhanlı - II
    (Tr - Eng)
    ORSAM Report No: 157
    May 2013
    Interviews With Syrian Refugees in Reyhanlı - I
    (Tr - Eng)
    ORSAM Report No: 156
    May 2013
    ORSAM Report on Reyhanlı
    “11 May”
    (Tr - Eng)
    ORSAM Report No: 155
    BLACK SEA INTERNATIONAL Report No: 32
    May 2013
    Historical Notes from the Minutes of the Montreux Straits
    Conference and Kanal İstanbul
    (Tr)
    ORSAM Report No: 154
    ORSAM Water Research Programme Report No: 19
    May2013
    Transboundary Waters Within the Scope of EU Water Framework Directive
    (Tr)
    ORSAM Report No: 153
    April 2013
    Electoral Laws in Iraq
    (Tr)
     
    ORSAM Report No: 152
    April 2013
    Basic Data on 2013 Local Elections in Iraq
    (Tr)
    ORSAM Report No: 151
    April 2013
    Democracy Process and Problems in Iraqi Kurdistan
    (Tr - Eng)
     
    ORSAM Report No: 150
    March 2013
    Syrian Turkmens: Political Movements and Military Structure
    (Tr - Eng)
    ORSAM Report No: 149
    February 2013
    David Cameron and the EU: Crossing the Rubicon
    (Eng)
     
    ORSAM Report No: 148
    January 2013
    Internatonal Politics and Civilizations
    (Clash of Civilizations and Dialogue)

    (Tr - Eng)
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