Essay, Foreign Affairs, November/December 2016 Issue

Halil M. Karaveli, Erdogan's Journey


What happened to Recep Tayyip Erdogan? The Turkish president came to power in 2003 promising economic and political liberalization. But under his rule, Turkey has instead moved in a profoundly illiberal, authoritarian direction—although not toward repressive Islamism, which some feared was Erdogan’s true agenda, given his background in Islamist politics. Rather, Erdogan has become something more akin to a traditional Middle Eastern strongman: consolidating personal power, purging rivals, and suppressing dissent.

Over the summer, it briefly appeared as if Erdogan might have overreached, when a group of military officers attempted to topple him—at the direction, Erdogan has insisted, of his erstwhile ally turned bitter foe Fethullah Gulen, an influential Turkish cleric based in the United States. But when the plotters struck, Erdogan was able to quickly rally support inside the armed forces and among the broader public and managed to put down the coup attempt with surprising ease. A subsequent crackdown has been swift and merciless: the government has jailed tens of thousands of alleged Gulenists, conducted a sweeping purge of the army and the state bureaucracy, shut down media outlets, and suspended thousands of academics. Erdogan’s response to the coup attempt has demonstrated that the president’s grip on power remains stronger than even many of his fiercest critics had assumed.

No one could have foreseen the coup or its aftermath. But even long before those events, it should have come as no surprise that Erdogan had failed to live up to the expectations of many liberals in Turkey and elsewhere who had initially hailed his ascent as a sign of progress. Erdogan never really aimed to make Turkey an Islamic state, but he also never wanted to liberalize it. Read more


safoyev1The Central Asia-Caucasus Institute and 
the Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan invite you:

Update from Tashkent: A Conversation
with Senator Sodiq Safoev, Сhairman of the Committee for Foreign Relations of the Senate of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan


Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016, from noon to 1:30 p.m. 


Important developments are under way in Uzbekistan. With national elections impending on December 4, and fresh initiatives already taken in areas as diverse as policy reforms, business, and international relations, Uzbekistan has entered a vital new phase.

Senator Safoev served as Ambassador to Washington from 1996 to 2001, where he was warmly received, and subsequently was Minister of Foreign Affairs and Rector of the University of World Economy and Diplomacy in Tashkent. He was elected to the Senate in 2010. Additionally, he worked as the First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs; as Special Representative of the President of Uzbekistan in Afghanistan; as Ambassador of Uzbekistan to Germany; and as Chief Consultant and Head of the Department of International Economic Relations under the presidential administration.

Moderated by Svante Cornell, Director, Central Asia-Caucasus Institute

Lunch (Uzbek cuisine) will be served.


Please note the special location and time of this event – noon on Thursday, 20 October: 
The Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan
1746 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, DC  20036

Registration is REQUIRED for this event:  

Click here to RSVP and register


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By Svante E. Cornell, Per Eklund, Mamuka Tsereteli

October 2016, pp. 21

Read full text1610geo-slide

suleymanov23CACI FORUM

The Road Ahead for Azerbaijan and the Caucasus


Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016, from 5 to 7 p.m. 

(reception at 5 p.m.; main program at 5:30)



This event can now be viewed on the SAIS events YouTube channel.

A Talk by
Elin Suleymanov
Ambassador of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the United States of America

As Azerbaijan celebrates twenty five years of  independence, Ambassador Suleymanov will look at the achievements of his country and focus on future prospects both for Azerbaijan and the region as a whole in an era of mounting tension and geopolitical transformations. 
Moderated by  S. Frederick Starr, Chairman, Central Asia-Caucasus Institute

Rome Building Auditorium
SAIS - Johns Hopkins University
1619 Massachusetts Ave.,  NW
Washington, DC  20036


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Biweekly Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst


Biweekly Turkey Analyst





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