Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations Jim Zanotti Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs December 20, 2013 Congressional Research Service 7-5700 www.crs.gov R41368 Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations Summary Several Turkish domestic and foreign policy issues have significant relevance for U.S. interests, and Congress plays an active role in shaping and overseeing U.S. relations with Turkey. This report provides background information on Turkey and discusses possible policy options for Members of Congress and the Obama Administration. U.S. relations with Turkey—a longtime North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) ally—have evolved over time. Turkey’s economic dynamism and geopolitical importance have increased its influence regionally and globally. Although Turkey still depends on the United States and other NATO allies for political and strategic support, its increased economic and military self-reliance since the Cold War allows Turkey relatively greater opportunity for an assertive role in foreign policy. Greater Turkish independence of action and continuing political transformation appear to have been mutually reinforcing—with both led for more than a decade by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP). However, it remains unclear how Turkey might reconcile majoritarian views favoring Turkish nationalism and Sunni Muslim values with secular governance and protection of individual freedoms and minority rights, including with regard to Turkey’s Kurdish citizens. The record of U.S.-Turkey cooperation during the Obama Administration has been mixed. To some extent it mirrors the complexities that past U.S. administrations faced with Turkey in reconciling bilateral alignment on general foreign policy objectives with substantive points of disagreement involving countries such as Greece, Cyprus, Armenia, and Iraq. Patterns in the U.S.-Turkey bilateral relationship indicate that both countries seek to minimize damage resulting from disagreements. However, these patterns also suggest that periodic fluctuations in how the two countries’ interests converge may persist. It is unclear how this dynamic might affect the extent to which future U.S. approaches to regional issues involve Turkey, or might affect the countries’ efforts to increase closeness in other facets of their political and economic relationship. Congress has shown considerable interest in the following issues: • U.S.-Turkey cooperation and consultation in the Middle East regarding major regional security issues involving Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan; • Difficulties in Turkey’s relations with Israel, prospects of their improvement, and how those might affect U.S.-Turkey relations; • A possible deal between Turkey and a Chinese government-owned company to co-produce a Turkish air and missile defense system, which could have implications for U.S.-Turkey defense cooperation and for Turkey’s political and military profile within NATO; • A potential congressional resolution or presidential statement that could recognize World War I-era actions by the Ottoman Empire (Turkey’s predecessor state) against hundreds of thousands of Armenians as genocide; and • Domestic developments in Turkey in light of major protests in June 2013, possible power struggles among key individuals and groups amid still unfolding corruption cases, and upcoming elections in 2014 and 2015. Many U.S. policymakers also are interested in the rights of minority Christian communities within Turkey; the currently stalemated prospects of Turkish accession to the European Union (EU); promoting increased trade with Turkey; and Turkey’s role in the Cyprus dispute. Congressional Research Service Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations Contents Introduction and Issues for Congress............................................................................................... 1 U.S.-Turkey Relations ..................................................................................................................... 5 Overview ................................................................................................................................... 5 Cooperation and Challenges in the Middle East and NATO ..................................................... 6 Impact of Public Opinion, Debate, and Reaction ...................................................................... 8 Bilateral and NATO Defense Cooperation ................................................................................ 9 Overview ............................................................................................................................. 9 Afghanistan ....................................................................................................................... 11 China-Turkey Air and Missile Defense Cooperation? ...................................................... 12 Country Overview ......................................................................................................................... 14 Recent History ......................................................................................................................... 14 Domestic Politics ..................................................................................................................... 15 June 2013 Protests ............................................................................................................. 16 Civil Society and Media Freedom ..................................................................................... 17 Fethullah Gulen Movement and AKP: From Common Cause to Tension?....................... 18 The Kurdish Issue .................................................................................................................... 19 Economy .................................................................................................................................. 21 Overview of Macroeconomic Factors and Trade .............................................................. 21 Energy Issues..................................................................................................................... 23 Key Foreign Policy Issues ............................................................................................................. 25 Israel ........................................................................................................................................ 25 Syria......................................................................................................................................... 27 Iraq........................................................................................................................................... 30 Iran........................................................................................................................................... 31 Possible U.S. Policy Options and Areas of Concern ..................................................................... 33 Influencing Regional Change and Promoting Stability ........................................................... 33 Arms Sales and Military/Security Assistance .......................................................................... 34 Possible “Armenian Genocide Resolution” ............................................................................. 36 Bilateral Trade Promotion ....................................................................................................... 37 Conclusion ..................................................................................................................................... 39 Figures Figure 1. Turkey and Its Neighbors ................................................................................................. 4 Figure 2. Map of U.S. and NATO Military Presence in Turkey .................................................... 11 Figure 3. Major Pipelines Traversing Turkey and Possible Nuclear Power Plants........................ 24 Tables Table 1. Parties in Turkey’s Parliament ......................................................................................... 16 Table 2. U.S. Merchandise Trade with Turkey .............................................................................. 23 Congressional Research Service Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations Table 3. Significant U.S.-Origin Arms Transfers or Possible Arms Transfers to Turkey .............. 34 Table 4. Recent U.S. Foreign Assistance to Turkey ....................................................................... 36 Appendixes Appendix A. Profiles of Key Figures in Turkey ............................................................................ 40 Appendix B. List of Selected Turkish-Related Organizations in the United States....................... 43 Appendix C. Historical Context..................................................................................................... 45 Appendix D. Various Religious and Social Groups in Turkey ...................................................... 46 Appendix E. Additional Foreign Policy Issues .............................................................................. 51 Appendix F. Congressional Committee Reports of Armenian Genocide-Related Proposed Resolutions ................................................................................................................................. 55 Contacts Author Contact Information........................................................................................................... 55 Congressional Research Service Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations Introduction and Issues for Congress As global challenges to U.S. interests have changed over time, U.S. relations with Turkey—an important North Atlantic Treaty Turkey in Brief Organization (NATO) ally since the Cold Population: 75,627,384 (2012 est.) War era—have evolved. Congress plays an active role in shaping and overseeing U.S. Area: 783,562 sq km (302,535 sq. relations with Turkey. Several Turkish mi., slightly larger than Texas) domestic and foreign policy issues have significant relevance for U.S. interests. Most Populous Cities: Istanbul 13.85 mil., Ankara Gauging how U.S. and Turkish interests coincide has become increasingly complicated. Political transition and unrest in the Middle East since 2011 appear to have contributed to the following dynamic between the two countries: • • Turkish leaders seem to perceive a need for U.S. help to defend its borders and backstop regional stability, given threats and potential threats from various states and nonstate actors; and The United States may be more dependent on its alliance with Turkey to forward U.S. interests in the region following the end of the U.S. military mission in Iraq and other possible future reductions in its Middle East footprint. 4.97 mil., Izmir 4.01 mil., Bursa 2.69 mil., Adana 2.13 mil. (2012 est.) Ethnic Groups: Turks 70%-75%; Kurds 18%; Other minorities 7%-12% (2008 est.) Religion: Muslim 99.8% (Sunni 75%88%, Alevi 12%-25%), Others (mainly Christian and Jewish) 0.2% Literacy: 87% (male 95%, female 80%) (2004 est.) % of Population 14 or Younger: 24.9% (2012 est.) GDP Per Capita: $10,504 ($15,066 at purchasing power parity) (2012 est.) Real GDP Growth: 3.5% (2013 est.) Inflation: 7.6% (2013 est.) Unemployment: 9.3% (2013 est.) Budget Deficit: 1.6% (2013 est.) These factors have led to frequent highPublic Debt as % of 36.0% (2013 est.) level U.S.-Turkey consultation on GDP: developments in Syria, Iraq, and the External Debt as % of 44.4% (2013 est.) broader region. The two countries may GDP: agree on a general vision of using political Current Account 7.4% (2013 est.) and economic linkages—backed by some Deficit as % of GDP: level of security—to achieve and improve Sources: Turkish Statistical Institute; Economist Intelligence regional stability and encourage free Unit; Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook. markets and democratic mechanisms. However, it appears that they periodically differ regarding how to achieve this vision, such as when questions arise about which third-party actors—Israel, the Asad regime, Iraq’s government, Kurdish groups, Al Qaeda affiliates, Palestinian factions, Iran, Russia, and China—should be tolerated, involved, bolstered, or opposed. Priorities and threat perceptions may differ in part due to the United States’s geographical remoteness from the region, contrasted with Turkey’s proximity. Congressional Research Service 1 Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations Members of Congress have expressed considerable interest regarding Turkey with respect to the following issues and questions: • Addressing Regional Change in the Greater Middle East: Will Turkey’s policies and actions be reconcilable with U.S. interests in countries such as Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, and Afghanistan with regard to various actors and desired outcomes, particularly if they directly implicate Turkish security concerns or involve Turkish territory, military bases, and/or personnel? To what extent is Turkey willing and able to curb the influence of actors such as Iran that have historically opposed U.S. regional influence? • Israel and the U.S.-Turkey Relationship: What are prospects for future TurkeyIsrael relations? How might these relations affect U.S. efforts at regional security coordination? If Turkey-Israel tensions persist, should they affect congressional views generally on Turkey’s status as a U.S. ally? • Turkey’s Relationships with China and Other Non-NATO Countries: How do and should Turkey’s non-NATO relationships, especially its apparent intention— announced in September 2013—to partner with a Chinese government-owned company in developing an air and missile defense system, affect its political and military profile within the alliance? • Armenian Genocide Resolution: What are the arguments for and against a potential U.S. congressional resolution or presidential statement characterizing World War I-era deaths of hundreds of thousands of Armenians through actions of the Ottoman Empire (Turkey’s predecessor state) authorities as genocide? How would such a resolution or statement affect U.S.-Turkey relations and defense cooperation? • Rights of Non-Muslim Minority Religions: What is Congress’s proper role in promoting the rights of established Christian and Jewish communities within Turkey? Many U.S. policymakers also are interested in the currently stalemated prospects of Turkish accession to the European Union (EU); promoting increased trade with Turkey; and Turkey’s role in the decades-long dispute between ethnic Greek and ethnic Turkish populations regarding control of Cyprus. Domestic developments in Turkey gained greater international attention in June 2013 when protests of a construction project near Istanbul’s main square grew into more than two weeks of generalized demonstrations criticizing the still-popular rule of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (known by its Turkish acronym, AKP). The authorities’ assertive actions to quell the demonstrations have been widely criticized, along with Erdogan’s apparent acceptance and perhaps encouragement of political polarization in likely anticipation of crucial 2014 and 2015 elections. Corruption cases that broke publicly on December 17, 2013, could impact Turkey’s domestic trajectory because of allegations of criminal misconduct that the cases reportedly bring against prominent people with ties to Erdogan— including businessmen, bankers, a mayor of a prominent Istanbul district, and family members of high-ranking government ministers.1 The cases may also heighten reported tensions between 1 “Turkey PM Erdogan condemns ‘dirty’ corruption probe,” BBC News, December 18, 2013. Congressional Research Service 2 Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations Erdogan and the Fethullah Gulen movement, a prominent civil society group (see “Civil Society and Media Freedom”).2 The prosecutor leading the investigation is reportedly sympathetic to the movement, and Erdogan has reportedly labeled the crackdown a “dirty operation.”3 The government has reportedly dismissed or reassigned several high-ranking police officials in Istanbul and Ankara since December 17. As a result of the June 2013 protests, U.S. and EU officials and observers have perhaps become more attuned to concerns regarding civil liberties and checks and balances in Turkey, partly because of their potential to affect Turkey’s economic viability and regional political role. However, it is unclear to what extent non-Turkish actors will play a significant role in resolving unanswered questions regarding Turkey’s commitment to democracy, its secular-religious balance, and its Kurdish question. According to the Turkish Coalition of America, a non-governmental organization that promotes positive Turkish-American relations, as of December 2013, there are at least 144 Members (138 of whom are voting Members) of Congress in the Congressional Caucus (including four Senators) on Turkey and Turkish Americans.4 2 See, e.g., Henri Barkey, “Gul may be winner in Turkey’s ‘mother of all battles,’” Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse, December 18, 2013. 3 “Turkey PM Erdogan condemns ‘dirty’ corruption probe,” op. cit. One media article states, “As Mr. Erdogan has tried to contain the fallout, he is blaming domestic conspirators and foreign meddlers, just as he did during last summer’s protests,” Tim Arango, et al., “Growing Corruption Inquiry Hits Close to Turkish Leader,” New York Times, December 19, 2013. 4 See http://www.tc-america.org/in-congress/caucus.htm. Congressional Research Service 3 Figure 1. Turkey and Its Neighbors Source: CRS Graphics. CRS-4 Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations U.S.-Turkey Relations Overview The United States and Turkey have enjoyed a decades-long alliance. The calculations that led the United States to invest heavily in Turkey’s defense and its military and economic development during the Cold War have evolved as the dynamics within both countries and the regional and global environments have changed. Another change has been Turkey’s decreased dependence on U.S. material support and its increased assertiveness as a foreign policy actor, particularly in the Middle East and within international institutions such as the United Nations and the G-20, where it is scheduled to assume the yearly rotating presidency in 2015. One conceptualization of Turkey’s importance to U.S. interests identifies it—along with India, Brazil, and Indonesia—as a “global swing state” with the ability to have a sizeable impact on international order, depending on how it engages with the United States and the rest of the world.5 At the outset of the Obama Administration, U.S. officials made clear their intent to emphasize the importance of a multifaceted strategic relationship with Turkey. In April 2009, President Obama, speaking of a “model partnership,” visited Turkey during his first presidential trip abroad and addressed its Parliament in Ankara. He said that “Turkey is a critical ally…. And Turkey and the United States must stand together—and work together—to overcome the challenges of our time.” The record of U.S.-Turkey cooperation since then has been mixed. To some extent it mirrors the complexities that past U.S. administrations faced with Turkey in reconciling bilateral alignment on general foreign policy objectives with substantive points of disagreement involving countries such as Greece, Cyprus, Armenia, and Iraq.6 For example, with regard to Iraq, Turkey cooperated with the United States in the 1991 Gulf War and following the U.S.-led 2003 Iraq invasion, but the Turkish parliamentary decision in 2003 not to allow U.S. forces to use its territory to open a northern front significantly affected U.S.-Turkey relations. The decision showed the United States that it could no longer rely primarily on past legacies of cooperation and close ties with the Turkish military.7 Given Turkey’s increasing relevance as a Middle Eastern actor, U.S. officials seem to have viewed Turkey as well-positioned to be a facilitator of U.S. interests in the region as the United States has begun winding down its troop presences in Iraq and Afghanistan. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu appear to have encouraged this approach by articulating a vision through which they have indicated that Turkey could help maintain regional stability while also promoting greater political and trade liberalization in neighboring countries. This vision—aspects of which Davutoglu has expressed at times through phrases such as “strategic depth” or “zero problems with neighbors”—draws upon Turkey’s historical, cultural, and religious knowledge of and ties with other regional actors, as 5 Daniel M. Kliman and Richard Fontaine, Global Swing States: Brazil, India, Indonesia, Turkey, and the Future of International Order, German Marshall Fund of the United States and Center for a New American Security, November 2012. 6 For more background, see “Key Foreign Policy Issues” and Appendix E. 7 For further information, see archived CRS Report R41761, Turkey-U.S. Defense Cooperation: Prospects and Challenges, by Jim Zanotti. Congressional Research Service 5 Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations well as its soft power appeal as a Muslim-majority democracy with a robust and dynamic economy.8 Cooperation and Challenges in the Middle East and NATO Turkey’s regional political influence and expertise has been a key consideration in active U.S.Turkey efforts to coordinate policy on a wide range of important and complicated issues, and is likely to continue to figure into U.S. regional calculations going forward. Nevertheless, some events during the Obama Administration appear to show that Turkey’s ability to shape events may be less than imagined or suggested—as in the case of its unsuccessful efforts to mediate an end or reduction of civil conflict in both Libya and Syria.9 Also, as Turkey has increased its links to the region, its heightened sensitivity to Middle Eastern public opinion, threats near its borders, and dependence on neighboring countries’ energy sources have complicated its efforts to transcend the region’s political, ethnic, and sectarian divides. In 2010, Turkey’s fallout with Israel over the Gaza flotilla incident10 and its vote (in concert with Brazil) against U.N. Security Council sanctions on Iran put it at odds with the United States on two key regional U.S. priorities. Subsequent efforts to focus U.S.-Turkey regional cooperation on the post-conflict rehabilitation of Iraq and political transition in Arab countries beset by turmoil since 2010-2011 have been challenged by Turkey’s geographic proximity to conflict areas and apparent interest in working with other actors espousing an overtly Sunni Muslim perspective. The idea of Turkey as a “model” or example for Arab countries to follow, though still significantly popular according to polling, appears to have less currency now.11 This may be in part because Islamist movements that Erdogan and Davutoglu appeared to favor lost control of Egypt’s government to the military in July 2013, and gradually lost control of the Syrian opposition to more extreme Islamist groups. Turkey’s internal political controversies—particularly the June 2013 protests and reactions to it by Turkish authorities, as portrayed in regional and international media—may have also reduced its appeal to neighboring countries.12 Despite some challenges to U.S.-Turkey cooperation, the two countries appear to work frequently to bring their policies closer together. Agreement by Turkey in 2011 to host a U.S. early warning radar as part of a nascent NATO Active Layered Theater Ballistic Missile Defense (ALTBMD) 8 See, e.g., Ahmet Davutoglu, “Principles of Turkish Foreign Policy and Regional Political Structuring,” International Policy and Leadership Institute and Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey (TEPAV), Turkey Policy Brief Series, 2012 – Third Edition. 9 See, e.g., Council on Foreign Relations, U.S.-Turkey Relations: A New Partnership, Madeleine K. Albright and Steven J. Hadley, Co-Chairs, Independent Task Force Report No. 69, 2012, p. 40. 10 The incident took place in May 2010 in international waters under disputed circumstances and resulted in the death of eight Turks and an American of Turkish descent. It was predated by other signs of deterioration in Turkey’s relationship with Israel. 11 Sevgi Akarcesme, “Turkey’s approval rating in Middle East down 10 percent from 2012,” Today’s Zaman, December 3, 2013. Arab interpretations of the “Turkish model” tend to emphasize the recent democratic and economic empowerment of Turkey’s middle class and the connection between this and Turkey’s emergence as a regional power with a foreign policy independent of the West. Many analysts and Turkish officials have stated that Turkey might more aptly be characterized as an inspiration than as a model because the historical experiences and characteristics of its people, society, and economic system are distinct from those of Arab countries. 12 See, e.g., Tim Arango, “Turkey, Its Allies Struggling, Tempers Ambitions to Lead Region,” New York Times, November 21, 2013. Congressional Research Service 6 Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations missile defense system for Europe13 went some way toward addressing U.S. questions about Turkey’s alignment with the West on the Iranian nuclear issue. Similarly, after the manifestation of U.S.-Turkey differences on various other issues, the Obama Administration has made repeated efforts to clarify U.S. priorities, and Turkey has in many cases publicly indicated an effort to move closer to U.S. positions or to deemphasize points of disagreement.14 Such cases include: • Turkey’s troubled relations with Israel. • Turkey’s possible support for, complicity with, or toleration of, Syrian oppositionists affiliated with Al Qaeda. • The effect on Iraq’s stability and national unity of Turkey’s energy dealings with the autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq. • Tensions between Turkey and the ethnic Greek-ruled Republic of Cyprus over Greek Cypriot energy exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean. Thus, patterns in the U.S.-Turkey bilateral relationship indicate that both countries seek to minimize damage resulting from disagreements. However, these patterns also suggest that periodic miscommunications among the countries and fluctuations in how their interests converge may persist.15 It is unclear how this dynamic might affect the extent to which future U.S. approaches to regional issues involve Turkey, or might affect the countries’ efforts to increase closeness in other facets of their political and economic relationship. Additionally, Turkey’s unwillingness or inability to project force into Syria in the face of vulnerabilities it confronted from Syria’s internal conflict appears to have increased Turkey’s dependence on U.S. and NATO security guarantees and assistance, at least in the near term. Possible Turkish expectations of imminent U.S.-led military action in Syria appear to have dissipated with President Obama’s acceptance in September 2013 of a U.N. Security Councilbacked agreement regarding chemical weapons removal. Consequently, Turkey may be assessing how to gauge the likely nature and extent of U.S. involvement in current and future regional crises, and how that might shape its own regional approach. For the time being on Syria, given Turkey’s military constraints and geographic sensitivities, it may anticipate influencing outcomes in its favor and minimizing vulnerabilities through political dealmaking with other regional and international actors—probably including Russia, Iran, Iraq, the Asad regime, and various Kurdish groups. 13 The proposed elements of the European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA) to missile defense proposed by the Obama Administration, which represents the U.S. contribution to NATO’s ALTBMD system, and a deployment timeline were described in a September 15, 2011, White House press release available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/09/15/fact-sheet-implementing-missile-defense-europe. This document explicitly contemplates the EPAA as a means of countering missile threats from Iran. Then Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance Frank Rose gave a speech in Warsaw, Poland, on April 18, 2013 (available at http://www.state.gov/t/avc/rls/2013/207679.htm), that described how the EPAA has been implemented and revised. See also CRS Report RL34051, Long-Range Ballistic Missile Defense in Europe, by Steven A. Hildreth and Carl Ek. 14 See, e.g., Ali H. Aslan, “Zero Problems with the US?,” Today’s Zaman, November 17, 2013. 15 See, e.g., Bipartisan Policy Center, From Rhetoric to Reality: Reframing U.S.-Turkey Policy, Ambassadors Morton I. Abramowitz and Eric S. Edelman, Co-Chairs, October 2013, p. 17. Congressional Research Service 7 Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations Turkey’s leaders openly speak of desires to strengthen the country’s self-sufficiency—including in military and technological capacity. That may partly explain Turkey’s announced but unfinalized September 2013 decision to develop a long-range air and missile defense system with a Chinese government-owned company that is offering relatively favorable co-production and technology sharing terms in comparison with competing U.S. and European offers. It is unclear whether, over the long term, political and operational considerations will allow Turkey to expect continued or improved protection from NATO’s ALTBMD architecture if it acquires an independent, non-interoperable capacity in close cooperation with a potential U.S. rival.16 In considering the potential missile defense deal, some Western observers are revisiting questions about Turkey’s long-term commitment to NATO.17 Nevertheless, Turkish President Abdullah Gul has stated that the CPMIEC deal “is not definite. There is a shortlist, and China is at the top of it. We should look at the conditions, but there is no doubt that Turkey is primarily in NATO. These are multi-dimensional issues, there are technical and economic dimensions and on the other hand there is an alliance dimension. These are being evaluated.”18 Impact of Public Opinion, Debate, and Reaction Public opinion may also affect Turkey’s future relationship with the United States and NATO. According to a 2012 Council on Foreign Relations task force report co-chaired by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley (the “Albright-Hadley report”), “public opinion polls in Turkey consistently reveal unfavorable impressions of the United States among the Turkish public.… This is a problem that can damage the bilateral relations, especially now that public opinion matters more than ever before in Turkish foreign policy.”19 Such unfavorable impressions, to the extent they exist, do so within a context of Turks’ generally low favorability ratings for foreign countries.20 Many observers cite a “Sèvres syndrome”21 among Turks historically wary of encirclement by neighboring and global 16 See, e.g., Nilsu Goren, “Turkey’s Air and Missile Defense Acquisition Journey Continues,” EDAM (Centre for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies), Discussion Paper Series 2013/13, October 2013. 17 See, e.g., Daniel Dombey, “Doubts rise over Turkey’s ties to the West,” Financial Times, October 20, 2013. In April 2013, Turkey became a “dialogue partner” with the China- and Russia-led Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Turkey is the only NATO member with a formal affiliation with the SCO, though it does not appear to have significant influence with the organization. 18 “Turkey’s China deal on missile system not finalized, says President Gül,” Hurriyet Daily News, September 30, 2013. 19 Council on Foreign Relations, op. cit., p. 7. Other prominent reports on U.S.-Turkey relations in recent years include an October 2013 report by the Bipartisan Policy Center that was co-chaired by former U.S. ambassadors to Turkey Morton Abramowitz and Eric Edelman, op. cit., and a 2011 report by the Istanbul-based Global Relations Forum. Global Relations Forum, Turkey-USA Partnership: At the Dawn of a New Century, Co-Chairs Fusun Turkmen and Yavuz Canevi. 20 The Pew Research Global Attitudes Project indicates that 21% of Turks polled in 2013 had a favorable opinion of the United States, up from 10% in 2011. However, unlike citizens polled from other Muslim-majority countries in the region who had a significantly more favorable opinion of China than the United States, Turks’ favorability of China was only six percentage points higher (27%). Poll results available at http://www.pewglobal.org/2013/07/18/americasglobal-image-remains-more-positive-than-chinas/. 21 Dietrich Jung, “Sèvres Syndrome: Turkish Foreign Policy and Its Historical Legacies,” American Diplomacy, August 2003; Transatlantic Academy Scholars Views on Turkish Public Opinion, October 1, 2009. This refers to the Treaty of Sèvres agreed to in 1920 by the defeated Ottoman Empire with the Allied victors of World War I, which partitioned the Empire among Britain, France, Italy, Greece, and Armenia. The treaty was annulled and superseded by the Turkish War of Independence and the subsequent Treaty of Lausanne in 1923, which formalized the borders of the new Turkish Republic. Congressional Research Service 8 Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations powers—especially Westerners. On the subject of a possible “Armenian genocide resolution” in Congress (see “Possible “Armenian Genocide Resolution”” below), Turkish statements and actions in response to past Congressional action suggest that any future action would probably have at least some negative consequences for bilateral relations and defense cooperation in the short term—with long-term ramifications less clear. Negative U.S. public reactions to Turkish statements, actions, and perceived double standards could also impact the bilateral relationship. According to a Turkish newspaper report, Turkey’s reported disclosure to Iran in 2011—in apparent retribution for the 2010 Gaza flotilla incident— of the identities of Iranians acting as Israeli intelligence sources led to Congressional rejection (presumably informal) of Turkey’s longstanding request to purchase U.S. drone aircraft to counter Kurdish militants.22 Additionally, negative statements about Israel and Zionism by Erdogan and other Turkish leaders in relation to the flotilla incident, Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, and a February 2013 international conference in Vienna, as well as allegations that Israel was behind Egypt’s July 2013 military takeover, have generated substantial criticism by Obama Administration officials and Members of Congress. This is exacerbated by Turkey’s cultivation of ties with Hamas and refusal to characterize it as a terrorist organization. The optics of the proposed missile defense deal with CPMIEC, due both to U.S. public sensitivities regarding China and to CPMIEC’s subjection to U.S. sanctions for alleged proliferation-related dealings with certain countries,23 could further complicate the public dimension of U.S.-Turkey relations. The deal may be even more problematic given that it could be interpreted as a rejection of the very U.S. Patriot missile defense batteries that are currently deployed under NATO auspices at Turkey’s request to defend it from threats in Syria. It remains unclear how trends or fluctuations in public opinion—when taken together with how the countries’ leaders cooperate on strategic matters and with other factors such as trade, tourism, and cultural and educational exchange—will affect the tenor of the U.S.-Turkey relationship over the long term. Bilateral and NATO Defense Cooperation24 Overview The U.S.-Turkey alliance has long centered on the defense relationship, both bilaterally and within NATO. Turkey’s location near several global hotspots makes the continuing availability of its territory for the stationing and transport of arms, cargo, and personnel valuable for the United States and NATO. Turkey’s hosting of a U.S./NATO early warning missile defense radar and the transformation of a NATO air command unit in Izmir into a ground forces command appear to have reinforced Turkey’s strategic importance for the alliance. For information on NATO’s role in supporting Turkey’s defense in light of ongoing conflict in Syria, see “Syria” below. 22 “Report: US canceled delivery of Predators to Turkey,” Today’s Zaman, October 21, 2013, citing a report in Taraf. CRS Report RL31555, China and Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and Missiles: Policy Issues, by Shirley A. Kan. 24 For background information on this subject, see archived CRS Report R41761, Turkey-U.S. Defense Cooperation: Prospects and Challenges, by Jim Zanotti. 23 Congressional Research Service 9 Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations As the military’s political influence within Turkey has declined, civilian leaders have assumed primary responsibility for national security decisions. Changes in the Turkish power structure present a challenge for U.S. officials accustomed to military interlocutors in adjusting future modes of bilateral interaction. It might lead to an approach that is more multidimensional than the well-established pattern some observers see in which the State Department and other U.S. officials rely on the “Pentagon to wield its influence.”25 The largest U.S. military presence in Turkey is at Incirlik (pronounced in-jur-lick) air base near the southern city of Adana, with approximately 1,500 U.S. personnel (plus approximately 3,500 Turkish contractors). Since the end of the Cold War, Incirlik has been used to support U.S. and NATO operations in Iraq, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, and Afghanistan. According to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Incirlik also is the reported home of vaults holding approximately 60-70 U.S. tactical, aircraft-deliverable B61 nuclear gravity bombs under NATO auspices.26 Turkey maintains the right to cancel U.S. access to Incirlik with three days’ notice. 25 Henri J. Barkey, “Turkey’s New Global Role,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, November 17, 2010. The challenge for U.S. officials to manage cooperation with Turkey could be magnified by the way the U.S. government is structured to work with Turkey. Former U.S. ambassador to Turkey Mark Parris has written, “For reasons of self-definition and Cold War logic, Turkey is considered a European nation. It is therefore assigned, for purposes of policy development and implementation, to the subdivisions responsible for Europe: the European Bureau (EUR) at the State Department; the European Command (EUCOM) at the Pentagon; the Directorate for Europe at the [National Security Council (NSC)], etc. Since the end of the Cold War, however, and progressively since the 1990-91 Gulf War and 9/11, the most serious issues in U.S.-Turkish relations – and virtually all of the controversial ones – have arisen in areas outside “Europe.” The majority, in fact, stem from developments in areas which in Washington are the responsibility of offices dealing with the Middle East: the Bureau for Near East Affairs (NEA) at State; Central Command (CENTCOM) at the Pentagon; the Near East and South Asia Directorate at NSC.” Omer Taspinar, “The Rise of Turkish Gaullism: Getting Turkish-American Relations Right,” Insight Turkey, vol. 13, no. 1, winter 2011, quoting an unpublished 2008 paper by Mark Parris. 26 Robert S. Norris and Hans M. Kristensen, “US tactical nuclear weapons in Europe, 2011,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, vol. 67, no. 1, January/February 2011. Reportedly, the U.S. has approximately 150-200 B61 bombs in Turkey, Belgium, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands left over from their deployment during the Cold War. This amount is a very small fraction of the over 7,000 U.S. tactical nuclear weapons stationed in Europe during the 1970s. Ibid. Congressional Research Service 10 Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations Figure 2. Map of U.S. and NATO Military Presence in Turkey Sources: Department of Defense, NATO, Hurriyet Daily News; adapted by CRS. Notes: All locations are approximate. The Incirlik and Kurecik bases are Turkish bases, parts of which are used for limited purposes by the U.S. military and NATO. Additional information on the U.S./NATO military presence in Turkey is available in archived CRS Report R41761, Turkey-U.S. Defense Cooperation: Prospects and Challenges, by Jim Zanotti. Since 1948, the United States has provided Turkey with approximately $13.8 billion in overall military assistance (nearly $8.2 billion in grants and $5.6 billion in loans). Current annual military and security grant assistance, however, is limited to approximately $4 million annually in International Military Education and Training (IMET); and Nonproliferation, Antiterrorism, Demining and Related Programs (NADR) funds (see Table 4 below). Afghanistan Turkey has twice commanded the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan and has had troops participating in ISAF since shortly after its inception in December 2001. Turkey’s approximately 2,000 troops concentrate on training Afghan military and security forces and providing security in Kabul, where Turkey commands ISAF’s Regional Command-Capital, as well as in Wardak (just west of Kabul) and Jawzjan (in northern Afghanistan) provinces. In addition, some Afghan police are trained in Turkey. As with several other NATO and non-NATO contributors to ISAF, Turkey’s troops are not involved in combat. Turkey’s history of good relations with both Afghanistan and Pakistan and its status as the Muslim-majority country with the greatest level of involvement in ISAF are thought by some analysts to help legitimize ISAF’s presence. These relations could become more Congressional Research Service 11 Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations important to preparing Afghanistan for stable, self-sufficient rule, with the United States and other ISAF countries scheduled to wind down their military presence in Afghanistan in future years. China-Turkey Air and Missile Defense Cooperation? As referenced above, in September 2013, Turkey announced that it had selected Chinese government-owned CPMIEC as its desired contractor for a multi-billion dollar Turkish Long Range Air and Missile Defense System (T-LORAMIDS). Turkey’s 2009 request for outside tenders for an off-the-shelf version of T-LORAMIDS had been scrapped in January 2013 in favor of a version that would feature Turkish co-production of the system, in line with Turkey’s general procurement policy favoring technology acquisition that can bolster its self-reliance. Murad Bayar, Turkey’s top defense procurement official, claimed that CPMIEC’s offer of the HQ-9/FD2000 system bested the competitors—including a U.S. Raytheon/Lockheed-Martin offer of a Patriot PAC-3 system and bids from Italian/French and Russian contractors—on the basis of price, co-production, and technology transfer criteria. Bayar has stated that Turkey plans to finalize the deal with CPMIEC during the first half of 2014, and would evaluate other bids if negotiations fail, possibly leaving the door open for the U.S. and European offers. It is unclear to what extent Turkey might be actively seeking an improved U.S. offer, or to what extent the U.S. bidders or U.S. officials are considering ways to persuade Turkey to change its decision. Seven Senators sent a letter dated October 11, 2013, to Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, urging them to “exert all available diplomatic pressure to prevent Turkish procurement of a CPMIEC missile defense system and ensure NATO will never allow such a system to be integrated into NATO’s security architecture,” and to “undertake a comprehensive review of the security implications posed by this procurement and report back with appropriate steps the U.S. and NATO should take to protect the security of classified data and technology.”27 A letter raising similar concerns about the proposed deal was sent on November 4, 2013, to Turkey’s U.S. ambassador Namik Tan by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard “Buck” McKeon and Ranking Member Adam Smith.28 In the event that the CPMIEC deal is finalized, Chinese personnel would likely receive significantly greater access—including for purposes of training and consultation—to officials and organizations associated with Turkey’s security establishment and defense industry. The announcement of the possible Turkey-CPMIEC deal has prompted reactions of surprise and concern from Western observers. U.S. and NATO officials, while acknowledging Turkey’s right to make its own procurement decisions, have claimed that the Chinese system would not be interoperable with NATO air and missile defense assets—including radar sensors—in Turkey. Although two U.S.-based analysts maintain that interoperability may be technically possible, they assert that “Turkey’s allies would make the political decision not to allow full integration,” taking into account the “potential risk of Chinese infiltration or exfiltration of data.”29 In response to the announced possible Turkey-CPMIEC deal, Senator Mark Kirk proposed S.Amdt. 2287 to the 27 The Senators are Mark Kirk, John Cornyn, Roger Wicker, John Barrasso, John Boozman, James Inhofe, and Ted Cruz. A copy of the signed letter was provided to CRS by a Congressional office on December 13, 2013. The letter states that if Turkey procures the CPMIEC system, possible responses could include “Turkish expulsion from the NATO Air Defense Ground Environment and intensified scrutiny of all Turkey-NATO security cooperation activities.” 28 A copy of the signed letter was provided to CRS by a Congressional office on December 13, 2013. 29 Bulent Aliriza and Samuel J. Brannen, “Turkey Looks to China on Air and Missile Defense?,” Center for Strategic and International Studies, October 8, 2013. Congressional Research Service 12 Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014 (originally S. 1197, with the language ultimately making it into H.R. 3304), which would prohibit any U.S. funding to be used to “integrate missile defense systems of the People’s Republic of China into United States missile defense systems.” One analyst asserts that lack of NATO interoperability could make the CPMIEC offer significantly less cost-advantageous for Turkey in the long run.30 U.S. officials have additionally emphasized that CPMIEC is subject to U.S. sanctions under the Iran, North Korea and Syria Nonproliferation Act (P.L. 106-178, as amended).31 One media report cited an unnamed U.S. diplomat as saying that Turkish companies involved in co-production with CPMIEC “would be denied access to any use of US technology or equipment in relation to this program,” and as suggesting that such companies might also face difficulties in working with U.S. products or technology on other projects.32 The diplomat reportedly compared this situation with difficulties that the United States encountered in the past decade-and-a-half with Israel when it sold drone aircraft to China.33 A Reuters article said that “Turkey’s missile defense deal could also affect its plans to buy radar-evading F-35 fighter jets” from the United States.34 In defending Turkey’s decision to engage in co-production with a non-NATO country, Erdogan and Bayar have referenced NATO member Greece’s previous procurement of a missile defense system from Russia (another non-NATO country). One report claims that the Turkish military is unhappy that it might acquire “second-hand, not battle-tested and cheap Chinese missiles,” while also claiming that the military is “mad” because U.S. companies did not offer more generous technology transfer terms.35 President Gul’s statement (cited above) insisting that the deal “is not definite” and that “Turkey is primarily in NATO”36 hints at an apparent awareness that U.S./NATO scrutiny of the possible deal probably considers its overall context. This includes potential Western geopolitical rivalry with China, Turkey’s greater assertiveness on the international stage, and other steps—perhaps tentative and inconclusive—that Turkey and China have taken to bolster political, military, and trade ties.37 Additionally, the McKeon-Smith letter asserts that Turkey’s pursuit of a deal with CPMIEC seems to undermine its commitment to 30 Aaron Stein, “More thoughts on Turkey and Missile Defense Decision-Making,” Turkey Wonk, November 25, 2013. CRS Report RL31555, China and Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and Missiles: Policy Issues, by Shirley A. Kan. 32 Burak Ege Bekdil, “Turk Industry Could Face US Sanctions in China Air Defense Deal,” Defense News, November 19, 2013. 33 Ibid. See also CRS Report RL33476, Israel: Background and U.S. Relations, by Jim Zanotti. 34 Andrea Shalal-Esa, “Turkey asks U.S. to extend pricing on Raytheon missile bid: sources,” Reuters, October 28, 2013. 35 Lale Kemal, “Turkish military very unhappy with Chinese missiles, mad at US,” Today’s Zaman, November 5, 2013. 36 “Turkey’s China deal on missile system not finalized, says President Gül,” Hurriyet Daily News, September 30, 2013. 37 Although such steps have taken place, including the increase of bilateral trade volume to around $24 billion (from $1 billion in 2000), some degree of tension between Turkey and China persists over the imbalance of trade between the two countries (in China’s favor), as well as over Turkey’s concerns regarding China’s treatment of Uighurs (who are ethnically and linguistically akin to Turks) in its Xinjiang Province. Turkish and Chinese military units held joint air and ground exercises in Turkey during 2010, but have apparently not done so since. One project showcasing increased Turkey-China commercial relations is the involvement of two Chinese companies in the construction of a key section of an Istanbul-Ankara high-speed railway projected to begin operating in early 2014. For additional information on the dynamics of the Turkey-China relationship, see Karen Kaya, “Turkey and China: Unlikely Strategic Partners,” Foreign Military Studies Office (Fort Leavenworth, Kansas), August 2013; and Chris Zambelis, “Sino-Turkish Partnership: Implications of Anatolian Eagle 2010,” China Brief, vol. 11, no. 1, January 2011. 31 Congressional Research Service 13 Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations NATO burden sharing, “even as Turkey would benefit from the defense capabilities of those states which have deployed their own assets on Turkey’s soil to defend the Turkish people.”38 In addition to raising questions about Turkey’s overall foreign policy goals and relationships, it is unclear what a CPMIEC missile defense deal would mean for Turkey’s defense posture. Is Turkey seeking a system that could cover potential territorial gaps in NATO’s ALTBMD coverage? Is it seeking a system that offers redundant or alternative protection in the event that NATO coverage is technically deficient, or in the event that Turkey’s association with NATO provokes an unacceptable level of regional threat? Does Turkey question the political will of other NATO countries to come to its defense and stay engaged in the event of a conflict featuring missile exchanges? Or is the Turkish decision on CPMIEC confined to the specific details of the transaction with negligible connection to larger geopolitical or operational objectives? Country Overview Recent History Since the 1980s, Turkey has experienced fundamental internal change—particularly the economic empowerment of a middle class from its Anatolian heartland that emphasizes Sunni Muslim values. This change has helped fuel continuing political transformation led in the past decade by Prime Minister Erdogan, President Gul, and Foreign Minister Davutoglu (all of whom are profiled in Appendix A). They all come from the Islamic-leaning AKP, which first came to power in elections in 2002. For decades, the Turkish republic relied upon its military, judiciary, and other bastions of its Kemalist (a term inspired by Turkey’s republican founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk) “secular elite” to protect it from political and ideological extremes—sacrificing at least some of its democratic vitality in the process. Through a series of elections, popular referenda, court decisions, and other political developments within the existing constitutional order, Turkey has changed into a more civilian-led system that increasingly reflects the new middle class’s dedication to market economics and conservative values. As discussed above, Turkey’s internal transformation has helped to drive increased engagement and influence within its own region and internationally. At the same time, its leaders have tried to maintain Turkey’s traditional alliances and economic partnerships with Western nations in NATO and the EU, routinely asserting that Turkey’s location at the crossroads of Europe and Asia and its soft power provides it and its allies with “strategic depth.” Thus, the geopolitical importance of Turkey for the United States is now intertwined with its importance as an ally and symbol— politically, culturally, economically, and religiously. Turkey’s future influence could depend on its maintaining the robust economic growth from its past decade that has led to its having the world’s 17th-largest economy. Popular discontent with coalition rule stemming from a 1999-2001 economic and financial crisis and perceptions of government corruption and ineffectiveness opened the way for the AKP to achieve single-party rule with its first election victory in 2002. Since the AKP came to power, the military has reportedly become less scrutinizing of its rising officers’ religious backgrounds and views; regulations on the consumption of alcohol have increased; Islamic education has been 38 See footnote 28. Congressional Research Service 14 Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations accorded greater prominence within the public school curriculum; and the wearing of headscarves by women in government buildings, universities, and other public places has gained legal and social acceptance. Such developments, among others, prompted this observation in the AlbrightHadley report: To ensure social stability and a democratic trajectory, it is thus incumbent on the new establishment to reassure secular-minded Turks that their way of life has a place in Turkish society, even if secularists failed to do the same for observant Muslims during their long period of ascendancy.39 For additional historical context, see Appendix C. Domestic Politics Domestic Turkish political developments affect heightened concerns, fueled by June 2013 nationwide protests, about the country’s debate on religion in public life, press and civil society freedoms, and the status of its Kurdish and other ethnic and religious minorities. (For information about religious minorities in Turkey, see Appendix D.) Developments on domestic issues are in turn likely to help determine and influence who shapes Turkey’s foreign policy and how they conduct it. Erdogan, who still retains broad popularity according to polls, may seek the presidency in Turkey’s first direct presidential elections40—scheduled for August 2014. However, following the June 2013 protests, it seems increasingly unlikely that prior to these elections Erdogan will obtain changes in the constitution investing greater power in the presidency.41 Local elections, which are often used to gauge shifts in nationwide public opinion, are scheduled for March 2014—preceding the presidential elections. Parliamentary elections are to take place in June 2015. 39 Council on Foreign Relations, op. cit., p. 17. Previously, the Turkish parliament elected the president by secret ballot. 41 Much speculation has surrounded Erdogan’s supposed preference for a more U.S.- or French-style presidential system in Turkey, especially given expectations that he might be elected president. The AKP needs support from outside the party to obtain the 60% parliamentary supermajority necessary to bring about a popular referendum on amending or replacing the current constitution, whose core articles date to 1982. A constitutional commission comprised since 2011 of the four parties in Turkey’s parliament has so far been unable to reach consensus on constitutional change. 40 Congressional Research Service 15 Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations Table 1. Parties in Turkey’s Parliament (Based on national elections held in June 2011) June 2011 Vote Members of Parliament Justice and Development Party (AKP) Leader: Recep Tayyip Erdogan 49.8% 327 Economic liberalism, social conservatism Republican People’s Party (CHP) Leader: Kemal Kilicdaroglu 26.0% 134 Social democracy, secularist interests Nationalist Action Party (MHP) Leader: Devlet Bahceli 13.0% 53a Turkish nationalist interests Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) Leader: Selahattin Demirtas 6.6%b 34c Ethnic Kurdish interests, social democracy Party General Orientation Sources: Turkish Grand National Assembly website; Ali Carkoglu, “Turkey’s 2011 General Elections: Towards a Dominant Party System?” Insight Turkey, vol. 13, no. 3, summer 2011, pp. 43-62. a. One MHP member was expelled from the party just prior to the June 2011 elections but remained on the electoral list and currently sits in parliament as an independent. b. This is the percentage vote figure for the 61 BDP members or affiliated independents who ran in the election as independents for individual geographic constituencies, as described in footnote 63. c. This figure includes six independents with ties to the BDP. June 2013 Protests Nationwide protests broke out in Turkey in early June 2013 in response to a police crackdown on May 31 against people demonstrating a government redevelopment project at Gezi Park in central Istanbul. Despite minimal coverage of the unfolding events by Turkish broadcasters, Turks informed largely through international media sources and Internet-based social media flocked to the demonstrations, partly in response to dismissive remarks about the protestors by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.42 Calls for Erdogan’s resignation were a common refrain among protestors who may have perceived an increasingly authoritarian leadership approach from Erdogan and the ruling AKP government. The protestors’ predominantly youthful and cosmopolitan appearance and expressions of concern regarding Erdogan’s governing agenda led many observers to speculate that concerns about possible imposition of Islamic norms on secular lifestyles may have motivated the protests to some extent.43 An October 2013 report co-chaired by two former U.S. ambassadors to Turkey (the “Abramowitz-Edelman Report”) stated that “rather than calm tensions, Erdogan chose to solidify his base and rally his very sizeable group of core supporters.”44 The report also stated that the protests “revealed potential fault lines among 42 In his initial responses to the growing protests, Erdogan dismissed the demonstrators as çapulcular (loosely translated as “marauders,” “looters,” or “riff-raff”), and said that Twitter was a “menace.” Subsequently, some Turks were reportedly arrested (though later released) for using Twitter to coordinate action in Izmir (Turkey’s third largest city) during the first week of the protests. 43 John C. Hulsman, “Don’t Call It Spring: Turkey’s Decisive Turn Away from the West,” Limes (Revista Italiana de Geopolitica), July 8, 2013. The protests began days after the Turkish parliament passed a controversial law limiting the advertisement and sale of alcohol in urban areas, which reinvigorated debate over the degree to which Erdogan and the AKP are pursuing an Islamist agenda. Erdogan labeled opponents of the law “alcoholics” and, according to many media sources, hinted that the same label applied to the first two leaders of Turkey’s secular republic—Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and Ismet Inonu. 44 Bipartisan Policy Center, op. cit., p. 7. According to the Abramowitz-Edelman Report, “ruling officials have sought (continued...) Congressional Research Service 16 Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations Turkey’s leaders, as President Gul and Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc made more sympathetic statements.”45 The on-and-off persistence of demonstrations for more than two weeks and the police’s use of forceful crowd control measures such as tear gas and water cannon attracted international attention. At least four people, including one police officer, reportedly died in association with the protests,46 more than 5,000 were injured, and hundreds detained or arrested. Although the protests tapered off in mid-June, occasional demonstrations or public forums have subsequently convened—particularly in Istanbul—on a number of occasions. Hundreds of people nationwide are reportedly facing criminal prosecution for actions related to the protests.47 The protests and the government’s response have raised questions for U.S. policymakers about Turkey’s commitment to liberal democracy, its domestic political trajectory and economic stability, and its already uncertain prospects for joining the EU. As discussed above, they have also raised questions about the effectiveness and advisability of Turkey’s role in influencing regional conflict and political change in Syria, Iraq, and North Africa. Civil Society and Media Freedom Even before the June 2013 protests, domestic and international observers had raised concerns about Erdogan’s and the AKP government’s level of respect for civil liberties.48 Although infringement upon press freedom is of routine concern in Turkey, measures taken by authorities in recent years have been widely criticized as unusually severe and ideologically driven. These measures include various means of criminal prosecution or reported intimidation,49 often under a law on terrorism that many human rights organizations and international observers criticize for being vague and overly broad. (...continued) to undermine the legitimacy of the protests by suggesting that they were organized by any one of a myriad of shadowy groups, including the ‘interest rate lobby,’ German airlines, and Jews. Another common conspiracy theory has been that the protestors were both secular extremists who attacked women in headscarves and Alevi agitators, possibly mobilized by Syria and Iran.” Ibid, p. 20. 45 Ibid, p. 20. See Ibid., pp. 20, 25-27, for additional discussion of leaders’ reactions to the protests and various views on Erdogan’s political approach and how his role may or may not change as a result of the upcoming electoral cycle. 46 “Senior UN officials urge restraint, dialogue to defuse tensions fuelling protests in Turkey,” UN News Centre, June 18, 2013. 47 Ayla Albayrak, “Six Months After Turkey Protests, the Reckoning Continues,” wsj.com, December 10, 2013. 48 Council on Foreign Relations, op. cit., p. 23: “In some areas, the AKP-led government has used the same nondemocratic tools as its predecessor, making it appear no more liberal than previous Turkish governments.” See also the U.S. State Department’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices 2012. According to Reporters Without Borders’s 2013 World Press Freedom Index, Turkey is the 154th “freest” country out of 179 evaluated, down six places from 2012. The Committee to Protect Journalists reported in December 2013 that Turkey was the world’s leading jailer of journalists for the second consecutive year (though the number reported declined from 49 in 2012 to 40 in 2013), closely followed by Iran and China. 49 In late July 2013, the spokesman for Stefan Fule, the European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy, was quoted as raising concerns about “measures taken against some journalists such as dismissals and criminal sanctions.” A prominent journalist who was the ombudsman for the Turkish newspaper Sabah was fired in July, weeks after making comments at a European Commission-sponsored conference in Brussels in which he criticized “the Turkish government, the ownership of media by big business and some of his colleagues for confusing journalism with political activism.” Selcuk Gultasli, “EU raises concerns on media freedom in Turkey after Baydar fired,” todayszaman.com, July 25, 2013. Congressional Research Service 17 Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations In recent years, concerns about media and political association freedoms have been connected in large part with two national issues: tensions involving Turkey’s Kurdish population (see “The Kurdish Issue” below), and criminal investigations into the Ergenekon and Sledgehammer (or Balyoz) cases. Ergenekon and Sledgehammer concern alleged plots to undermine or overthrow the AKP government in the early 2000s.50 In September 2012, a civilian trial court convicted more than 300 active and former military officers in the Sledgehammer verdicts, though more than 60 have since been acquitted on appeal. In August 2013, another court convicted 275 defendants in the Ergenekon case, including active and former military officers (among them, a former chief of staff), parliamentarians, and journalists. Appeals in both cases remain possible, and could reach the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).51 Many in the media claim that even if some of the anti-government plots were real, authorities with pro-AKP leanings or sympathies for the Fethullah Gulen movement (see a description of this movement below) have used the allegations to intimidate, weaken, or punish political and ideological opponents.52 Fethullah Gulen Movement and AKP: From Common Cause to Tension? The Gulen movement (see Appendix D for more details) is a prominent Turkish civil society actor that many observers have characterized as having used its social connectedness and media clout to ally itself with the AKP—particularly during the AKP’s first decade in power, as both groups sought to curb the military’s control over civilian politics.53 The Gulen movement also has a major international presence, including in the United States. Much domestic political discussion now revolves around possible rifts between Erdogan and the Gulen movement that could raise questions about the future of the AKP’s leadership of Turkey.54 A New York Times article covering 50 The existence and validity of evidence for these purported plots is vigorously disputed in domestic and international circles. Gareth Jenkins, “Ergenekon, Sledgehammer, and the Politics of Turkish Justice: Conspiracies and Coincidences,” MERIA Journal, vol. 15, no. 2, June 2011; Sedat Ergin, “The Balyoz case is actually starting now,” hurriyetdailynews.com, September 28, 2012; Yildiray Ogur, “Listen, Balyoz is speaking,” todayszaman.org, September 24, 2012. 51 Turkey is subject to the ECHR’s jurisdiction. It has been a member of the Council of Europe since 1949. 52 See, e.g., Gareth Jenkins, “The Ergenekon Verdicts: Chronicle of an Injustice Foretold,” Turkey Analyst, vol. 6, no. 14, August 17, 2013. This report also alludes to an ongoing “spy ring” prosecution being conducted through an Izmir court that has some aspects of similarity to the Ergenekon and Sledgehammer prosecutions. 53 See, e.g., Bayram Balci, “Turkey’s Gülen Movement: Between Social Activism and Politics,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, October 24, 2013; Mustafa Akyol, “More Divisions, More Democracy,” New York Times, December 11, 2013; Piotr Zalewski, “Turkey’s Erdogan Battles Country’s Most Powerful Religious Movement,” time.com, December 4, 2013. The Gulen movement is a multifaceted array of individuals and organizations in Turkey and other countries around the world. These individuals and organizations subscribe to or sympathize with the teachings of Fethullah Gulen, a former Turkish state imam who currently resides in the United States. Many of the movement’s adherents and sympathizers are among the most vocal supporters of the Ergenekon and Sledgehammer prosecutions, probably at least partly owing to concerns about societal power dynamics and adherents’ and sympathizers’ perceptions of vulnerability, justice, and/or retribution involving the military and other guardians of Turkey’s secular elite. These concerns probably largely stem from the past prosecution of Fethullah Gulen, the movement’s spiritual leader, under military-guided governments. 54 Apparent differences of opinion between Erdogan and the Gulen movement have surfaced in relation to a number of issues in the past four years. In addition to the still developing corruption cases that broke publicly on December 17, these issues include the prosecution of the Ergenekon/Sledgehammer cases, the Mavi Marmara/Gaza flotilla incident and its repercussions for Turkey’s relationship with Israel and the United States, attempts by civilian investigators to seek public testimony from Erdogan’s intelligence chief for dealings with PKK leaders, Erdogan’s response to the June 2013 protests, and the government’s late 2013 announcement of plans to require the eventual closure or repurposing of tutoring centers (derşanes) that represent a major part of the Gulen’s movement’s influence. Congressional Research Service 18 Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations the corruption cases (discussed above) that broke in mid-December 2013, and may be connected to these supposed rifts, asserts: The current corruption investigation increases the pressure on Mr. Erdogan. He was already facing opposition from the urban liberals and secular-minded Turks who found their voice in the summer’s antigovernment demonstrations, and he is now facing cracks within his conservative religious base, which represents half of the electorate in Turkey.55 However, it is unclear that either the AKP or the Gulen movement have viable substitutes to fill the roles that each has previously played in support of the other.56 One observer wrote that one of the more likely political steps for the Gulen movement to take could be to help President Gul preserve or bolster his leadership role, perhaps as prime minister, in the event that Erdogan seeks the presidency in 2014.57 Concerns about possible overreach by government authorities likely reflect anxieties among some Turks. Given the weakening of the military within the political system, these Turks apparently feel unsure to what extent effective checks and balances protect secular or nonreligious civic participation and lifestyles from Erdogan’s charismatic and Islamic-friendly single-party rule,58 or from allegedly Gulen-sympathetic judges and prosecutors. However, one Turkish journalist has asserted: It is beneficial for Turkish democracy that not all religious conservatives are united under one banner. Thanks to the A.K.P.-Gulen rift, Turkish media is today more diverse, as proGulen newspapers like Zaman and television stations are offering a third way between Mr. Erdogan’s supporters and his diehard opponents… If Turkey is lucky, this rift might help bring the country to a democratic equilibrium where the prerogative of the state and the rights of civil society and the individual can be properly balanced.”59 The Kurdish Issue Ethnic Kurds constitute 15 to 20% of Turkey’s population. They are largely concentrated in urban areas and the relatively impoverished southeastern region of the country, but pockets exist throughout the country. Kurdish reluctance to recognize Turkish state authority—a dynamic that also exists between Kurds and national governments in Iraq, Iran, and Syria—and harsh Turkish measures to quell Kurdish identity- and rights-based claims and demands have fed tensions that have periodically worsened since the foundation of the republic in 1923. Since 1984, the Turkish military has waged an on-and-off struggle to put down a separatist insurgency and urban terrorism campaign by the PKK (whose founder, Abdullah Ocalan, is profiled in Appendix A).60 55 Tim Arango and Sebnem Arsu, “Graft Inquiry Intensifies Turkish Political Rivalry,” New York Times, December 17, 2013. 56 Balci, op. cit. 57 Zalewski, op. cit. 58 For example, Erdogan’s statements in November 2013 criticizing co-ed housing arrangements among university students has triggered heated public debate about the extent to which public officials should involve themselves in conduct that many Turks regard as private. See, e.g., Sinan Ülgen, “Turkey needs more liberalism with its democracy,” Financial Times, December 3, 2013. 59 Akyol, op. cit. 60 In footnote 2 of a September 2011 report, the International Crisis Group stated that Turkish government figures estimate that 11,700 Turks have been killed since fighting began in the early 1980s. This figure includes Turkish (continued...) Congressional Research Service 19 Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations The initially secessionist demands of the PKK have since evolved to a less ambitious goal of greater cultural and political autonomy. The struggle between Turkish authorities and the PKK was most intense during the 1990s, but resumed in 2003 after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, following an intervening lull. According to the U.S. government, the PKK partially finances its activities through criminal activities, including its operation of a Europe-wide drug trafficking network.61 The PKK has used safe havens in northern Iraq to coordinate and launch attacks at various points since the end of the 1991 Gulf War. Amid internal conflict in Syria since 2011, the PKK’s Syrian sister organization, the Democratic Union of Syria (PYD), has gained a measure of control over a swath of Kurdishpopulated territory near Syria’s border with Turkey. This raises questions for Turkey about the possibility of another base of support for PKK training, leadership, and operations.62 Turkey’s AKP government has acknowledged that the integration of Kurds into Turkish society will require political, cultural, and economic development approaches in addition to the more traditional security-based approach. The Turkish military’s approach to neutralizing the PKK has been routinely criticized by Western governments and human rights organizations for being overly hard on ethnic Kurds—thousands have been imprisoned for PKK involvement or sympathies and hundreds of thousands have been displaced. PKK Designations by U.S. Government Designation Year Foreign Terrorist Organization 1997 Specially Designated Global Terrorist 2001 Significant Foreign Narcotics Trafficker 2008 The AKP has a sizeable constituency in rural Kurdish areas because of its appeal to traditional values. By appealing to common Islamic identity, Erdogan and other government ministers have moved away from the state’s past unwillingness to acknowledge the multiethnic nature of Turkey’s citizenry. The government has adopted some measures allowing greater use of Kurdish languages in education, election campaigns, and the media.63 Nevertheless, past AKP efforts aimed at giving greater rights to Kurds and greater normalized status to Kurdish nationalist (...continued) security personnel of various types and Turkish civilians (including Turkish Kurds who are judged not to have been PKK combatants). The same report states that Turkish estimates of PKK dead during the same time period run from 30,000 to 40,000. International Crisis Group, Turkey: Ending the PKK Insurgency, Europe Report No. 213, September 20, 2011. 61 U.S. Treasury Department Press Release, “Five PKK Leaders Designated Narcotics Traffickers,” April 20, 2011. 62 However, northern Syria’s more open terrain and comparably small and dispersed Kurdish population may make it a less plausible base of operations than Iraq. Syria hosted the PKK’s leadership until 1998, and historical and personal links persist among Syrian Kurds and the PKK. 63 Kurdish nationalist leaders demand that any future changes to Turkey’s 1982 constitution not suppress Kurdish ethnic and linguistic identity. The first clause of Article 3 of the constitution reads, “The Turkish state, with its territory and nation, is an indivisible entity. Its language is Turkish.” Because the constitution states that its first three articles are unamendable, even proposing a change could face judicial obstacles. Kurds in Turkey also seek to modify the electoral law to allow for greater Kurdish nationalist participation in Turkish politics by lowering the percentage-vote threshold (currently 10%) for political parties in parliament. In the 2011 election, 61 members of the Kurdish nationalist Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) or affiliated independents ran as independents for individual geographic constituencies because of a calculation that the party would not reach the 10% threshold. These independents won 35 of the constituencies and 6% of the national vote. One has since died. Congressional Research Service 20 Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations leaders and former militants were politically undermined by upswings in violence and public manifestations of nationalist pride among ethnic Turks and ethnic Kurds.64 Despite these negative signs, Prime Minister Erdogan publicly revealed in late December 2012 that Turkish intelligence had been conducting negotiations with imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan in an attempt to get the PKK to disarm. In late March 2013, Ocalan and other PKK leaders declared a cease-fire, although its durability may depend on the government’s ability to persuade the PKK and other Kurds that it sincerely seeks to address the issues of key importance to them. PKK militants who had been withdrawing from Turkey (presumably to northern Iraq) as part of the peace process reportedly stopped doing so in early September 2013.65 In late September, Erdogan announced a package of domestic reforms that featured measures favoring even greater expression of Kurdish identity and language in Turkish national life, alongside a number of provisions contemplating electoral reform and intending to address some individual liberties and the concerns of other minorities. Kurdish leaders generally acknowledged the reform package as a step in the right direction, but as not going far enough.66 Observers express a range of opinions regarding the advisability and prospects of negotiations, as well as the extent to which Ocalan and the PKK represent Turkey’s Kurds. Many observers agree that Erdogan’s public acknowledgment of the talks was a bold step that could mobilize broad public support for a deal, but that it also presented a dilemma: “continuing toward peace will anger Turkey’s nationalists; but failing to live up to its agreement could lead to a new wave of Kurdish violence.”67 Some commentators theorize that Erdogan authorized the PKK talks in 2012 to bolster prospects for his election to the Turkish presidency and for greater constitutional empowerment of that office. Other theories suggested that Erdogan was trying to defuse potential PKK threats from Syria or to take advantage of intra-Kurdish divisions and Ocalan’s personal desire for freedom. In a February 2013 interview with a Turkish journalist, President Obama was quoted as saying, “I applaud Prime Minister Erdogan’s efforts to seek a peaceful resolution to a struggle that has caused so much pain and sorrow for the people of Turkey for more than 30 years.”68 Economy Overview of Macroeconomic Factors and Trade The AKP’s political successes have been aided considerably by robust Turkish economic growth that was set back only briefly as a result of the 2008-2009 global economic crisis. Nominal gross domestic product more than tripled from the time of the AKP’s first electoral victory in 2002 to 64 The International Crisis Group stated that the time period from the summer of 2011 until March 2013 featured the worst fighting between the PKK and Turkish authorities since the 1990s, reporting that at least 928 people had been killed in that time—“at least 304 security forces, police and village guards, 533 militants and 91 civilians.” International Crisis Group, Crying “Wolf”: Why Turkish Fears Need Not Block Kurdish Reform, Europe Report No. 227, October 7, 2013. 65 Piotr Zalewski, “Turkey’s Imperfect Peace,” foreignaffairs.com, October 20, 2013. 66 See, e.g., Ilter Turan, “Democratization from Above: Erdoğan’s Democracy Package,” On Turkey, German Marshall Fund of the United States, October 22, 2013. 67 Bipartisan Policy Center, op. cit., p. 8. 68 Interview of President Barack Obama by Pinar Ersoy of Milliyet, quoted in “Obama ‘applauds’ Turkey’s effort to find peaceful solution to Kurdish problem,” hurriyetdailynews.com, February 10, 2013. Congressional Research Service 21 Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations 2010. Growth rates, fueled by diversified Turkish conglomerates (such as Koc and Sabanci) from traditional urban centers as well as “Anatolian tigers” (small- to medium-sized, export-oriented businesses concentrated in central and southern Turkey), have been comparable in the past decade to those of China, India, and other major developing economies. The dependence of Turkey’s economy—saddled with a relatively high current account deficit—on foreign capital and exports has led to challenges stemming from the economic slowdown in the European Union, Turkey’s main trading partner. According to the Turkish Statistical Institute, growth slowed from 8.8% in 2011 to 2.2% in 2012. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, assuming that capital inflows are not weaker than expected, a rebound in growth to 3.5% is forecast for 2013, and the forecast for 2014 is 4% and closer to 5% for the subsequent four years.69 The Turkish lira, which has fallen against the dollar by around 15% in 2013, is one of several emerging market country currencies that have experienced a recent drop in value that is probably at least partly attributable to possible future tightening in U.S. monetary policy. Turkey’s central bank raised interest rates twice—in July and August 2013—and “further monetary policy tightening may be necessary to maintain investor confidence.”70 Media reports reveal a debate over whether various legal, administrative, and investigative actions of the government might be targeting key businesses and financial transactions for political reasons—including some related to the June 2013 protests—and whether this might damage Turkey’s business and investment climate.71 Structural economic goals for Turkey include incentivizing greater research and development to encourage Turkish technological innovation and global competitiveness, harmonizing the educational system with future workforce needs, encouraging domestic savings, and increasing and diversifying energy supplies to meet ever-growing consumption demands. Through monetary and fiscal policy and various regulatory practices, Turkish policymakers may seek to attract more equity and foreign direct investment inflows and fewer short-term loans and portfolio inflows. The former generally are accompanied by skill and technology transfers, while the latter are more prone to sudden reversal.72 The European Union is Turkey’s main trading partner by far, while the United States is Turkey’s fourth-largest trading partner (behind the EU, Russia, and China). Turkey is the United States’s 35th-largest trading partner.73 Though Turkish pursuit of new markets since 1992 has reduced trade with the EU (from nearly 50% to less than 40%) and with the United States (from 9% to around 5%) as a percentage of Turkey’s total trade, overall trade volume with both is generally trending upward.74 69 Economist Intelligence Unit, Country Report: Turkey, generated December 2, 2013. Ibid. 71 Alexander Christie-Miller, “Is Erdogan punishing a Turkish business empire for helping protesters?,” Christian Science Monitor, October 8, 2013; Erdal Saglam (translated into English by Timur Goksel), “Erdogan Flips on Turkey’s ‘Interest Lobby,’” Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse, July 18, 2013. 72 See, e.g., Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Surveys: Turkey, July 2012. 73 Statistics on Turkey’s status relative to other U.S. trading partners compiled by U.S. International Trade Commission, available at http://dataweb.usitc.gov/SCRIPTS/cy_m3_run.asp. 74 Turkish Statistical Institute, cited in Kemal Kirisci, Turkey and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership: Boosting the Model Partnership with the United States, Brookings Center on the United States and Europe, Turkey Project Policy Paper Number 2, September 2013. 70 Congressional Research Service 22 Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations Table 2. U.S. Merchandise Trade with Turkey ($ in millions) 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Exports 6,500 9,960 7,090 10,550 14,660 12,580 Imports 4,600 4,640 3,660 4,200 5,220 6,230 11,100 14,600 10,750 14,750 19,880 18,810 Total Volume Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Foreign Trade Division, U.S. Census Bureau. Despite concerns by U.S. senior business executives regarding Turkey’s legal and regulatory system and other issues according to a 2011 survey, 65% of these businesspeople would be willing to invest further in Turkey. Additionally, 88% advocate more U.S. government engagement with Turkey’s government to “improve the investment, market access, and operating climate for US companies in Turkey.”75 Energy Issues76 Turkey’s importance as a regional energy transport hub elevates its increasing relevance for world energy markets while also providing Turkey with opportunities to satisfy its own growing domestic energy needs.77 Turkey’s location has made it a key country in the U.S. and European effort to establish a southern corridor for natural gas transit from diverse sources.78 However, as one analyst writes, “Turkey’s ability to effectively play the energy card to further its foreign policy goals is limited by the extent to which the Turkish economy itself is dependent on energy imports, particularly oil and natural gas from Russia and Iran.”79 Since 1991, trade with Russia as a percentage of Turkey’s total trade has more than doubled—from 5% to over 11%—largely due to energy imports. Additionally, a subsidiary of Rosatom (Russia’s state-run nuclear company) has entered into an agreement to build and operate what would be Turkey’s first nuclear power plant80 in Akkuyu near the Mediterranean port of Mersin, with construction projected to begin in 2016. Iran is also a major source of Turkish energy (see “Iran” below). 75 American Business Forum in Turkey, Business and Investment Climate in Turkey 2011, October 2011. Michael Ratner, Specialist in Energy Policy, contributed to this subsection. See “Israel” and Appendix E for references to the possible relevance to Turkey of offshore natural gas finds by Israel and the Republic of Cyprus. 77 Transatlantic Academy, Getting to Zero: Turkey, Its Neighbors, and the West, June 2010, citing Turkish government statistics. 78 The U.S. energy strategy in Europe is designed to work together with European nations and the European Union to seek ways to diversify Europe’s energy supplies. The focus of U.S. efforts has been on establishing a southern corridor route for Caspian and Middle Eastern natural gas supplies to be shipped to Europe, generally through pipelines traversing Turkey. See H.Res. 284, “Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives with respect to promoting energy security of European allies through opening up the Southern Gas Corridor.” This draft resolution was unanimously approved for forwarding in September 2013 to the House Foreign Affairs Committee by its Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats. See also, e.g., Tolga Demiryol, “Turkey’s energy security and foreign policy,” Turkish Review, January/February 2012; Transatlantic Academy, op. cit. 79 Demiryol, op. cit. 80 In June 2008, the United States and Turkey signed a 15-year “123 Agreement” for peaceful nuclear cooperation in line with international nuclear non-proliferation norms. Turkey is also a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and has a safeguards agreement and additional protocol in place with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). It is an observer to—not a full participant in—the International Framework for Nuclear Energy Cooperation (IFNEC, formerly known as the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership) founded by the United States, Russia, (continued...) 76 Congressional Research Service 23 Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations However, in late 2011, Turkey and Azerbaijan reached deals for the transit of natural gas to and through Turkey81 via a proposed Trans-Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP), with gas projected to begin to flow by 2018. The deals have attracted attention as a potentially significant precedent for transporting non-Russian, non-Iranian energy to Europe. On June 28, 2013, the consortium that controls the Azerbaijani gas fields selected to have TANAP connect with a proposed Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) to Italy.82 The consortium did not rule out subsequently adding a connection with a proposed Nabucco West pipeline to Austria at a later date when more natural gas is developed, but such an eventuality may be less likely in light of the selection of TAP. Turkey has also sought to increase energy imports from Iraq, including through negotiations regarding northern Iraqi oil and gas reserves and pipelines with the Kurdistan Regional Government that have generated friction with Iraq’s central government (see “Iraq” below). Nevertheless, Turkey also agreed in late 2011 to permit Russia’s South Stream pipeline to traverse its Black Sea territorial waters to Bulgaria (from which point the pipeline is proposed to extend through the northern Balkans to Italy), reportedly in exchange for discounts to Turkey on purchases of Russian natural gas. Figure 3. Major Pipelines Traversing Turkey and Possible Nuclear Power Plants Source: Turkish Economic Ministry, adapted by CRS. (...continued) China, France, and Japan in 2007. IFNEC promotes the peaceful use of nuclear energy by helping establish reprocessing centers for nuclear fuel. Turkey is one of the regional countries that analysts routinely mention could decide to pursue its own nuclear weapons program in the event that one or more countries in the region, such as Iran, achieves or declares a nuclear weapons capability. Israel is generally believed by most analysts to have had a nuclear arsenal since the late 1960s, but it maintains a policy of “nuclear opacity” wherein its nuclear weapons status remains officially undeclared. For discussion of Turkey and nuclear weapons, see “Bilateral and NATO Defense Cooperation” and archived CRS Report R41761, Turkey-U.S. Defense Cooperation: Prospects and Challenges, by Jim Zanotti. 81 The terms of Turkish-Azerbaijani agreement specified that 565 billion-700 billion cubic feet (bcf) of natural gas would transit Turkey, of which 210 bcf would be available for Turkey’s domestic use. 82 BP press release, “Shah Deniz targets Italian and Southeastern European gas markets through Trans Adriatic Pipeline,” June 28, 2013. For more information, see CRS Report R42405, Europe’s Energy Security: Options and Challenges to Natural Gas Supply Diversification, coordinated by Michael Ratner. Congressional Research Service 24 Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations Note: All locations are approximate. Key Foreign Policy Issues For information and analysis of foreign policy issues other than the ones below (including European Union, Cyprus, Armenia, and others), see Appendix E. Israel In the 1990s and early 2000s, Turkey and Israel enjoyed close military ties that fostered cooperation in other areas, including a free trade agreement signed in 2000. In recent years, however, Turkey-Israel relations have worsened. This downturn can be attributed to a number of factors, ranging from Turkish domestic political changes to specific incidents that increased tensions. In terms of change within Turkey, the slide in Turkey-Israel relations reflected the military’s declining role in Turkish society, and the greater empowerment of Prime Minister Erdogan and other AKP and national leaders. These leaders seem to view criticism of Israel as both merited and popular domestically and regionally. They often characterize Israeli security measures in the West Bank and especially the Gaza Strip as institutionalized mistreatment of Palestinians. Turkish leaders also have argued that Israel relies too heavily on military capabilities and deterrence (including its undeclared but universally acknowledged nuclear weapons arsenal) in addressing regional problems. One of the key events that marked the decline in relations was the May 2010 Gaza flotilla incident (mentioned above). Partly to register dissatisfaction with the September 2011 report issued by a U.N. Secretary-General panel of inquiry on the flotilla incident,83 Turkey downgraded diplomatic relations with Israel to the second secretary level.84 Turkey’s demand for an apology from Israel in connection with the incident was met in March 2013, in a U.S.-facilitated exchange (discussed further below) that was intended to repair the Turkey-Israel rift. Before this, Erdogan prominently registered his disapproval of Israel’s military operations in Gaza in December 2008January 2009, reportedly angry that then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert did not inform him of Israel’s military plans during Olmert’s visit to Ankara shortly before the conflict. Turkey’s deteriorated relationship with Israel has presented problems for the United States because of the U.S. desire to coordinate its regional policies with two of its closest allies. U.S. officials seem to have concerns about the repercussions Turkey-Israel tensions could have for regional order and the alignment of U.S. and Turkish interests. This risk could be especially high if Turkey-Israel disagreements on Palestinian issues result in future high-profile incidents. 83 The report is available at http://go.ynet.co.il/pic/news/Palmer-Committee-Final-report.pdf. The panel was chaired by former New Zealand Prime Minister Sir Geoffrey Palmer, and included former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe and one participant each from Turkey and Israel. The report expressly provided that its findings were not intended to decide legal questions. Upon the report’s leak, Turkish officials disputed the report’s finding that Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip was legal, notwithstanding the report’s criticism of Israel’s handling of the incident itself. 84 Turkey similarly downgraded diplomatic relations with Israel in 1980 following Israel’s enactment of a law on the status of Jerusalem that was deemed a violation of international law by U.N. Security Council Resolution 478. Resolution 478 passed on August 20, 1980 by a vote of 14-0, with the United States as the lone abstention. Turkey reinstated Israel’s ambassador in 1992 following the 1991 Madrid Conference that signaled the beginning of the Middle East peace process. Linda Gradstein, “No end in sight for downward spiral in Turkish-Israeli ties,” JTA, September 6, 2011. Congressional Research Service 25 Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations Though Turkey publicly supports a negotiated two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it backs Palestinian pursuit of United Nations membership and Fatah-Hamas reconciliation, and often criticizes the U.S.-led approach to the peace process. Erdogan also maintains cordial ties with Hamas. In January 2012, he introduced Hamas’s prime minister in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, as the “elected prime minister of Palestine” at a meeting of AKP parliamentarians in Ankara. Some Members of Congress have shown concern over problematic Turkey-Israel relations.85 In early 2011, a New York Times Magazine article quoted a Turkish diplomat responsible for U.S. relations as saying, “We’re getting a lot of flak from the Hill. We used to get hit by the Greek lobby and the Armenian lobby, but we were protected by the Jewish lobby. Now the Jewish lobby is coming after us as well.”86 A U.S.-based analyst who focuses specifically on Israel and Turkey commented in March 2013 that “with the establishment of an Israel-Hellenic caucus in Congress and arms deals with Turkey either being held up or not being introduced into committee at all, there is no doubt in my mind that Turkey’s feud with Israel is adversely impacting its interests in the U.S.”87 In March 2013, it appeared that Turkey and Israel might be moving toward some sort of rapprochement. During President Obama’s trip to Israel, he and Secretary of State John Kerry facilitated a telephone conversation between Erdogan and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.88 Netanyahu apologized to Erdogan for any operational mistakes by Israel during the flotilla incident “that might have led to the loss of life or injury” and pledged to conclude an agreement on “compensation/nonliability.”89 The apology, on top of other signs that Turkey-Israel relations were slightly improving,90 led to widespread speculation regarding how much and how 85 Following the flotilla incident, the Senate passed S.Res. 548 by voice vote on June 24, 2010. The resolution condemned the attack by the “extremists aboard the Mavi Marmara,” invoked Israel’s right to self-defense, and encouraged “the Government of Turkey to recognize the importance of continued strong relations with Israel and the necessity of closely scrutinizing organizations with potential ties to terrorist groups” (a reference to the Turkish Islamist non-governmental organization IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation, the main organizer of the flotilla). 86 James Traub, “Turkey’s Rules,” New York Times Magazine, January 20, 2011. 87 Michael Koplow, “O&Z Goes to Turkey,” ottomansandzionists.com, March 4, 2013. 88 U.S. leaders may have felt compelled to broker some sort of improvement in Turkey-Israel relations following remarks Erdogan made in late February 2013 at the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations in Vienna, Austria that appeared to equate Zionism with fascism. Video and partial transcript of remarks and translation available at http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/28/video-of-turkish-premier-comparing-zionism-to-anti-semitism-andfascism/?smid=tw-thelede&seid=auto. In a March 12 letter to Erdogan, 89 Members of Congress (including 23 Senators) called on him to retract what they termed his “appalling comment” about Zionism in Vienna, while also stating that they know that Turkey’s government “shares a commitment to meaningful international involvement to advance security and peace”, and expressing hope for the restoration of good relations between Turkey and Israel. Text of letter available at http://israel.house.gov/images/PDF/erdoganletteronzionismcomment.pdf. Erdogan’s comparison also drew heavy criticism from Israel, the White House, Secretary Kerry, and some Members of Congress. In a March 19 interview with a prominent Danish news source, although Erdogan did not explicitly retract his Vienna remarks, he was quoted as saying that his criticisms “are directed at Israeli policies” and that “My several statements openly condemning anti-semitism clearly display my position on this issue.” “Exclusive Erdogan-interview: ‘We see a human tragedy before our eyes,’” Politiken (Denmark), March 19, 2013. 89 Summary of conversation between Netanyahu and Erdogan from Israeli Prime Minister’s Office website, March 22, 2013. 90 In December 2012, reports cited a Turkish official as saying that Turkey had withdrawn previous objections to Israel’s non-military participation in NATO activities. Gulsen Solaker and Jonathon Burch, “Turkey lifts objection to NATO cooperation with Israel,” Reuters, December 24, 2012. Israel is part of NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue, along with Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Mauritania, and Tunisia. In addition, trade between the Turkey and Israel has (continued...) Congressional Research Service 26 Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations fast the two countries’ former closeness on military, intelligence, and political matters might be restored.91 Turkey’s energy minister, Taner Yildiz, has publicly contemplated the possibility of Turkish consumption and transport of natural gas from Israel’s new offshore discoveries in the Eastern Mediterranean.92 However, developments since March indicate that substantive rapprochement might be delayed or put off indefinitely. Negotiations over compensation have stalled, and ongoing Israeli restrictions and limitations on the passage of people and goods to and from Gaza’s sea coast and its land borders with Israel remain a sticking point. In addition, Erdogan’s comments (referenced above) holding Israel responsible for the July 2013 military takeover in Egypt and the reports (referenced above) regarding Turkey’s alleged disclosure to Iran of the identities of Israeli intelligence sources have complicated the public dimension of efforts to improve Turkey-Israel relations. Syria93 Prime Minister Erdogan and Foreign Minister Davutoglu initially tried to use their then-good relations with Bashar al Asad to help broker a peaceful end to the budding Syrian insurgency in 2011. When that failed to moderate Asad’s approach to the opposition, they changed tack and adopted a strong stance against the Syrian regime. According to one Turkish journalist: In the summer of 2011, Turkey decided to bring down the Baath regime in Damascus and sought ways to implement its decision as much as its capacity allowed. Turkey did everything it could with the exception of direct military intervention in Syria. It is not a secret that Turkey sponsored the initial organization and coordination of the Syrian opposition, opened its territory to the use of the opposition military forces and provided logistical support to them.94 In the two years that followed, Turkey coordinated its efforts closely with other countries— including the United States, other NATO allies, and Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar—that also provide political, financial, and/or material support to the opposition. It outspokenly advocated for U.N.-backed intervention and—reportedly—has helped funnel assistance to armed Syrian rebel groups, possibly including Al Qaeda-linked Jabhat al Nusra, a U.S.-government designated terrorist organization.95 As the conflict appeared to exacerbate the (...continued) remained on an upward trajectory since the flotilla incident, and by February 2013, Israel had reportedly unblocked the delivery of electronic support measures systems—pursuant to a pre-existing contract—for early warning aircraft that Turkey is purchasing from U.S.-based Boeing. Burak Bekdil, “Israel abandons block on sales to Turkish AWACS,” Hurriyet Daily News, February 22, 2013. 91 See, e.g., Oded Eran, “Israel-Turkey Reconciliation Still Remote,” nationalinterest.org, April 18, 2013. 92 Amiram Barkat, “Turkish minister: We're interested in Israeli gas,” Globes, October 31, 2013. 93 For background information on Syria, see CRS Report RL33487, Armed Conflict in Syria: Background and U.S. Response, by Jeremy M. Sharp and Christopher M. Blanchard; and CRS Report R43119, Syria: Overview of the Humanitarian Response, by Rhoda Margesson and Susan G. Chesser. Rhoda Margesson, Specialist in International Humanitarian Policy, contributed to the portions of this section on Syrian refugees. 94 Kadri Gursel, “NATO Patriot Missiles Show Turkey's Military Weakness,” Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse, December 28, 2012. 95 Bipartisan Policy Center, p. 37. Turkey reportedly denies having assisted extremist organizations in Syria. Ibid., p. 11. Congressional Research Service 27 Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations longstanding regional Sunni-Shia rivalry between Arab Gulf states supporting the opposition and Iran, which backs the Asad regime, some observers began associating Turkey with these tensions. Absent a clear endgame in Syria, Turkey focused increasingly on minimizing spillover effects. After some cross-border artillery exchanges in late 2012, Turkey convened consultations with its allies under Article 4 of NATO’s North Atlantic Treaty.96 Although most NATO member states appeared to oppose military intervention in Syria, allied leaders gave approval in December 2012 for the deployment of six Patriot missile batteries to areas near Turkey’s southeastern border with Syria.97 NATO’s Patriot deployment presumably defends against potential Syrian Scud missile and/or chemical weapons attacks, as Turkey does not have a missile defense capability of its own.98 In addition to the two batteries and operational teams contributed by the United States to a Turkish military base overlooking the city of Gaziantep, Germany and the Netherlands have each contributed two Patriot batteries and operational teams to bases near the population centers of Karamanmaras and Adana, respectively. The batteries reportedly became operational, under NATO command and control, in late January and early February 2013.99 While cross-border fire has decreased since then, potential infiltration of Turkey by militants remains of concern in light of occasional bombings near the border and near symbolic targets in large urban areas—including the U.S. embassy in Ankara on February 1, 2013.100 NATO and allied leaders have asserted that the Patriot batteries are deployed for defensive purposes only.101 As referenced above, possible Turkish expectations of imminent U.S.-led military action in Syria appear to have dissipated with President Obama’s acceptance in September 2013 of a U.N. Security Council-backed agreement regarding chemical weapons removal.102 Turkey continues to politically engage key regional and international stakeholders in hopes of influencing outcomes in its favor. Davutoglu has indicated that Turkey will not oppose Asad regime involvement in Geneva talks scheduled for early 2014 on Syria’s future, even as Turkey reportedly consults and/or facilitates U.S. consultations with non-Al Qaeda oppositionist fighters associated with 96 Article 4 reads: “The Parties will consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the Parties is threatened.” 97 NATO countries also deployed Patriots to Turkey prior to the 1991 and 2003 wars in Iraq. 98 Turkey’s is seeking to address its lack of an independent missile defense capability through the possible deal for TLORAMIDS with Chinese government-owned CPMIEC, as discussed earlier in this report. 99 NATO press release, “All NATO Patriot batteries in Turkey operational,” February 16, 2013. 100 The Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C, sometimes known as “Dev Sol”) claimed responsibility for the embassy bombing, which killed a Turkish security guard. The DHKP/C is a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization with a Marxist-Leninist ideology, a long track record of anti-U.S. and anti-NATO militancy, and some historical links with the Asad regime. 101 On April 11, 2013, Air Force General Philip Breedlove addressed the potential for other uses of NATO’s Patriot missile presence in a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing regarding his possible confirmation as U.S. European Command Commander and Supreme Allied Commander, Europe (he was eventually confirmed by the Senate on April 20). In his testimony, General Breedlove stated that the two batteries representing the U.S. contribution “could be used in a role to project into Syria. They have the capability to do it…. if Turkey and the U.S. were looking to do this in a bilateral fashion, or if we could convince our NATO partners to come alongside of us, to also be a part of that.” 102 For more information on Turkey’s stance on possible U.S.-led intervention following alleged use of chemical weapons in August 2013 by the Asad regime in an outlying Damascus neighborhood, see CRS Report R43201, Possible U.S. Intervention in Syria: Issues for Congress, coordinated by Christopher M. Blanchard and Jeremy M. Sharp. Congressional Research Service 28 Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations Syria’s Islamic Front.103 Turkey also appears to be attentively assessing developments in northern Syria involving the Kurdish PYD (the Syrian sister organization of the PKK), which seems to have obtained a degree of territorial autonomy. It is unclear what implications for Turkey the PYD’s actions have, including PYD interaction with other Kurds in Syria, Iraq, and Turkey; and periodic PYD skirmishes with groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (or al Sham), an Al Qaeda branch.104 Some reports indicate that, in response to concerns from the United States in particular, Turkey is more actively seeking to monitor, limit, or deny the use of its territory by Syrian oppositionists affiliated with Al Qaeda.105 However, some reports suggest that foreign fighters continue to use Turkish territory for transit to Syria,106 and that hundreds of Turkish nationals have joined armed Syrian opposition groups.107 Syrian refugees present an ongoing and increasing dilemma for Turkey. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), as of December 2013, the Turkish government was operating at least 21 government-run refugee camps and one “transit center.” Between refugees residing in the camps and those in urban areas outside the camps, the total registered or soon-to-be registered Syrian refugee population in Turkey is now estimated to be close to 540,000 and is projected to increase.108 The Regional Response Plan, a U.N. appeal, includes assistance to meet immediate Syrian refugee needs in Turkey.109 Registration of refugees and camp management are coordinated by the Turkish government’s Disaster Relief Agency (AFAD), with operational support from the Turkish Red Crescent and other agencies. UNHCR provides technical advice and assistance. Various reports reflect a widely held assessment among observers that Turkey has managed to avoid systemic threats to its economic well-being from the refugee flows,110 but it has reportedly shouldered a total cost of more than $2 billion, with only approximately $100 million in international support. Some observers assert that more international support would probably be forthcoming if Turkey granted UNHCR an operational role.111 Social and political costs are 103 Karen DeYoung, “U.S. may be open to Islamists joining Syrian rebel coalition,” Washington Post, December 12, 2013; “Islamic Front gains reduce US options in Syria, further undermine prospects for upcoming Geneva II summit,” IHS Global Insight, December 12, 2013. 104 Some reports had alleged that Turkish officials were lending support to “jihadist fighters” in campaigns against the PYD, but that by late 2013, Turkey may have reduced or ended this alleged support. PYD leader Salih Muslim was quoted as saying that Turkey may have reversed its policy “because of international pressure but also because these groups pose a grave threat to Turkey itself.” Amberin Zaman, “Syrian Kurdish leader: Turkey may end proxy war,” AlMonitor Turkey Pulse, November 7, 2013. 105 Dorian Jones, “Turkey Deports Jihadists Linked to Syria Fighting,” Voice of America, December 3, 2013. 106 See, e.g., Transcript of interview with Thomas Hegghammer of the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment on Syria Deeply blog, Karen Leigh, “Q+A: On Foreign Fighters Flowing into Syria,” December 2, 2013. In the interview, Hegghammer, who researches militant Islamism with a focus on transnational jihadi groups, said that Turkey “is the main passageway for fighters from the West, and from the rest of the region.” 107 Constanze Letsch, “The sons feared lost to al-Qaida in Syria,” theguardian.com, November 11, 2013. 108 The Turkish government estimates that there are approximately 700,000 Syrians in Turkey, when those not registered or soon-to-be registered as refugees are counted. UNHCR Turkey Syrian Refugee Daily Sitrep, December 11, 2013. 109 United Nations, Syria: Regional Response Plan (January to December 2013). 110 International Crisis Group, Blurring the Borders: Syrian Spillover Risks for Turkey, Europe Report No. 225, April 30, 2013. 111 Busra Ozerli, “Turkish official: No need for foreign operational support at refugee camps,” Sunday’s Zaman, October 27, 2013. According to this article, Turkey may prefer to manage refugee movement between Syria and Turkey and to minimize third party criticism of the nature and extent of aid it provides, based at least in part on (continued...) Congressional Research Service 29 Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations reportedly emerging—especially tensions between Sunni refugees and Turkish citizens of Arab Alawite descent in the border province of Hatay.112 Iraq For Turkey, strong governance and stability in Iraq is important due to Turkish interests in denying the PKK use of Iraqi territory for its safe havens; discouraging the cross-border spread of Kurdish separatist sentiment; countering Iranian influence; and accessing Iraq’s potentially lucrative export markets and ample energy resources (which could eventually lessen Turkey’s dependence on Iranian and Russian energy imports). Starting in late 2007, U.S. willingness to provide greater counterterrorism support to Turkey in its struggle against the PKK helped move U.S.-Turkey priorities in Iraq toward greater alignment after fallout from the U.S.-led 2003 invasion (discussed above). Without a U.S. military mission in Iraq, Turkey’s influence appears to be more significant. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki, a Shiite, has accused Turkey of undue interference in Iraqi internal affairs. This is likely due to Turkey’s increasingly close economic—especially energy— ties to the autonomous Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq, as well as support that Turkey has provided to Sunni Arab Iraqi leaders. Observers debate the extent to which Turkish energy dealings with the KRG might enable greater Kurdish autonomy or endanger Iraq’s unity.113 In May 2013, Erdogan announced that a Turkish state-owned company and ExxonMobil would engage in oil exploration with the KRG in northern Iraq.114 In June, the KRG announced a reportedly Turkey-approved plan to complete a new pipeline that would feed into an existing Iraqi pipeline.115 Subsequent reports have discussed the possible construction of a second oil pipeline and a natural gas pipeline over the next few years. The Maliki government claims that Turkey-KRG dealings violate Iraq’s sovereignty, with disputes ongoing over questions of constitutionality and revenue-sharing.116 ExxonMobil’s and Chevron’s reported involvement in northern Iraqi exploration may complicate reported efforts by U.S. officials to discourage Turkey from provoking Maliki, even as his rule and worsening ethnic tensions and sectarian violence raise questions about the viability of Iraq’s unity, democracy, and constitution. Turkey has renewed high-level political exchanges with the Maliki government— including a November 2013 visit by Foreign Minister Davutoglu to Iraq that included a trip to the city of Najaf in the country’s predominantly Shia south—as part of an apparent effort to reassure (...continued) historical experiences from Turkey’s hosting of Iraqi Kurdish refugees in 1991. 112 According to one Turkish journalist, “Hatay [also known as Antakya or Antioch] is becoming a city of war because of Erdogan’s policies.” Michael Birnbaum, “Turkey protests put strain on Syria planning” Washington Post, June 20, 2013, quoting journalist Akin Bodur. 113 Denise Natali, “Turkey's Political Fallout on Iraqi Kurdish Crude,” Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse, July 1, 2013; Daniel Dombey, “Turkey agrees energy deal with Kurdish north Iraq,” Financial Times, May 13, 2013. 114 “Turkey's state-run TPAO joins with Exxon, Iraqi Kurds in oil exploration,” Reuters, May 15, 2013. 115 Julia King and Peg Mackey, “UPDATE 1-Iraqi Kurds say new oil pipeline to Turkey to start soon,” Reuters, June 19, 2013. 116 The Maliki government’s concerns appear to be exacerbated by reports that at least one company (the TurkishBritish joint venture Genel Energy) is exporting oil from KRG-controlled sources via truck through Turkey, bypassing the Iraqi pipeline completely. Olgu Okumus, “US Complicates Turkey’s Energy Interests in Iraq, Iran,” Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse, May 7, 2013. Congressional Research Service 30 Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations the United States and other regional actors that Turkey seeks to promote stability, not undermine it. However, reports indicate that the new pipeline may begin operation by the end of 2013—sending up to 300,000 barrels of oil a day from KRG-controlled areas to Turkey, with the Maliki government apparently powerless to stop it.117 Several reports indicate that the KRG expects to receive payments directly from its Turkish counterparty even though existing constitutional and legal requirements may mandate payment to Baghdad.118 The KRG oil minister, Ashti Hawrami, has been quoted as saying “as soon as we are so lucky to have a surplus revenue, it will be the property of all Iraqis,” while KRG officials have identified a number of costs and claims that they assert require satisfaction before revenue sharing can begin.119 Various analysts seem to have different views of what role Turkey might play in a deal resolving oil revenue disputes and of whether the KRG or Baghdad has the superior bargaining position.120 Iran Turkey seems to be seeking a balance between helping the United States contain Iranian regional influence and maintaining relatively normal political and economic ties with Iran, especially given Turkey’s dependence on Iranian energy sources as described below. Differing Iranian and Turkish interests in the region, particularly with regard to Syria and Iraq, have led to increased competition for influence. Turkey and Iran have also competed for the admiration of Arab populations on issues such as championing the Palestinian cause. Nevertheless, Turkey has been supportive of the November 2013 international interim agreement on Iran’s nuclear program, perhaps in anticipation that potentially more cordial U.S.-Iran relations will reduce constraints on Turkey from increasing trade with Iran. Turkey agreed in September 2011 to host a U.S. forward-deployed early warning radar at the Kurecik base near the eastern Turkish city of Malatya as part of NATO’s ALTBMD system. Most analysts interpret this system as an attempt to counter potential ballistic missile threats to Europe from Iran.121 An unnamed senior U.S. Administration official was quoted as calling this agreement “probably the biggest strategic decision between the United States and Turkey in the past 15 or 20 years.”122 Some Iranian officials, after initially expressing displeasure with Turkey’s decision, stated that Iran would target the radar in Turkey in the event of a U.S. or Israeli airstrike on Iran. During their visit to Tehran in late March 2012, Erdogan and Davutoglu reportedly said 117 Reva Bhalla, “Letter from Kurdistan,” Stratfor Geopolitical Weekly, December 10, 2013. Humeyra Pamuk and Orhan Coskun, “Exclusive: Turkey, Iraqi Kurdistan Clinch Major Energy Pipeline Deals,” Reuters, November 6, 2013. 119 Judit Neurink, “Pipeline Is Ready and Kurdish Oil Will Flow,” Rudaw, December 2, 2013. One media article states, “The Kurds, and the Turks, say they will pay Baghdad its fair share.” Tim Arango and Clifford Krauss, “Kurds’ Oil Deals With Turkey Raise Fears of Fissures in Iraq,” New York Times, December 2, 2013. 120 Bhalla, op. cit.; Denise Natali, “How independent is the Iraqi-Kurdish pipeline to Turkey?,” Al-Monitor, November 4, 2013. 121 See footnote 13. The radar was activated in late December 2011. “Part of NATO missile defense system goes live in Turkey,” CNN, January 16, 2012. It is reportedly operated by U.S. personnel from a command center in Diyarbakir, with a Turkish general and his team stationed in Germany to monitor the command and control mechanisms headquartered there for the entire missile defense system. “Malatya radar system to be commanded from Ramstein,” Hurriyet Daily News, February 4, 2012. 122 Thom Shanker, “U.S. Hails Deal with Turkey on Missile Shield,” New York Times, September 15, 2011. 118 Congressional Research Service 31 Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations on Iranian television that Turkey could have the radar dismantled within six months if “conditions Turkey had put forward to host the radar are not respected”123—a likely reference to Turkish leaders’ public insistence that data collected from the radar are not to be shared with Israel.124 Following some reports that Iran might be assisting the PKK, Iran and Turkey publicly committed in October 2011 to cooperating against the PKK and the Iranian Kurdish separatist organization Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK) that also maintains safe havens in northern Iraq. At least one analyst predicts that Iran might increase its influence with Iraq’s central government and with Iran-friendly Iraqi Kurdish groups to counter Turkey’s growing political and economic leverage in Kurdish-controlled areas of northern Iraq.125 According to figures provided on the website of the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Iran provides approximately 44% of Turkey’s oil and 19% of its natural gas. Turkey’s announcement that it would reduce Iranian oil imports helped it gain an exemption from the U.S. sanctions that took effect in June 2012. Media and official attention in late 2012 and early 2013 focused on a “gold-for-energy” trading practice between Turkey and Iran that was characterized by many as helping Iran circumvent newly instituted international restrictions on access to the global financial system.126 However, a new U.S. law took effect in July 2013 specifically sanctioning the provision of precious metals to Iran (Section 1245 of P.L. 112-239, National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013, enacted January 2, 2013).127 Perhaps as a consequence, reports in early 2013 indicated that Turkey may have been reducing gold-for-energy trades with Iran,128 turning largely to barter-style arrangements permitting Iran to receive goods as a result of its energy trade with Turkey.129 Additional U.S. and international concerns about Iran’s possible use of Turkish companies or institutions to finance and supply its nuclear program and avoid the impact of sanctions largely focus on Turkey’s legal standards130 and on the reported recent profusion of Iranian-financed firms in Turkey.131 In April 2013, 47 Members of Congress sent a letter raising many of the concerns described in the previous paragraph with Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew, and seeking further information from them.132 It is unclear whether or how Turkish companies 123 “Erdogan, in Iran, says NATO radar could be dismantled if needed,” Today’s Zaman, March 30, 2012. According to U.S. officials, despite this Turkish insistence, information collected from the radar is coordinated as necessary with the U.S. missile defense radar deployed in Israel. One senior Administration official has been quoted as saying, “Data from all U.S. missile defense assets worldwide, including not only from radars in Turkey and Israel, but from other sensors as well, is fused to maximize the effectiveness of our missile defenses worldwide; this data can be shared with our allies and partners in this effort.” Josh Rogin, “Amid tensions, U.S. and Turkey move forward on missile defense,” thecable.foreignpolicy.com, September 19, 2011. Some Members of Congress had insisted that sharing information for Israel’s potential defense be a condition of the radar’s placement in Turkey. The text of a September 19, 2011, letter to President Barack Obama from six Senators on this subject is available at http://kirk.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=299. 125 Bhalla, op. cit. 126 John Daly, “How Far Will Turkey Go in Supporting Sanctions Against Iran?,” Turkey Analyst, July 5, 2013. 127 For more general information on this subject, see CRS Report RS20871, Iran Sanctions, by Kenneth Katzman. 128 Asli Kandemir, “Exclusive: Turkey to Iran gold trade wiped out by new U.S. sanction,” Reuters, February 15, 2013. 129 Olgu Okumus, “US Complicates Turkey’s Energy Interests in Iraq, Iran,” Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse, May 7, 2013. 130 Financial Action Task Force Public Statement, Paris, February 22, 2013; Daniel Dombey, “Turkey’s last-minute terror laws: will they be enough?,” blogs.ft.com, February 8, 2013. 131 “New Iranian firms in Turkey stir front company worries for Ankara,” todayszaman.com, February 17, 2013. 132 The text of the letter is available at http://roskam.house.gov/images/turkey-iran_letter_april_11_2013.pdf. 124 Congressional Research Service 32 Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations might change their trading practices with Iran in anticipation of potential sanctions relief following the November 2013 international interim agreement on Iran’s nuclear program. Possible U.S. Policy Options and Areas of Concern Although U.S. and Turkish interests and policies intersect in many respects, Turkey’s increased regional influence and moves toward military and economic self-reliance have decreased its dependence on the United States. Still, the appeal of U.S. and Western power, prestige, values, and military technology might currently outstrip that of potential competitors. Members of Congress, through active inquiry into and possible coordination with Obama Administration positions on Turkey, and their own engagement on Turkey-related issues, can consider how various options might serve U.S. interests. One U.S. analyst wrote in December 2011: Despite record levels of communication and travel between top leaders in Ankara and Washington, the societal and institutional connections are still in need of revitalization and strengthening…. [C]oordination and policy on Turkey continues to affect vital interests throughout Washington, which ideally must go beyond the administration to the Hill and society at large even if there is short-term turbulence.133 Influencing Regional Change and Promoting Stability Turkey is likely to play a role on key Middle Eastern security and political issues. In partnering with Turkey to influence regional developments and promote stability, the following options are available for Members of Congress and Obama Administration officials to adopt or continue: • Determine how to encourage improvement in Turkey’s relations with Israel. • Determine the proper nature and extent of bilateral and NATO military and intelligence cooperation, including joint use of Turkish bases and territory, as well as information sharing to assist in countering the PKK and in facilitating interdiction of illegal arms shipments from other countries or non-state actors. • Determine whether and how to encourage Turkish political and financial support for Syrian opposition groups, and how to link any such backing to diplomatic and political processes on Syria’s future. • Determine whether and how to coordinate with Turkey to impose and enforce unilateral, multilateral, or international sanctions that have the potential to effectively weaken or change the behavior of regimes or other actors contravening international laws and norms. Examples include the Iranian regime for its nuclear program and support of regional terrorist groups, and the Asad regime and Al Qaeda-linked opposition groups in Syria. • Determine whether and how U.S. officials and lawmakers should encourage further liberalization and reform in Turkey’s domestic arena, given the influence 133 Joshua W. Walker, “U.S.-Turkish Relations: Modesty and Revitalization,” On Turkey, German Marshall Fund of the United States, December 15, 2011. Congressional Research Service 33 Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations that domestic developments may have on U.S.-Turkey cooperation and regional security.134 Arms Sales and Military/Security Assistance Turkey continues to seek advanced U.S. military equipment (i.e., fighter aircraft and helicopters), and its defense industry participates in joint ventures with the United States (e.g., on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter). However, as exemplified by Turkey’s possible deal with Chinese government-owned CPMIEC on air and missile defense (see “China-Turkey Air and Missile Defense Cooperation?” below), Turkey’s growing defense industry appears increasingly willing to engage in arms import-export transactions or joint military exercises with non-NATO countries, such as China, Russia, Pakistan, and South Korea. This suggests that Turkey is interested in maximizing its acquisition of technology, diversifying its defense relationships, and decreasing its dependence on the United States. Table 3. Significant U.S.-Origin Arms Transfers or Possible Arms Transfers to Turkey (congressional notifications since 2006) Year FMS or DCS Cong. Notice 100 F-35A Joint Strike Fighter aircraft DCS 2006 30 F-16C Block 50 Fighter aircraft and associated equipment FMS 2006 48 AGM-84H SLAM-ER Air-surface missiles FMS 2006 105 AIM-9X SIDEWINDER Air-air missiles (SRAAM) FMS 2007 51 Block II Tactical HARPOON Anti-ship missiles FMS 2007 100 MK-54 MAKO Torpedoes FMS 30 AAQ-33 SNIPER and AN/AAQ-13 LANTIRN Aircraft electro-optical systems (targeting and navigation pods) FMS Amount/Description Primary Contractor(s) Estimated Cost 2017-2025 (expected if contract signed) Lockheed Martin $11billion$15 billion 2009 2012 (estimated complete) Consortium (Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and others) $1.8 billion 2006 2012 (24 estimated) Boeing $162 million 2008 (127 (estimated) Raytheon $71 million 2008 (for at least 4) 2011 (4 (estimated McDonnell Douglas (Boeing) $159 million 2007 2009 2012 (25 (estimated) Raytheon $105 million 2008 2009 2012 (30 estimated) Lockheed Martin $200 million Contract Delivery 134 Testimony of Kurt Volker, James Jeffrey, Robert Wexler, and Jenny White before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Subcommittee on European Affairs, July 31, 2013. Congressional Research Service 34 Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations Year FMS or DCS Cong. Notice Contract Delivery 6 MK 41 Vertical Launch Systems for Ship-air missiles FMS 2008 Signed 107 AIM-120C-7 Air-air missiles (AMRAAM) FMS 2008 Signed 400 RIM-162 Ship-air missiles (ESSM) DCS 2009 72 PATRIOT Advanced Capability Missiles (PAC3), 197 PATRIOT Guidance Enhanced Missiles, and associated equipment FMS 2009 14 CH-47F CHINOOK Helicopters FMS 2009 3 AH-1W SUPER COBRA Attack Helicopters FMS 2011 117 AIM-9X-2 SIDEWINDER Block II Air-Air missiles (SRAAM) and associated equipment FMS 2012 Amount/Description Primary Contractor(s) Estimated Cost 2011 (3 estimated) Lockheed Martin $227 million 2012 (10 estimated) Raytheon $157 million 2011 (10 estimated) Raytheon $300 million Raytheon and Lockheed Martin $4 billion Boeing $1.2 billion N/A (from U.S. Marine Corps inventory) $111 million Raytheon $140 million 2011 (for 6) 2012 Source: Defense Security Cooperation Agency, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute Arms Transfer Database, Defense News, Hurriyet Daily News, Global Security. Notes: All figures and dates are approximate; blank entries indicate that data is unknown or not applicable. FMS refers to “Foreign Military Sales” contemplated between the U.S. government and Turkey, while DCS refers to “Direct Commercial Sales” contemplated between private U.S. companies and Turkey. Turkey had reportedly been particularly interested since 2008 in acquiring armed drone aircraft from the United States to use against the PKK.135 In light of recent reports, it is unclear to what extent Turkey’s aspirations to acquire U.S. drones might persist despite possible informal Congressional rejection of Turkey’s request in connection with allegations that Turkey disclosed the identities of Israeli intelligence sources to Iran.136 The Obama Administration redeployed four unarmed U.S. Predator drones from Iraq to Turkey in late 2011 before the end of the U.S. military mission in Iraq—apparently so that the Predators could continue flying surveillance missions in northern Iraq in support of Turkey’s efforts to counter the PKK.137 It is unclear how Turkey’s 135 According to Jane’s, Turkey had sought to purchase four MQ-1 Predator drones and six MQ-9 Reaper drones (more advanced versions of the Predator). “Procurement, Turkey,” Jane’s Sentinel Security Assessment - Eastern Mediterranean, December 16, 2010. Potential sales of Reapers to NATO allies such as the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, and France have been notified to Congress since 2008. 136 See footnote 22. 137 “US deployed Predators to Incirlik: Davutoglu,” Hurriyet Daily News, November 13, 2011. According to then Secretary of Defense Panetta, the Iraqi government gave the United States permission to keep flying Predator drones on surveillance missions over northern Iraq. Craig Whitlock, “U.S. drones allowed in Iraqi skies,” washingtonpost.com/blogs/checkpoint-washington, December 16, 2011. Congressional Research Service 35 Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations ongoing negotiations with the PKK may affect its plans to procure drones and other military equipment. U.S. military and security assistance programs for Turkey are designed to cultivate closeness in relationships and practices between Turkish military officers and security officials and their U.S. counterparts. These programs also seek to counter terrorist and criminal networks that are active in the region, including those which historically have operated within and across Turkey’s borders.138 In April 2013, Turkish police stated that in February they had detained conspirators in potential Al Qaeda-linked terrorist plots against the U.S. embassy in Ankara and two other sites.139 Table 4. Recent U.S. Foreign Assistance to Turkey ($ in millions) Account International Military Education and Training (IMET) International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement (INCLE) FY2010 FY2011 FY2012 FY2013 FY2014 Request 5.0 4.0 4.0 3.4 3.3 0.5 0.5 — — — Nonproliferation, Antiterrorism, Demining, and Related Programs (NADR) 3.0 1.4 1.1 0.9 0.8 Total 8.0 5.9 5.6 4.3 4.2 Source: U.S. Department of State. Note: All amounts are approximate. Possible “Armenian Genocide Resolution” Congress’s involvement on Turkey-Armenia issues has the potential to strongly influence U.S.Turkey relations. In March 2010, during the 111th Congress, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs voted to report proposed resolution H.Res. 252 for consideration by the full House (by a vote of 23-22). The language of H.Res. 252 characterized actions of the Ottoman Empire against Armenians from 1915 to 1923 as genocide. Previously, in 1975 (H.J.Res. 148) and 1984 (H.J.Res. 247), the House had passed proposed joint resolutions that referred to “victims of genocide” of Armenian ancestry from 1915 and 1915-1923, respectively.140 Neither proposed joint resolution came to a vote in the Senate. A number of other proposed resolutions characterizing these World War I-era events as genocide have been reported by various congressional committees (see 138 State Department FY2014 Congressional Budget Justification, Foreign Operations, Annex: Regional Perspectives, pp. 404-406. 139 Sebnem Arsu, “U.S. Embassy in Turkey Said to Be Targeted,” New York Times, April 12, 2013. 140 Unlike H.Res. 252 and some proposed resolutions similar to it, neither H.J.Res. 148 nor H.J.Res. 247 explicitly identified the Ottoman Empire or its authorities as perpetrators of the purported genocide. H.J.Res. 247 stated that “one and one-half million people of Armenian ancestry” were “the victims of the genocide perpetrated in Turkey”. Congressional Research Service 36 Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations Appendix E for a list). Additionally, President Ronald Reagan referred to a “genocide of the Armenians” during a Holocaust Remembrance Day speech in 1981.141 H.Res. 252 did not pass, but in response to the March 2010 committee action, Turkey recalled its ambassador from the United States for one month, and at least one prominent AKP lawmaker reportedly warned that “the relationship would be downgraded on every level” in the event of House passage of the resolution. This warning was commonly interpreted as including a threat to curtail, at least partially or temporarily, U.S. access to Turkish bases and territory for transporting non-lethal cargo to missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.142 Representative Robert Dold introduced H.Res. 304—virtually identical to H.Res. 252—in June 2011 during the 112th Congress, and Senator Robert Menendez introduced a similar proposed resolution as S.Res. 399 in March 2012. Neither resolution advanced through committee. In the 113th Congress, on May 20, 2013, Representative David Valadao introduced H.Res. 227: “Calling on the President to work toward equitable, constructive, stable, and durable Armenian-Turkish relations based upon the Republic of Turkey’s full acknowledgment of the facts and ongoing consequences of the Armenian Genocide, and a fair, just, and comprehensive international resolution of this crime against humanity.”143 Advocates of recognizing a genocide are to commemorate the event’s 100th anniversary in 2015. In addition to past statements or actions by U.S. policymakers (as described above), at least 20 countries other than Armenia have recognized the Ottoman-era deaths as genocide in some way, including 11 of the 28 EU member states.144 Bilateral Trade Promotion Although successive U.S. Administrations have cited the importance of increased trade with Turkey, and the Obama Administration has reemphasized this in articulating its vision for a multifaceted bilateral strategic relationship,145 it is unclear how effective government efforts to promote U.S.-Turkey trade can be. Bilateral trade has expanded in recent years, although the gap (in favor of the United States) has widened since 2009 both in actual terms and in percentage terms.146 The U.S. government has designated Turkey as a priority market under the National Export Initiative and the interagency Trade Policy Coordination Committee has developed an 141 Additionally, in a May 1951 written statement to the International Court of Justice, the Truman Administration cited “Turkish massacres of Armenians” as one of three “outstanding examples of the crime of genocide” (along with Roman persecution of Christians and Nazi extermination of Jews and Poles). International Court of Justice, Reservations on the Convention of the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide: Advisory Opinion of May 28, 1951: Pleadings, Arguments, Documents, p. 25. 142 Robert Tait and Ewen McCaskill, “Turkey threatens ‘serious consequences’ after US vote on Armenian genocide,” Guardian (UK), March 5, 2010. 143 H.Res. 227, which has at least 47 co-sponsors, has been referred to the Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. 144 The EU states recognizing a genocide are France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Greece, and Cyprus. The European Parliament has also recognized the deaths as genocide. 145 The two countries signed a Bilateral Investment Treaty in 1990 and a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement in 1999. Annual meetings for the U.S.-Turkey Framework for Strategic Economic and Commercial Cooperation began in 2010 at the cabinet ministerial level. 146 See, e.g., Sidar Global Advisors, U.S.-Turkish Economic Relations in a New Era: Analysis and Recommendations for a Stronger Strategic Partnership, Turkish Industry & Business Association (TUSIAD) and U.S. Chamber of Commerce, March 2012. Congressional Research Service 37 Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations Export Enhancement Strategy for Turkey.147 On its side, the Turkish Ministry of Economy has identified six U.S. states as the focus of its efforts to increase bilateral trade: California, Texas, New York, Florida, Illinois, and Georgia.148 Turkish officials have occasionally proposed a U.S.-Turkey free or preferential trade agreement or U.S. legislation establishing qualified industrial zones (QIZs) in Turkey without success.149 Some policymakers and observers claim that even if past economic conditions may have limited U.S. trade with Turkey, recent growth in Turkish consumer demand, quality of products and services, and global competitiveness and brand recognition have increased Turkey’s value as an import source, target market, and place of investment for U.S. companies.150 With U.S. and EU officials in the process of negotiating a possible Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), some analysts and advocates have called for Turkey to be included in whatever discussions may occur.151 In October 2013, Turkey’s official media agency quoted the chairman of a prominent Turkish business confederation as saying that Speaker of the House John Boehner agreed in private meetings that Turkey’s exclusion from a potential TTIP would be unfair.152 Because of its customs union with the EU, analysts conclude that Turkey would—absent an agreement with the United States or EU to the contrary—be required to comply with all the trade obligations of a potential TTIP without gaining any of the direct benefits. Some analysts estimate possible consequences to Turkey to include a 2.5% (roughly $20 billion) long-term loss in national income, and the loss of close to 95,000 jobs.153 Although a parallel trade deal with Turkey would therefore not be necessary for the United States to gain preferential access to Turkey’s market, proponents of a U.S.-Turkey trade agreement argue that it would be important in reinforcing overall bilateral relations and in anchoring Turkey’s ties with the West.154 It is unclear to what extent the technical complexity of a U.S.-EU trade negotiation may raise difficulties for Turkey’s participation in the process. 147 For more detailed information on bilateral efforts to promote trade, see White House Fact Sheet: U.S.-Turkey Economic Partnership, May 16, 2013; U.S. Department of Commerce Fact Sheet: U.S.-Turkey Framework for Strategic Economic and Commercial Cooperation, October 14, 2010. 148 Information provided to CRS by Turkish Ministry of Economy, September 2011. 149 Turkey’s customs union with the EU (see Appendix E) apparently would preclude a free trade or preferential agreement between the United States and Turkey absent a similar U.S.-EU agreement. See Turkish Ministry of Economy website at http://www.economy.gov.tr/index.cfm?sayfa=tradeagreements&bolum=fta&region=0. The 2012 Albright-Hadley report encouraged the pursuit of a U.S.-Turkey free or preferential trade agreement or other measures emphasizing “market access, regulatory compatibility, business facilitation, assistance for small and medium-sized enterprises, and promotion of trade in cutting-edge technologies”. Council on Foreign Relations, op. cit., pp. 12-13. Additionally, a March 2012 report jointly sponsored by the Turkish Industry & Business Association (TUSIAD) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce recommended that U.S. and Turkish trade and investment promotion agencies align strategies and use resources efficiently to “achieve certain mutually set benchmarks and goals.” See Sidar Global Advisors, op. cit. 150 See, e.g., Mark Scott, “In Turkey, Western Companies Find Stability and Growth,” New York Times, December 23, 2011. 151 See, e.g., Kemal Kirisci, “Don’t Forget Free Trade with Turkey,” nationalinterest.org, April 15, 2013; Bahadir Kaleagasi and Baris Ornarli, Turkish Industry and Business Association (TUSIAD), “Why Turkey belongs to transatlantic economy,” thehill.com/blogs, March 12, 2013. 152 Anadolu Agency, quoted in “US House speaker tells TÜSİAD that Turkey should not be excluded from transatlantic trade alliance,” Hurriyet Daily News, October 12, 2013. 153 Two German reports cited in Kirisci, Turkey and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership: Boosting the Model Partnership with the United States, op. cit., footnote 29. 154 Kirisci, Turkey and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership: Boosting the Model Partnership with the (continued...) Congressional Research Service 38 Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations During Prime Minister Erdogan’s May 2013 visit to Washington, DC, Vice President Joe Biden was quoted as saying at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce meeting that Erdogan and President Obama “had agreed to begin efforts for a Free Trade Agreement.”155 However, one analyst has written that because of potential obstacles, including probable stances “by the Armenian and Greek lobbies against a free trade agreement with Turkey, one cannot be too sanguine about the chances of passage in Congress of a free trade agreement with Turkey, even with the President’s influence.”156 Conclusion Turkey’s importance to the United States may be increasing relative to previous eras of U.S.Turkey cooperation because of Turkey’s geopolitical importance, growing economy, and greater foreign policy assertiveness. Congressional action on arms sales, a potential free trade agreement, or a possible “Armenian genocide resolution” could have implications for the bilateral alliance, particularly if Members of Congress link their stances on these issues to U.S.-Turkey tensions or disagreements over Israel, other Middle East-related issues, or Chinese-Turkish defense industrial cooperation. The positions that Members of Congress take on specific issues concerning Turkey—including defense cooperation, trade promotion, and Turkish domestic developments—will shape perceptions of U.S. priorities at a critical time for global and regional stability and for the Turkish republic’s political and constitutional evolution. This could influence Turkish leaders’ future foreign policy rhetoric, decisions, and alignments, which in turn will likely have implications for regional security and for Turkey’s EU accession prospects. Congressional positions could also have some influence on Turkey’s commitment to civilian-led, democratic government that enshrines individual, media, and minority rights; rule of law; and due process. (...continued) United States, op. cit. See also Tyson Barker and Cenk Sidar, “U.S.-EU Trade Talks Risk Damaging Turkey Ties,” Bloomberg View, May 12, 2013. 155 “Biden: US and Turkey to work for FTA,” worldbulletin.net, May 17, 2013. Biden was also quoted as saying, “We will not only keep Turkey informed of every step of the negotiation with the EU, but we believe that if in fact, we can get by some of the divisions and the differences we have with regard to free trade agreements, that if we can get there before the time we settle the EU new trade agreement, that it will be a great opportunity for Turkey.” Ibid. Officially, the two countries decided in May 2013 to "establish a bilateral High Level Committee led by the Ministry of Economy of Turkey and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, associated with the Framework for Strategic Economic and Commercial Cooperation, with the ultimate objective of continuing to deepen our economic relations and liberalize trade.” White House Fact Sheet: U.S.-Turkey Economic Partnership, May 16, 2013. 156 Mark Meirowitz, “A Realistic and Candid Look at Turkish-U.S. Relations,” Magazine of American-Turkish Council: 32nd Annual Conference on U.S.-Turkish Relations, June 2-5, 2013. Congressional Research Service 39 Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations Appendix A. Profiles of Key Figures in Turkey Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan Prime Minister Erdogan (pronounced air-doe-wan) was born in Istanbul in 1954 and spent much of his childhood in his family’s ancestral hometown of Rize on the Black Sea coast. He and his family returned to Istanbul for his teenage years, and he attended a religious imam hatip school. In the 1970s, Erdogan studied business at what is today Marmara University, played soccer semiprofessionally, and became politically active with the National Salvation Party, led by the pioneering Turkish Islamist figure (and eventual prime minister) Necmettin Erbakan. After the military banned all political parties in the wake of its 1980 coup, Erdogan became a business consultant and executive. When political life in Turkey resumed, Erdogan became a prominent local leader and organizer for Erbakan’s new Welfare Party. Erdogan was elected mayor of Istanbul in 1994 at the beginning of a wave of Islamist political victories in Turkey in the mid-1990s. He was removed from office, imprisoned for six months, and banned from parliamentary politics for religious incitement after he recited a poem in the southeastern city of Siirt in December 1997 that included the passage (translated from Turkish): “The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers.” After Erbakan’s government resigned under military pressure in 1997 and the Welfare Party was disbanded, Erdogan became the founding chairman of the AKP in 2001. The AKP won a decisive electoral victory in 2002, securing the single-party rule that it has maintained since. After the election, a legal change allowed Erdogan to run for parliament in a 2003 special election in Siirt, and after he won, Erdogan replaced Abdullah Gul as prime minister. Erdogan and his personal popularity and charisma have been at the center of much of the domestic and foreign policy change that has occurred in Turkey in the past decade. His criticism of Israel and its actions has by some accounts boosted his popularity at home and throughout the Muslim Middle East. Subsequently, Erdogan’s stances on unrest and transition in countries such as Egypt, Libya, and Syria also attracted significant regional and global attention. Erdogan’s rhetoric and actions have come under even greater scrutiny in the wake of the June 2013 protests in Turkey and his reactions. Some reports describe Erdogan as less amenable to political compromise in part due to his long tenure in office, and as relying increasingly on a small group of trusted advisors, including intelligence chief Hakan Fidan.157 There have been some signs of distancing between Erdogan and President Obama since the protests and other events complicating bilateral relations in 2013, after several years of reports that Erdogan and Obama have enjoyed positive personal interaction.158 Erdogan is married and has two sons and two daughters. His wife Emine and daughters wear the headscarf. He is not fluent in English but his understanding may be improving. Observers have 157 Adam Entous and Joe Parkinson, “Turkey’s Spymaster Plots Own Course on Syria,” Wall Street Journal, October 10, 2013. 158 The Abramowitz-Edelman Report states that Erdogan places a high regard on U.S. praise. Bipartisan Policy Center, op. cit., p. 10. Congressional Research Service 40 Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations speculated about his health, particularly following a November 2011 surgical procedure to remove stomach polyps. He has said that he does not have cancer. President Abdullah Gul President Gul was born in 1950 in Kayseri in central Turkey. He studied economics in Turkey and England, and received his Ph.D. from Istanbul University, becoming a university professor and an economist at the Islamic Development Bank in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Gul was first elected to parliament from Kayseri in 1991 as a member of the Islamist Welfare Party and served as a minister in and spokesman for the coalition government it briefly headed in 1996-1997. After the Welfare Party was disbanded, Gul stayed on in parliament as a reform-minded member of the Islamist Virtue Party. Gul served on parliamentary assemblies of NATO and the Council of Europe. When the AKP was formed in 2001, he became deputy chairman and—briefly—its first prime minister after the successful election of 2002. When Erdogan took over the prime ministry in 2003, Gul became Turkey’s foreign minister and helped accelerate Turkey’s EU accession process. In 2007, the AKP nominated Gul for the presidency amid substantial secularist opposition, partly owing to statements from his early political career that indicated distaste for the secular nature of Turkey’s republic. Parliament nevertheless elected Gul president. Many observers believe him to be a moderating influence on the Erdogan government, as reflected in his approach to the June 2013 nationwide protests. Observers also speculate about whether President Gul might seek a second presidential term, to succeed Erdogan as prime minister, or pursue another path in the domestic or international arena. Gul is married with two sons and a daughter. His wife Hayrunissa and daughter wear the headscarf. He speaks fluent English. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu Foreign Minister Davutoglu was born in 1959 in Konya in central Turkey. He attended a German international school in Istanbul and received a Ph.D. in Political Science and International Relations from Bosphorus University. He became a university professor, spending time in Malaysia in the early 1990s before establishing himself as a scholar known for applying academic theory to practical matters of Turkish foreign policy and national security strategy. His book Strategic Depth, which was published in 2001 and has been translated into other languages but not English, is thought by some to represent a blueprint of sorts for the policies Davutoglu has since helped implement. Following the AKP’s victory in 2002, Davutoglu was appointed chief foreign policy advisor to the prime minister. Upon his appointment as foreign minister in 2009, he quickly gained renown for articulating and applying the concepts of strategic depth and “zero problems with neighbors.” He advocates for a preeminent role for Turkey in its surrounding region, but disputes the characterization of his policies by some observers as “neo-Ottomanism.” Davutoglu’s policies have encountered domestic and international criticism given the challenges Turkey has recently faced from regional problems in countries such as Syria, Iraq, and Egypt (as discussed above). He won an AKP parliamentary seat for the first time in June 2011. Congressional Research Service 41 Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations Davutoglu is married with four children. His wife Sare is a medical doctor. He speaks fluent English, as well as German and Arabic. Opposition Leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the main opposition CHP, was born in 1948 in Tunceli province in eastern Turkey. After receiving an economics degree from what is now Gazi University in Ankara, Kilicdaroglu had a civil service career—first with the Finance Ministry, then as the director-general of the Social Security Organization. After retiring from the civil service, Kilicdaroglu became politically active with the CHP and was elected to parliament from Istanbul in 2002. He gained national prominence for his efforts to root out corruption among AKP officials and the AKP-affiliated mayor of Ankara. When CHP leader Deniz Baykal was forced to resign over a videotape sex scandal in May 2010, Kilicdaroglu was elected to replace him. In the first national election with him as party leader in June 2011, the CHP gained 23 seats in parliament— not as many as some observers had expected. He made his first official visit to the United States in December 2013. Kilicdaroglu is married with a son and two daughters. He is an Alevi and speaks fluent French. PKK Leader Abdullah Ocalan Abdullah Ocalan was born in or around 1949 in southeastern Turkey (near Sanliurfa). After attending vocational high school in Ankara, Ocalan served in civil service posts in Diyarbakir and Istanbul until enrolling at Ankara University in 1971. As his interest developed in socialism and Kurdish nationalism, Ocalan was jailed for seven months in 1972 for participating in an illegal student demonstration. His time in prison with other activists helped inspire his political ambitions, and he became increasingly politically active upon his release. Ocalan founded the Marxist-Leninist-influenced PKK in 1978 and launched a separatist militant campaign against Turkish security forces—while also attacking the traditional Kurdish chieftain class—in 1984. He used Syrian territory as a safe haven. Syria forced Ocalan to leave in 1998 after Turkey threatened war for harboring him. After traveling to several different countries, Ocalan was captured in February 1999 in Kenya—possibly with U.S. help—and was turned over to Turkish authorities. The PKK declared a cease-fire shortly thereafter. Ocalan was sentenced to death, in a trial later ruled unfair by the European Court of Human Rights, but when Turkey abolished the death penalty in 2002, the sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. He resides in a maximumsecurity prison on the island of Imrali in the Sea of Marmara, and was in solitary confinement until 2009. Although acting PKK leader Murat Karayilan and other commanders have exercised direct control over PKK operations during Ocalan’s imprisonment, some observers believe that Ocalan still ultimately controls the PKK through proxies. PKK violence resumed in 2003 and has since continued off-and-on until the most recent cease-fire that Ocalan and Karayilan called in March 2013. Ocalan has indicated that the organization is seeking a negotiated resolution that does not require forming a Kurdish state, and is apparently engaging in talks with Turkish intelligence to that end. Congressional Research Service 42 Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations Appendix B. List of Selected Turkish-Related Organizations in the United States American Friends of Turkey (http://afot.us/) American Research Institute in Turkey (http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/ARIT/) American Turkish Society (http://www.americanturkishsociety.org/) American-Turkish Council (http://www.the-atc.org/) Assembly of Turkish American Associations (http://www.ataa.org/)—component associations in 18 states and the District of Columbia Ataturk Society of America (http://www.ataturksociety.org/) Federation of Turkish American Associations Institute of Turkish Studies (http://turkishstudies.org/) SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (http://setadc.org) Turkic American Alliance (http://www.turkicamericanalliance.org/) • West America Turkic Council (West region)—includes Pacifica Institute • Turkish American Federation of Midwest (Midwest region)—includes Niagara Foundation • Turquoise Council of Americans and Eurasians (South region)—includes Institute of Interfaith Dialog • Turkic American Federation of Southeast (Southeast region)—includes Istanbul Center • Council of Turkic American Associations (Northeast region)—includes Turkish Cultural Center • Mid Atlantic Federation of Turkic American Associations (Mid-Atlantic region)—includes Rumi Forum • Rethink Institute (housed at Turkic American Alliance headquarters in Washington, DC) Turkish Coalition of America (http://www.tc-america.org/) Turkish Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists (TUSKON) (http://www.tuskonus.org/ tuskon.php) Turkish Cultural Foundation (http://www.turkishculturalfoundation.org/) Turkish Industry & Business Association (TUSIAD) (http://www.tusiad.org/) Congressional Research Service 43 Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations Turkey Policy Center (http://www.turkishpolicycenter.com/) Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) (http://www.tobb.org.tr/) Congressional Research Service 44 Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations Appendix C. Historical Context Changes to the old Kemalist order did not materialize suddenly with the AKP’s rise to power. They reflect long-standing dynamics in Turkish politics and society that continue to evolve within Turkey’s existing constitutional framework. Popular desires to allow greater public space for traditional Islamic-oriented lifestyles manifested themselves politically as early as the 1950s during the rule of Turkey’s first democratically elected leader, Adnan Menderes. Menderes was eventually overthrown by a military-led coup in 1960 (and subsequently hanged), and the military continued to discourage the overt influence of religion in politics, intervening again in 1971 and 1980 to replace governments that it deemed had lost control of the country or had steered it away from secularism or toward ideological extremes. The military allowed Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs (later Prime Minister and President) Turgut Ozal to begin liberalizing the traditionally statist Turkish economy following its restoration of internal order in 1980. This helped set in motion a chain of events leading to the economic and political empowerment of millions of Turks hailing from traditional communities removed from Turkey’s more secular urban centers. Subsequent social and political developments reflected accommodation of this rising middle class—many of whom migrated to bigger cities— and their values. For example, imam hatip religious schools, initially established for young males seeking clerical careers, became widely attended by youth from religiously conservative families. In 1997, the military compelled Turkey’s first-ever Islamist-led coalition government to resign, but junior members of the coalition-leading Refah (Welfare) Party went on to form the AKP,159 which they characterize as a center-right reformist party without an Islamist agenda. 159 AKP members generally use the acronym “AK Party” or “AK,” partly because the Turkish word ak means “clean” and “unblemished,” thus presenting an image of incorruptibility. Congressional Research Service 45 Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations Appendix D. Various Religious and Social Groups in Turkey Fethullah Gulen Movement160 The Fethullah Gulen movement (or community) became a nationwide grassroots movement in the 1980s as part of the emergence of the new conservative Turkish middle class. The movement is comprised of adherents of Turkish imam Fethullah Gulen, who is now a permanent U.S. resident.161 He preaches a distinctly Turkish brand of Islam that condemns terrorism,162 promotes interfaith dialogue and cross-cultural understanding, and can function in concert with secular democratic mechanisms and modern economic and technological modes of living. Gulenistaffiliated schools163 and other organizations164 are also located in the United States and other regions worldwide. The movement rose to greater prominence in parallel with the AKP, and Gulen-inspired businesses, media enterprises, schools, charitable organizations, and civil society groups now exercise considerable influence in Turkey.165 Additionally, a Council on Foreign Relations analyst 160 For a range of views on the Gulen movement, see Joshua D. Hendrick, Gulen: The Ambiguous Politics of Market Islam in Turkey and the World, New York: New York University Press, 2013; M. Hakan Yavuz, Toward an Islamic Enlightenment: The Gulen Movement, New York: Oxford University Press, 2013; Helen Rose Ebaugh, The Gulen Movement: A Sociological Analysis of a Civic Movement Rooted in Moderate Islam, New York: Springer, 2010; “Hank, The Gulen Movement, The Role of a Lifetime,” 60 Minutes, CBS News, May 13, 2012; Alexander Brock, “What Is the Gulen Movement?,” Council on Foreign Relations, op. cit., Appendix B; Claire Berlinski, “Who Is Fethullah Gulen?,” City Journal, vol. 22, no. 4, autumn 2012. 161 Gulen lives in seclusion at a retreat center with a few of his adherents in Saylorsburg, PA, in the Pocono Mountains. He came to the United States in 1999 for medical treatment for a cardiovascular condition, and elected to stay after an ultimately unsuccessful criminal case was brought against him in Turkey charging that he sought to undermine Turkey’s secular government. 162 Days after the Al Qaeda terrorist attacks on September 11, 2011, Gulen took out an advertisement in the Washington Post condemning the attacks as incompatible with the teachings of Islam. 163 Gulen-inspired organizations have reportedly founded and operate approximately 136 publicly funded charter schools in 26 U.S. states. Hendrick, op. cit., p. 217. These schools have generated publicity both for their high academic quality and for questions and possible federal investigations regarding their hiring and business practices. Phyllis Schlafly, “Look What’s Going On in Charter Schools,” creators.com, April 10, 2012; Stephanie Saul, “Charter Schools Tied to Turkey Grow in Texas,” New York Times, June 6, 2011; Martha Woodall and Claudio Gatti, “U.S. charter-school network with Turkish link draws federal attention,” Philadelphia Inquirer, March 20, 2011. In 2011, a New Orleans school that some reports had linked to the Gulen movement was shut down—reportedly over an alleged bribery attempt—and a school in Baton Rouge overseen by the same foundation is reportedly the current subject of an FBI inquiry. Diana Samuels, “Kenilworth charter school, subject of apparent FBI inquiry, has ties to Turkish education movement,” Times-Picayune (New Orleans), December 12, 2013. Tennessee’s legislature passed a bill limiting the percentage of foreign employees permitted to work in its charter schools. The initiative was reportedly driven in large part by political activists citing various media reports on Gulen-inspired schools. Mark Todd Engler, “Legislature Passes Limits on Foreign Staffers at TN Charter Schools,” tnreport.com, April 16, 2012. 164 Adherents of Gulen’s teachings are involved with Turkish and Turkish-American trade associations and foundations active in the United States—both regionally and in the Washington, DC, area. Such organizations reportedly include the Turkic American Alliance umbrella of organizations and the business confederation TUSKON. Ilhan Tanir, “The Gulen movement plays big in Washington,” Hurriyet Daily News, May 14, 2010; Ebaugh, op. cit., p. 49. 165 For example, adherents of Gulen’s teachings launched the Zaman newspaper in 1986. It is now the most widely circulated newspaper in Turkey, and has an English-language sister publication, Today’s Zaman. Gulen also encouraged a group of businessmen to launch the Samanyolu television channel—today a major channel in Turkey (continued...) Congressional Research Service 46 Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations has written, “Opponents of both the AKP and the Gulen movement express concern that the party’s influence over the parliament and executive branch provides the Gulenists with unprecedented reach into government institutions, thereby threatening Turkey’s secular political order.”166 Gulen, however, insists that he is neutral as to political parties and leaders in Turkey.167 As discussed above, some developments indicate the possibility of a rift between the Erdogan-led AKP and the Gulen movement.168 In April 2012, the Gulen-inspired Journalists and Writers Foundation issued a lengthy statement asserting both that Hizmet (the Gulen movement’s name for itself—a Turkish word meaning “service”) does not have a hierarchy to direct the actions of individuals who adhere to its teachings, and that the movement’s support for principles of democracy, human rights, and rule of law is not defined in terms of loyalty or opposition to the AKP or any other political party.169 Whether the movement generally operates more like a hierarchy or more like a loose confederation of philosophically similar groups and individuals is a matter of considerable debate. Religious Minorities While U.S. constitutional law prohibits the excessive entanglement of the government with religion, republican Turkey has maintained secularism or “laicism” by controlling or closely overseeing religious activities in the country. This is partly to prevent religion from influencing state actors and institutions, as it did during previous centuries of Ottoman rule. Sunni Muslims, although not monolithic in their views on freedom of worship, have better recourse than other religious adherents to the democratic process for accommodation of their views because of their majority status. Minority Muslim sects (most prominently, the Alevis) and non-Muslim religions largely depend on legal appeals, political advocacy, and support from Western countries to protect their rights in Turkey. (...continued) with a worldwide reach through satellite and Internet transmission—in 1993. 166 Alexander Brock, “What Is the Gulen Movement?,” Council on Foreign Relations, op. cit., Appendix B. The criminal case charging Gulen with undermining Turkey’s secular government was largely based on a video in which Gulen apparently stated: “You must move in the arteries of the system without anyone noticing your existence until you reach all the power centers…. You must wait until such time as you have gotten all the state power, until you have brought to your side all the power of the constitutional institution in Turkey.” Berlinski, op. cit. Many of Gulen’s supporters claimed that the video had been doctored. 167 Gulen asserted in August 2010 that “we are still at an equal distance from every party. We never told anybody to enroll in a specific [party], attend its rallies or act as its supporters.” “Gulen Endorses Reform Package, Appealing for ‘Yes’ on Sept. 12,” Today’s Zaman, August 1, 2010. He has backed AKP-proposed constitutional amendments, but distinguished his support for the substance of the initiatives from support for the party or individual leaders that had proposed them. “Gulen Says His Call for Yes Vote Not Linked to Political Motives,” Today’s Zaman, August 25, 2010. 168 See footnote 54. One Turkish journalist, in attempting to contrast the Gulen movement with Islamists who supposedly have influence on the AKP, wrote, “The Gulen Movement, though it is pious and unmistakably Muslim, has always steered clear of Islamist ideology. Unlike the Islamists, who constitute an influential strain within the A.K.P., Mr. Gulen’s followers have always valued Turkey’s relations with the West, championed accession to the European Union, and have been friendly toward Jews and Christians. In return, some paranoid Turkish Islamists (and even some secular nationalists) have accused Mr. Gulen of being a ‘C.I.A. agent.’” Akyol, op. cit. 169 “GYV: Hizmet a civilian movement, has no political ambitions,” Today’s Zaman, April 5, 2012. Congressional Research Service 47 Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations Christians and Jews U.S. concerns focus on the rights of established Christian and Jewish communities and religious leaderships and their associated foundations and organizations within Turkey to choose leaders, train clergy, own property, and otherwise function independently of the Turkish government.170 Some Members of Congress routinely express grievances through proposed congressional resolutions and through letters to the President and to Turkish leaders on behalf of the Ecumenical (Greek Orthodox) Patriarchate of Constantinople, the spiritual center of Orthodox Christianity based in Istanbul.171 On December 13, 2011, for example, the House passed H.Res. 306—“Urging the Republic of Turkey to safeguard its Christian heritage and to return confiscated church properties”—by voice vote.172 In an April 2012 interview with the Chicago Tribune, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew was quoted as saying that recent changes in Turkey have been extremely positive. Years ago, you couldn't have dreamed of the changes. You couldn’t have believed it. The prime minister has promised to restore properties confiscated from Christians and Jews years ago. He has promised to reopen the Orthodox seminary at Halki, which has been closed for many years. Of course, we have concerns in some areas, and there are legal questions remaining, but the Orthodox-Islamic dialogue has been extremely positive. More positive than I ever would have imagined.173 Patriarch Bartholomew, along with various U.S. and European officials, continues to press for the reopening of the Halki Theological School. In March 2013, Erdogan reportedly conditioned Halki’s reopening on measures by Greece to accommodate its Muslim community.174 In January 2013, 190 hectares of forestland surrounding Halki were returned to the Greek Orthodox 170 The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) included Turkey on its watch list from 2009 to 2011, and, in a decision disputed among the commissioners, recommended in 2012 that the State Department list Turkey as a “country of particular concern” (CPC). In USCIRF’s 2013 report, Turkey was not included on either the watch list (now reclassified as “Tier 2”) or the CPC list, but on a separate list of countries being “monitored.” Four of the eight commissioners dissented, saying that Turkey’s 2012 CPC listing was a mistake, but that it should remain on the watch list/Tier 2. For additional information on Turkey’s religious minorities, see the State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report for 2012. 171 The Patriarchate traces its roots to the Apostle Andrew. The most commonly articulated congressional grievances on behalf of the Patriarchate—whose ecumenicity is not acknowledged by the Turkish government, but also not objected to when acknowledged by others—are the non-operation of the Halki Theological School on Heybeliada Island near Istanbul, the requirement that the Patriarch be a Turkish citizen, and the failure of the Turkish government to return previously confiscated properties. 172 H.Res. 306 was sponsored by Representative Edward Royce, now Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. An identically worded proposed resolution was introduced in the Senate in March 2012 as S.Res. 392. Proposed resolutions from the 113th Congress include H.Res. 136 (“Urging Turkey to respect the rights and religious freedoms of the Ecumenical Patriarchate”), and H.Res. 188 (“Calling upon the Government of Turkey to facilitate the reopening of the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s Theological School of Halki without condition or further delay.”). H.Res. 188 was forwarded to the House Foreign Affairs Committee on November 19, 2013, by its Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats. 173 John Kass, “With faith and hope, Turkey builds a new identity,” Chicago Tribune, April 11, 2012. Some sources indicate that Prime Minister Erdogan promised at a March 2012 meeting with President Obama in Seoul, South Korea, that he would reopen the Halki seminary. See, e.g., David Ignatius, “Obama’s friend in Turkey,” Washington Post, June 7, 2012. 174 “PM indicates opening Halki Seminary depends on reciprocal gesture by Greece,” todayszaman.com, March 30, 2013. Congressional Research Service 48 Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations foundation listed as its owner-of-record, as part of the government’s return of properties to religious groups discussed immediately below.175 At various times in the Turkish Republic’s history, the state has confiscated the properties of religious groups as part of its efforts to control religious life in the country. In late August 2011, Erdogan announced that Turkey would return properties confiscated since the adoption of a 1935 law governing religious foundations, to the extent the properties are still held publicly.176 Many of these properties were confiscated following a Turkish High Court of Appeals ruling in 1974 that had invalidated religious foundations’ abilities to acquire real estate.177 Properties subject to return include schools, orphanages, cemeteries, commercial properties, and hospitals affiliated with various Christian churches and Turkey’s Jewish community. According to one report, “The government’s willingness to explore restitution does not yet cover the hundreds, if not thousands, of property seizures from individuals, or the takeovers that occurred before 1936. An even more contentious point is confiscation that occurred prior to the formation of the Republic of Turkey in 1923.”178 Prior to Erdogan’s 2011 decree, which followed an earlier 2008 amendment to the law on religious foundations, the European Court of Human Rights made multiple rulings requiring Turkey to pay compensation to various religious-affiliated organizations after earlier attempts by the government to remedy the situation did not satisfy the organizations. According to the 2013 annual report of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom: Between the passage of the 2008 amendment and August 2011, approximately 200 properties were reportedly returned to religious minority foundations of various denominations. Between the August 2011 decree and January 31, 2013, some 300 additional properties (worth an estimated 1.5 billion dollars) have been returned to minority foundations. Alevis Most Muslims in Turkey are Sunni, but 10 million to 20 million are Alevis (of whom about 20% are ethnic Kurds). The Alevi community has some relation to Shiism179 and may contain strands from pre-Islamic Anatolian and Christian traditions.180 Alevism has been traditionally influenced by Sufi mysticism that emphasizes believers’ individual spiritual paths, but it defies precise description owing to its lack of centralized leadership and reliance on oral traditions historically kept secret from outsiders. According to the State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report for 2012, “The government considers Alevism a heterodox Muslim sect and does not financially support religious worship for Alevi Muslims.” Alevis have long been among the 175 Fatma Disli Zibak, “Turkey makes largest property return to Greek Orthodox community,” todayszaman.com, January 11, 2013. 176 According to reports, the foundations would receive compensation for property since transferred to third parties. See Sebnum Arsu, “Turkish Government to Return Seized Property to Religious Minorities,” New York Times, August 29, 2011. 177 The ability for these foundations to acquire real estate has since been restored. The 1974 court ruling came at a time of high Turkish-Greek tensions with the outbreak of conflict in Cyprus. 178 Dorian Jones, “Turkey: Making Room for Religious Minorities,” EurasiaNet.org, October 3, 2011. 179 For information comparing and contrasting Sunnism and Shiism, see CRS Report RS21745, Islam: Sunnis and Shiites, by Christopher M. Blanchard; and CRS Report WVB00001, Sunni and Shi'a Islam: Video Brief, by Christopher M. Blanchard. 180 For additional historical background, see Elise Massicard, The Alevis in Turkey and Europe: Identity and managing territorial diversity, New York: Routledge, 2013, pp. 11-18. Congressional Research Service 49 Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations strongest supporters of Turkey’s secular state, which they reportedly perceive as their protector from the Sunni majority.181 Recent developments appear to have heightened Sunni-Alevi tensions, including those pertaining to the June 2013 protests, the Syrian conflict and Turkey’s policy (Arab Alawites in Syria and southern Turkey are a distinct Shia-related religious community, but are often likened to Alevis by the region’s Sunni Muslims), and frustrated expectations among some Alevi leaders that the government reform package announced in September 2013 would address their grievances.182 181 According to a Boston University anthropologist who studies modern Turkish society, “Alevis suffered centuries of oppression under the Ottomans, who accused them of not being truly Muslim and suspected them of colluding with the Shi’i Persians against the empire. Alevi Kurds were victims of the early republic’s Turkification policies and were massacred by the thousands in Dersim [now called Tunceli] in 1937-39. In the 1970s, Alevis became associated with socialist and other leftist movements, while the political right was dominated by Sunni Muslims. An explosive mix of sectarian cleavages, class polarization, and political violence led to communal massacres of Alevis in five major cities in 1977 and 1978, setting the stage for the 1980 coup.” Jenny White, Muslim Nationalism and the New Turks, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013, p. 14. See also Bipartisan Policy Center, op. cit., footnote 62. 182 Bipartisan Policy Center, op. cit., p. 28. Congressional Research Service 50 Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations Appendix E. Additional Foreign Policy Issues European Union183 The Turkish government uses its demographic profile to support its bid for EU membership, arguing that the country would bring a young, dynamic population to the aging ranks of Europe and boost EU influence in the Muslim world. Turkey first sought to associate itself with what was then the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1959, and Turkey and the EEC entered into an agreement of association in 1963. Since the end of 1995, Turkey has had a full customs union with the EU, which is viewed by many observers as one of the primary drivers of the competitive surge of Turkey’s economy during the 2000s.184 Turkey also is a member of the Council of Europe, along with several other non-EU states (including Russia), and is subject to the jurisdiction of the Council’s European Court of Human Rights. EU accession talks, which began in 2005, have been stalled owing to the opposition of key EU states—most notably France and Germany—to Turkey’s full membership. Opponents generally give empirical reasons for their positions, but many analysts argue that resistance to Turkish EU accession is rooted in a fear that Turkey’s large Muslim population would fundamentally change the cultural character of the EU and dilute the power of the EU’s founding Western European states to drive the policy agenda. As mentioned above, Turkey’s unwillingness to normalize diplomatic and trade relations with EU member Cyprus presents a major obstacle to its accession prospects.185 Other EU concerns over Turkey’s qualifications for membership center on the treatment of Kurds and religious minorities, media freedoms, women’s rights, and the proper and transparent functioning of Turkey’s democratic and legal systems.186 One U.S.-based European analyst writes, “Turkey’s process of alignment with EU laws and standards is still very incomplete and interest in this goal seems to have weakened as political forces that once embraced the goal [as a means for facilitating Turkish domestic reform] have become stronger and more self-reliant.”187 Debate regarding Turkey’s alignment with EU standards intensified as a result of the June 2013 protests and the government’s response,188 though accession talks opened on a new chapter of the acquis communautaire in November 2013. 183 For more information on this subject, see CRS Report RS22517, European Union Enlargement: A Status Report on Turkey’s Accession Negotiations, by Vincent L. Morelli; and CRS Report RS21344, European Union Enlargement, by Kristin Archick. 184 Council on Foreign Relations, op. cit., p. 18. 185 Turkey’s unwillingness to open its ports to Greek Cypriot trade according to the Additional Protocol that it signed at the outset of the accession process in 2005 prompted the EU Council to block eight out of the 35 chapters of the acquis communautaire that Turkey would be required to meet to the Council’s satisfaction in order to gain EU membership. France blocked five additional chapters in 2007 and the Republic of Cyprus blocked six in 2009. France unblocked one chapter in early 2013, in what some analysts interpreted as a portent for better prospects of Turkey’s eventual accession. Thus far, one of the chapters has been fully negotiated, and 14 others have been opened. 186 European Commission Staff Working Document, Turkey 2013 Progress Report, October 16, 2013. 187 Emiliano Alessandri, “Turkey-EU Relations: Back to Basics?,” On Turkey, German Marshall Fund of the United States, February 27, 2013. 188 The European Parliament raised multiple concerns about the state of civil liberties and pluralism in Turkey, and strongly criticized Erdogan and his government. European Parliament Resolution of 13 June 2013 on the Situation in Turkey (2013/2664(RSP)). Congressional Research Service 51 Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations Turkish domestic expectations of and support for full accession to the EU were apparently already waning before the June 2013 protests, and before fundamental concerns arose over the economic and political soundness of the EU as a result of the eurozone crisis.189 In September 2013, Turkey’s Minister for EU Affairs and chief accession negotiator, Egeman Bagis, was quoted as saying, “In the long run I think Turkey will end up like Norway. We will be at European standards, very closely aligned but not as a member.”190 Nevertheless, the EU provides over $1 billion in annual pre-accession financial and technical assistance to Turkey aimed at harmonizing its economy, society, bureaucracy, and political system with those of EU members.191 Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean192 Since Cyprus became independent of the United Kingdom in 1960, Turkey has viewed itself and has acted as the protector of the island’s ethnic Turkish minority from potential mistreatment by the ethnic Greek majority.193 Responding to Greek and Cypriot political developments that raised concerns about a possible Greek annexation of Cyprus, Turkey’s military intervened in 1974194 and established control over the northern third of the island, prompting an almost total ethnic and de facto political division along geographical lines. That division persists today and is the subject of continuing international efforts aimed at reunification.195 Additionally, according to a New York Times article, “after the 1974 invasion, an estimated 150,000 Turkish settlers arrived in the north of Cyprus, many of them poor and agrarian Turks from the mainland, who Greek Cypriots say are illegal immigrants used by Turkey as a demographic weapon.”196 The ethnic Greek-ruled Republic of Cyprus is internationally recognized as having jurisdiction over the entire island, while the de facto Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in the northern third has only Turkish recognition. Congress imposed an embargo on military grants and arms sales to Turkey from 189 Dan Bilefsky, “For Turkey, Lure of Tie to Europe Is Fading,” New York Times, December 4, 2011. According to the Transatlantic Trends surveys of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, the percentage of Turks who think that Turkish EU membership would be a good thing was 73% in 2004 and 44% in 2013. 190 Alex Spillius, “Turkey ‘will probably never be EU member,’” telegraph.co.uk, September 21, 2013. 191 See http://ec.europa.eu/enlargement/instruments/funding-by-country/turkey/index_en.htm for further information. 192 For more information on this subject, see CRS Report R41136, Cyprus: Reunification Proving Elusive, by Vincent L. Morelli. 193 Turkey views its protective role as justified given its status as one of the three guaranteeing powers of the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee that was signed at the time Cyprus gained its independence. The United Kingdom and Greece are the other two guarantors. 194 Turkish intervention in Cyprus with U.S.-supplied arms prompted Congress to impose an embargo on military assistance and arms sales to Turkey from 1975 to 1978. This Cold War-era disruption in U.S.-Turkey relations is often cited by analysts as a major factor in Turkey’s continuing efforts to avoid overdependence on the United States or any other country for military equipment or expertise. 195 Turkey retains between 30,000 and 40,000 troops on the island (supplemented by approximately 5,000 Turkish Cypriot soldiers and 26,000 reserves). “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus,” Jane’s Sentinel Security Assessment Eastern Mediterranean, October 30, 2009. This is countered by a Greek Cypriot force of approximately 12,000 (including roughly 1,300 Greek officers and soldiers seconded to Cyprus) with reported access to 50,000 reserves. “Cyprus,” Jane’s World Armies, November 3, 2011. The United Nations maintains a peacekeeping mission (UNFICYP) of approximately 900 personnel within a buffer zone headquartered in Cyprus’s divided capital of Nicosia (known as Lefkosa in Turkish). Since the mission’s inception in 1964, UNFICYP has suffered 179 fatalities. The United Kingdom maintains approximately 3,000 personnel at two sovereign military bases on the southern portion of the island at Akrotiri and Dhekelia. 196 Dan Bilefsky, “On Cyprus Beach, Stubborn Relic of Conflict,” New York Times, August 3, 2012. The CIA World Factbook estimates Cyprus’s total population to be 1,150,000 (77% Greek, 18% Turkish, 5% other). Congressional Research Service 52 Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations 1975 to 1978 in response to Turkey’s use of U.S.-supplied weapons in the 1974 conflict, and several Members remain interested in Cyprus-related issues.197 The Republic of Cyprus’s accession to the EU in 2004 and Turkey’s refusal to normalize political and commercial relations with it are seen as a major obstacle to Turkey’s EU membership aspirations. The Cyprus dilemma also hinders effective EU-NATO defense cooperation. Moreover, EU accession may have reduced incentives for Cyprus’s Greek population to make concessions toward a reunification deal. The Greek Cypriots rejected by referendum a United Nations reunification plan (called the Annan plan after then Secretary-General Kofi Annan) in 2004 that the Turkish Cypriot population accepted. Turkey and Turkish Cypriot leaders claim that the Turkish Cypriot regime’s lack of international recognition unfairly denies its people basic economic and political rights, particularly through barriers to trade with and travel to countries other than Turkey. Turkey and Turkish Cypriots have assertively opposed efforts by the Republic of Cyprus and other Eastern Mediterranean countries—most notably Israel—to agree upon a division of offshore energy drilling rights without a solution to the question of the island’s unification.198 The Republic of Cyprus appears to anticipate considerable future export revenue from drilling in the Aphrodite gas field off Cyprus’s southern coast. In the wake of the Republic of Cyprus’s early 2013 euro bailout, and given analyses indicating that the most efficient way for the Republic to export its newfound energy resources would be by constructing a pipeline to Turkey, some observers speculate that the potential financial benefits of unification justify renewed diplomatic efforts to that end.199 In testimony at a July 11, 2013, Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing considering her nomination as Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Victoria Nuland (who was subsequently confirmed in September 2013) said: I think circumstances are changing, attitudes are changing, not just within Cyprus but also in Greece and in Turkey, and we have to capitalize on that. We also have natural gas off the coast of Turkey, which is off the coast of Cyprus, which is a powerful motivator for getting to the solution that we all want which is a bizonal bicommunal federation that can share the benefits. Armenia200 In late 2009, Turkey and Armenia, aided by Swiss mediation, agreed to joint protocols that would have normalized relations and opened borders between the two countries. They also would have called for a dialogue and impartial examination of the historical record with respect to “existing 197 See, e.g., from the 112th Congress, H.Res. 676 (To expose and halt the Republic of Turkey's illegal colonization of the Republic of Cyprus with non-Cypriot populations, to support Cyprus in its efforts to control all of its territory, to end Turkey's illegal occupation of northern Cyprus, and to exploit its energy resources without illegal interference by Turkey.); S.Con.Res. 47 (A concurrent resolution expressing the sense of Congress on the sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus over all of the territory of the island of Cypress [sic].); and H.R. 2597 (American-Owned Property in Occupied Cyprus Claims Act). 198 “Gas drilling heightens east Mediterranean tension,” UPI, September 16, 2011. 199 See, e.g., “Divided they fall,” Economist, April 27, 2013. Additionally, Greek Cypriots elected Nicos Anastasiades as president of the Republic of Cyprus in February 2013. Anastasiades is one of the few Greek Cypriot leaders to have backed the 2004 Annan Plan for reunification. 200 For more information, see CRS Report RL33453, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia: Political Developments and Implications for U.S. Interests, by Jim Nichol. Congressional Research Service 53 Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations problems,” widely believed to refer to the issue of World War I-era deaths of hundreds of thousands of Armenians through the actions of Ottoman Empire authorities. Turkish leaders were unwilling to push for parliamentary ratification of the protocols, however, due to Azerbaijani objections to Turkey-Armenia normalization prior to desired progress on the issue of NagornoKarabakh.201 Azerbaijan influences Turkish policy on this issue because of its close cultural and economic ties with Turkey, particularly as Azerbaijan is a key energy supplier. Another possible cause for Turkish reluctance was a 2010 Armenian constitutional court ruling that indicated inflexibility on the genocide issue. Subsequently, Turkey and Armenia have made little or no progress toward ratifying the protocols or otherwise normalizing their relations, though the protocols remain under consideration in Turkey’s parliament.202 The tenor of relations between Turkey and Armenia could be an important factor in a potential congressional debate over a future genocide resolution. Other International Relationships As Turkey continues to exercise increased political and economic influence, it seeks to establish and strengthen relationships with non-Western global powers. As discussed above, it is expanding trade and defense industrial ties with China and Russia. It is doing the same with other countries in Asia and Africa. Turkey additionally seeks to expand the scope of its geographical influence, with its officials sometimes comparing its historical links and influence with certain countries—especially former territories of the Ottoman Empire—to the relationship of Britain with its commonwealth. Through hands-on political involvement, as well as increased private trade and investment and public humanitarian and development projects, Turkey has enhanced its influence and image as a leading Muslim-majority democracy with Muslim-populated countries not only in the greater Middle East, but also in the Balkans, the Caucasus and Central Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa.203 201 Nagorno-Karabakh is a predominantly ethnic-Armenian-populated enclave within Azerbaijan’s international borders. Disputes over its status led to armed conflict in 1991 in parallel with the Soviet Union’s dissolution and the independence of both Armenia and Azerbaijan. The conflict ended with a 1994 ceasefire, but Armenian troops still occupy portions of the territory. The Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (cochaired by the United States, Russia, and France, and including both Armenia and Azerbaijan, as well as Turkey and a number of other European countries) has been trying to negotiate a permanent settlement since then. 202 In the meantime, Turkey and Azerbaijan signed a 10-year security and mutual assistance agreement in August 2010. 203 See, e.g., Hajrudin Somun, “Turkish Foreign Policy in the Balkans and ‘Neo-Ottomanism’: A Personal Account,” Insight Turkey, vol. 13, no. 3, summer 2011; Yigal Schleifer, “Turkey’s Neo-Ottoman Problem,” World Politics Review, February 16, 2010; Greg Bruno, “Turkey’s Near Abroad,” Council on Foreign Relations Analysis Brief, September 19, 2008. Congressional Research Service 54 Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations Appendix F. Congressional Committee Reports of Armenian Genocide-Related Proposed Resolutions Date Reported or of Vote for Report Proposed Resolution(s) Committee April 5, 1984 S.J.Res. 87 Senate Judiciary September 28, 1984 S.Res. 241 Senate Foreign Relations July 9, 1985 H.J.Res. 192 House Post Office and Civil Service July 23, 1987 H.J.Res. 132 House Post Office and Civil Service August 3, 1987 H.Res. 238 House Rules October 18, 1989 S.J.Res. 212 Senate Judiciary October 11, 2000 H.Res. 596 and H.Res. 625 House Rules May 22, 2003 H.Res. 193 House Judiciary September 15, 2005 H.Res. 316 and H.Con.Res. 195 House International Relations March 29, 2007 S.Res. 65 Senate Foreign Relations October 10, 2007 H.Res. 106 House Foreign Affairs March 4, 2010 H.Res. 252 House Foreign Affairs Author Contact Information Jim Zanotti Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs jzanotti@crs.loc.gov, 7-1441 Congressional Research Service 55