The Syria Conundrum: A New Approach Under the Trump and Erdoğan Presidencies?
December 15, 2016 from 2:00pm-4:00pm EST
Georgetown University, CCAS Boardroom (ICC 241), Washington, DC
Speakers: Denise Natali, National Defense University
James Zanotti, Congressional Research Service
Moderator: Dr. Sinan Ciddi, Insitute of Turkish Studies
Download PosterTurkey's policy towards the Syrian conflict has altered considerably in the last two years. Since May 2016, Turkey has mended its relationship with Russia, and seemingly backtracked from its policy of regime change in Syria. On August 24, 2016, along with various factions of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), Turkey's military (TAF) initiated a cross-border operation into Northern Syria, going by the name of "Operation Euphrates Shield". The major aims of this offensive have been to eliminate the threat posed by the Islamic State (IS), and contain the advances by the US-backed Syrian Kurdish group PYD, the sister organization of the insurgent PKK movement in Turkey. These two competing aims of combating Kurdish entities and IS elements have negatively impacted Turkey's relationships with regional and global actors. With little prospect for an end to the Syrian civil war soon, Turkey is navigating in an uncertain environment with countless factors of unpredictability. As Tayyip Erdogan moves closer to consolidating his executive presidency, a change of administration will also occur in Washington. Will Washington's Syria policy change significantly under a Trump presidency, and how will the Erdogan and Trump administrations approach the thorny issue of securing an equitable and secure Middle East?