FAQ: Erdogan could have easily avoided economic sanctions by releasing the pastor. Why is he insisting on this? Here is why.
Turkey's credit-driven economy had been sagging this year. To avoid crushing financial meltdown before the elections, he called for snap elections and easily won before the economic crisis hit. He is facing another local elections next year.
Erdogan's government now understands that there is no way to stop looming economic crisis. How to win an election in the midst of high unemployment, high inflation and melting local currency? Blame America.
Erdogan deliberately refused to cooperate in Pastor Brunson case and prompted U.S. sanctions. It is a perfect selling point in Turkey before elections: "We had robust economy. America didn't want it, imposed sanctions and triggered a financial crisis."
Erdogan is a master in anticipating future problems and laying the ground for a narrative that finds receptive audience in Turkey. What is a better way to explain an economic crisis than blaming America?

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More from @MahirZeynalov

28 Apr
Erdogan is arguably one of the history’s most cunning politicians. He is such a magician that Turkish opposition falls for his tricks every single time.
Nearly a decade ago, Erdogan tried to limit alcohol sale late at night, introducing restrictions that were not necessarily harsher than the ones in US. Instead of justifying it with reasonable arguments, he insulted Ataturk & said laws “created by two drunks” aren’t respectable.
The opposition was furious. Now they started defending being “drunk” in a Muslim-majority nation, granting Erdogan unparalleled political fodder in his quest to trap the opposition. He buried the opposition with just two incendiary words.
Read 6 tweets
9 Apr
Just like the militaries of Egypt, Pakistan, Thailand, Burma etc., Turkish military had been the fundamental tenet of the establishment that wanted to create a society that were Sunni (No Alawites/Shia), secular (No conservatives) and Turk (no Kurds or other nationalities).
Every time there was a threat to the Turkish state, either through communism or Islamism, the military acted. It is in the army’s DNA to “protect” the nation as a Sunni, secular and Turkish entity. Those genes still exist in the military.
Every time things “went wrong”, the military contemplated the possibility of overthrowing the government. In the mid-1990s (against Islamist govt), in 2003 (to protest Annan’s Cyprus plan), in 2007 (against Erdogan) and in 2016 (against Erdogan).
Read 30 tweets
9 Nov 20
Azerbaijani Presidents signs a deal that ensures the surrender of Armenian forces and the end of the war in Karabakh. Azerbaijani president says it is a 'historic day' and 'very happy' over the agreement.
Armenia agrees to surrender the province of Aghdam to Azerbaijan by November 20.
Russian peacekeepers will be deployed to Lachin corridor that will ensure the link between Karabakh Armenians and Armenia for 5 years.
Read 11 tweets
30 Sep 20
A lot of people have been asking me about the latest flare-up between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Here is what happened and why:
Let me start with a little background. Throughout the history, Armenians were scattered around the region in the Middle East and South Caucasus, including eastern Turkey, Iran, Syria, Lebanon and some lands in South Caucasus.
Ironically, today's Armenia, including its current capital Yerevan were predominantly populated by Muslim Turks, or Azerbaijanis. After twin Iran-Russia wars in the early 1800s, the demographic landscape in the South Caucasus had been changed significantly.
Read 16 tweets
30 Jun 19
Many people keep asking me what is going on regarding Trump-Erdogan meeting and why Trump seems like taking a step back in imposing sanctions on Turkey over its purchase of Russian S400 systems. Here is what's happening:
Almost ten years ago, Turkey started negotiations with U.S. and European defense contractors to buy air defense systems to bolster its three-tiered Mediterranean air defense system and integrate into NATO's existing ones.
Around this time, several pro-Iranian groups in Turkey organized a humanitarian aid flotilla to confront Israel's blockade of Gaza. The bloody brawl on Mavi Marmara ship pitted Turkey and Israel against each other for many years to come.
Read 16 tweets
11 Jun 19
In the age of Trump, these polls don’t tell the entire story. That’s the reason why all polls failed to predict his victory. One reason is that some people avoid saying publicly (some ashamed, some fear backlash) that they support Trump, even to a pollster.
2. To win the presidential elections, you don’t need to win the popular vote or have high approval rating. You just need to win several battleground states like Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania. These are Trump strongholds.
3. U.S. electoral system is designed to favor rural voters. It worked until today because in no time in the history did any party has such a disproportianate representation in rural areas than the GOP today.
Read 5 tweets

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