BPC Blog

Recognizing Turkey as a partner in combating extremism instead of pushing for it to cut ties with extremist groups sends conflicting messages

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced at the September 27 Global Counterterrorism Forum in New York City, the creation of a $200 million fund to combat extremism. The Global Fund for Community Engagement and Resilience will be put into action by mid-2014 and will be targeted towards fighting jihadist groups in countries such as Somalia, Yemen, and Pakistan.

Extraordinary measures are unlikely to last long if February 8 arrives without action on the debt limit

As part of the agreement to reopen the government, Congress passed the “Default Prevention Act,” which empowers the president to suspend the debt limit until February 8, 2014. To do so, the president must send a written certification to Congress that the Treasury will be unable to issue debt meeting commitments absent a suspension of the debt limit. While the legislation includes an opportunity for Congress to disapprove and cancel the debt limit suspension, this would require a supermajority vote that is unlikely to be achieved.

With no viable political opposition to the AKP, the Erdoğan-Gül competition will be the big story in the upcoming elections

Opening the Turkish Parliament for the final time under his presidency, President Abdullah Gül addressed the Turkish Parliament on October 1 in a speech dominated by recent events in Turkey, Syria, and Egypt. Broadly, it welcomed new positive developments, reiterated concern for Syria, urged for the harmonization of relations with Egypt, and called for calm within Turkey. Gül’s comments on Turkey’s domestic political situation were read by many observers as explicit criticisms of Erdoğan, however, and could foreshadow an upcoming political showdown between the two leaders.

Sourcing weapons from a Chinese company under U.S. sanctions could imply a change in Turkey’s relationship with NATO

The Turkish government has recently announced that it has chosen the Chinese defense company China Precision Machinery Export-Import Group (CPMIEC) over U.S., European, Russian, and Italian competitors for its first long-range air defense and anti-missile system, expected to cost approximately $4 billion. The deal has raised concerns from the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) for several reasons.

As Congress and the administration continued to haggle over an agreement to end the government shutdown and raise the debt limit, short-term treasury yields rose and demand fell during Tuesday’s bill auctions. The three-month rate was the highest since Feb. 28, 2011, reaching 0.130%, up from 0.035% last week. The six-month rate also reached a new peak (the highest since Oct. 29, 2012), selling at 0.150%, up from 0.060% the previous week.

Olympia Snowe joined Bob Woodward in a discussion on the current dysfunction in Washington

Last week, former Senator and BPC Senior Fellow Olympia Snowe participated in The Daily Beast’s Hero Summit in Washington, D.C., on a panel examining the importance of political courage. Snowe joined BPC founder and former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell as well as Bob Woodward in a discussion on the current dysfunction in Washington, and what can be done to break the current cycle of hyper-partisanship.

Three upcoming elections will prove critical both to Turkey’s future and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s political fate

Surrounded by regional instability and seeking Western support, Turkey seems to be attempting to improve relations with the United States through increased cooperation on global terrorism. Yet, repeatedly disappointed by the lack of U.S support on Syria, Turkey has also sought better ties with China. Similarly, facing domestic political pressure, the AKP introduced a package of political reforms meant to address longstanding deficiencies in democracy and human rights, but also used the occasion to further its own Islamist ideology.

The fact that early voting is good policy may not be enough to win the day in the current political environment

Election reform is always tricky. The aim is, as with all reform, to make the system better. But because election reform is now subject to lots of ideological posturing and has always had substantial partisan effects, successful reform needs to be more than a good idea. It has to be an idea that will survive an ideological debate and appeal to the self-interested legislators who are passing it. There’s a sweet spot for election reform, in other words. It has to be the electoral equivalent of a trifecta – a winner along policymaking, ideological, and political lines.

Fellow Fridays is a series of profiles of BPC's roster of 14 senior fellows. This week, we are sharing commentary and opinions from the senior fellows regarding the shutdown.

With the government shutdown entering its second week, the market has become increasingly unsettled as many standard economic data reports continue to go unpublished. This only adds to the uncertainty surrounding the approaching debt limit deadline.

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