Turkey’s May 14 presidential and parliamentary elections will have serious consequences for the country’s democracy and the economic well-being of its citizens. The results will also shape Turkey’s foreign policy and relations with its Arab neighbors, which have evolved dramatically over the past two years following Ankara’s detente with the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia after a decade of tension.
Will President Recep Tayyip Erdogan continue his detente with his former Arab and Gulf foes should he win reelection? In the event of Erdogan’s defeat, how will opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu approach regional relations? Will he prioritize relations with the West above ties with Turkey’s Middle Eastern neighbors? And how do Arab and Gulf capitals view these pivotal elections?
Senior Resident Scholar, Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington
Senior Fellow, National Security and International Policy, Center for American Progress
Director of Turkey Program and Senior Fellow, Black Sea Program
Amb. Douglas A. Silliman
President, Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington
Detailed Speaker Biographies
Hussein Ibish is a senior resident scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington. He is a weekly columnist for Bloomberg and The National (UAE) and is also a regular contributor to many other U.S. and Middle Eastern publications. He has made thousands of radio and television appearances and was the Washington, DC correspondent for the Daily Star (Beirut). Many of Ibish’s articles are archived on his Ibishblog website. His most recent book is What’s Wrong with the One-State Agenda? Why Ending the Occupation and Peace with Israel is Still the Palestinian National Goal (ATFP, 2009). Ibish was included in all three years (2011, 2012, and 2013) of Foreign Policy’s “Twitterati 100,” the magazine’s list of 100 “must-follow” Twitter feeds on foreign policy.
Alan Makovsky is a senior fellow for national security and international policy at the Center for American Progress. From 2001-13, he served as a senior professional staff member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, where he covered the Middle East, Turkey, and other related issues. Makovsky worked at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy from 1994 to 2001, where he wrote widely on various Middle Eastern and Turkish issues. He also founded and directed the Washington Institute’s Turkey Research Program. Makovsky worked on issues including southern European and Middle Eastern affairs for the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research from 1983-94. He also served as the political advisor to Operation Provide Comfort in 1992 and as the special advisor to the White House’s special Middle East coordinator from 1993-94.
Gönül Tol is the founding director of the Middle East Institute’s Turkey program and a senior fellow with the Black Sea Program. She is the author of "Erdogan's War: A Strongman's Struggle at Home and in Syria." She has taught courses at George Washington University’s Institute for Middle East Studies and at the College of International Security Affairs at the National Defense University on Turkey, Islamist movements in Western Europe, Turkey, world politics, and the Middle East. She has written extensively on Turkey-U.S. relations, Turkish domestic politics, and foreign policy and the Kurdish issue. She is a frequent media commentator.
Amb. Douglas A. Silliman
Ambassador Douglas A. Silliman is president of the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington. He previously served as U.S. ambassador to Iraq from 2016-19 and U.S. ambassador to Kuwait from 2014-16. From 2013-14, he served as a senior advisor in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs in the U.S. Department of State, working on Iraq issues and the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. Silliman was deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Iraq from 2012-13, minister counselor for political affairs in Baghdad from 2011-12, and deputy chief of mission in Ankara, Turkey from 2008-11. He joined the Department of State in 1984.
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