Ahead of Secretary Kerry’s visit to Turkey, The Israel Project hosted journalists, policymakers and other opinion leaders for an off-the-record luncheon discussion with Jonathan Schanzer, vice president of research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Schanzer discussed the degree to which Turkey's geopolitical and ideological commitments – especially to Iran and its Palestinians terrorist proxy Hamas – enable and limit Ankara's ability to project power and bolster its diplomacy in the region.
Turkey has long been considered a critical U.S. ally and NATO partner, and a bulwark of stability in eastern Mediterranean. In recent years, however, Ankara has increasingly charted a foreign policy course independent of - and, in many cases, at odds with - U.S. interests. For many years the "zero problems" foreign policy of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) saw Turkey work to circumvent Western efforts to isolate Iran and its allies. The exception to the AKP's "zero problems" approach was Israel, which Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other AKP officials sought to internationally isolate. While that policy has largely collapsed, with Turkey now engaged in a proxy war against Iran and its proxies on Syrian territory, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan continues to pursue engagement with the Hamas and to pursue reconciliation with Israel at an at-best uneven pace.
About The Speaker
Jonathan Schanzer is the Vice President for Research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. He previously worked as a terrorism finance analyst at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, where he played an integral role in the designation of numerous terrorist financiers, and for several other U.S.-based think tanks. He has co-authored two studies on social media in the Arab world: Palestinian Pulse: What Policy Makers Can Learn from Palestinian Social Media and Facebook Fatwa: Saudi Clerics, Wahhabi Islam and Social Media. His book Hamas vs. Fatah: The Struggle for Palestine is still the only book on the market that analyzes the internecine conflict between the two most powerful Palestinian factions. He publishes in Foreign Policy, The Wall Street Journal, The New Republic, CNN Global Public Square and other outlets. He makes regular appearances on Fox News and CNN. A former research fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Dr. Schanzer has studied Middle East history in four countries. He earned his Ph.D. from Kings College London, where he wrote his dissertation on the U.S. Congress and its efforts to combat terrorism in the 20th century.