Post by Mesut Ozcan

With the increasing involvement of Russia in the Syrian conflict, relations between Turkey and Russia have also soured, and a bitter taste has been left with the recent downing of a jet. As Assad's regime has weakened, Russia has begun directly intervening in Syria and Turkey has begun interpreting the relationship between Russia and Syria as a return of the Cold War years. Russia’s involvement in regional conflicts in general and in Syria in particular led people to establish similarities with the 1950s, as it benefits from the chaos in the region and aims to fill the gap left by the disengagement of the US.. In those years, as a new member of the NATO alliance, Turkey was very concerned by the ideological and military connections between the Soviet Union and Syria. With the longevity of the conflict in Syria and increasing involvement of Russia, there is the danger of a similar scenario—possibly in a different form—emerging in Turkish-Syrian relations.

After more than a decade since the United States-led invasion, Iraq still struggles to be a functioning state. Political, economic and social problems have beset the country. Failures in the functioning of the state have led to widespread protests in several cities over the last couple of weeks. In order to answer the demands of the protestors and overcome challenges within the state apparatus, Prime Minister Abadi introduced sweeping reforms in administrative, economic and financial issues along with efforts to combat corruption. The success of these reforms remains to be seen. However, if successful, they will empower Abadi against his political opponents as well.

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