Episode 61: Talkin’ Turkey and Tehran

Relevant Reading:

Reading the Lausanne Tea Leaves
Adam Garfinkle

No Way Out
Steven A. Cook

Good evening listeners! We have an excellent episode for you this week as we welcome Adam Garfinkle back to the show to discuss the Iran deal, and Steven A. Cook joins us to talk about the upcoming elections in Turkey.

First, TAI Editor Adam Garfinkle helps make sense of the recent nuclear deal with Iran. He says he was surprised by the level of detail in the agreement, though he cautions that the framework is still very tentative as it has not been written down in any final form, nor has anyone signed it. He argues that the sunset clause in the agreement is essentially a bet that in the next 10 to 15 years, the Iranian regime will undergo some kind of fundamental change, then tackles the intricacies of the politics surrounding this deal, and how those politics have changed (and could continue to change). He discusses how this deal could affect President Obama’s foreign policy legacy, and challenges the assumption that it was the product of a deliberate strategy on the Administration’s part.

Then we’re joined by Steven A. Cook, the Hasib J. Sabbagh Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, who explains why the looming elections in Turkey are so important. He describes how these parliamentary elections could allow President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to rewrite the constitution without a referendum, a move that would—surprise, surprise—help him consolidate power. He examines the reasons behind the reported falling-out between the Turkish President and the Prime Minister, and looks at what might happen if the pro-Kurdish Democratic People’s Party gets over the 10-percent threshold needed to gain seats in Parliament. He also addresses how Turkey’s economic slowdown is affecting these elections, and how Erdogan has positioned himself to counter that potential threat to his popularity.

Be sure to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, and follow our host Richard Aldous @RJAldous and Steven A. Cook @stevenacook on Twitter.

Published on: April 7, 2015
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