Refugees in Turkey and Turkish emigrants themselves are likely to affect the country’s next elections. While migration is not a new issue for Turkey, the level to which it has recently been politicized is. As Syrians and Afghans finding refuge in Turkey will be the subject of election campaigns, the votes of Turkish citizens living abroad shouldn’t be overlooked.
In her recent interview with FeniksPod, former Deputy Foreign Minister of Afghanistan Naheed Esar points outs that Afghan women were the first to take to the streets against Taliban rule. She notes that women’s resistance will continue, making it more difficult for the Taliban to provide stability despite its ability to maintain security in the country.
Throughout the U.S. war in Afghanistan, Iran has maintained extensive influence in its eastern neighbor. It played both sides of the conflict, supporting the now-deposed government in Kabul while also developing ties with the Taliban. With the Taliban’s takeover of the country in the wake of the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO forces, Tehran will engage pragmatically with the militant group to safeguard and further its national security strategy.
With the 2016 EU-Turkey refugee deal coming to an end, the next agreement should be more comprehensive as Turkey grapples with an influx of Afghan refugees amid domestic economic downturn and a wave of political polarization that places refugees front and center.
Geopolitical, ideological, and socio-economic quandaries will continue to haunt processes of normalization in the Middle East subsequent to the US’s gradual withdrawal from the region. Underlying issues remain unresolved despite diplomatic relaxation, and the power vacuum left behind by the US has the potential to rekindle regional rivalries and trigger proxy wars worse than those seen under the Obama and Trump administrations.