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Turkey, the Kurds, and the Middle East: What the Turkish Elections Portend for the Region's Future June 23rd Event

The recent Turkish elections indicated the strength of Turkish democracy. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s bid for unrivaled executive power was rejected by Turkey’s voters, demonstrating the growing political power of the country’s largest minority group, the Kurds.

Commentary on Turkish politics typically focuses on Islamism, Erdogan’s ambition, the nature of the Justice and Development party, and the various political scandals of the last few years. The reality is that more significant changes in the country are going relatively unnoticed. Turkey’s shifting demographics—rising Kurdish birth rates and lower Turkish birth rates—suggest that this key NATO ally is undergoing a fundamental transformation. What does this mean for Turkey and the rest of the Middle East, particularly countries that have large Kurdish populations including Iraq, Syria, and Iran? What challenges and opportunities will this present to American policymakers in the coming years?

On June 23rd at 10 am, Hudson Institute will host a panel discussion on Turkey, the Kurds, and the Middle East featuring former U.S. ambassador to Turkey James Jeffrey; Tolga Tanis, the Washington correspondent for the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet; Gonul Tol, founding director of the Middle East Institute’s Center for Turkish Studies; and Eric B. Brown, Hudson Institute senior fellow and co-editor of Current Trends in Islamist Ideology. Hudson Institute Senior Fellow Lee Smith will moderate the discussion.

Lee Smith Moderator

Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute

Ambassador James Jeffrey Panelist

Philip Solondz Distinguished Visiting Fellow, The Washington Institute

Tolga Tanis Panelist

Washington Correspondent, Hurriyet

Gonul Tol Panelist

Founding Director, Center for Turkish Studies, Middle East Institute

Eric B. Brown Panelist

Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute

Hudson Experts

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