INTERVIEW WITH PROFESSOR MARK MEIROWITZ 

upa-admin 13 Ocak 2024 296 Okunma 0
INTERVIEW WITH PROFESSOR MARK MEIROWITZ 

Mark Meirowitz is a Full Professor at the State University of New York (SUNY) Maritime College in New York. He is also a lawyer. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from Fordham University in New York, and his law degree, J.D., Summa Cum Laude, from Brooklyn Law School. He has taught courses in American Foreign Policy, Turkish Foreign Policy, International Relations, and International Law, among other related courses. He has published and lectured on Turkish Foreign Policy and Turkish-U.S. Relations. 

Ozan Örmeci: Professor Meirowitz, thank you for your time. It’s a privilege to learn from your expertise. Turkish people are very curious about approaching the 2024 U.S. Presidential election. Although Turkish-American relations have not gone in perfect harmony in recent years, the interest in the U.S. domestic politics in Türkiye has been increasing. TV channels often make a week-long coverage of the presidential elections in the U.S. every 4 years. So, my question is, are we ready to watch a rerun between Joe Biden and Donald Trump, and in such a scenario, which candidate could be more advantageous with the current political and economic conjuncture in the U.S.?

Mark Meirowitz: Right now it appears that the matchup will be Trump and Biden – but American politics is highly unpredictable. Trump faces numerous legal proceedings and will have cases pending in the U.S. Supreme Court – he may even be taken off the ballot if the Colorado Supreme Court decision is upheld. As for Biden, his age has been an issue and some Democrats are arguing that he should be replaced as the Democratic Party nominee – further there are all sorts of proceedings pending in the House of Representatives including with respect to Biden’s son, Hunter Biden. Hard to say who would be better, although we can be sure that there will be markedly different policies – especially on Foreign Policy. U.S. policy toward Iran will be much more aggressive under Trump, for example.

Ozan Örmeci: Turkish-American relations have been in constant crisis since 2016. Of course, there are many reasons for this. But in your opinion, which are the biggest obstacles in recovering the Turkish-American strategic partnership?

Mark Meirowitz: This ties in to the previous question because we need to see the results of the 2024 presidential and congressional elections, including whether the two Houses of Congress change control.  Also, Turkey’s final decision on Sweden’s accession to NATO will be very important, especially to members of Congress. Another key issue is the requested acquisition of F-16’s. I also believe that the Israel-Hamas War needs to end and the region must quiet down – before the Turkish-American partnership can be addressed, and hopefully revived.

Ozan Örmeci: Turkish people are predominantly Muslim and although they respect Americans and we have official ties with Israel since 1949, what we have been witnessing in Gaza creates a lot of emotional and political reactions against Tel Aviv (Jerusalem) and Washington D.C. in our country. Do you think President Biden and his team have a plan to stop the war and prevent a large-scale civilian massacre? Will the U.S. support the two-state solution in Palestine? What are the pre-conditions for this?

Mark Meirowitz: Very complex issue. Simply put, the October 7 massacre by Hamas has had an enormous impact on public opinion as well as on members of Congress – and on the President and Secretary of State. There is strong support for Israel in the U.S. Congress, for example. One is hopeful that the previous upward trajectory of Turkish-Israel relations will be re-established because clearly Turkish-Israel relations have hit a very low point. As for plans for the future, the Middle East has been a challenge for many U.S. administrations – and these issues have not been solved yet. Let us hope that peace will develop in the near future, with the end of the Israel-Hamas War and the safe return of the Israeli hostages.

Ozan Örmeci: Since you are an expert on Turkish Foreign Policy, do you see a shift in recent years towards a more autonomous foreign policy institutionalization in Ankara or do you think this is a tactic to have more power in negotiations with Washington on controversial issues such as the PYD/YPG, the Eastern Mediterranean, etc.?

Mark Meirowitz: For now, in the overheated atmosphere in the region, with Hamas, Hezbollah and the Houthis acting as proxies for Iran –and the possiblity of a wider regional war, it is unlikely that the problems in Syria or the Eastern Med, or otherwise, can be addressed successfully. The plate is full.

Ozan Örmeci: Professor do you have a formula to mediate between Türkiye and the U.S. in Syria and make two historic allies’ policies more compatible with each other?

Mark Meirowitz: Not at the present time. Things need to calm down first.

Ozan Örmeci: Professor Meirowitz, thank you for your answers. I hope we will have you as a speaker at a Turkish-American relations conference this year.

Date: 13.01.2024

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