By Halil Karaveli
July 16, 2018
Though not impossible, change remains an unlikely prospect in Turkey. Seen in a larger historical perspective, the switch from parliamentarianism to presidential rule represents less of a break with continuity than one would imagine. Similarly, the June 24 elections showed that Turkish electoral dynamics remain largely unchanged, even though the social democrat candidate Muharrem İnce’s campaign as well as his result did go some way in illustrating how these dynamics may ultimately change.
By John C. K. Daly
July 5, 2018
For years Turkey, which imports 90 percent of its energy needs, has considered any and all options to lessen its import costs, including nuclear. The country’s energy requirements have persistently pitted the government against the country’s environmentalist lobby, one of the strongest in the Middle East. Despite such concerns, Turkey’s nuclear lobby has scored a decisive victory, as the ground has been broken for the nation’s first nuclear power plant (NPP) at Akkuyu on the southern Mediterranean coast.
Akkuyu will consist of four 1,200 megawatt (MW) VVER reactors producing a total of 4,800 MW. The Akkuyu NPP, being constructed by the Russian state nuclear energy corporation Rosatom, is projected to meet 10 percent of Turkey's future energy requirements. The first unit of the plant is scheduled to come online in 2023, with the NPP’s overall cost projected to be $20 billion.
KEY ISSUE: On April 3 President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan hosted Russian President Vladimir Putin at the presidential complex in Ankara, where they attended via teleconference the Akkuyu NPP groundbreaking ceremony, an event described by Erdoğan as a “historic moment.” Putin remarked, "It is difficult to overestimate the significance of this large-scale, innovative project. In essence, today we are not only witnessing the construction of Turkey's first nuclear power plant, but we are also creating the basis of Turkey's nuclear industry as a whole.” Despite such optimism about bringing the facility’s first reactor online in 2023, the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Turkey, as highlighted by both Putin and Erdoğan in their ceremonial speeches, it remains to be seen whether such an ambitious agenda will be fully implemented in the future.
By Gareth H. Jenkins
June 20, 2018
The rapid depreciation in the value of the Turkish Lira since the beginning of 2018 is the product not only of the collapse of any remaining vestiges of investor confidence in the regime of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan but a symptom of the failure of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to address the long-standing structural vulnerabilities of the Turkish economy.