By Gareth Jenkins (vol. 7, no. 20 of the Turkey Analyst)
On November 4, 2014, Turkish Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek revealed that a total of $800 million would be spent on a new palace and plane for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The announcement has reinforced concerns about not only about Erdoğan’s increasing authoritarianism but also about his growing absorption into his self-image at the cost of the realities of the world around him.
By Halil Karaveli (vol. 7, no. 19 of the Turkey Analyst)
Liberals expected the Justice and Development Party (AKP) to be a democratic reformist bourgeois party, because unlike its predecessors of the right, it was deemed to represent an “authentic bourgeoisie.” However, the liberals not only read too much into the AKP as a bourgeois party. They also invested too much hope in the “authenticity” of the said bourgeoisie. The case of Turkey stands as an example that bourgeoisie and state authoritarianism can be mutually reinforcing.
By Gareth Jenkins (vol. 7, no. 16 of the Turkey Analyst)
On October 12, 2014, Turkey’s judges and prosecutors will choose ten members of the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) in an election which is likely to have far-reaching repercussions both for the government’s campaign against followers of the exiled Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen and the broader issue of political control over the judiciary.
Pro-government pundits have declared the advent of a “New Turkey” after the appointment of Ahmet Davutoğlu as the successor of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as the leader of the ruling AKP. One commentator described the appointment as one of the most critical thresholds in the realization of the New Turkey project, which is described and celebrated as a comprehensive break with the past century of Turkish history. Dissident commentators warn that Davutoğlu’s vision of a world in which religiously based civilizations clash, and where Turkey aspires to lead the Islamic world, threatens to bring with it cataclysmic effects for Turkey. A more moderate commentator compared the “New Turkey” of Erdoğan to the sheikdom of Dubai.
By Halil Karaveli (vol. 7, no. 15 of the Turkey Analyst)
The appointment of Ahmet Davutoglu to head the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) represents a doubling down on the party’s Sunni Islamic ideology. But ideology alone will not be sufficient to keep the AKP in power. The self-confident ideological rhetoric that proclaims the advent of a “New Turkey” masks what is in fact a fragile economic reality. Such rhetoric is not indefinitely going to be a substitute for the kind of material progress absent which the prospects for the “New Turkey” and its power-holders look bleak.
The Turkey Analyst is a publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Joint Center, designed to bring authoritative analysis and news on the rapidly developing domestic and foreign policy issues in Turkey. It includes topical analysis, as well as a summary of the Turkish media debate.