By M. K. Kaya and Halil M. Karaveli (vol. 2, no. 11 of the Turkey Analyst)
During the nearly seven years of rule by the Justice and development party, AKP, Turkey has deepened its relations in particular with the Muslim Middle East, what has been termed its “strategic depth”. The main theorist of Turkey’s evolving foreign policy priorities, Ahmet Davutoglu, was recently appointed foreign minister. Davutoglu has already had a pivotal role as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s chief foreign policy advisor. As foreign minister, he will be directly responsible for the further implementation and for the ultimate testing of his ideas. They rest on an assumption of the possibility of achieving a state of harmony in Turkey’s regional relations, an assumption that is likely unrealistic.
By Halil M. Karaveli (vol. 2, no. 10 of the Turkey Analyst)
Süleyman Demirel, the grand old man of Turkish politics, aspires to revive the defunct center right which used to rule Turkey, creating an alternative to the AKP. However, Demirel no longer appeals to the conservative majority that composed the constituency of the center right. Indeed, he is accused of having betrayed the historical mission of Turkish conservatism by allying himself with the nationalist-secularist military-bureaucratic establishment. Demirel’s evolution in fact personifies the radicalization of republican state ideology.
By M. K. Kaya (vol. 2, no. 9 of the Turkey Analyst)
On May 1, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the first, major cabinet reshuffle since the AKP came to power in 2002. While eight ministers were left out of the new cabinet, nine new ministers were appointed, and one minister was given new responsibilities. The comprehensive cabinet revision signals that the Justice and Development Party’s leadership is above all intent on reasserting the party’s conservative core in order to revive the party’s fortunes. However, the neglect of other political currents could eventually prove to be costly for the AKP.
By Soner Çağaptay (vol. 2, no. 8 of the Turkey Analyst)
Under the rule of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), Turkey has cultivated close ties with Iran, Syria, Sudan, the Gulf Countries, as well as with Russia. In the West, the reorientation of Turkish foreign policy had until recently generally been interpreted as neo-Ottomanist, i.e., a benevolent attempt by Turkey to assert itself in the Ottoman realm, which was assumed to be to the benefit of the Euro-Atlantic community as well. However, a closer look reveals that Turkey is asserting itself exclusively in the Muslim Middle East, while ignoring other areas of the Ottoman realm. What is more, under the AKP, Turkish foreign policy empathizes increasingly not with the West, but with Russia and Iran, and especially with Arab Islamist causes.
By Halil M. Karaveli (vol. 2, no. 8 of the Turkey Analyst)
The latest wave of arrests in the Ergenekon coup plot case, targeting secular academics and NGOs, has once again altered perceptions of the investigation. It has become more difficult to interpret the investigation as exclusively concerned with bringing coup plotters to justice. Representatives of the AKP itself were dismayed by the turn taken by the investigation. Attention is now focused on the Fethullah Gülen movement, which is accused of masterminding an operation directed at its secular challengers in civil society, acting on its own and by-passing the AKP.
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.