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.
By Orhan Bursali (vol. 2, no. 6 of the Turkey Analyst)
Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development party (AKP) has won two consecutive elections and is now in its eighth year in power. Since the AKP’s leaders came from an Islamist political background, doubts about the sincerity of its adherence to the principles of the democratic system have lingered on among the opposition. These suspicions have been fed by the controversial policies of the AKP, and in particular by its sustained effort to concentrate power in the hands of the executive branch.
By Gareth Jenkins (vol. 2, no. 5 of the Turkey Analyst)
When the global financial crisis sent economies around the world into a tailspin, officials from Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party, AKP insisted that the country would remain unaffected. One of the reasons appeared to be a simple refusal to acknowledge that anything negative could happen to the Turkish economy while the AKP was in government. Another seems to have been a reluctance to introduce austerity measures in the run-up to the local elections of March 29, 2009. There is a danger that the combination of pride and political short-termism could both deepen the impending economic recession in Turkey and threaten the social and political fabric of the country.
By Tülin Daloğlu (vol. 2, no. 4 of the Turkey Analyst)
On February 16, Turkey's largest media company, the Dogan Media Group, was fined nearly $500 million for an alleged late tax payment. Tax laws are complicated, and the exact circumstances of the matter are unclear. The troubling point is that this follows on five months of public bullying of the Dogan group by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Since September, he has repeatedly asked his followers to boycott DMG's newspapers. The tax investigation into the Dogan group, moreover, began only a few weeks after the opening of a court case to close the governing AKP. Erdogan argues that the tax case is a matter not of press freedom but of tax evasion, yet the fine can hardly be defended as "business as usual."
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.