By Halil Magnus Karaveli (vol. 1, no. 9 of the Turkey Analyst)
As the storms gather around the AKP, its rule is by all accounts likely to draw to a close. What went wrong with Turkey’s experiment of moderate Islamism? It is tempting for western observers to conclude that it was sabotaged by a supposedly autocratic, dogmatically secularist state establishment which is unwilling to surrender its positions of power. But the fatal mistake of the Islamists has precisely been to expect the seculars to accept surrender.
By M. K. Kaya and Svante E. Cornell (vol. 1, no. 8 of the Turkey Analyst)
Political leaders in Turkey have tried to manipulate media for decades, and the AKP government is no exception. The AKP government is apparently bent on creating a pliant media. As much of the centrist, mainstream media turned against it in 2007, the government has assertively sought to secure its influence over media, engineering the takeover of major media outlets by friendly forces. The recent takeover by CALIK holding of the Sabah/ATV group and the machinations involving the Dogan holding are cases in point.
By the Editors (vol. 1, no. 5 of the Turkey Analyst)
Just as it has been faced with the threat of dissolution, the AKP’s faith in Europe has been rekindled. More remarkably, the party is even clinging to the Atatürk legacy in an unprecedented way. The AKP’s change of heart is testimony to the party’s distress. Although displays of “kemalism”, in particular, are confusing, the new rhetoric has not convinced analysts that the party’s ideological orientation has been altered.
By Halil Magnus Karaveli (vol. 1, no. 7 of the Turkey Analyst)
Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) rejects the accusation of being anti-secular, instead advancing its own interpretation of secularism. Opinion polls, however, indicate that the AKP’s views are representative of but a minority of the Turkish population. A clear majority appears to believe that secularism is in fact endangered, and there is only minority support for the kind of redefinition of secularism that is sought after by the moderate Islamists.
By the Editors (vol. 1, no. 4 of the Turkey Analyst)
As the confrontation in Turkey over secularism deepens, the psychology and dynamics of the secular opposition need to be better understood. The seculars are animated by the perceived need to defend an identity, which lends the stand-off an intractable character. Democracy risks being imperiled if the moderate Islamist AKP government abstains from taking decisive steps to allay what amounts to existential fears – be they exaggerated or not – of the seculars.
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.