By Halil M. Karaveli (vol. 3, no. 19 of the Turkey Analyst)
Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the Republican People’s party (CHP), Turkey’s main opposition party, has now decisively taken charge of the party. He signals that a departure from old, ideological habits is impending and vows that the “New CHP” will introduce freedom. However, there is a fateful disconnect between Kılıçdaroğlu’s message and the resentments of the core constituency of his party. Kılıçdaroğlu will have difficulty escaping the fate that is usually reserved for well-meaning reformers who challenge the certainties of ossified belief systems.
By Gareth H. Jenkins (vol. 3, no. 17 of the Turkey Analyst)
The election of Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu as head of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) in May 2010 transformed the Turkish political landscape. After a decade in which it had appeared jaded and anachronistic, the party suddenly seemed set for a resurgence. Less than five months later, the initial excitement has evaporated. Not only has the CHP failed to sustain the momentum generated by Kılıçdaroğlu’s election, but it now looks in danger of losing direction. Kılıçdaroğlu has yet to announce a cohesive policy program or even a team which could formulate one; fuelling doubts about whether his promise in May 2010 to reinvent the CHP as a social democratic party was anything more than empty rhetoric – while his public commitment to abolishing the headscarf ban in universities has alienated the CHP’s support base among hard-line secularists.
By Halil M. Karaveli (vol. 3, no. 11 of the Turkey Analyst)
Kemal Kılıcçaroğlu, the new leader of Turkey’s main opposition party CHP, is reaching out to religious conservatism. Yet while he is jettisoning the jargon of secularism, he does not deviate from his party’s traditional nationalism. Thus he is able to offer little new hope of transcending Turkey’s existential Turkish-Kurdish divide.
By Gareth H. Jenkins (vol. 3, no. 10 of the Turkey Analyst)
The abrupt resignation of Deniz Baykal as leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) has radically transformed the Turkish political landscape and triggered a surge in the party’s popularity. It is still too early to predict whether or not the momentum can be sustained until the next general election in 2011, but – for the moment at least – the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) appears to be facing the first credible threat to its grip on power since it first took office in November 2002.
By Halil Magnus Karaveli (vol. 1, no. 19 of the Turkey Analyst)
The opposition Republican people’s party, CHP, long perceived as dogmatically secularist, is now intent on broadening its base and its message. CHP leader Deniz Baykal has made a bold move by enlisting women wearing the headscarf and even the black chador as party members. The overture to veiled women could at best pave the way for a new realignment that contributes to the reconciliation of secularism and religious traditionalism. But it also raises new questions about the future of secularism in Turkey.
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.