By Halil Karaveli
May 16, 2019
In Turkey, appearances tend to be deceiving. It is a mistake to take the cancellation of the Istanbul election result as proof that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan refuses to accept defeat at the polls. The Kurdish vote decided the outcome in Istanbul, exposing the vulnerability of a system that was supposed to neutralize the influence of the Kurdish political movement. The Istanbul rerun speaks of the power of Devlet Bahçeli, the nationalist leader, and of the state cadres who see the victory of an opposition in tacit alliance with the Kurdish movement as an existential threat to the state. Erdoğan did not dare to challenge them.
By M.K. Kaya
March 29, 2019
There is every reason to expect that Turkey’s municipal elections on March 31 will be a major setback for the ruling AKP and that they will set in motion developments that are going to alter the political landscape of the country. The AKP may be headed toward what will prove to be a historic defeat. The elections are pregnant with consequential political changes that are going to affect the nature of the Turkish regime, its Kurdish policies as well as Turkey’s relations to the West.
By Gareth H. Jenkins
March 27, 2019
Despite intense pressure from the Turkish state, including the imprisonment of a large proportion of its leadership, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) is again expected to win the majority of votes in the predominantly Kurdish southeast of the country in the nationwide local elections on March 31, 2019. But President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s repeated public threat to prevent HDP officials from holding office means that, for Turkey’s Kurds, the election will be less about choosing who will run their local authorities than their own identity amid a growing conviction that their future lies in a considerably looser relationship with the central government in Ankara.
By Cengiz Çandar
February 14, 2019
The perception of a Kurdish threat from Syria, abetted by the United States, has provided the Turkish regime with its raison d’être. It is the glue that holds the power coalition of a variety of ultranationalists together. As long as the regime of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan relies on the Kurdish “other” for its internal cohesion – and ultimately for its survival – that imperative will continue to determine Turkish foreign policy. But Turkey’s strategic reorientation is also sustained by a long history of deep-seated suspicion of American motives. Indeed, Turkish-American relations were never harmonious and their history has taught the Turkish state elite not to trust the United States, and never before had so much been at stake as today.
By Barış Soydan
February 11, 2019
It is impossible to understand the electoral successes so far of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the undisputed leader of Turkey since 2003, without taking the spectacular growth of consumerism in the country into consideration. Notwithstanding the fact that the neoliberal economic policies of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) have disproportionately benefited the wealthiest in Turkish society, low-income earners have also benefited from the economic growth of the last sixteen years. Yet this growth has to a large extent relied on the quantitative easing program of the U.S. Federal Reserve. The end of quantitative easing will be consequential for Erdoğan and his party. Erdoğan is not going to be able to retain the same level of support that he has enjoyed among low-income earners. Get ready for substantial drops in AKP votes in the municipal elections in March.
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.