By Veysel Ayhan (vol. 4, no. 18 of the Turkey Analyst)
The September 12-16 tour of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to Egypt, Tunisia and Libya has occasioned the question what role Turkey can be expected to play in the Middle East and North Africa in the wake of the “Arab Spring”. Erdoğan is for good reason perceived as a leader who speaks for the “Arab street” on the international scene. But, concurrently – although perhaps less obviously – Turkey’s Middle Eastern and North African aspirations are increasingly in tune with Western interests as well.
By Gareth H. Jenkins (vol. 4, no. 17 of the Turkey Analyst)
On September 2, 2011, Turkey downgraded its diplomatic ties with Israel from ambassadorial to second secretary level and suspended all bilateral military agreements between the two countries. On September 8, 2011, in an interview on Al Jazeera, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan vowed that Turkey would provide naval escorts for any future attempts by Turkish aid vessels to breach the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza. He also warned that Turkey would “prevent Israel from unilaterally exploiting the natural resources of the eastern Mediterranean.”
By Halil M. Karaveli (vol. 4, no. 16 of the Turkey Analyst)
Attacks carried out by Kurdish separatists since mid-July have set Turkey on the road to war. The Turkish government is determined to exact a heavy price from the Kurdish insurgents, and the PKK militants seem to be as determined to provoke an ethnic conflagration. As he is about to teach the Kurdish insurgents a severe lesson, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan faces what could be the greatest challenge of his career. The question is if the unparalleled power and authority that Erdoğan has assembled will ultimately suffice to secure Turkey’s unity.
By Andrew Finkel (vol. 4, no. 12 of the Turkey Analyst)
At 12 June’s general election, Turkey’s governing Justice and Development party (AKP) pulled off a rare political hat trick, securing a third consecutive parliamentary majority and doing so with an ever-increasing share of the popular vote. The result is a clear endorsement of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, whose style and personality continues to dominate Turkish politics. It is also his answer to a growing chorus of critics at home but also abroad who accuse him of having abandoned his party’s EU-oriented reform agenda in favour of an increasingly centralised and autocratic style of rule. The AKP is now the party of the new urban middle class. The party is literally building its own constituency, a process in which the opposition finds it hard to engage.
By Gareth H. Jenkins (vol. 3, no. 21 of the Turkey Analyst)
There are increasing signs that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and President Abdullah Gül are preparing for a major confrontation if the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) wins the next Turkish general election in June 2011. Erdoğan has repeatedly declared that the AKP will introduce a new constitution if is returned to power. He has yet to announce any details, although AKP officials report that it will replace the current parliamentary system with a presidential or semi-presidential one; after which, Erdoğan will attempt to have himself elected president. The main problem is that Gül has made it clear that he is not prepared to step aside.
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.