By Gareth Jenkins (vol. 2, no. 3 of the Turkey Analyst)
In recent months, the policies of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) have become increasingly shaped by the personality of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Freed from perceived constraints, Erdogan now often appears to be driven by his emotions rather than considered deliberation. Even if his confrontational style has boosted his domestic public popularity, any short-term personal political gains are likely to be more than offset by the long-term damage to Turkey’s economy and its relations with Europe and the US.
By M. K. Kaya (vol. 2, no. 2 of the Turkey Analyst)
The appointment of Egemen Bagis as new chief negotiator and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to the EU Commission in Brussels on 18–20 January signals the start of a new era in Turkey-EU relations. Although they are important, these steps taken by Ankara will evidently not be enough. The future of Turkey’s EU accession process depends on political developments in Turkey as well as in Europe. But there can be no doubt that the EU membership process remains a crucial political asset for the governing AKP.
By M. K. Kaya (vol. 1, no. 18 of the Turkey Analyst)
Faced with an increasingly intractable problem of PKK terrorism, coupled with increasing tensions in society between citizens of ethnic Turkish and Kurdish origin, the governing AKP appears to have moved to the right. Erdogan’s rhetoric has become increasingly nationalistic, aligning itself more with the military brass on issues concerning the PKK, the Kurdish question in general, and Iraq. This has led to some discontent among ethnic Kurdish forces within the AKP, which have been an important support base for the party. The split was most clearly visible in the resignation of the AKP’s deputy Chairman and prominent politician of Kurdish origin, Dengir Firat. This likely has important implications for the AKP’s electoral hopes in upcoming local elections, not least in the Southeast.
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 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.