By Gareth H. Jenkins (vol. 6, no. 16 of the Turkey Analyst)
On September 9, 2013, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) announced that it had halted the phased withdrawal of its militants from Turkey but would continue with its temporary ceasefire in order to give the Turkish government a last opportunity to meets its demands for greater rights for the country’s Kurdish minority.
by Halil M. Karaveli (vol. 6, no. 15 of the Turkey Analyst)
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s resurrection of the ideological militancy of a bygone era is not a recipe for political success. The class dynamics that once brought about the moderation of the Turkish Islamic movement are even stronger today. Differences of culture and life style still separate the two middle classes of Turkey, the religiously conservative Anatolian bourgeoisie and the secular bourgeoisie. Yet, Turkey’s political future will likely be shaped by their synergy, indeed alliance. It is reasonable to expect that the material interests of the combined bourgeoisie will revive political moderation.
The Taksim/Gezi Park protests, and their violent dispersal by the police in May-June, continue to cast a deep shadow over the political life in Turkey, and the political commentaries reflect this fact. Notably, the protests and their handling by the AKP government has provided new ammunition in the ongoing power struggle between the ruling AKP and the movement of the Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, deepening their mutual distrust. Mehmet Baransu in the daily Taraf reports that many in the leadership of the AKP think that the Gülen movement was behind the Gezi protests. Meanwhile, it is noted that the conservative business community in Anatolia, which has been instrumental in bringing the AKP to power, is concerned that the confrontational policies of the government – at home and abroad -- are going to harm the stability and economic development of Turkey. Commenting the verdicts in the Ergenekon trial, Murat Belge, a leading liberal intellectual, expresses doubts that the trial has touched anything but the “tip of the iceberg”, while Fuat Keyman, another liberal commentator, speculates that Prime Minister Erdoğan must in fact be deeply troubled by the verdicts that contribute to the perception abroad that democracy in Turkey is in retreat.
by Gareth Jenkins (vol. 6 no. 13 of the Turkey Analyst)
On July 3, 2013, it was announced that the First Administrative Court in Istanbul had cancelled the Taksim Square and Gezi Park redevelopment project that had triggered the unprecedented anti-government protests that have been sweeping Turkey since late May. The verdict has still to be ratified by the higher court known as the Danıştay, or Council of State. Whatever the Danıştay’s decision, there can be little doubt that the protests have already permanently changed the Turkish political landscape.
by Svante E. Cornell (vol. 6, no. 12 of the Turkey Analyst)
The popular upheavals in Turkey, and the harsh government crackdown on them, have reshuffled the power struggle that was already ongoing within Turkey’s Islamic conservative movement. Prime Minister Erdoğan’s ambitions to remake Turkey into a presidential republic have been dashed for the foreseeable future. While he remains the undisputed leader of both the country and the movement, none of the options facing him are particularly appealing. Taksim may well mark the beginning of the end of Erdoğan’s single-handed domination of Turkish politics.
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.