Friday, 18 September 2015 00:00

Akyol: the new AKP

Taha Akyol in Hürriyet writes that the new AKP is much more than ever before under the control of Erdoğan.  One of the leading names of the party told me this on the phone the other day: “None of the names that Davutoğlu insisted on having on the party leadership was included in the list. Meanwhile, names that he emphatically did not want were all included in the list.” It is obvious that the same will go for the candidate lists for the election. After Abdullah Gül, Bülent Arınç has also been purged, and the founding cadres of the party have been neutralized. From now on, there will be no more different voices; there are few names left that can warn, and who can express societal diversity within the party. Of those who “departed,” Ali Babacan and Mehmet Şimşek were names who defended the independence of the Central Bank, economic rationality and European norms. Of the symbolic names, Sadullah Ergin and Osman Can are out of the list. Ergin was the architect of the judicial reforms that brightened the face of Turkey. Professor Osman Can meanwhile, was a lawyer who had made a career with his liberal views and who defended the EU’s legal framework. And speaking of the law, it is an important sign that the person who headed the mob that attacked the Hürriyet newspaper was elected to board of the party at the congress. And most importantly, the question is what kind of leverage a government who is headed by a prime minister who could not select his team and the party group in parliament is going to have!

Wednesday, 02 September 2015 00:00

What the Columnists Say

Yavuz Baydar in Bugün writes that the assaults against media are part of the strategy of the AKP to ensure that the November 1 election yields a three-party parliament, without the HDP, with the AKP’s majority restored. Ömer Laçiner in Birikim warns that the election campaign threatens to be Turkey’s historically most violent one. Korkut Boratav on the sendika.org site writes that there is no reason to expect that finance capital is going to precipitate the fall of AKP from power by deserting Turkey. Ertuğrul Özkök in Hürrriyet observes that the new Chief of the General Staff Hulusi Akar made very unusual, ethnic references, to a supposed Turkish identity of the state of Turkey, in his Victory Day speech. Ali Bulaç in Zaman writes that Turkey’s participation in the Western war against IS amounts to waging war against Muslims, that this has no Islamic legitimacy, besides being politically and militarily wrong. 

 

Media

 

Published in Roundup of Columnists

Ertuğrul Özkök in Hürrriyet writes that the speech that the new Chief of the General Staff Hulusi Akar delivered on Victory Day August 30 is the most interesting one in recent years. Reading the speech, I noted many interesting things – the rise of the references to being “Turkish.” The expression “Turk” is mentioned in fourteen different places.  The definition of the “Turkish hearth” is made in especially stark terms: The speech states that the battle at Manzikert in 1071 confirmed “Anatolia as the Turkish hearth.” And the most notable expression is the way General Akar refers to our state, as “Turkish Republic.”. I looked up the constitution at the official site of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey: There, the official expression reads “The constitution of the Republic of Turkey…” In our system, in two very important places, the expression “Turkey,” and not “Turkish” is employed: “The Grand National Assembly of Turkey” and “The Republic of Turkey…” And that is indeed very right.

Korkut Boratav on the sendika.org site writes that there is a curious expectation among liberal and some leftist circles that Turkey, because it is supposedly one of the most fragile of the emerging markets, faces the threat of the desertion of financial capital as the world economy has become volatile, and that this is supposedly going to bring about the end of the AKP power. First of all, there is no ground for saying that the fragility of the Turkish economy is bound to produce an immediate crisis. Secondly, financial capital is not against the AKP. In the current global economic conjuncture, Turkey is in fact in a more favorable position than the energy exporting economies of the periphery like Russia that are especially hard hit. Turkey on the contrary benefits from the fall of the price of oil, which helps to slow down the growth of its current account deficit; the low budget deficit ensures that Turkish state bonds remain reliable instruments of investment. Chronic vulnerabilities do cause the Turkish economy to slow down during 2015, leading it toward a path of zero growth; however, the expectation of a dramatic crisis erupting before the election does not seem realistic.  And what about the political uncertainties that the AKP causes? What about the possibility of Turkey becoming an Islamic fascist regime? Does finance capital care?  The AKP’s string of electoral and referendum victories have led finance capital to pour money into the Turkish stock market and into Turkish state bonds.

Wednesday, 02 September 2015 00:00

Laçiner: societal mobilisation needed to save HDP

Ömer Laçiner in Birikim warns that the election campaign for the November 1 election will maybe be Turkey’s historically most violent one – including lynching, mass clashes, and provocations – with the highest number of casualties and incidents ever. The HDP is never going to enjoy the same kind of freedom of action that it enjoyed in the run-up to the June 7 election; that is because the party is going to be under extreme stress, subject to the AKP government’s schemes to criminalize it by mobilizing the “state.” This means that we need another constructive element, which by definition cannot be any of the political parties. A new “subject” has to enter the political equation. This “subject” should be borne out of a movement that conveys the messages of peace, brotherhood, and the feeling of justness to the society, by its own initiative. Such a movement would bring about a societal mobilization that ensures that the Turks among the citizens of the country by their votes make HDP the party that represents the whole of Turkey, this time also in the ethnic proportions of its votes.

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Joint Center Publications

Op-ed Halil M. Karaveli "Assasination in Ankara"Foreign Affairs, January 3, 2017

Essay Halil M. Karaveli "Erdogan's Journey"Foreign Affairs, October 19, 2016

Op-ed Halil M. Karaveli "Turkey's Fractured State", The New York Times, August 1, 2016

Op-ed Svante E. Cornell "A botched coup and Turkey’s descent into madness", Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies, July 19, 2016

Article Halil M. Karaveli , "Turkey's Decline", Foreign Affairs, March 2, 2016.

Article Halil M. Karaveli , "La Turquie, est-elle destinée à durer?", Centre for International Policy Studies, January 27, 2016.

Monograph Eric Edelman, Svante Cornell, Aaron Lobel, Halil Karaveli, "Turkey Transformed: The Origins and Evolution of Authoritarianism and Islamization under the AKP", Bipartisan Policy Center, October 2015.

Article Svante E. Cornell and M.K. Kaya, "The Naqshbandi-Khalidi Order and Political Islam in Turkey", Current Trends in Islamist Ideology, September 2015.

Article Svante E. Cornell, "Understanding Turkey's Tilt", Journal of International Security Affairs, no. 27, Winter 2014.

Monograph Eric S. Edelman, Svante E. Cornell, Aaron Lobel, Michael Makovsky, The Roots of Turkish Conduct: Understanding the Evolution of Turkish Policy in the Middle East, Washington: Bipartisan Policy Center, December 2013.

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.

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