Fatih Yaşlı in Yurt writes that the evacuation of the Süleyman Şah tomb in Syria symbolizes the end of the neo-Ottoman project of the AKP regime. İbrahim Karagül in Yeni Şafak sees a foreign hand behind ISIS and argues that the operation that evacuated the Turkish soldiers thwarted the designs of foreign powers that were scheming to attack Turkish interests under the guise of ISIS. Etyen Mahçupyan in Akşam writes that Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is not an authoritarian, but that he behaves like that only when he feels under threat. Mahçupyan urges the opposition to create the conditions that will enable Erdoğan to be a democrat. Bülent Korucu in Zaman detects signs that a closure case against the main opposition party CHP may be under way. Ali Bulaç in Zaman writes that the AKP has destroyed Islamism and forfeited a century-old heritage.
Cengiz Çandar in Radikal writes that the AKP has no other raison d’être left than to cling to Tayyip Erdoğan, and to be the power instrument of the supreme leader. Cengiz Aktar in Taraf cautions against harboring “revolutionary hopes” in Turkey in the wake of Syriza’s victory in Greece and the Kurdish victory in Kobane. Fehmi Koru in Habertürk predicts that the HDP, if it crosses the threshold to parliament in the general election in June, is going to be a perfect partner for the AKP in the writing of a new constitution. Bekir Ağırdır on the t24 news site writes that the HDP is going to have to triple its votes in the eight major metropolises in order to have a chance to cross the ten percent threshold to parliament. Finally, Hasan Bülent Kahraman in Sabah observes that HDP and its electoral prospects are now on everyone’s lips and that the party in that respect has succeeded in becoming a party that matters nation-wide in Turkey.
By Gareth Jenkins (vol. 8, no. 2 of the Turkey Analyst)
On January 13, 2015, Selahattin Demirtaş, the co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), announced that the HDP will run as a party in the June 7, 2015 general election. If the HDP fails to cross the 10 per cent national electoral threshold not only will the country’s Kurds no longer have their own voice in parliament but nearly all of the seats in predominantly Kurdish areas are likely to go to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), thus boosting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s hopes of changing the constitution and introducing a presidential or semi-presidential system.
By Gareth Jenkins (vol. 7, no. 22 of the Turkey Analyst)
On November 29, 2014, Abdullah Öcalan, the imprisoned founder of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) told a visiting delegation from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) that the Kurdish issue could be resolved – and the PKK’s 30 year-old insurgency ended – within four to five months provided that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) took the appropriate measures. In reality, not only is there little prospect of breakthrough but frustration at the lack of progress has begun to highlight the struggle for relevance between different elements within the Kurdish nationalist movement.
Two topics dominate the comments after Turkey’s presidential election: the strong showing of Selahattin Demirtaş, the Kurdish candidate, who succeeded in appealing to a broader electorate, and who is generally seen as the real star of the election; and the failure of Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, the lackluster joint candidate of the opposition parties CHP and MHP. Liberal and social democratic commentators see Demirtaş’ success as heralding the birth of a new left. These commentators stress that the CHP needs to heed the call of this new left and warn that the party is doomed if it persists in allying itself with the rightist MHP. Meanwhile, the public rift within the AKP between the supporters of president-elect Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the outgoing president Abdullah Gül has led many commentators to speculate about the future of the AKP. The prediction is made that Turkey’s course will be determined by the outcome of the intra-AKP struggle.
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.