By Cengiz Çandar
November 5, 2019
Turkey’s intrusion into northeastern Syria will have far-reaching consequences for Turkey, the balance of power in Syria and in the Middle East. The Rojava invasion also leaves a durable imprint on international relations at a global scale. It has left the United States in a weaker position, while Russia has strengthened its grip on Syria. Turkey’s dependence on Russia has been reaffirmed. The Russo-Turkish partnership in Syria may not prove long-lived since Moscow and Ankara have different, indeed fundamentally irreconcilable political priorities. It is unlikely that Turkey, dependent on the acquiescence of Russia and with an ailing economy, will be able to establish a permanent military presence on Syrian territory.
By Halil Karaveli (vol. 8, no. 10 of the Turkey Analyst)
The Turkish military’s capacity for intervention in politics has been inversely proportional to the ability of the bourgeoisie to establish hegemonic rule. The dynamic that set the stage for all the coups was the fact that the most developed fraction of the Turkish bourgeoisie always needed a helping hand in order to prevail against other fractions and classes. History could have ended with the AKP, as the party secured bourgeois hegemony. Today, however, industrial interests have reason to be much less satisfied with the course that the regime is pursuing. Conjuring the specter of class warfare, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan claims that “capital is changing hands.” That is a process that is bound to unleash new political convulsions.
Ali Bayramoğlu in Yeni Şafak writes that AKP’s otherwise legitimate struggle against the Gülen fraternity will remain flawed from a democratic perspective until the party acknowledges its own responsibility for the acts of the “cemaat” when the two were still allies. Fatih Yaşlı in Yurt writes that Turkish intellectual and political life suffers from a predilection for what he calls “easy opposition” that does not question who one is allied with as long as the cause is deemed to be good, which today blinds the opponents of AKP to the responsibility of the Gülenists in bringing about the present authoritarian rule. Murat Yetkin in Radikal writes that the talk in political circles is that AKP is preparing for a coalition with MHP after the general election in June. Orhan Bursalı in Cumhuriyet writes that Erdoğan is distancing himself from the Kurds, and is instead teaming up with the military. Umut Özkırımlı on the news site Diken writes that AKP’s, and generally the Islamists’ lasting legacy is a generalized hatred that has become a permanent, defining feature of Turkey’s society.
By Halil Karaveli (vol. 7, no. 21 of the Turkey Analyst)
The Turkish generals are no longer afraid to speak out and they exert influence over government policies. Erdoğan invited the military back into the power equation when, faced with the Gülenist challenge to his power, and in need of a new ally, he gave the signal to open the prison doors for the convicted officers. But more than anything else, it is the persistence of an authoritarian mindset that sets the stage for the recurrent assertion of the power of the military in Turkey.
By Burak Bilgehan Özpek (vol. 7, no. 21 of the Turkey Analyst)
The strategies of the Turkish state to deal with the Kurdish question has undergone a dramatic change since the 1990s, but what has remained constant is the state’s stance toward freedom of expression. The ruling party of Turkey has repeatedly demonstrated that it uses lofty goals like democratization to severely restrict the freedom of expression and to suspend the rule of law. “Peace” is another such goal. The AKP’s strategy in the “solution process” with the Kurdish movement rests on keeping the process secret, and stigmatizing and intimidating those who raise questions. The AKP’s strategy indicates that “peace” can be just as viable as a strategy to secure and defend authoritarian power as armed conflict.
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.