By Gareth H. Jenkins (vol. 4, no. 7 of the Turkey Analyst)
On the afternoon of March 30, 2011, Zekeriya Öz, the chief prosecutor in the controversial Ergenekon investigation, was abruptly removed from the case by the Turkish Justice Ministry. The decision came after a month in which allegations of links to Ergenekon had once again been used to try to silence critics of the exiled Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen. On the morning of March 30, 2011, police acting on Öz’s orders had raided the homes and offices of seven theologians opposed to Gülen. On March 3, Öz had triggered domestic and international outrage by ordering the arrest of eleven journalists and academics who had been critical of Gülen and subsequently attempting to erase all copies of an unpublished book about him.
By Halil M. Karaveli (vol. 3, no. 22 of the Turkey Analyst)
After having overturned the regime of military-bureaucratic tutelage, Turkey is discovering that democracy means struggling with differences and conflict, and that democracy in turn cannot be sustained without an accompanying sense of community. Reconciling diversity and community is never easy, and the fact that Turkey was built on the denial of diversity renders such an endeavor all the more difficult. Yet unless civic virtue is nurtured and the polarizing tendency to assume the worst about others in society is overcome, the new, post-Kemalist Turkey will prove to be a disappointment.
By Richard Weitz (vol. 3, no. 16 of the Turkey Analyst)
The drawing down of the U.S. military presence in Iraq is set to remove a source of tension between Turkey and the United States. The two military establishments, whose longstanding ties have been strained by diverging changes in U.S. and Turkish national security policies in recent years, are eager to avoid further public confrontations. But since the Turkish government has begun exploring new partnerships with former adversaries, Washington policy makers should not have excessive confidence regarding U.S. leverage in Ankara, despite the continuing close ties between their two military establishments.
By Richard Weitz (vol. 3, no. 5 of the Turkey Analyst)
By dint of geography and its strategic relations, Turkey has assumed a pivotal role in Europe’s future ballistic missile defense (BMD) architecture. The United States has been lobbying Ankara to participate in its program within a NATO framework, while Iran and Russia have encouraged Turkey to keep its distance from Washington’s BMD plans. Turkish officials have strived to balance these competing forces while leveraging them to advance Turkey’s own regional security interests.
By Gareth H. Jenkins (vol. 3, no. 4 of the Turkey Analyst)
The recent detention of 68 serving and retired military personnel by the Turkish police on suspicion of planning a coup in 2003 has reinforced the deep divisions in Turkish society and escalated the already dangerous tensions between the country’s powerful armed forces and the civilian government. Although there have been arrests of serving and retired military personnel in the past – particularly during the controversial Ergenekon investigation – both the scale of the latest detentions and the claims on which they are based are without precedent. As a result, General İlker Başbuğ, the chief of the General Staff, is now under intense pressure to react; particularly from his colleagues in the officer corps, the vast majority of whom regard the detentions as the latest move in a politically-motivated campaign of lies and disinformation which ultimately aims to destroy the military as an institution.
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.