By Lars Haugom
September 26, 2017
The secularist identity of the Turkish armed forces is being dismantled in piecemeal ways by the AKP government. There is a risk that the comprehensive changes that are now underway will further exacerbate ideological and political factionalism within the officers’ corps. Ultimately, the politiciation of the military and the attempts at its traditional, secularist ethos could provoke a crossing of swords between religious-conservative and secularist factions. Since the coup attempt last year, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has taken steps to ensure the loyalty of the current military leadership, while guarding against the possibility of a more politically assertive military leadership in the future. However, it is uncertain if this strategy is also going to restore the internal cohesion of the Turkish armed forces.
By Toni Alaranta
September 1, 2017
After fifteen years of Islamic-conservative state transformation, it is increasingly difficult to unmake the ideological-material powerbase that keeps the AKP in power. The state transformation project in Turkey has not only changed the circumstances within which any opposition group needs to operate, it has also, to a large extent, started to change the very language that can be used while addressing the most essential socio-political issues. One of the most explicit indications of the AKP’s ability to redefine the sociopolitical horizons is the worrisome lack of Western-inclined forces in Turkey. The Kemalist circles are arguably excessively nationalist. However, they, unlike the liberals, at least have a relatively coherent constituency and ideology for mass mobilization. And the liberals cannot hope to succeed in building a democratic society without a direct backing from some type of nationalist-inclined mass movement.
By Toni Alaranta
February 17, 2017
It has become a commonplace to argue that Kemalism was a Turkish variant of right-wing nationalism with strong corporatist leanings and even fascist aspects. This is often compounded with the assertion that the Kemalist secularist state elite only sought to secure its own power and status in society, and that it only paid lip-service to Enlightenment ideals. It is pertinent to ask why the Kemalists would have embarked on a hugely unpopular project of culture revolution that threatened their hold on power by provoking a popular reaction, if they only sought to establish a right-wing dictatorship. The right-wing authoritarianism from which Turkey has suffered during most of its history has other sources.
By Halil Karaveli
February 3, 2017
Historically in Turkey, there is a relationship between the rise of emancipation movements and “constitutional engineering”, between class- or ethnic-based challenges to the established order and the imposition of authoritarian constitutional arrangements in response. The authoritarian constitution of 1982 was the answer to the challenge of workers and peasants in the 1960s and 1970s. Today, a presidential system is supposed to neutralize the Kurdish challenge. However, it may be that Turkey’s ethnic fissure may prevent it from developing either democracy or stable authoritarian rule.
By Gareth H. Jenkins
January 26, 2017
Six months after the failed coup of July 15, 2016, many questions still remain unanswered. Disturbingly, most can no longer be asked. Amid the purges, imprisonments and oppression, Turkey has become a country that is devouring itself.
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.