By Svante E. Cornell and M.K. Kaya (vol. 2, no. 16 of the Turkey Analyst)
In its laudable attempts to reduce tensions with its neighbors and to gain a greater influence in the South Caucasus, the AKP government has made itself dependent on forces that it cannot control. Unless Armenia and Azerbaijan strike a deal rapidly, Turkey will inevitably be forced to choose between reneging on its commitment to normalize relations with Armenia or risk a breakdown in its relations with Azerbaijan. In either situation, Moscow will be the geopolitical winner. Western, in particular American, activity to support an agreement on principle between Armenia and Azerbaijan is urgently called for.
By Halil M. Karaveli (vol. 2, no. 16 of the Turkey Analyst)
The determination of the Turkish government to muzzle critical media is the clearest sign to date that Turkey is drifting towards semi-authoritarianism. Contrary to the expectations of its liberal supporters, the AKP is not about to dismantle statism. Fusing statism and religious conservatism, the AKP could be introducing a semi-authoritarian model more comprehensive and potentially more enduring than the defunct Kemalist model.
By M. K. Kaya (vol. 2, no. 15 of the Turkey Analyst)
Turkey has been severely affected by the global economic crisis. The country is in deep recession. However, it is still uncertain whether an agreement with the International Monetary Fund will be reached. The agreement with the IMF was expected to be signed after the local elections in March 2009, but the Turkish government continues to postpone the issue. The non-existence of an agreement with the IMF is above all a testimony to the lack of any economic administration to speak of. To implement the measures that are necessary if Turkey is to avoid another economic collapse means that the AKP must be prepared to sacrifice its hold on power.
By Gareth Jenkins (vol. 2, no. 15 of the Turkey Analyst)
It is nearly five years since Turkey’s ruling party passed a substantive package of reforms to comply with EU norms. The few reforms demanded by the EU which have been passed in recent years appear to be more the product of a convergence with the AKP’s perceptions of its own interests than a response to the requirements of the accession process. As Turkish officials try to come up with a formula to avoid a “train crash” in December 2009, their main concern is no longer to move the accession process forward; it is simply to keep it alive.
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.