By Halil M. Karaveli (vol. 2, no. 9 of the Turkey Analyst)
The social and cultural divisions of Turkish society often seem impossible to reconcile. The divisions will certainly not disappear any time soon, but ultimately a societal understanding will have to be reached about respecting differences within a liberal, democratic framework. Unfortunately, neither secularists nor Islamic conservatives are prone to privileging a liberal order. However, Turkey’s liberal intellectuals are influential, and could play a pivotal role if they assume the challenge of confronting Islamic conservatism as well as Kemalism.
By Soner Çağaptay (vol. 2, no. 8 of the Turkey Analyst)
Under the rule of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), Turkey has cultivated close ties with Iran, Syria, Sudan, the Gulf Countries, as well as with Russia. In the West, the reorientation of Turkish foreign policy had until recently generally been interpreted as neo-Ottomanist, i.e., a benevolent attempt by Turkey to assert itself in the Ottoman realm, which was assumed to be to the benefit of the Euro-Atlantic community as well. However, a closer look reveals that Turkey is asserting itself exclusively in the Muslim Middle East, while ignoring other areas of the Ottoman realm. What is more, under the AKP, Turkish foreign policy empathizes increasingly not with the West, but with Russia and Iran, and especially with Arab Islamist causes.
By Halil M. Karaveli (vol. 2, no. 8 of the Turkey Analyst)
The latest wave of arrests in the Ergenekon coup plot case, targeting secular academics and NGOs, has once again altered perceptions of the investigation. It has become more difficult to interpret the investigation as exclusively concerned with bringing coup plotters to justice. Representatives of the AKP itself were dismayed by the turn taken by the investigation. Attention is now focused on the Fethullah Gülen movement, which is accused of masterminding an operation directed at its secular challengers in civil society, acting on its own and by-passing the AKP.
By Svante E. Cornell (vol. 2, no. 7 of the Turkey Analyst)
The past several weeks have seen the level of diplomatic rumoring on a Turkish-Armenian rapprochement reach new heights. The Turkish government embarked on this endeavor seriously last Summer, a move that could redraw the geopolitics of the Caucasus in unpredictable ways, depending on how it is undertaken. While the initiative had much to do with Turkish-US relations, the Obama visit paradoxically coincided with Ankara being forced to hit the brakes on the issue, at least temporarily. It has once again been made clear that the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict remains the major security challenge in the region, and that it needs to be tackled head on.
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.