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.
By Halil M. Karaveli (vol. 2, no. 14 of the Turkey Analyst)
The AKP government’s “Kurdish opening” is a promising initiative in principle. Turkey can ill afford to postpone the search for a new societal concord. However, the scope for a resolution of the Kurdish issue is extremely narrow. Recognizing that Kurdish nationalism will have to be further accommodated, the Turkish state seeks a way to do so without endangering the unitary state. Furthermore, the AKP’s effort to reconcile the ethnic division of Turkey will be hampered by the fact that the governing party enjoys scant credibility as a uniting force.
By M. K. Kaya (vol. 2, no. 14 of the Turkey Analyst)
As Turkey has become estranged from its Western allies, especially as a result of having being cold-shouldered by the European Union, the country has come to develop closer relations with Russia, a historical rival. During the recent the visit of Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin to Turkey, the two countries signed cooperation protocols in several fields, mostly regarding energy issues. The visit saw progress in advancing regional energy projects that benefit both countries, Turkey obtaining Russian support for its Samsun-Ceyhan oil project and Russia obtaining Turkish agreement for its South Stream gas project. The burgeoning relationship should nevertheless not be seen as an attempt by Ankara to distance itself from the West, but as a Russian move to fill the vacuum left by American and European neglect of Turkey.
By Tülin Daloglu (vol. 2, no. 13 of the Turkey Analyst)
For a long time, the relationship between Turkey and Iraq has been defined by the fact that Iraqi Kurds provide a safe haven for the separatist Kurdish terrorist organization, the PKK. Yet Gen. Ilker Basbug, Turkey’s Chief of Staff, said recently in Washington that Iraq’s Kurdish region is no longer a safe place for PKK terrorists. that gain cannot yet be counted as permanent. Next January, Iraq will see general elections as well as a referendum on controversial issues like the future of Kirkuk. With U.S. troops withdrawing from Iraqi cities, escalating high-profile attacks raise concerns about the Iraqi forces’ ability to secure the country. In this make it-or-break it year for Iraq, the Kurds must decide the price they will pay to retain Kirkuk inside their territory. They will also have to decide whether they are willing to risk a possible breakaway from Iraq.
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.