By Orhan Bursali (vol. 2, no. 6 of the Turkey Analyst)
Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development party (AKP) has won two consecutive elections and is now in its eighth year in power. Since the AKP’s leaders came from an Islamist political background, doubts about the sincerity of its adherence to the principles of the democratic system have lingered on among the opposition. These suspicions have been fed by the controversial policies of the AKP, and in particular by its sustained effort to concentrate power in the hands of the executive branch.
By M.K. Kaya (vol. 2, no. 6 of the Turkey Analyst)
Turkish president Abdullah Gül’s visit to Iraq last week signals a more relaxed Turkish attitude toward the Kurdish administration of northern Iraq. While relations have been acrimonious due mainly to the PKK’s ability to use northern Iraqi territory to stage terrorist attacks on Turkey, the picture has changed since Turkey’s military incursion into northern Iraq in 2007. The interests and policies of Turkey and of the Iraqi Kurds are indeed increasingly set to converge on the eve of the scheduled American withdrawal from Iraq.
By M. K. Kaya and Halil M. Karaveli (vol. 2, no. 5 of the Turkey Analyst)
According to conventional wisdom in Europe and the United States, Turkey is a “bridge” between the Muslim world and the West, and has been a reliable Western ally for half a century. However, from a Western point of view, recent developments create concerns about Turkey’s direction. It remains to be seen whether President Barack Obama’s administration will be able to rejuvenate the Turkish-American alliance, hurting since 2003, or whether developments in Turkey lead to a fundamentally new situation.
By Gareth Jenkins (vol. 2, no. 5 of the Turkey Analyst)
When the global financial crisis sent economies around the world into a tailspin, officials from Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party, AKP insisted that the country would remain unaffected. One of the reasons appeared to be a simple refusal to acknowledge that anything negative could happen to the Turkish economy while the AKP was in government. Another seems to have been a reluctance to introduce austerity measures in the run-up to the local elections of March 29, 2009. There is a danger that the combination of pride and political short-termism could both deepen the impending economic recession in Turkey and threaten the social and political fabric of the country.
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.