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.
By M.K. Kaya and Halil M. Karaveli (vol. 2, no. 7 of the Turkey Analyst)
The results of the local elections in Turkey held on March 29 were a disappointment for the governing Justice and development party, AKP. For the first time, the AKP experienced an electoral setback. Conversely, the opposition parties have regained some confidence. Yet Turkey remains as divided as ever. Indeed, the electoral map of Turkey reveals a country fractured into four distinctive parts, with the liberals confined to the coastline.
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.
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.