By Halil M. Karaveli (vol. 3, no. 18 of the Turkey Analyst)
Turkish opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu is seeking to promote a secularist-conservative reconciliation. However, instead of seizing on the opportunity to advance the cause of mutual understanding and societal cohesion, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has chosen to uphold the battle line against the secularists. The maximalist response of the AKP to the CHP’s headscarf overture does not inspire any confidence that the victorious Sunni conservatives are ever going to bother to try to accommodate the losing side in the battle over Turkey’s identity.
By Halil Magnus Karaveli (vol. 1, no. 19 of the Turkey Analyst)
The opposition Republican people’s party, CHP, long perceived as dogmatically secularist, is now intent on broadening its base and its message. CHP leader Deniz Baykal has made a bold move by enlisting women wearing the headscarf and even the black chador as party members. The overture to veiled women could at best pave the way for a new realignment that contributes to the reconciliation of secularism and religious traditionalism. But it also raises new questions about the future of secularism in Turkey.
By Svante E. Cornell (vol. 1, no. 16 of the Turkey Analyst)
Turkey’s Constitutional Court has published its detailed reasoning in two landmark cases, in which it rejected the AKP government’s lifting of the headscarf ban in universities, and found the ruling party guilty of having undermined secularism, but stopped short of closing down the party. While the two cases have been dismissed as political, a closer reading suggests a much more complex reality. The court offers a sophisticated legal and philosophical reasoning, seeking to balance competing principles. This could suggest that the Turkish Constitutional Court is seriously beginning to step into a role as the constitutional provider of check and balances.
By the Editors (vol. 1, no. 1 of the Turkey Analyst)
The Turkish Parliament’s landmark decision to change the constitution and lift the ban on Islamic headscarves in the universities represents a symbolic watershed in the history of the Turkish republic. It has polarized Turkey as perhaps never before and plunged the country into a crisis from which it will be extremely difficult to extricate without deep convulsions. Turkish intellectuals do not hesitate to issue warnings about civil war. Such warnings may be exaggerated; but Turkey could certainly be headed in a dangerous direction. Hence, conventional assumptions about Turkish political and ideological dynamics need to be revised.
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.