By Gareth H. Jenkins (vol. 4, no. 19 of the Turkey Analyst)
On October 1, 2011, 25 deputies from the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) and five pro-Kurdish independents were formally sworn in as members of the Turkish parliament, abandoning a three month-old boycott of the assembly in protest at the continued imprisonment of another five BDP candidates who had won seats in the June 12, 2011, general election. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) had already announced that its priority over the months ahead will be the drafting of a new constitution. The decision by the thirty pro-Kurdish deputies to take up their seats in parliament has raised hopes of a sustained dialogue with the AKP and the possible inclusion in the new constitution of sufficient concessions to solve Turkey’s Kurdish problem and persuade the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) to lay down its arms. However, although the presence of the pro-Kurdish deputies in Ankara does create the opportunity for dialogue and a short-term reduction in tensions, there currently appears little prospect of the AKP agreeing to the Kurdish nationalists’ minimum demands.
By Gareth H. Jenkins (vol. 4, no. 3 of the Turkey Analyst)
A package of judicial reforms recently submitted to parliament by Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) proposes a radical overhaul of the country’s appeal processes. The AKP’s supporters claim that the changes will transform Turkey’s overburdened and largely dysfunctional legal system. The government’s opponents maintain that they represent an attempt by the AKP to pack the court system with its own appointees and destroy the last vestiges of judicial independence.
By Gareth H. Jenkins (vol. 03, no. 19 of the Turkey Analyst)
The restructuring of the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK), which is responsible for appointments and disciplinary procedures in the Turkish judicial system, was one of the key reforms in the package of constitutional amendments which were approved in a referendum on September 12, 2010. During the referendum campaign, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) claimed that the restructuring of bodies such as the HSYK and the Constitutional Court were prerequisites for the establishment of what it termed an “independent judiciary”. The reformed HSYK held its first meeting on October 25, 2010. Yet both its composition and its initial decisions have reinforced, rather than allayed, growing concerns both about the politicization of judicial processes in Turkey and the increasing authoritarianism of the AKP.
By Halil M. Karaveli (vol. 2, no. 23 of the Turkey Analyst)
With its policies of a “democratic opening”, the AKP government has embarked on an enterprise that ultimately challenges the core identity of the republic as a specifically Turkish state. The revulsion that the notion of putting Turkishness on an equal footing with the other identities of society is eliciting suggests that it may, once again, prove difficult to find a liberal way out of the perennial dilemma of Turkey – to establish a secure foundation for the state in a setting of societal heterogeneity.
By M. K. Kaya (vol. 2, no. 15 of the Turkey Analyst)
Turkey has been severely affected by the global economic crisis. The country is in deep recession. However, it is still uncertain whether an agreement with the International Monetary Fund will be reached. The agreement with the IMF was expected to be signed after the local elections in March 2009, but the Turkish government continues to postpone the issue. The non-existence of an agreement with the IMF is above all a testimony to the lack of any economic administration to speak of. To implement the measures that are necessary if Turkey is to avoid another economic collapse means that the AKP must be prepared to sacrifice its hold on power.
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.