By Svante E. Cornell and Halil Karaveli
December 6, 2017
Reza Zarrab’s testimony in early December to a New York court was hardly helpful in breaking the impasse in Turkish-American relations. By implicating Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan directly in the oil-for-gold trade that is the subject of the trial, Zarrab may have contributed to a new low in the fraught alliance. However, the case is symptomatic of the fact that Turks and Americans lack basic trust. It also illustrates that they are now on completely different frequencies. The Zarrab case means entirely different things to Turks and Americans, and this disconnect risks contributing to a break that neither party may actually want.
By Nicholas Danforth
November 8, 2017
In both the United States Congress and Executive Branch, previous efforts to assuage Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s anti-American anger are increasingly being seen as a form of appeasement. However, the risk is that Erdoğan’s paranoid view of American intentions could prevent Ankara from responding rationally to the pressures of the United States. Matters are complicated by what appears to be the Turkish president’s genuine belief that the United States is seeking to depose him.
By Suat Kınıklıoğlu
October 13, 2017
The U.S. suspension of visa services in Turkey is an indication of the depth of the fissures between the West and Turkey. While Turkish bureaucrats are trying to maintain functioning relations with the West, there are growing calls in Washington, Ankara and Berlin to redefine Turkey policy. Is Turkey headed for an incremental divorce with the West?
By Lars Haugom
September 26, 2017
The secularist identity of the Turkish armed forces is being dismantled in piecemeal ways by the AKP government. There is a risk that the comprehensive changes that are now underway will further exacerbate ideological and political factionalism within the officers’ corps. Ultimately, the politiciation of the military and the attempts at its traditional, secularist ethos could provoke a crossing of swords between religious-conservative and secularist factions. Since the coup attempt last year, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has taken steps to ensure the loyalty of the current military leadership, while guarding against the possibility of a more politically assertive military leadership in the future. However, it is uncertain if this strategy is also going to restore the internal cohesion of the Turkish armed forces.
By Toni Alaranta
September 1, 2017
After fifteen years of Islamic-conservative state transformation, it is increasingly difficult to unmake the ideological-material powerbase that keeps the AKP in power. The state transformation project in Turkey has not only changed the circumstances within which any opposition group needs to operate, it has also, to a large extent, started to change the very language that can be used while addressing the most essential socio-political issues. One of the most explicit indications of the AKP’s ability to redefine the sociopolitical horizons is the worrisome lack of Western-inclined forces in Turkey. The Kemalist circles are arguably excessively nationalist. However, they, unlike the liberals, at least have a relatively coherent constituency and ideology for mass mobilization. And the liberals cannot hope to succeed in building a democratic society without a direct backing from some type of nationalist-inclined mass movement.
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.