Two topics dominate the comments after Turkey’s presidential election: the strong showing of Selahattin Demirtaş, the Kurdish candidate, who succeeded in appealing to a broader electorate, and who is generally seen as the real star of the election; and the failure of Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, the lackluster joint candidate of the opposition parties CHP and MHP. Liberal and social democratic commentators see Demirtaş’ success as heralding the birth of a new left. These commentators stress that the CHP needs to heed the call of this new left and warn that the party is doomed if it persists in allying itself with the rightist MHP. Meanwhile, the public rift within the AKP between the supporters of president-elect Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the outgoing president Abdullah Gül has led many commentators to speculate about the future of the AKP. The prediction is made that Turkey’s course will be determined by the outcome of the intra-AKP struggle.
The future of the Kurdish peace process has become cause for concern after the violent clashes in Lice between Kurdish demonstrators and police and after a Kurdish militant brought down the Turkish flag on a military base in Diyarbakır. Mustafa Akyol in pro-government Star invites the Kurdish nationalists to make up their minds about whether or not they intend to remain part of Turkey. Ali Bayramoğlu in similarly pro-government Yeni Şafak argues that it is necessary to give Abdullah Öcalan, the imprisoned leader of the PKK, more freedom of action and to make him the interlocutor of the peace negotiations, in order to bring down tensions.
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.