By Halil Karaveli (vol. 7, no. 10 of the Turkey Analyst)
The year after the Gezi Park protests has been the most difficult for Recep Tayyip Erdoğan since he became prime minister, but he has prevailed over his foes and challengers and he can confidently look forward to becoming Turkey’s first popularly elected president in the upcoming election in August. No one can challenge Erdoğan. However, that does not mean that Turkey is always going to bend to his will or that the country is going to be easy to govern even for an all-powerful President Erdoğan.
The explosion at the Soma coal mine that claimed the lives of three hundred workers has led some to critical comments against the neo-liberal economic regime in Turkey. Hasan Cemal, a liberal commentator, argues that it’s time to revisit long-forgotten notions like social justice and he questions the wisdom of totally expelling the state from the economy. The rising tensions in Turkish society are of great concern for many commentators. Oral Çalışlar, a liberal, warns that Turkey is drifting toward chaos. And although he does not hold Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan solely responsible for this dangerous drift, he nonetheless argues that Erdoğan’s reactions exacerbate the polarization and he urges him to take steps that ease the tensions. Yüksel Taşkın, a social democratic academic and columnist, accuses the AKP government of having intentionally alienated the Alevis and he warns that especially the Alevi youth has become a powder keg that is ready to blow up.
By Halil M. Karaveli (vol. 6, no. 16 of the Turkey Analyst)
Recent developments demonstrate that the historical quietude of the Alevi minority in Turkey now belongs to history, and make abundantly clear that the risk of radicalization cannot be ignored. As the Turkish government is not demonstrating any intention to meet the demands of the Alevis to be treated as equal citizens, enjoying the same rights as the Sunnis, the unrest that is breeding among the Alevis is likely to grow. That is especially so as the Alevis have increasingly come to see what is happening in Syria as being connected to their own situation, and are interpreting the Sunni, sectarian bent of Turkey’s regional policies as an expression of a Sunni determination to punish “heretics”.
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.