The nomination of Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu as the joint candidate of the two opposition parties CHP and MHP in the upcoming presidential election has set off a lively debate among pro-CHP, secularist commentators.
By M. Kemal Kaya (vol. 5, no. 9 of the Turkey Analyst)
Turkey may be headed toward an unexpected presidential election in August 2012, as the Constitutional Court is set to rule on the constitutionality of a temporary law that stipulates that the term of incumbent president Abdullah Gül ends in 2014, and which bars him from seeking reelection. It is however unlikely that Gül would, in that event, stand any chance of mobilizing support within the AKP for a presidential bid. The most likely scenario is that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan chooses to seek the presidency two years earlier than anticipated.
By Andrew Finkel (vol. 4, no. 12 of the Turkey Analyst)
At 12 June’s general election, Turkey’s governing Justice and Development party (AKP) pulled off a rare political hat trick, securing a third consecutive parliamentary majority and doing so with an ever-increasing share of the popular vote. The result is a clear endorsement of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, whose style and personality continues to dominate Turkish politics. It is also his answer to a growing chorus of critics at home but also abroad who accuse him of having abandoned his party’s EU-oriented reform agenda in favour of an increasingly centralised and autocratic style of rule. The AKP is now the party of the new urban middle class. The party is literally building its own constituency, a process in which the opposition finds it hard to engage.
By Gareth H. Jenkins (vol. 4, no. 11 of the Turkey Analyst)
On May 21, 2011, six members of the Turkish ultranationalist Nationalist Action Party (MHP) resigned from the party’s National Executive Committee after an internet website began broadcasting secretly-recorded videos of them engaging in extramarital sexual relations. Over the previous month, four other leading members of the MHP had been forced to resign after similar secretly-recorded videos were posted on the same internet website. The identity of those responsible for recording and broadcasting the videos currently remains unclear. However, opposition parties have accused supporters of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), whose campaign for the June 12 general election has been largely based on trying to prevent the MHP from gaining enough votes to cross the 10 percent threshold for representation in parliament.
By M.K. Kaya and Halil M. Karaveli (vol. 2, no. 7 of the Turkey Analyst)
The results of the local elections in Turkey held on March 29 were a disappointment for the governing Justice and development party, AKP. For the first time, the AKP experienced an electoral setback. Conversely, the opposition parties have regained some confidence. Yet Turkey remains as divided as ever. Indeed, the electoral map of Turkey reveals a country fractured into four distinctive parts, with the liberals confined to the coastline.
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.