By M. K. Kaya (vol. 2, no. 21 of the Turkey Analyst)
With its Kurdish opening, the Turkish government has set out to reinvent Turkey, in order to secure the integrity of the state and consolidate society. The AKP is succeeding in reaching out to the Kurds. However, the opening is being met with stiff opposition from Turkish nationalists, and the AKP will ignore that opposition at its own peril. The Kurdish imperative also plays an important if hidden role behind some of Turkey’s recent, controversial foreign policy initiatives.
By Halil M. Karaveli and M.K. Kaya (vol. 2, no. 20 of the Turkey Analyst)
The attitude toward the Jewish “other” offers a prism through which Turkey’s ideological affiliation may be appraised. The Islamic conservatives and the secularist nationalists come across as similarly apt to be suspicious of the Jewish “other”. They are parented heirs to an illiberal tradition that has flourished throughout the nominally secular republican era. The conclusion that imposes itself is that the Turkish modernization endeavor remains hampered by an inability to fully internalize the values of liberal, universal civilization.
By Halil M. Karaveli (vol. 2, no. 18 of the Turkey Analyst)
In landmark speeches, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and President Abdullah Gül have celebrated Turkey’s multicultural diversity, and declared that the state is to defer to societal pluralism. The liberal discourse departs from the tradition of statism, but its credibility is undermined by the government’s illiberal policies. And the “mosaic” of Turkey is far removed from the ideals of tolerance evoked by the rhetoric of Erdoğan and Gül.That represents another, major impediment to the realization of the liberal vision.
By Halil M. Karaveli (vol. 2, no. 13 of the Turkey Analyst)
Turkish society is marred by cultural, religious, ethnic and political polarization. Indeed, the polarization runs so deep as to conjure up the vision of a country divided into metaphorically gated communities having nothing in common with each other except their mutual contempt. According to several recent surveys, reciprocal, societal intolerance toward the “other” is widespread, mirroring the undeclared civil war that rages among the institutions of the state. Turkey will have to be renegotiated and reinvented if the country is to escape from the present impasse. Yet, Turkey’s historical experience of nation-building suggests that the prospects of managing and eventually overcoming differences are not promising.
By Halil M. Karaveli (vol. 2, no. 9 of the Turkey Analyst)
The social and cultural divisions of Turkish society often seem impossible to reconcile. The divisions will certainly not disappear any time soon, but ultimately a societal understanding will have to be reached about respecting differences within a liberal, democratic framework. Unfortunately, neither secularists nor Islamic conservatives are prone to privileging a liberal order. However, Turkey’s liberal intellectuals are influential, and could play a pivotal role if they assume the challenge of confronting Islamic conservatism as well as Kemalism.
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.