By Burak Bilgehan Özpek (vol. 7, no. 21 of the Turkey Analyst)
The strategies of the Turkish state to deal with the Kurdish question has undergone a dramatic change since the 1990s, but what has remained constant is the state’s stance toward freedom of expression. The ruling party of Turkey has repeatedly demonstrated that it uses lofty goals like democratization to severely restrict the freedom of expression and to suspend the rule of law. “Peace” is another such goal. The AKP’s strategy in the “solution process” with the Kurdish movement rests on keeping the process secret, and stigmatizing and intimidating those who raise questions. The AKP’s strategy indicates that “peace” can be just as viable as a strategy to secure and defend authoritarian power as armed conflict.
President Erdoğan is serious about building a mosque in Cuba and in his allegation that Muslims discovered America before Columbus, contends Fatih Yaşlı. The latest remarks of Erdoğan speak of the ideological nature of his regime, he writes. Mümtaz’er Türköne writes that the new, 1,000 room presidential palace of Erdoğan is a monument to the suspension of the rule of law. Murat Belge observes that ridding Turkey of Atatürkism has not ushered in democracy. A new Turkey will be born the day power holders abandon their palatial ambitions, Belge writes. Elif Çakır worries that there is still a risk of a military coup. Abdülkadir Selvi presents the news that Abdullah Öcalan is going to announce early next year that PKK permanently gives up the armed struggle in Turkey.
By Gareth Jenkins (vol. 7, no. 18 of the Turkey Analyst)
On October 7, 2014, Turkey was swept by some of the most violent civil unrest in a generation. At least 23 people were killed and hundreds injured in an eruption of Kurdish nationalist anger at Ankara’s perceived indifference to the apparently imminent capture by the Islamic State of the predominantly Kurdish Syrian border town of Kobane.
The U.S.-led attacks against ISIS are criticized by Islamist commentators in Turkey. Ali Bulaç, a leading Islamist intellectual, writes that the attacks lack legitimacy in the eyes of the mainstream Sunni Arab world. Abdülkadir Selvi in the pro-government daily Yeni Şafak writes that Turkey is not going to allow the use of the İncirlik air base in the attacks, as this would expose Turkey to the danger of being attacked by ISIS. Taner Akçam in Taraf writes that it is highly unlikely that Turkey would go to war against ISIS, as the organization is Sunni Islamic. Ergun Babahan on the t24 news site delivers a harsh indictment of the Turkish government, which he accuses of supporting ISIS as a proxy force against the Kurds in Syria.
The question whether or not and to what extent Turkey is going to participate in the fight against ISIS is at the center of the attention of the Turkish columnists after the release of the Turkish hostages held by ISIS. Abdülkadir Selvi in the leading pro-government daily Yeni Şafak writes that Turkey is never going to participate in operations “directed against the Islamic world.” Ali Bayramoğlu, also in Yeni Şafak, writes that Turkey is concerned that the fight against ISIS is going to bestow new legitimacy on Bashar al-Assad, and that the PKK is going to become empowered as a part of the coalition. Ergun Babahan on the t24 news site cites Kurdish news sources that claim that Turkey has been providing weapons and ammunition to ISIS forces that have laid siege on Kobane, and warns that the Kurds cannot be controlled by using the methods of the Cold War.
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.