By Halil M. Karaveli (vol. 5, no. 18 of the Turkey Analyst)
The sentences in the Sledgehammer trial demonstrate the subjugation of the military to civilian, democratic, legal authority. But at the same time, it is not in the interest of the government of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) that the officer corps is further demoralized. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan no longer has an interest in wielding a sledgehammer against the military. The outcome of the trial of the generals must be viewed against the backdrop of the new power struggle that rages in Turkey, between the AKP and the movement of Fethullah Gülen.
By M. Kemal Kaya (vol. 5, no. 17 of the Turkey Analyst)
Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) will hold its fourth party congress on September 30, 2012. Although Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will have taken care to design a party organization that he can – presumably – continue to control from the presidential palace, and although the next leader of the AKP is likely to be a person that does not seek to rival the stature of Erdoğan, Turkey’s most successful party nonetheless faces an uncertain future.
By Gareth H. Jenkins (vol. 5, no. 17 of the Turkey Analyst)
On August 28, 2012. Selahattin Demirtaş, the co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), declared that the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) had usurped the authority of the Turkish state over an area of 400 square kilometers of the district of Şemdinli, close to the Iraqi border. The claim was exaggerated, in terms of geographical extent and the degree of PKK control. But there is little doubt that in recent months the Turkish security forces have been losing ground on the battlefield. However, even if the military eventually regains the upper hand, in the longer term Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s insistence on pursuing hard-line policies seems likely only to strengthen the PKK, More critically, the continuing rise in anti-Kurdish racism and ethnic violence suggests that, whatever happens in the PKK insurgency, an even more important war could be lost.
By Halil M. Karaveli (vol. 5, no. 15 of the Turkey Analyst)
Turkey would make a significant contribution to the resolution of the Syrian crisis if it could bring itself to rise above the sectarian considerations that have dictated its regime change policy in Syria. So far, however, Turkey’s intervention in the Syrian civil war has demonstrated how Turkey’s lack of “democratic depth” disables a constructive foreign policy in the service of stability and democratic reform in a region that was supposed to be Turkey’s “strategic depth”.
By Gareth H. Jenkins (vol. 5, no. 15 of the Turkey Analyst)
On August 4, 2012, Turkish President Abdullah Gül sought to quell speculation about tensions with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan over the 2014 presidential election by publicly declaring that their relationship was “bound by the law of brotherhood”. He dismissed questions about whether he was planning to stand for re-election, commenting that two years was a long time. “When the time comes, we shall sit down together, talk and make a joint decision about the best thing to do” he said. However, beneath the fraternal façade, Erdoğan’s ambitions to succeed Gül as president and then replace Turkey’s parliamentary system with a presidential one have seen the already strained relations between the two men deteriorate to the point of mutual hostility, as each maneuvers for advantage in preparation for a potential power struggle.
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.