By M. K. Kaya (vol. 4, no. 12 of the Turkey Analyst)
The June 12 general election was historic as it was the first general election in Turkey over which the shadow of the military and the other institutions of tutelage did not fall. Yet the ruling party’s tactics ensured that the election campaign still took place in an environment whose atmosphere was all but democratic. The elections underlined Turkey’s traditional split between a rightist majority and a leftist minority; it also showed that the AKP and the Kurdish BDP – the election’s main winner – both benefited from the polarized electoral environment; further, the main opposition CHP’s impossibly eclectic crop of candidates had too little of a common denominator to challenge the AKP. It will now be up to the new parliament to put the divisive campaign behind it and achieve a new constitution through compromise. Whether that is at all likely nevertheless remains doubtful.
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 Halil M. Karaveli (vol. 4, no. 10 of the Turkey Analyst)
There is a grim irony to the fact that while the AKP’s 2007 victory represented a defeat for the military, victory four years later requires that the ideology – Turkish nationalism – that upholds militarism not be challenged. The AKP’s appeasement of Turkish nationalism lays bare the limits of how far Turkey’s democratization can be extended. Meanwhile, the army’s unprovoked offensive against Kurdish guerillas in the southeast of the country reveals how the manipulation of the Kurdish issue serves as a lever for perpetuating the power of the military.
By Peter G. Laurens (vol. 4, no. 10 of the Turkey Analyst)
Less than a month from now, Turkish citizens will go to the polls to cast their votes in the Republic’s seventeenth general election. Economic problems are often the catalyst for political change worldwide and in Turkey this is no exception, but in the country at present there is precious little bad economic news for opposition parties to exploit in attempting to weaken the ruling party’s chances at victory.
By Gareth H. Jenkins (vol. 4, no. 9 of the Turkey Analyst)
In late April 2011, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) announced their manifestos for the Turkish general election on June 12, 2011. It is rare for political parties to deliver on all of their pre-election commitments; and many of the promises in both documents are anyway manifestly unworkable. Nevertheless, the content of the CHP’s manifesto demonstrates how far it has moved – in rhetoric at least – towards becoming a fully-fledged social democratic party since Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu became leader in May 2010. But, for the AKP, which currently appears set to win a comfortable majority on June 12, it is not its promises but its silences that cause the most concern; particularly its failure even to formulate policies to address the deepening alienation of the country’s Kurdish minority.
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.