By Svante E. Cornell (vol. 2, no. 12 of the Turkey Analyst)
After two decades of deep tensions with Iran, the AKP government has largely rebuilt relations with Turkey’s historical rival and neighbor. Yet its responses to the Iranian crisis – in which Prime Minister Erdoğan was embarrassingly among the first to congratulate Mahmoud Ahmadinejad upon his highly questionable re-election – appears to question the foundations of this rapprochement. Moreover, it indicates the limitations of Ankara’s newly found “zero-problem” foreign policy, which appears to mean that Turkey has no opinions on the basis of either interests, values or principles in its neighborhood.
By Halil M. Karaveli (vol. 2, no. 12 of the Turkey Analyst)
Once again, commentators raise the question whether there is a risk of a military coup in Turkey. There is no reason at all to believe that the General staff entertains any such thoughts. However, recent developments have nevertheless provided a reminder that the military’s position remains delicate. The Chief of the General staff, General Ilker Başbuğ, is in fact engaged in an awkward battle on two fronts, against old coup habits in the military, and against the challenge posed by the Islamic movement of Fethullah Gülen.
By Tülin Daloğlu (vol. 2, no. 11 of the Turkey Analyst)
The relationship between the United States and Turkey has traditionally relied heavily on military cooperation. However, President Barack Obama’s April trip to Turkey created an impetus to build a stronger economic connection – provided that businesses find a profitable incentive to work together. But the most significant step toward “normalizing” relations between the countries came when the U.S. recognized that the separatist Kurdish organization PKK poses a threat not only to Turkey but also to America, and Iraq, as well. It was a step destined to ease the tension that has characterized, even poisoned the U.S.-Turkish relationship since the invasion of Iraq.
By M. K. Kaya and Halil M. Karaveli (vol. 2, no. 11 of the Turkey Analyst)
During the nearly seven years of rule by the Justice and development party, AKP, Turkey has deepened its relations in particular with the Muslim Middle East, what has been termed its “strategic depth”. The main theorist of Turkey’s evolving foreign policy priorities, Ahmet Davutoglu, was recently appointed foreign minister. Davutoglu has already had a pivotal role as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s chief foreign policy advisor. As foreign minister, he will be directly responsible for the further implementation and for the ultimate testing of his ideas. They rest on an assumption of the possibility of achieving a state of harmony in Turkey’s regional relations, an assumption that is likely unrealistic.
By Halil M. Karaveli (vol. 2, no. 10 of the Turkey Analyst)
Süleyman Demirel, the grand old man of Turkish politics, aspires to revive the defunct center right which used to rule Turkey, creating an alternative to the AKP. However, Demirel no longer appeals to the conservative majority that composed the constituency of the center right. Indeed, he is accused of having betrayed the historical mission of Turkish conservatism by allying himself with the nationalist-secularist military-bureaucratic establishment. Demirel’s evolution in fact personifies the radicalization of republican state ideology.
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.