By Toni Alaranta (vol. 8, no. 11 of the Turkey Analyst)
Can the Islamic-Conservative, utopian state project endure? This is the crucial question as Turkey approaches parliamentary elections, to be held on June 7. The whole political system is at stake. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his most enthusiastic “New Turkey” zealots are going to push their utopian Islamic-Conservative regime forward, to the very limits allowed by the international system. The Islamic-conservative utopian state project in Turkey is not yet exhausted.
By Halil M. Karaveli (vol. 5, no. 4 of the Turkey Analyst)
The authority of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been challenged by the security apparatus, the police and parts of the judiciary that enjoy the backing of the brotherhood of the Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen. The unprecedented challenge compels Erdoğan to circumscribe the power of his erstwhile ally, which thrives with the application of oppressive security measures. Whether Erdoğan will now see the strong incentive to seek a democratic, negotiated solution to the Kurdish issue, or continue to concentrate power in his own hands, remains to be seen.
By Gareth Jenkins (vol. 8, no. 8 of the Turkey Analyst)
In recent weeks, Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has pursued an increasingly aggressive policy towards the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in the hope of pushing the party below the 10 per cent national threshold in the June 7, 2015 general election while simultaneously preventing Turkish nationalists amongst the AKP’s own voters from defecting to the Nationalist Action Party (MHP).
By M.K. Kaya (vol. 8, no. 8 of the Turkey Analyst)
President Erdogan’s visit to Saudi Arabia and his public criticism of Iran suggest an adjustment of Turkey’s Middle East policies are under way. The Syrian conflict cooled Turkey’s relations with Iran, but boosted an alignment with Gulf States. But then, differences over Egypt seriously complicated Turkish-Saudi relations. Following events in Iraq and Yemen, the deck appears once more to be rebalanced – a new understanding with Riyadh appears to be underway, and Turkish-Iranian relations are tense. But the key question is whether these adjustments are stable, given that foreign policy appears indexed in part on Erdogan’s mood. With the ruling elite in flux, so is foreign policy.
İbrahim Karagül, the editor in chief of Yeni Şafak, writes that AKP’s enemies in the West, the Fethullah Gülen fraternity, big business in Turkey and the “Gezi saboteurs” have formed an alliance to overthrow the Turkish government by starting an Alevi uprising. He writes that the terrorist group DHKP-C has been charged with the function as the armed wing of this alleged coalition and that the killing of a prosecutor in Istanbul last week was the first act in a scheme to start a sectarian violence. Mümtazer Türköne in Zaman writes that terrorism is going to benefit the AKP government and he asks “What acts of terrorism are you planning during the run-up to the elections?” He writes, “The martyrdom of the prosecutor was a cause for great satisfaction among the ruling circles.” Hakan Aksay on the t24 news site notes with alarm that Selahattin Demirtaş, the co-chairman of the pro-Kurdish HDP in a speech recently evoked the risk that he might be killed during the election campaign. Orhan Bursalı in Cumhuriyet argues that the Kurds are going to consent to the introduction of presidential system that Erdoğan covets, in return for recognition of their identity and autonomy, but that AKP-PKK are never going to be able to impose their constitution on a majority that resists it.
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.