By Halil Karaveli
July 5, 2019
The resounding victory of the opposition in Istanbul has rekindled the democratic hopes of an urban middle class that had come close to losing all hope about the future of Turkey. Yet the democratic vision of Ekrem İmamoğlu, Istanbul’s new mayor, who many see as the next leader of their country, is limited by his embrace of a conservative political tradition that is very much responsible for the persistence of authoritarianism in Turkey. Although the Istanbul election has shown that it takes a conservative to beat a conservative, Turkey is going to need something else to build a lasting democracy.
By Micha’el Tanchum
July 3, 2019
Turkey's provocative action of sending two drillships into Cypriot waters to explore for natural gas is a response to a grander provocation coming from the Republic of Cyprus, Greece, Egypt, and Israel to exclude Turkey from the marketing of Eastern Mediterranean gas. This common front, composed of interlinked security partnerships among the region's current natural gas producers and Greece, has been increasingly supported by the United States, France, and Italy, each of whom has significant economic investments in Eastern Mediterranean gas. For Ankara, its NATO allies' support of this common front is tantamount to a policy of soft containment against Turkey. The hardening of this containment through substantial naval support to the Republic of Cyprus as a response to Turkey's actions could send the Eastern Mediterranean into a dangerous escalation spiral that could permanently alter Turkey's relationship with NATO.
By Halil Karaveli
May 16, 2019
In Turkey, appearances tend to be deceiving. It is a mistake to take the cancellation of the Istanbul election result as proof that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan refuses to accept defeat at the polls. The Kurdish vote decided the outcome in Istanbul, exposing the vulnerability of a system that was supposed to neutralize the influence of the Kurdish political movement. The Istanbul rerun speaks of the power of Devlet Bahçeli, the nationalist leader, and of the state cadres who see the victory of an opposition in tacit alliance with the Kurdish movement as an existential threat to the state. Erdoğan did not dare to challenge them.