By Gareth H. Jenkins
September 4, 2019
The removal of the democratically elected mayors of three municipalities in the predominantly Kurdish southeast of the country and their replacement with government appointees has dealt yet another blow to Turkey’s already tattered democratic credentials. Although it is unlikely to lead to an imminent sustained increase in violence or civil unrest, by further excluding Kurds from political processes the government is exacerbating the already growing belief in the southeast that their future lies in some form of detachment from Ankara.
By Micha’el Tanchum
August 29, 2019
With Turkey poised for a cross-border invasion to clear northeastern Syria of U.S.-aligned Kurdish forces, Washington and Ankara announced an agreement on August 7, 2019 to jointly create and patrol a safe zone in the region, averting the possibility of the two NATO allies exchanging fire. Far from a climb down for Ankara, the agreement enables Turkey to achieve its minimal goals, and probably more. At the same time, it provides a significant yet delicate reset opportunity for Turkey-U.S. relations that have been severely strained since the U.S.-Kurdish military partnership than began with Battle of Kobani.
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.