By Halil Karaveli
May 2, 2018
It is not President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s “power hunger” that accounts for Turkey’s snap presidential and general election. Instead, raison d’état is behind this event, which will enshrine presidential rule. The abolition of parliamentary rule and the concentration of all executive powers to the presidency are designed to neutralize the Kurdish challenge. It is also intended to refurbish the authority of the state and lend it a renewed aura of strength after it was torn apart by the Gülenists. Reactions to Turkish developments should not be based on interpretations that neglect the primacy of the state’s interests and the impact of the Gülenist threat and Kurdish challenge.
By Thomas Helm
April 16, 2018
A new focus on everyday economic and labour issues as part of a wider call for social democracy that transcends identity politics could serve as a new rallying cry in Turkish politics. At the moment there is a significant gap. While the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) continues to push its pro-business and anti-worker policies, the officially social democratic opposition party, the Republican People’s Party (CHP) has been reluctant to speak out against the widespread labour injustice, preferring to focus on issues of democracy and corruption. Social democracy as a broad coalition between lower- and middle-income groups that transcends identity politics would also help secure democracy in Turkey.
By Gareth H. Jenkins
April 3, 2018
The conquest of Afrin in northwest Syria has boosted President Erdoğan’s popular support and raised expectations amongst his supporters at a time when they already believe that they are active participants in a sacred struggle. But, with Russia, Iran or the US expected to block any further attempts at major territorial acquisitions in Syria or Iraq, Erdoğan is running out of options and in danger of losing electoral momentum long before Turkey is due to go to the polls in November 2019.
By Thomas Helm
March 8, 2018
A “neoliberal” consensus has reigned in Turkish politics since the 1980s. Yet far from being rolled back, the state has in fact been actively “rolled forward.” Various aspects of neoliberalism have been assimilated into an authoritarian system. The system features a combination of a liberalized economy with weak trade unions, poor workers’ rights and a strong state with a pervasive, centralized crony-capitalism. It has come at a significant social cost and relies on potentially unstable growth.
By Lars Haugom
September 26, 2017
The secularist identity of the Turkish armed forces is being dismantled in piecemeal ways by the AKP government. There is a risk that the comprehensive changes that are now underway will further exacerbate ideological and political factionalism within the officers’ corps. Ultimately, the politiciation of the military and the attempts at its traditional, secularist ethos could provoke a crossing of swords between religious-conservative and secularist factions. Since the coup attempt last year, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has taken steps to ensure the loyalty of the current military leadership, while guarding against the possibility of a more politically assertive military leadership in the future. However, it is uncertain if this strategy is also going to restore the internal cohesion of the Turkish armed forces.
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.