By Barış Soydan
February 11, 2019
It is impossible to understand the electoral successes so far of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the undisputed leader of Turkey since 2003, without taking the spectacular growth of consumerism in the country into consideration. Notwithstanding the fact that the neoliberal economic policies of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) have disproportionately benefited the wealthiest in Turkish society, low-income earners have also benefited from the economic growth of the last sixteen years. Yet this growth has to a large extent relied on the quantitative easing program of the U.S. Federal Reserve. The end of quantitative easing will be consequential for Erdoğan and his party. Erdoğan is not going to be able to retain the same level of support that he has enjoyed among low-income earners. Get ready for substantial drops in AKP votes in the municipal elections in March.
By Barış Soydan
October 10, 2018
Since 1950, Turkey’s conservative parties have carried every election except those in 1973 and 1977, which were carried by the social democrats. The key to the right wing parties’ electoral success has been their ability to retain the support of the working class. That is also what largely accounts for the conservative Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) sixteen year long hold on power. But with the economy in crisis, the AKP’s grip on the working class is bound to become more tenuous. The protests among the workers at Istanbul’s new airport herald the end of the love affair between the working class and the ruling conservatives, but the lack of a social democratic political alternative may offer the AKP another lease on life.
By Gareth H. Jenkins
June 20, 2018
The rapid depreciation in the value of the Turkish Lira since the beginning of 2018 is the product not only of the collapse of any remaining vestiges of investor confidence in the regime of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan but a symptom of the failure of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to address the long-standing structural vulnerabilities of the Turkish economy.
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.
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.