By Nick Danforth
September 23rd, 2015, The Turkey Analyst
Turkey’s democratic and authoritarian legacies have been thoroughly intertwined from the outset. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s authoritarian instincts have been both motivated and enabled by the authoritarian behavior of his predecessors. Yet Erdoğan is also restrained by institutional forces that remain in place because military and civilian leaders before him proved willing to step down and compromise. And he is moreover restrained by the instincts of voters and some within his own party who value Turkey’s democratic tradition.
By Gareth H. Jenkins
September 18th, 2015, The Turkey Analyst
The recent spate of violent protests by Turkish ultranationalists – including attempted lynchings of ethnic Kurds -- and the attacks by government supporters on the Hürriyet newspaper have reinforced already serious concerns about both the deepening fissures in Turkish society and the continuing weakening of the rule of law in the country.
Yavuz Baydar in Bugün writes that the assaults against media are part of the strategy of the AKP to ensure that the November 1 election yields a three-party parliament, without the HDP, with the AKP’s majority restored. Ömer Laçiner in Birikim warns that the election campaign threatens to be Turkey’s historically most violent one. Korkut Boratav on the sendika.org site writes that there is no reason to expect that finance capital is going to precipitate the fall of AKP from power by deserting Turkey. Ertuğrul Özkök in Hürrriyet observes that the new Chief of the General Staff Hulusi Akar made very unusual, ethnic references, to a supposed Turkish identity of the state of Turkey, in his Victory Day speech. Ali Bulaç in Zaman writes that Turkey’s participation in the Western war against IS amounts to waging war against Muslims, that this has no Islamic legitimacy, besides being politically and militarily wrong.
Etyen Mahçupyan in Akşam writes that the cease-fire ended because PKK started to seek independence in Rojawa, and because Turkey did not want to have a PKK state at its border. “PKK has shot itself in the foot,” he writes. Metin Münir on the t24 news site finds it incredible that PKK chose to respond to Erdoğan’s restart of the war in what he describes as the most stupid way possible, by returning to terrorism. Orhan Bursalı in Cumhuriyet writes that PKK is laying the ground for secession from Turkey. Kemal Öztürk in Yeni Şafak warns the AKP that the party is losing the public relation battle to PKK among the Kurds, and that yet another electoral disaster is looming. Şahin Alpay in Zaman writes that even though Erdoğan is the chief responsible for why calm and stability continue to elude Turkey, the fundamental reasons for this are inscribed in the genetic code of the republic.
By Toni Alaranta (vol. 8, no. 14 of the Turkey Analyst)
There is widespread expectation that “normalization” and democratic consolidation will follow the June 7 election, which deprived the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of its majority. The talk about “normalization” and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan becoming “isolated” presupposes that Turkey’s democratic travails emanate exclusively from Erdoğan’s power hunger, and that once this factor is eliminated, the AKP will once again become the “normalizing force” it allegedly was previously. However, “normalization” would mean abandoning not only Erdoğan but the very political narrative disseminated by the AKP during its years in power, and thus the mission of the party.
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.