By Aliza Marcus (vol. 8, no. 12 of the Turkey Analyst)
Kurdish voters abandoned the ruling AKP in Turkey's national elections, propelling the Kurdish HDP into parliament and giving Kurdish nationalist demands a new legitimacy. Earlier, critics could argue the PKK did not really represent the majority of Kurds in Turkey, but that argument is getting weaker by the day. The HDP's win can be ascribed, in large part, to a boost in backing for the PKK. The question is whether the parties and people who want more rights and freedoms will realize that Kurdish rights, autonomy and likely freedom for Abdullah Öcalan must be part of this to truly make Turkey into a liberal place.
Etyen Mahçupyan in Akşam writes that the common sense of Erdogan demonstrates that Turkey is moving toward democracy thanks to the AKP, in spite of its deficient democratic tradition. Güray Öz writes in Cumhuriyet that weakening and neutralizing the AKP power is not going to be an easy task, and that those who have conquered the state are not going to relinquish power just because they lost their majority in the election. Aydın Engin in Cumhuriyet argues that the AKP simply cannot abandon power, first because the party has committed war crimes in Syria and would face the consequences if it were to surrender government power, and second because the moneyed interests that have prospered during its reign and who depend on its power would not allow it to step down. İbrahim Karagül in Yeni Şafak writes that the same international will that ended democracy in Egypt is now scheming to oust AKP from government, but that AKP is Turkey's backbone and that the forty one percent are never going to surrender.
By Toni Alaranta (vol. 8, no. 11 of the Turkey Analyst)
Can the Islamic-Conservative, utopian state project endure? This is the crucial question as Turkey approaches parliamentary elections, to be held on June 7. The whole political system is at stake. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his most enthusiastic “New Turkey” zealots are going to push their utopian Islamic-Conservative regime forward, to the very limits allowed by the international system. The Islamic-conservative utopian state project in Turkey is not yet exhausted.
Ahmet İnsel in Cumhuriyet writes that the purpose of the attacks that were carried out against the premises of HDP in Adana and Mersin was to provoke HDP supporters and incite them take to the streets. Cengiz Çandar in Radikal writes that Turkey has lost its immunity to Salafism by acting as a sponsor of the Sunni radicals in Syria, in concert with Saudi Arabia. On the occasion of the death of Kenan Evren, the general who took power in the 1980 coup, Fatih Yaşlı in Yurt notes that Evren fathered today’s “New Turkey” by putting the current neoliberal-Islamic regime in place. Mümtazer Türköne in Zaman similarly observes that Evren’s regime, with its oppressive institutions, is still in place. He also notes that Evren was responsible not only for the coup but also for the wave of assassinations and massacres from 1978 onwards that preceded it and was used to legitimize it. İhsan Dağı on the Diken news site writes that if HDP crosses the threshold to parliament in the upcoming general election, it will restore the faith in competitive democracy, by demonstrating that change by normal ways is still possible in Turkey.
By Gareth Jenkins (vol. 8, no. 2 of the Turkey Analyst)
On January 13, 2015, Selahattin Demirtaş, the co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), announced that the HDP will run as a party in the June 7, 2015 general election. If the HDP fails to cross the 10 per cent national electoral threshold not only will the country’s Kurds no longer have their own voice in parliament but nearly all of the seats in predominantly Kurdish areas are likely to go to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), thus boosting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s hopes of changing the constitution and introducing a presidential or semi-presidential system.
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.