By Gareth Jenkins (vol. 7, no. 20 of the Turkey Analyst)
On November 4, 2014, Turkish Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek revealed that a total of $800 million would be spent on a new palace and plane for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The announcement has reinforced concerns about not only about Erdoğan’s increasing authoritarianism but also about his growing absorption into his self-image at the cost of the realities of the world around him.
By Halil Karaveli (vol. 7, no. 20 of the Turkey Analyst)
The neo-Ottomans are reverting to Kemalism. From having aspired to be the rule-setter of the Middle East, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is now exhibiting neo-Kemalist traits, accusing the Western powers of harboring imperial designs against Turkey. For Turks of all stripes assuming the worst about Western “imperialists” is natural. But that also means that the fears that their prejudices entertain risk becoming self-fulfilling prophecies.
By Gareth Jenkins (vol. 7, no. 18 of the Turkey Analyst)
On October 7, 2014, Turkey was swept by some of the most violent civil unrest in a generation. At least 23 people were killed and hundreds injured in an eruption of Kurdish nationalist anger at Ankara’s perceived indifference to the apparently imminent capture by the Islamic State of the predominantly Kurdish Syrian border town of Kobane.
By Kemal Kaya (vol. 7 no. 18 of the Turkey Analyst)
The Turkish political system is parliamentarian. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan may have succeeded in neutering of the role of the constitutionally designated executive, the government, but that is only temporary. Sooner or later, the dynamics of the political system are going to assert themselves. The prime minister, even Ahmet Davutoğlu, if he retains the post after the 2015 general election, is set to eventually reclaim power from the president.
The question that continues to preoccupy many commentators in the Turkish press is the direction that President Erdoğan is taking Turkey. Baskın Oran, a leading political scientist and pundit, drew a historical parallel to the epochs of Atatürk and the sultan Abdülhamid II, noting that Erdoğan is copying Atatürk in his methods, while copying Abdülhamid II ideologically. Meanwhile, the statement that General Necdet Özel, the Chief of the General Staff of the Turkish military, made during the official state reception on August 30 that the military is held in the dark about the peace negotiations between the government and the Kurdish movement and that the military is going to react if its “red lines” are crossed, was welcomed in a comment in the daily Zaman. It was noted that the words of the military deserves to be listened to and that a solution that lacks the support of the armed forces does not stand any chance of success.
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.