By Andrew Finkel (vol. 4, no. 12 of the Turkey Analyst)
At 12 June’s general election, Turkey’s governing Justice and Development party (AKP) pulled off a rare political hat trick, securing a third consecutive parliamentary majority and doing so with an ever-increasing share of the popular vote. The result is a clear endorsement of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, whose style and personality continues to dominate Turkish politics. It is also his answer to a growing chorus of critics at home but also abroad who accuse him of having abandoned his party’s EU-oriented reform agenda in favour of an increasingly centralised and autocratic style of rule. The AKP is now the party of the new urban middle class. The party is literally building its own constituency, a process in which the opposition finds it hard to engage.
By Gareth H. Jenkins (vol. 3, no. 21 of the Turkey Analyst)
There are increasing signs that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and President Abdullah Gül are preparing for a major confrontation if the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) wins the next Turkish general election in June 2011. Erdoğan has repeatedly declared that the AKP will introduce a new constitution if is returned to power. He has yet to announce any details, although AKP officials report that it will replace the current parliamentary system with a presidential or semi-presidential one; after which, Erdoğan will attempt to have himself elected president. The main problem is that Gül has made it clear that he is not prepared to step aside.
By Halil M. Karaveli (vol. 3, no. 15 of the Turkey Analyst)
The popular approval of the constitutional amendments opens the way to the presidency for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Further, it is now likely that Erdoğan will seek to introduce a presidential system. That prospect is sure to stoke the fears that Turkey is moving toward authoritarianism. Yet the introduction of a presidential system could in fact also facilitate a resolution of the Kurdish problem.
By Gareth H. Jenkins (vol. 2, no. 19 of the Turkey Analyst)
The October 24 announcement by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that he was postponing the planned arrival in Turkey from Europe on October 28 of 15 members and sympathizers of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) was a tacit admission that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) had seriously miscalculated a critical phase in the “Kurdish Opening”, which is designed to address the grievances of Turkey’s Kurdish minority and persuade the PKK to lay down its arms.
By M. K. Kaya (vol. 2, no. 9 of the Turkey Analyst)
On May 1, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the first, major cabinet reshuffle since the AKP came to power in 2002. While eight ministers were left out of the new cabinet, nine new ministers were appointed, and one minister was given new responsibilities. The comprehensive cabinet revision signals that the Justice and Development Party’s leadership is above all intent on reasserting the party’s conservative core in order to revive the party’s fortunes. However, the neglect of other political currents could eventually prove to be costly for the AKP.
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.