By Gareth Jenkins (vol. 8, no. 15 of the Turkey Analyst)
In recent weeks, Turkey has been wracked by an escalation in Kurdish-related violence. Not only could the upsurge have been prevented but there are fears that the worst may yet be to come. The fear is that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan may order an even harsher crackdown over the weeks ahead and that, with its rural units depleted by deployments to Iraq and Syria, the PKK may increasingly respond by staging attacks, including more suicide car bombings, in the cities.
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.
By Gareth Jenkins (vol. 8, no. 13 of the Turkey Analyst)
The Turkish general election of 7 June stripped the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of its parliamentary majority for the first time since November 2002 and dealt a devastating blow to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s hopes of replacing the country’s parliamentary system with an autocratic presidential one in which all political power was concentrated in his own hands. But, even though the election was an undoubted triumph for the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), it has also left the Kurdish nationalist movement facing a number of challenges.
Abdülkadir Selvi in Yeni Şafak reports that Turkey is determined to take action in Syria if the PYD expands to the west of the Euphrates, taking control of Jarabulus, but that this does not mean that Turkey is about to go to war. Özgür Mumcu in Cumhuriyet writes that Turkey is dreaming about a military operation that is internally marketed as an operation against PYD, while it is externally marketed as something that supposedly targets ISIS. Orhan Kemal Cengiz in Bugün writes that the question after the election was if Erdoğan was going to interpret the results as a no to the proposed, unlimited powers of the presidency or as a “road accident,” and concludes that it’s now business as usual for the president. Orhan Bursalı in Cumhuriyet writes that it is very difficult for AKP to accept that the party has lost the possibility to form a majority government on its own, and that the party and the “Mighty” – Erdoğan – intends to never relinquish power. Candaş Tolga Işık at the Habere Dikkat news site writes that handing the seat of the speaker of the parliament to AKP as a gift, only because MHP is unable to curb its hatred of HDP, is going to be the undoing of the party.
By Halil Karaveli (vol. 8, no. 12 of the Turkey Analyst)
The immediate effects of Turkey’s June 7 election was that the ruling Justice and Development party (AKP) lost its majority and President Erdoğan was forced to put his plans for a presidential system on hold, at least for the moment. Yet the prospects for Turkish democracy are not necessarily any brighter today. The most likely outcome is a coalition between the AKP and the rightist Nationalist Action Party (MHP). That is the preferred outcome for “conservative” business interests, who challenge “secular” business interests and want to continue to use state power to get their hands on a bigger share of capital. Their interests ensure that the AKP will remain on its confrontational track; that is the principal dynamic behind Turkey’s drift toward authoritarian rule, and it is far from having been halted.
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.