By Barış Soydan
February 19, 2020
Massive infrastructure projects have become the bedrock of the political economy of Turkey. With the projected building of a canal that would devastate Istanbul’s ecology, and which will vastly increase the budget deficit, the destructive consequences of the collusion of state power and business interests in Turkey risks reaching unprecedented levels. While Turkish crony capitalism requires new mega projects to survive, the Turkish political regime must keep feeding its cronies in order to retain its grip on the country. But the ultimate project of Turkish crony capitalism could spell the end of Istanbul.
By Halil Karaveli
January 30, 2020
Turkey is facing a new polarization between rich and poor. Inequalities in income and wealth have grown dramatically. As developments in other countries in recent years have shown, growing inequality destabilizes the body politic and invites destructive political forces. In Turkey itself, class divisions have historically benefited authoritarian, conservative populists. Turkish democracy needs a resurrected center-left. Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the officially social democrat Republican People’s Party (CHP), has committed his party to the task of rescuing democracy in Turkey. To succeed, he will have to reconsider his belief that the left has become irrelevant.
By Micha’el Tanchum
December 30, 2019
Turkey upended the Eastern Mediterranean's strategic equation with its late November 2019 signing of maritime boundary and military cooperation agreements with the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord in war-divided Libya. By defining maritime borders with the internationally recognized administration in Tripoli, Ankara ostensibly has broken its regional isolation and gained greater legal standing to challenge the boundaries Greece established with Cyprus and Egypt upon which the current arrangements for Eastern Mediterranean natural gas development depend. While previously compartmentalized, Turkey's formalization of its commitment to Tripoli has interlinked an already tense maritime stand-off in the Eastern Mediterranean to a new escalation spiral in the Libyan Civil War in which Turkey's rivals possess escalation dominance over Turkey.
By Halil Karaveli
December 2, 2019
By the end of November 2019, 24 out of 69 mayors in Kurdish cities in Turkey had been dismissed and 19 had been arrested. The Turkish regime exploits nationalism to neutralize the opposition. Yet the opposition cannot dodge its own responsibility for the dismantling of democracy in the Kurdish cities of Turkey. Its refusal to make a principled stand against the crackdown on elected Kurdish representatives plays into the hand of authoritarianism and wastes an opportunity to build a democratic bloc. It should also be clear that Turkey cannot afford to give up on democracy for the Kurds.
By Micha’el Tanchum
November 15, 2019
In early September 2019, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan surprised many in the international community with his declaration that it was unacceptable for nuclear armed powers to prohibit Turkey from acquiring nuclear weapons. While many analysts dismissed Erdoğan’s declaration as more rhetorical posturing designed to advance Turkey’s status in the regional security architecture, the president’s remarks reveal Turkey’s perception of its own deepening strategic vulnerability vis-a-vis its regional rivals. Lacking the strategic weapons system to deter Iran, Saudi Arabia, or Israel, Erdoğan’s tough talk signals a shift in its nuclear policy that will likely be revealed in the advancement of its ballistic missile program.
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.