By Halil Karaveli
January 12, 2022
The political destruction of Istanbul mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu is ultimately meant to demonstrate that the alliance, supported by the Kurdish political movement, which carried him to victory in 2019, is not going to be allowed to repeat its success at the national level. In theory, the removal of İmamoğlu from office will enable the mainstream opposition to turn the presidential election into a referendum about popular sovereignty. However, to succeed it would have to convince voters in Diyarbakır, Mardin and Van that it is as sensitive about their sovereignty as it is about that of the electorate in Istanbul. This is unlikely as the right-wing nationalist Good party of the main opposition alliance resists democratic openings to the Kurds. The division between rigid statist-nationalism and popular democracy runs through the ruling alliance of the AKP and the MHP as well. To tip the balance in favor of popular democracy, Turkey needs a rearrangement of political alliances.
By Barış Soydan
March 24, 2022
While Turkey’s opposition alliance inspires little hope as an economic savior, its reduction of Turkey’s democratic deficit and crisis to a question of the power of the presidency and the solution to a restoration of parliamentarianism obfuscates what really cripples Turkish democracy. And as the opposition alliance has closed itself both to the left – ignoring the plight of a working class that is hard hit by the economic crisis – and to the representatives of the Kurdish minority, it cannot credibly claim that it will further the cause of democratic change. Even if the opposition alliance were to prevail electorally, which is by no means certain, it will not alter Turkey’s course.
By Sarah Glynn
March 10, 2022
Despite the Turkish government’s current efforts to portray itself as a peacemaker who cannot countenance unprovoked aggression, its assault on the Kurds continues both within and beyond Turkey’s borders. Turkish democracy, always a sickly creature, is undergoing a judicial asphyxiation. Tens of thousands of opposition figures are in prison, including thousands of members of the third largest party in the Turkish Parliament, the pro-Kurdish, leftist Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). Two ongoing court cases could see leading party members jailed for life, and the enforced closure of the party. These cases commit the state even further to violent suppression of Kurdish hopes rather than a political solution.
By Gareth Jenkins
February 14, 2022
The January 29, 2022, resignation of Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül and his replacement by his predecessor Bekir Bozdağ marked another shift in the highly fluid power struggles within the apparatus of the Turkish state beneath the outwardly rigid patina of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s overarching hegemony.
By Ryan Gingeras
June 17, 2021
As the Turkish public grapples with the repercussions of a crippled economy and a grinding pandemic, Turkey’s twitter-sphere, as well as much of its press, remains transfixed on the revelations of Sedat Peker. The videos reinforce certain realities regarding the Turkish state’s relationship with organized crime and with the violent far right. The impact of this reputed gangster on Turkish politics speaks to the influence of the country’s far right, which fits neatly within the country’s broader historical development since the 1970s. Peker’s videos are a reminder of the obstacle to democratization that the far right networks in the state represent.
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.