By Gareth Jenkins
November 22, 2022
The response of Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu to the deadly bomb blast in central Istanbul on November 13th has raised more questions than it has answered and intensified already widespread concerns about the possibility that elements in the state apparatus will ratchet up security concerns in the run-up to the next presidential and parliamentary elections, which are due to be held by June 2023 at the latest. By taking such a high public profile, Soylu also appears to have seized on the opportunity presented by the attack to try to boost his public standing -- which has been badly damaged by a string of revelations by exiled organized crime boss Sedat Peker -- and take advantage of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s absence at the G20 summit in Bali to assert his claim to being the second most powerful person in the government and Erdoğan’s heir apparent.
By Gareth Jenkins
October 27, 2022
Turkey’s Kurds have the potential to play a key role in Turkey’s forthcoming presidential and parliamentary elections, which are due to be held in June 2023 at the latest. Their votes could be critical to Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s hopes of securing a third term as president and are likely to determine whether the alliance between his Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Action Party (MHP) retains its parliamentary majority. But, with most of its leaders in prison or facing prosecution, its members expelled from virtually all of the local authorities they won in the last local elections and its main political party, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), facing closure by the Constitutional Court, the Kurdish political movement faces a major challenge in persuading its supporters of the relevance of casting their votes. The 2023 elections could be decided not so much by who Kurds vote for but how many go to the polls.
By Gareth H. Jenkins
September 4, 2019
The removal of the democratically elected mayors of three municipalities in the predominantly Kurdish southeast of the country and their replacement with government appointees has dealt yet another blow to Turkey’s already tattered democratic credentials. Although it is unlikely to lead to an imminent sustained increase in violence or civil unrest, by further excluding Kurds from political processes the government is exacerbating the already growing belief in the southeast that their future lies in some form of detachment from Ankara.
By Halil Karaveli
July 5, 2019
The resounding victory of the opposition in Istanbul has rekindled the democratic hopes of an urban middle class that had come close to losing all hope about the future of Turkey. Yet the democratic vision of Ekrem İmamoğlu, Istanbul’s new mayor, who many see as the next leader of their country, is limited by his embrace of a conservative political tradition that is very much responsible for the persistence of authoritarianism in Turkey. Although the Istanbul election has shown that it takes a conservative to beat a conservative, Turkey is going to need something else to build a lasting democracy.
By Halil Karaveli
May 16, 2019
In Turkey, appearances tend to be deceiving. It is a mistake to take the cancellation of the Istanbul election result as proof that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan refuses to accept defeat at the polls. The Kurdish vote decided the outcome in Istanbul, exposing the vulnerability of a system that was supposed to neutralize the influence of the Kurdish political movement. The Istanbul rerun speaks of the power of Devlet Bahçeli, the nationalist leader, and of the state cadres who see the victory of an opposition in tacit alliance with the Kurdish movement as an existential threat to the state. Erdoğan did not dare to challenge them.
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.