By Halil Karaveli (vol. 7, no. 10 of the Turkey Analyst)
The year after the Gezi Park protests has been the most difficult for Recep Tayyip Erdoğan since he became prime minister, but he has prevailed over his foes and challengers and he can confidently look forward to becoming Turkey’s first popularly elected president in the upcoming election in August. No one can challenge Erdoğan. However, that does not mean that Turkey is always going to bend to his will or that the country is going to be easy to govern even for an all-powerful President Erdoğan.
The explosion at the Soma coal mine that claimed the lives of three hundred workers has led some to critical comments against the neo-liberal economic regime in Turkey. Hasan Cemal, a liberal commentator, argues that it’s time to revisit long-forgotten notions like social justice and he questions the wisdom of totally expelling the state from the economy. The rising tensions in Turkish society are of great concern for many commentators. Oral Çalışlar, a liberal, warns that Turkey is drifting toward chaos. And although he does not hold Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan solely responsible for this dangerous drift, he nonetheless argues that Erdoğan’s reactions exacerbate the polarization and he urges him to take steps that ease the tensions. Yüksel Taşkın, a social democratic academic and columnist, accuses the AKP government of having intentionally alienated the Alevis and he warns that especially the Alevi youth has become a powder keg that is ready to blow up.
By Gareth Jenkins (vol. 7, no. 9 of the Turkey Analyst)
On May 9-11, 2014, Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) held one of its regular retreats in the western Anatolian city of Afyon. Although no announcement has yet been made, the participants are believed to have informally endorsed Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as the party’s candidate in the presidential elections in August 2014.
By Hendrik Müller (vol. 7, no. 8 of the Turkey Analyst)
The determination of Turkey’s Constitutional Court to fulfill its role of upholding the rule of law, in spite of this putting it at odds with the mercurial prime minister, has unexpectedly presented a check on Erdoğan’s ambitions. The recent rulings of the Court raise hopes that it can be a true bastion of the rule of law. But if the allegations that its president, Haşim Kılıç, harbors ambitions to become president of the Republic were revealed to be true, those who have called the integrity of the Court into question will appear to be vindicated. That would be regrettable.
By Richard Weitz (vo. 7, no. 4 of the Turkey Analyst)
The severe domestic problems of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan are placing a major burden on Turkey-U.S. relations. His authoritarian tendencies and proclivity to blame everyone, including the United States, for his challenges has made it increasingly difficult for the Barack Obama administration to keep silent about his democratic and human rights setbacks. These challenges will likely only increase in coming months.
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.