By Halil Karaveli
January 25, 2024
Turkey’s new opposition leader Özgür Özel is proposing to do something that no one has attempted in Turkey since the early 1990s, to revive a social democratic alternative. Yet the CHP’s new leader is making a turn to the left under inauspicious circumstances. The right in its different shades is hegemonic and there is no societal clamor for social justice and equality. Meanwhile, the Turkish labor movement has been reduced to insignificance, depriving social democracy of a base of working class militancy. Yet rampant inequality needs to be addressed, and a left-wing message that addresses economic concerns can help transcend Turkey’s crippling ethnic divisions, encouraging Turkish and Kurdish lower classes to make common cause. It offers a way out of Turkey’s democratic impasse.
The future of the Kurdish peace process has become cause for concern after the violent clashes in Lice between Kurdish demonstrators and police and after a Kurdish militant brought down the Turkish flag on a military base in Diyarbakır. Mustafa Akyol in pro-government Star invites the Kurdish nationalists to make up their minds about whether or not they intend to remain part of Turkey. Ali Bayramoğlu in similarly pro-government Yeni Şafak argues that it is necessary to give Abdullah Öcalan, the imprisoned leader of the PKK, more freedom of action and to make him the interlocutor of the peace negotiations, in order to bring down tensions.
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.