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.
By Halil Karaveli
May 23, 2023
Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s failure in the first round of Turkey’s presidential election is a testimony to the waning appeal of liberalism in the face of ethnic conflict and refugee flows. The Turkish nationalism on which Kılıçdaroğlu has fatefully stumbled is fuelled by the Kurdish challenge and the Syrian refugees. But it is also fed by a heightened sense of national insecurity in a global context of escalating geopolitical confrontation. The virulently nationalist rhetoric against the Syrian refugees that Kılıçdaroğlu has adopted in order to make himself a palatable choice to right wing Turkish nationalists does not necessarily offer him a path to victory. Tarnishing his image as a liberal and social democrat, he risks forfeiting the support of the Kurdish voters as well as the support of Turkish liberals and leftists.
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.
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.