By Barış Soydan
October 17, 2022
The notion that Turkey faces an “existential” threat, that the unity of the state and the nation is at stake, has long featured preeminently in Turkish political discourse, legitimizing repressive policies. Yet, growing poverty, inequality and despair, which provide a xenophobic far right with fertile ground, may turn out to be Turkey’s truly existential problem. Millions have lost not only their economic status but also, and perhaps even worse, their hopes for the future. This development is ripe with risks and does not augur well for Turkey's future and social cohesion. Unless economic injustice and hopelessness are addressed, Turkey will face the risk of social upheaval and political destabilization.
Ergun Babahan in Özgür Düşünce writes that the southeast of Turkey is awash in blood. In areas near the border, the state is only able to demonstrate its power with tanks and armored vehicles. Those who look at Cizre or Diyarbakır are reminded of Iraq during the American occupation. The risks are extremely great. There is a possibility that the fighting is going to spread to the Kurdish area in Syria. The AKP is taking steps that are going to raise tensions further, and remove the possibility of finding political solutions. The atmosphere of fighting is likely going to enable Erdogan to pursue his repressive policies and help him win a probable referendum on the introduction of a presidential system, as the fighting ensures that he will get the support of MHP voters. Yet the government should recognize that it is not facing a group of armed youth. It is facing a movement that has a strong popular support. Turkey is racing toward a big fire.
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.