By Richard Weitz (vol. 5, no. 6 of the Turkey Analyst)
The decision of Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping to visit Turkey along with Ireland and the United States during his ten-day world tour before becoming president in about a year underscores the importance Turkey holds for China’s leaders. The AKP government’s desire for new partnerships and Turkey’s eagerness to join other states in benefitting from the strength of the Chinese economy has contributed to this flourishing relationship. Their growing mutual attraction has led them to overlook their diverging policies regarding some regional issues, such as Syria and the status of ethnic Uighur Turks in China, and instead concentrate on cultivating mutual economic and strategic ties. But that situation may not endure. Beijing will have to pay close attention to the power struggle within the governing coalition of Islamic movements in Turkey, and its implications for the future evolution of Turkey’s foreign relations.
By Peter G. Laurens (vol. 4, no. 10 of the Turkey Analyst)
Less than a month from now, Turkish citizens will go to the polls to cast their votes in the Republic’s seventeenth general election. Economic problems are often the catalyst for political change worldwide and in Turkey this is no exception, but in the country at present there is precious little bad economic news for opposition parties to exploit in attempting to weaken the ruling party’s chances at victory.
Joris Gjata (vol. 2, no. 20 of the Turkey Analys)
Since May 10, 2008 Turkey has been negotiating with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) over another three-year Stand-by Agreement, the corresponding loan and its conditionality. Despite debates on the need for such agreement, implicit in the statements of the IMF and Turkey’s authorities, the fact is that they both want it. However, there is no deal yet, its conclusion being delayed by the Turkish government. The reason for such a delay is not the political cost of an IMF agreement, as is generally supposed: it is the lack of a compelling political benefit from announcing the decision early. Yet, the reluctance of the Turkish government risks coming at a cost for the recovery of the Turkish economy.
By M. K. Kaya (vol. 2, no. 15 of the Turkey Analyst)
Turkey has been severely affected by the global economic crisis. The country is in deep recession. However, it is still uncertain whether an agreement with the International Monetary Fund will be reached. The agreement with the IMF was expected to be signed after the local elections in March 2009, but the Turkish government continues to postpone the issue. The non-existence of an agreement with the IMF is above all a testimony to the lack of any economic administration to speak of. To implement the measures that are necessary if Turkey is to avoid another economic collapse means that the AKP must be prepared to sacrifice its hold on power.
By Gareth Jenkins (vol. 2, no. 5 of the Turkey Analyst)
When the global financial crisis sent economies around the world into a tailspin, officials from Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party, AKP insisted that the country would remain unaffected. One of the reasons appeared to be a simple refusal to acknowledge that anything negative could happen to the Turkish economy while the AKP was in government. Another seems to have been a reluctance to introduce austerity measures in the run-up to the local elections of March 29, 2009. There is a danger that the combination of pride and political short-termism could both deepen the impending economic recession in Turkey and threaten the social and political fabric of the country.
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.