Şahin Alpay in Zaman writes that Turkey has certainly entered a period of instability that is not going to be short-lived. No doubt, President Erdoğan is the chief responsible for this. Yet this fact should not lead us to overlook the main reasons for why calm and stability continue to elude Turkey. A multicultural country like Turkey, with its multiple identities, can only become calm and stable when freedom and a pluralistic democracy has been put in place. Unfortunately, the genetic code of the republic does not allow for this. Erdoğan is faithful to the founding tradition of the republic when he views every kind of opposition as treason and when he does not tolerate that civil society becomes stronger. The second founding stipulation of the republic was that a modern society could only be constructed if the whole of society was made Muslim and if Islam was controlled by the state through the State Directorate of Religious Affairs. Indeed, the AKP, which stands for Turkish nationalism mixed with a sauce of Islamism, does not recognize the freedom of belief and continues to impose the religion of the State Directorate of Religious Affairs.
By Gareth Jenkins (vol. 8, no. 15 of the Turkey Analyst)
In recent weeks, Turkey has been wracked by an escalation in Kurdish-related violence. Not only could the upsurge have been prevented but there are fears that the worst may yet be to come. The fear is that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan may order an even harsher crackdown over the weeks ahead and that, with its rural units depleted by deployments to Iraq and Syria, the PKK may increasingly respond by staging attacks, including more suicide car bombings, in the cities.
By Hay Eytan Cohen Yanarocak (vol. 8, no. 15 of the Turkey Analyst)
Despite the importance and improvement of multi-dimensional Turkish-Chinese relations, Turkish decision makers have had difficulties reconciling their Pan-Islamic ideological rhetoric and the demands of realpolitik. While Ankara recognizes the need to form good relations with China, its self-assigned role as the protector of “oppressed Muslims” has, so far, trapped Turkey between realpolitik and the purism of ideology. Having acknowledged this clash, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has moved to neutralize the discord that has existed between Turkey’s national interests and its Pan-Islamic ideological rhetoric. Erdoğan’s new China strategy promises to pave the way for solid, stable relations between Turkey and China.
By Toni Alaranta (vol. 8, no. 14 of the Turkey Analyst)
There is widespread expectation that “normalization” and democratic consolidation will follow the June 7 election, which deprived the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of its majority. The talk about “normalization” and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan becoming “isolated” presupposes that Turkey’s democratic travails emanate exclusively from Erdoğan’s power hunger, and that once this factor is eliminated, the AKP will once again become the “normalizing force” it allegedly was previously. However, “normalization” would mean abandoning not only Erdoğan but the very political narrative disseminated by the AKP during its years in power, and thus the mission of the party.
By Halil Karaveli (vol. 8, no. 14 of the Turkey Analyst)
The AKP’s loss of its absolute majority in the June 7 parliamentary election may paradoxically offer the regime the chance to refurbish its tarnished image in the West. That, at least, is how some of the leading representatives of the regime judge the present situation. A coalition government with the center-left CHP is perceived as a chance for the AKP to rid itself of the charges of authoritarianism. Western endorsement has always been critically important for AKP, and the party is desperate to regain its lost legitimacy in the West. The question, though, is why the CHP would even contemplate lending itself to a project that would only entrench the AKP regime.
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.