By Gareth H. Jenkins
November 10th, 2015, The Turkey Analyst
The November 1 general election was a victory for the Justice and Development Party (AKP) rather than for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Although he is likely to try to use the AKP’s parliamentary majority to try to push ahead with his plans for an autocratic presidential system, the result showed that he has no popular mandate for one.
By Toni Alaranta
October 28th, 2015, The Turkey Analyst
The refugee crisis is only the most recent chapter in the complex relationship between the European Union and Turkey. The common assumption in EU circles was for many years that the ruling Islamists in Turkey were Euro-democrats. Now, the EU has re-engaged with Turkey, not as a supposed beacon of “Muslim democracy” but as a gatekeeper. But by re-embracing Erdoğan’s authoritarian regime in order ensure that it keeps refugees away from Europe, Angela Merkel and her EU colleagues send the message that they care little about the fate of Turkey’s authentically European-oriented, democratic constituencies.
Ali Bulaç in Zaman observes that the “Kurdish problem” is at the center of the massacres that have taken place in Diyarbakır, Suruç and Ankara. The mass killings are in fact targeting a development that had promised to yield a peaceful solution. The deep forces within the state who do not want the Kurdish problem to be solved, international actors and certain elements of the PKK dislike that the HDP, after its surge in the June 7 election, has embarked on a path toward embracing the whole of Turkey. They started their disgusting terror just after the HDP had 80 deputies elected to parliament. I do not think that the AKP, the government or those state levers that sincerely hope for a solution of this problem have had anything to do with the restart of the terror. But I do not think that it would be right to dismiss those who suspect that the coup makers who have regained strength during the last two years, deep groups, foreign powers and certain elements of the PKK are in collusion as conspiracy theorists. The explosion in Ankara targeted the whole of the country, and sought to blow up the hope for peace. They are setting a trap for all of us.
Etyen Mahçupyan in Akşam writes that it is not easy to plan and execute an act of terrorism. The needs of organization increase the likelihood that the suicide attack in Ankara had a foreign source. The purpose can be to render Turkey incapable of exerting influence in the Middle East by burying it in internal problems. Alongside this, there can be said to exist results that are wanted when it comes to the internal politics: such as, to spread hopelessness among the public, undermine faith in the state, to paralyze the government, to create a vacuum of authority, to render internal peace impossible… We need to bear in mind that the massacre took place at a juncture when it was being said that the PKK was going to declare a cease fire, as the government was conducting operations against ISIS within the country and as the Syrian air defense system had locked on Turkish war planes.
Ahmet İnsel in Cumhuriyet writes that the October 10 attack was not perpetrated against Turkey. Neither was it made against the state or the AKP. The October 10 massacre was perpetrated against the forces of freedom, democracy and peace in Turkey. This was not a blind act of terror. Its victims were purposefully selected beforehand. Just as in Suruç and Diyarbakır, it was the people who are waging an unflinching, determined struggle for peace and democracy against the clique of Tayyip Erdoğan and the AKP’s hegemony who were killed. The November 1 election is going to be a critical date, measuring both the determination to hold the power accountable and to stop those who want to drag us toward civil war. Every vote that is cast for the parties of the peace and freedom front on November 1 will be a slap on the face of those who perpetrated the October 10 massacre, who planned it, who hope to reap the benefits of the atmosphere of terror and chaos that they have created, and who are so satisfied with the sight of this barbarity that they are not even able to feign sorrow.
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.