By Oya Baydar
February 1, 2021
Turkey is evolving from authoritarianism to fascism under the tutelage of the far-right leader Devlet Bahçeli, to whom President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan defers to stay in power. Turkish and international observers have until recently failed to take the full measure of Bahçeli’s importance, treating him as the “junior partner” of Erdoğan, overlooking that Bahçeli is the political front-figure of the state establishment and that he gives voice to the die-hard nationalist, militarist-expansionist mentality that is deeply entrenched in the Turkish state. Meanwhile, the opposition does not offer a democratic counter-force as it too remains wedded to statist nationalism. Yet, faced with the imminent threat of fascism, the parties of the Turkish opposition must sooner or later recognize that it will be their turn next and that the western parts of Turkey cannot and will not remain democratic when the eastern, Kurdish part of the country is under the rule of dictatorship.
By Michaël Tanchum
January 19, 2021
Turkey's decision to provide an unprecedented level of military assistance to Azerbaijan empowered Baku to achieve a resounding victory in the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh War, changing the geopolitical rules of the game in the South Caucasus. Moreover, the war has enhanced Ankara's ability to project its influence in Central Asia. Benefiting from its inclusion in the Chinese-led BRI network of connectivity across Central Asia, Turkey may have outfoxed China in Azerbaijan to become a rising Eurasian power. Although Russia now has to tolerate the presence of Turkish troops on Azerbaijani soil, China may be the big strategic loser in the war's outcome.
By Natalia Konarzewska
December 30, 2020
Turkey offered unprecedented military assistance to Azerbaijan in its recent war with Armenia over the break-away Nagorno-Karabakh region. Its extensive military involvement in the conflict has already payed off and it is, furthermore, set to have far-reaching geopolitical implications in the future. The agreement with Russia on the establishment of a joint ceasefire monitoring centre provides Turkey with a military foothold in the south Caucasus. Even though Turkey is relegated to a secondary role in the post-war security arrangements in Nagorno-Karabakh – as Moscow is reluctant to share power in its self-assigned backyard – it has nonethelss gained a direct gateway to the Caspian Sea and Central Asia that may in time prove crucial.
By Barış Soydan
December 10, 2020
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is certainly right to point to the need of reforms to restore the confidence of international investors in Turkey. Yet his determination, and assuming that he’s sincere, his ability to see reforms through is very much in doubt. Besides, Erdoğan retains a hands-on approach to monetary policy even after the departure of his son-in-law Berat Albayrak from the Ministry of Finance. He may well decide once again to stimulate the economy with cheaper and larger amounts of credit, which would inevitably further destabilize the Turkish economy.
By Natalia Konarzewska
November 23, 2020
In August 2020, Turkey announced the first sizeable natural gas discovery off its Black Sea coast, estimated to contain some 320 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas. In October 2020, after weeks of additional exploration, Turkey revised the estimation of the newfound gas reserve upwards to 405 bcm. The discovery of the Sakarya gas field was met with euphoria, as it came after years of unfruitful quest for indigenous natural gas reserves. The finding promises to ease Turkey’s dependence on hydrocarbon imports and Ankara will likely use its new-found gas field as leverage against Russia, which is bound to have geopolitical implications.
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.