By Gareth Jenkins (vol. 8, no. 13 of the Turkey Analyst)
The Turkish general election of 7 June stripped the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of its parliamentary majority for the first time since November 2002 and dealt a devastating blow to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s hopes of replacing the country’s parliamentary system with an autocratic presidential one in which all political power was concentrated in his own hands. But, even though the election was an undoubted triumph for the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), it has also left the Kurdish nationalist movement facing a number of challenges.
By Ozan Serdaroğlu (vol. 8, no. 13 of the Turkey Analyst)
Seven months after Cypriot president Nicos Anastasiades withdrew from the peace talks, attempts to reunify Cyprus are again underway with greater optimism following the election of Mustafa Akıncı as the new leader of Turkish Cypriots. The Greek Cypriot side continues to enlarge its diplomatic capacities and develops a new regional context where Turkey is left with fewer options. Eastern Mediterranean geopolitics together with the more assertive, independent-minded stance of Turkish Cypriots in favor of “reunification” mean that Turkey faces the most delicate stage of its engagement in Cyprus since 1974.
By Halil Karaveli (vol. 8, no. 12 of the Turkey Analyst)
The immediate effects of Turkey’s June 7 election was that the ruling Justice and Development party (AKP) lost its majority and President Erdoğan was forced to put his plans for a presidential system on hold, at least for the moment. Yet the prospects for Turkish democracy are not necessarily any brighter today. The most likely outcome is a coalition between the AKP and the rightist Nationalist Action Party (MHP). That is the preferred outcome for “conservative” business interests, who challenge “secular” business interests and want to continue to use state power to get their hands on a bigger share of capital. Their interests ensure that the AKP will remain on its confrontational track; that is the principal dynamic behind Turkey’s drift toward authoritarian rule, and it is far from having been halted.
By Aliza Marcus (vol. 8, no. 12 of the Turkey Analyst)
Kurdish voters abandoned the ruling AKP in Turkey's national elections, propelling the Kurdish HDP into parliament and giving Kurdish nationalist demands a new legitimacy. Earlier, critics could argue the PKK did not really represent the majority of Kurds in Turkey, but that argument is getting weaker by the day. The HDP's win can be ascribed, in large part, to a boost in backing for the PKK. The question is whether the parties and people who want more rights and freedoms will realize that Kurdish rights, autonomy and likely freedom for Abdullah Öcalan must be part of this to truly make Turkey into a liberal place.