VOL. 8, NO. 1, 14 JANUARY 2015

By Fatih Yaslı (vol. 28, no. 1 of the Turkey Analyst)

The regime that the AKP is constructing certainly deserves to be defined as “new.” However, a proper understanding of the rise of the Islamists requires that their ascent is put in the right historical context, and that the true nature of the old Turkish regime is appreciated. Turkey’s Islamization has a long prehistory. It has been a long time since the radicalism of Kemalism was discarded. Instead, religion and conservatism have been consistently promoted in the name of anti-socialism.

council

By Halil Karaveli (vol. 8, no. 1 of the Turkey Analyst)

Atatürk was Hitler’s “shining star in the darkness.” The Third Reich instituted a veritable cult of Atatürk. The Nazi admiration provides a lens for a fresh look at Kemalism. In spite of its pretentions to stand for “enlightenment”, Kemalism has failed to midwife a democratic evolution. The question is whether this has anything to do with the aspects of Kemalism that the Nazis admired.

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Media

Several columnists have brought up the recent attack against Charlie Hebdo in Paris. Yusuf Kaplan in Yeni Safak writes that the attack was the work of the French “deep state” in order to increase Islamophobia. Orhan Kemal Cengiz in Bugün writes that pious Muslims must stop hiding behind conspiracy theories, and Nuray Mert writes on the Diken news site that blaming such attacks on groups created by the West is simply an attempt to pretend that there is not a major problem that Muslims need to tackle. 

By Gareth Jenkins (vol. 7, no. 23 of the Turkey Analyst)

On December 14, 2014, the Turkish police staged early morning raids in 13 provinces across the country following the issuing of arrest warrants for 31 alleged members of the Gülen Movement on terrorism charges. Those detained included six journalists, prompting claims in the national and international media that the arrests were another example of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s increasing suppression of freedom of expression. In fact, the narratives of the AKP and the Gülen Movement about the arrests are both attempts to coat a power struggle with the gloss of a commitment to principle.

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  • Turkey and Syria’s Jihadis: More than Free Passage?
    Wednesday, 22 May 2013 12:24
    Turkey and Syria’s Jihadis: More than Free Passage?

    by Murad Batal al-Shishani (vol. 6, no. 10 of the Turkey Analyst)

    On February 20, 2013, Syrian rebels and the Kurdish militia—which had fought each other for months in a town near the Turkish border—agreed to a ceasefire. Ras al-Ain is an ethnically mixed town of Arabs, Kurds, Armenians, Chechens, and so on. In the past few months, the town has become a theatre playing out Turkey’s fears concerning the ongoing crisis in Syria, its role and the relationship with various armed groups there, including jihadists. In addition to its close relations with the Free Syrian Army (FSA), Turkey has supported local jihadist groups in Ras al-Ain, while it appears to have proven unable to control or open links with the most influential jihadist group, al-Nusra.

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  • A Special Kind of Awful: The State of the Turkish Media
    Wednesday, 08 May 2013 09:25
    A Special Kind of Awful: The State of the Turkish Media

    by Andrew Finkel (vol. 6, no. 9 of the Turkey Analyst)

    International organizations whose business it is to monitor press independence have again in recent months questioned the Turkish government’s commitment to enshrine freedom of expression as a basic right. The brunt of such criticism is focused on the government’s watering down of promised reforms and a seeming unwillingness to surrender the ability to detain political adversaries. The courts still retain wide powers of pre-trial arrest. These correspond to a form of pre-trial internment, and the result is that punishment is meted out at the commencement of lengthy prosecutions rather than after sentencing. An unacceptably broad definition of abetting terrorism means that many individuals are penalized not for acts they commit but the opinions they express. Yet however sharp and well directed such criticism may be, they do not in themselves analyze or address the deterioration of ublic realm in Turkey. Nor do they highlight a culture of complicity whereby press organizations are themselves instrumental in imposing restrictions on the range and depth of public debate.

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  • The Diverging Paths of Abdullah Gül and Tayyip Erdogan
    Wednesday, 24 April 2013 14:17
    The Diverging Paths of Abdullah Gül and Tayyip Erdogan

    by Svante E. Cornell (vol. 6, no. 8 of the Turkey Analyst)

    Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan hardly hides his ambition to accede to the presidency under a new constitution providing for a presidential system. Yet his ambition for a further concentration of power in his own hands is beginning to generate unlikely counter-forces. Chief among these is the growing coordination among other forces on the Turkish political spectrum – including the CHP, the Fethullah Gülen movement, and president Abdullah Gül. The latter, in particular, is beginning to more vocally distance himself from Erdoğan in both domestic and foreign affairs. While it may be too early to talk of a rupture, Gül is becoming an important counter-balance to Erdoğan.

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Joint Center Publications

Analysis Halil Karaveli, "Kobani and the future of Turkish Democracy," Foreign Affairs, 8 October 2014.

Analysis Halil Karaveli and Michael Tanchum, "Pakistan's Lessons for Turkey," New York Times, 5 OCtober 2014.

Analysis Halil Karaveli and Svante E. Cornell, "Davutoglu and the 'New Turkey': The Closing of a 'Hundred Year Old Parenthesis", Bipartisan Policy Center, August 26, 2014.

Analysis Halil M. Karaveli, "Erdogan's Achilles Heel: Why the Prime Minister will Win the Election, but Lose the Economy", Foreign Affairs, August 8, 2014.

Analysis
Blaise Misztal, Halil Karaveli, and Svante Cornell, "Foreign Policy Reset Unlikely Under President Erdogan", The American Interest, August 7, 2014.

Timeline Hendrik Müller, Turkey's December 17 Process: A Timeline of the Graft Investigation and the Government's Response, Joint Center electronic publication, June 2014.


Monograph
Eric S. Edelman, Svante E. Cornell, Aaron Lobel, Michael Makovsky, The Roots of Turkish Conduct: Understanding the Evolution of Turkish Policy in the Middle East, Washington: Bipartisan Policy Center, December 2013. 

 

 

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 is published bi-weekly, and includes topical analysis, as well as a summary of the Turkish media debate.

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