VOL. 7, NO. 07, 09 APRIL 2014

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

On March 30, 2014, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) secured a resounding victory in the Turkish local elections. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan now appears set to use the party’s success as platform for his own bid for the presidency in August 2014. But, rather than bringing stability, the AKP’s local election victory and Erdogan’s presidential ambitions are likely to intensify the political turmoil in the country. 

800px-Ak parti miting6

By Micha’el Tanchum (vol. 7, no. 7 of the Turkey Analyst)

With the annexation of Crimea, Turkey faces a stronger and more emboldened Russian naval power in the Black Sea. A resurgent Russia may be tempted to exploit its temporary naval dominance to alter current Black Sea energy exploitation and transportation arrangements more in its favor and to the detriment of Turkey and its partners in the Caucasus. The politically motivated stoppage of Turkey’s National Warship Project’s production schedule has created a window of vulnerability in Turkey’s Black Sea naval defenses in the face of rapidly rising Russian naval power.  

Tactical exercises of the Russian Navy

The March 30 municipal elections in Turkey are generally viewed as a resounding victory for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as a consequential defeat for the movement of Fethullah Gülen and for the opposition that was tacitly allied with the movement.  Still, commentators who are opposed to Erdogan point out that his party sustained a sizeable loss compared to the general elections in 2011 that cannot be ignored. They also ask if he is going to be able to govern a country that is as fractured and highly polarized as Turkey has become. The observation is made that every election since 2002 has demonstrated the existence of three, culturally distinct Turkeys, and that the March 30 elections showed that these differences have hardened to a point where the question becomes if the people of Turkey still has the will to live together.

Media

By Hendrik Müller (vol. 7, no. 6 of the Turkey Analyst)

Turkey recently promulgated a new Internet bill and swiftly used it to block access to the micro-blogging platform Twitter, and subsequently Youtube. In line with a longer history of fundamental rights violations, this step marks another chapter in Turkey’s recent path towards absolute censorship. In light of international and regional commitments, however, Turkey is increasingly at odds and may even risk forsaking its EU membership candidacy.

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Joint Center Publications

Analysis Aliza Marcus and Halil M. Karaveli, "Turkey: Return of the GeneralsThe National Interest, 13 April 2014. 

Analysis
Halil Karaveli, "Trial by Twitter", Foreign Affairs, 25 March 2014. 

Report
Morton Abramowitz, Eric S. Edelman, Svante Cornell et. al., Turkey's Local Elections: Actors, Factors and Implications, Report of the Bipartisan Policy Center's Task Force on U.S.-Turkish Relations, March 2014.

Article
Svante E. Cornell, "Erdogan's Looming Downfall", Middle East Quarterly, Spring 2014.

Analysis
Halil M. Karaveli, "Erdogan Loses It", Foreign Affairs, 9 February 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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