By Halil M. Karaveli (vol. 2, no. 17 of the Turkey Analyst)
The perspective of the General staff on the Islamic conservative movement has evolved, from having seen it as an intruder on the territory of the state to judging it on its own possible merits as a protector of the integrity and strength of the state. The joint management by the AKP government and the General staff of the Kurdish issue is revelatory of the convergence that is under way between the erstwhile foes, provoking the anger of an alienated nationalist opposition.
By Svante E. Cornell and M.K. Kaya (vol. 2, no. 16 of the Turkey Analyst)
In its laudable attempts to reduce tensions with its neighbors and to gain a greater influence in the South Caucasus, the AKP government has made itself dependent on forces that it cannot control. Unless Armenia and Azerbaijan strike a deal rapidly, Turkey will inevitably be forced to choose between reneging on its commitment to normalize relations with Armenia or risk a breakdown in its relations with Azerbaijan. In either situation, Moscow will be the geopolitical winner. Western, in particular American, activity to support an agreement on principle between Armenia and Azerbaijan is urgently called for.
By Halil M. Karaveli (vol. 2, no. 16 of the Turkey Analyst)
The determination of the Turkish government to muzzle critical media is the clearest sign to date that Turkey is drifting towards semi-authoritarianism. Contrary to the expectations of its liberal supporters, the AKP is not about to dismantle statism. Fusing statism and religious conservatism, the AKP could be introducing a semi-authoritarian model more comprehensive and potentially more enduring than the defunct Kemalist model.
By Gareth Jenkins (vol. 2, no. 15 of the Turkey Analyst)
It is nearly five years since Turkey’s ruling party passed a substantive package of reforms to comply with EU norms. The few reforms demanded by the EU which have been passed in recent years appear to be more the product of a convergence with the AKP’s perceptions of its own interests than a response to the requirements of the accession process. As Turkish officials try to come up with a formula to avoid a “train crash” in December 2009, their main concern is no longer to move the accession process forward; it is simply to keep it alive.
By Halil M. Karaveli (vol. 2, no. 14 of the Turkey Analyst)
The AKP government’s “Kurdish opening” is a promising initiative in principle. Turkey can ill afford to postpone the search for a new societal concord. However, the scope for a resolution of the Kurdish issue is extremely narrow. Recognizing that Kurdish nationalism will have to be further accommodated, the Turkish state seeks a way to do so without endangering the unitary state. Furthermore, the AKP’s effort to reconcile the ethnic division of Turkey will be hampered by the fact that the governing party enjoys scant credibility as a uniting force.
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.