By Halil Karaveli
January 12, 2022
The political destruction of Istanbul mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu is ultimately meant to demonstrate that the alliance, supported by the Kurdish political movement, which carried him to victory in 2019, is not going to be allowed to repeat its success at the national level. In theory, the removal of İmamoğlu from office will enable the mainstream opposition to turn the presidential election into a referendum about popular sovereignty. However, to succeed it would have to convince voters in Diyarbakır, Mardin and Van that it is as sensitive about their sovereignty as it is about that of the electorate in Istanbul. This is unlikely as the right-wing nationalist Good party of the main opposition alliance resists democratic openings to the Kurds. The division between rigid statist-nationalism and popular democracy runs through the ruling alliance of the AKP and the MHP as well. To tip the balance in favor of popular democracy, Turkey needs a rearrangement of political alliances.
By Gareth Jenkins
October 27, 2022
Turkey’s Kurds have the potential to play a key role in Turkey’s forthcoming presidential and parliamentary elections, which are due to be held in June 2023 at the latest. Their votes could be critical to Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s hopes of securing a third term as president and are likely to determine whether the alliance between his Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Action Party (MHP) retains its parliamentary majority. But, with most of its leaders in prison or facing prosecution, its members expelled from virtually all of the local authorities they won in the last local elections and its main political party, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), facing closure by the Constitutional Court, the Kurdish political movement faces a major challenge in persuading its supporters of the relevance of casting their votes. The 2023 elections could be decided not so much by who Kurds vote for but how many go to the polls.
By Sarah Glynn
March 10, 2022
Despite the Turkish government’s current efforts to portray itself as a peacemaker who cannot countenance unprovoked aggression, its assault on the Kurds continues both within and beyond Turkey’s borders. Turkish democracy, always a sickly creature, is undergoing a judicial asphyxiation. Tens of thousands of opposition figures are in prison, including thousands of members of the third largest party in the Turkish Parliament, the pro-Kurdish, leftist Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). Two ongoing court cases could see leading party members jailed for life, and the enforced closure of the party. These cases commit the state even further to violent suppression of Kurdish hopes rather than a political solution.
By Halil Karaveli
September 29, 2021
While a solution to the Kurdish problem will likely continue to remain out of reach, Turkey has no alternative but to muddle through, alternating between cautious reform and clampdown. Turkey can only hope that regional developments, and in particular American policies in its neighborhood, will not contribute to bringing things to a calamitous head between Turks and Kurds. The recent decision of the United States to allocate $170 million to the Kurdish militia in Rojava will certainly not alter the perception in Ankara that it faces an American-Kurdish threat against which it must remain vigilant.
By Aykan Erdemir and Luc Sasseville
April 27, 2020
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ambitions in Syria have resulted in a two-pronged intervention, as Ankara targets the Bashar al-Assad regime in the war-torn country’s northwest and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Council in the northeast. The coronavirus pandemic, along with Turkey’s economic crisis, jihadist attacks against Turkish forces in Idlib, and infighting among Turkish proxies will all pose obstacles to Erdoğan’s plans in Syria. It is, however, far from certain that these challenges will have a restraining effect on the foreign and security policy of the Turkish regime.
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.