By Gareth Jenkins (vol. 2, no. 23 of the Turkey Analyst)
For a party which has frequently expressed its opposition to the closure of political parties, the muted response of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to the outlawing of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) spoke volumes. Few appear to have mourned the banning of a party which in recent months had broadened its support base in southeast Turkey at the AKP’s expense. However, the AKP appears unlikely to be able to exploit the closure of the DTP for its own electoral advantage.
By M. K. Kaya (vol. 2, no. 21 of the Turkey Analyst)
With its Kurdish opening, the Turkish government has set out to reinvent Turkey, in order to secure the integrity of the state and consolidate society. The AKP is succeeding in reaching out to the Kurds. However, the opening is being met with stiff opposition from Turkish nationalists, and the AKP will ignore that opposition at its own peril. The Kurdish imperative also plays an important if hidden role behind some of Turkey’s recent, controversial foreign policy initiatives.
By Gareth H. Jenkins (vol. 2, no. 19 of the Turkey Analyst)
The October 24 announcement by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that he was postponing the planned arrival in Turkey from Europe on October 28 of 15 members and sympathizers of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) was a tacit admission that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) had seriously miscalculated a critical phase in the “Kurdish Opening”, which is designed to address the grievances of Turkey’s Kurdish minority and persuade the PKK to lay down its arms.
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.
By Tülin Daloglu (vol. 2, no. 13 of the Turkey Analyst)
For a long time, the relationship between Turkey and Iraq has been defined by the fact that Iraqi Kurds provide a safe haven for the separatist Kurdish terrorist organization, the PKK. Yet Gen. Ilker Basbug, Turkey’s Chief of Staff, said recently in Washington that Iraq’s Kurdish region is no longer a safe place for PKK terrorists. that gain cannot yet be counted as permanent. Next January, Iraq will see general elections as well as a referendum on controversial issues like the future of Kirkuk. With U.S. troops withdrawing from Iraqi cities, escalating high-profile attacks raise concerns about the Iraqi forces’ ability to secure the country. In this make it-or-break it year for Iraq, the Kurds must decide the price they will pay to retain Kirkuk inside their territory. They will also have to decide whether they are willing to risk a possible breakaway from Iraq.
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.