Friday, 13 October 2017 00:00

Turkey and the West: How Bad is it?

By Suat Kınıklıoğlu 

October 13,  2017

The U.S. suspension of visa services in Turkey is an indication of the depth of the fissures between the West and Turkey. While Turkish bureaucrats are trying to maintain functioning relations with the West, there are growing calls in Washington, Ankara and Berlin to redefine Turkey policy. Is Turkey headed for an incremental divorce with the West?

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By Lars Haugom

September 26,  2017

The secularist identity of the Turkish armed forces is being dismantled in piecemeal ways by the AKP government. There is a risk that the comprehensive changes that are now underway will further exacerbate ideological and political factionalism within the officers’ corps. Ultimately, the politicization of the military and the attempts at its traditional, secularist ethos could provoke a crossing of swords between religious-conservative and secularist factions. Since the coup attempt last year, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has taken steps to ensure the loyalty of the current military leadership, while guarding against the possibility of a more politically assertive military leadership in the future. However, it is uncertain if this strategy is also going to restore the internal cohesion of the Turkish armed forces.

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Published in Articles

By Toni Alaranta

September 1,  2017

After fifteen years of Islamic-conservative state transformation, it is increasingly difficult to unmake the ideological-material powerbase that keeps the AKP in power. The state transformation project in Turkey has not only changed the circumstances within which any opposition group needs to operate, it has also, to a large extent, started to change the very language that can be used while addressing the most essential socio-political issues.  One of the most explicit indications of the AKP’s ability to redefine the sociopolitical horizons is the worrisome lack of Western-inclined forces in Turkey.  The Kemalist circles are arguably excessively nationalist. However, they, unlike the liberals, at least have a relatively coherent constituency and ideology for mass mobilization. And the liberals cannot hope to succeed in building a democratic society without a direct backing from some type of nationalist-inclined mass movement.

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By Toni Alaranta

February 17, 2017

It has become a commonplace to argue that Kemalism was a Turkish variant of right-wing nationalism with strong corporatist leanings and even fascist aspects. This is often compounded with the assertion that the Kemalist secularist state elite only sought to secure its own power and status in society, and that it only paid lip-service to Enlightenment ideals. It is pertinent to ask why the Kemalists would have embarked on a hugely unpopular project of culture revolution that threatened their hold on power by provoking a popular reaction, if they only sought to establish a right-wing dictatorship. The right-wing authoritarianism from which Turkey has suffered during most of its history has other sources.

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By Halil Karaveli

February 3, 2017

Historically in Turkey, there is a relationship between the rise of emancipation movements and “constitutional engineering”, between class- or ethnic-based challenges to the established order and the imposition of authoritarian constitutional arrangements in response. The authoritarian constitution of 1982 was the answer to the challenge of workers and peasants in the 1960s and 1970s. Today, a presidential system is supposed to neutralize the Kurdish challenge. However, it may be that Turkey’s ethnic fissure may prevent it from developing either democracy or stable authoritarian rule.

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Joint Center Publications

Op-ed Svante E. Cornell, A Road to Understanding in Syria? The U.S. and TurkeyThe American Interest, June 2018

Article Halil Karaveli "Will the Kurdish Question Secure Erdogan's Re-election?", Turkey Analyst, June 18, 2018

Op-ed Svante E. Cornell "Erbakan, Kisakürek, and the Mainstreaming of Extremism in Turkey"Hudson Institute, June 2018

Op-ed Svante E. Cornell "The U.S. and Turkey: Past the Point of No Return?"The American Interest, February 1, 2018

Op-ed Svante E. Cornell "Erdogan's Turkey: the Role of a Little Known Islamic Poet", Breaking Defense, January 2, 2018

Op-ed Halil Karaveli "Turkey's Authoritarian Legacy"Breaking Defense, January 2, 2018

Article Svante E. Cornell, "A Religious Party Takes Hold: Turkey"The SAIS Review of International Affairs, November 2017

Article Svante E. Cornell and M.K. Kaya"The Naqshbandi-Khalidi Order and Political Islam in Turkey"Hudson Institute, September 2015 

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.

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