By Gareth Jenkins (vol. 2, no. 3 of the Turkey Analyst)
In recent months, the policies of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) have become increasingly shaped by the personality of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Freed from perceived constraints, Erdogan now often appears to be driven by his emotions rather than considered deliberation. Even if his confrontational style has boosted his domestic public popularity, any short-term personal political gains are likely to be more than offset by the long-term damage to Turkey’s economy and its relations with Europe and the US.
By M. K. Kaya and Halil M. Karaveli (vol. 2, no. 3 of the Turkey Analyst)
The upcoming local elections in Turkey will be a test of whether the ruling Justice and development party (AKP) can be successfully challenged by the opposition; indeed, of whether there is any viable opposition left to speak of. As they try to navigate in a political landscape increasingly dominated by Islamic conservatism, both the leftist Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the right-wing Nationalist Action Party, MHP, are seeking ways to reinvent themselves, hoping to appeal to a broader electorate. The efforts are beset by ideological contradictions and ambiguities, but MHP is best placed to challenge the AKP.
By M. K. Kaya (vol. 2, no. 2 of the Turkey Analyst)
The appointment of Egemen Bagis as new chief negotiator and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to the EU Commission in Brussels on 18–20 January signals the start of a new era in Turkey-EU relations. Although they are important, these steps taken by Ankara will evidently not be enough. The future of Turkey’s EU accession process depends on political developments in Turkey as well as in Europe. But there can be no doubt that the EU membership process remains a crucial political asset for the governing AKP.
By Halil M. Karaveli (vol. 2, no. 2 of the Turkey Analyst)
Underlying the continued drama of Turkish politics is a societal polarization that has sharpened during the past decade – and which has been the subject of a growing number of reports by academics and investigative journalists. Indeed, it is becoming increasingly clear that tolerance for “the other”, even basic civility, is in worryingly short supply in the Turkish society. Without a reaffirmation of civic values, these trends of a regression of liberal values pose a growing danger to the consolidation of democracy in Turkey.
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.