By Halil Karaveli
May 23, 2023
Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s failure in the first round of Turkey’s presidential election is a testimony to the waning appeal of liberalism in the face of ethnic conflict and refugee flows. The Turkish nationalism on which Kılıçdaroğlu has fatefully stumbled is fuelled by the Kurdish challenge and the Syrian refugees. But it is also fed by a heightened sense of national insecurity in a global context of escalating geopolitical confrontation. The virulently nationalist rhetoric against the Syrian refugees that Kılıçdaroğlu has adopted in order to make himself a palatable choice to right wing Turkish nationalists does not necessarily offer him a path to victory. Tarnishing his image as a liberal and social democrat, he risks forfeiting the support of the Kurdish voters as well as the support of Turkish liberals and leftists.
By Barış Soydan
March 24, 2022
While the disaster that struck Turkey on February 6 has brought attention to the collusion between political power and construction companies, the fact that the opposition maintains the same unhealthy relations with business where it’s in charge and its reluctance to address the concerns of the poorer classes preclude deeper, systemic changes if it wins the election. But without holding out the prospect of major social and economic reform, it remains to be seen whether the opposition succeeds in beating Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
By Barçın Yinanç
March 9, 2022
The Nation Alliance reasserts Turkey’s place in the West and as a Western democracy. In case of victory, the Turkish opposition alliance will orchestrate a careful distancing from Russia and reset Turkey’s relations with its Western allies. What the main Turkish opposition alliance holds forth is a return to the decades-long principles of the Turkish republic that will be marking its centenary this year. These include, notably, the principle of non-interference in internal affairs of other nations. The opposition pledges to “put an end to practices based on domestic political calculations and ideological approaches in foreign policy.”
By Gareth Jenkins
November 22, 2022
The response of Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu to the deadly bomb blast in central Istanbul on November 13th has raised more questions than it has answered and intensified already widespread concerns about the possibility that elements in the state apparatus will ratchet up security concerns in the run-up to the next presidential and parliamentary elections, which are due to be held by June 2023 at the latest. By taking such a high public profile, Soylu also appears to have seized on the opportunity presented by the attack to try to boost his public standing -- which has been badly damaged by a string of revelations by exiled organized crime boss Sedat Peker -- and take advantage of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s absence at the G20 summit in Bali to assert his claim to being the second most powerful person in the government and Erdoğan’s heir apparent.
By Barçın Yinanç
November 17, 2022
Washington’s response to Turkey’s foreign policy choices has been to look for other allies that are either at odds with Turkey, like Greece, or which confront it, as Kurdish groups in northern Syria do. This is a risky strategy. U.S. policy makers need to be cognizant that the more the confidence gap between Ankara and Washington persists, the more it will benefit Russia that is set to use it to advance its own interests.
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.