By Gareth H. Jenkins
December 21st, 2015, The Turkey Analyst
In theory, the restoration of the parliamentary majority of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the general election of November 1 should have been an opportunity to address Turkey’s many pressing problems, not least its international isolation and the cleavages in Turkish society. Instead, in the weeks since its election victory, the AKP has continued with the policies that it was pursuing before, not only exacerbating existing crises but creating new ones.
Cem Küçük in Star writes, let me say right away that the arrest of Can Dündar was perfectly legitimate and in accordance with universal standards. If Can Dündar had committed this crime in the U.S. and in England he would have been arrested there as well. Indeed, they would not have waited this long, and he would have been thrown inside with the use of intelligence methods rather than with the use of judicial instruments. Barack Obama called Julian Assange a traitor and he was perfectly right. We are equally right about Dündar. Both Assange and Dündar have very openly committed the crime of treason and they have endangered the lives of millions of people. Even though Can Dündar is not a member of the Fethullah Terror Organization, he has knowingly and systematically aided this terror organization. Universal standards call for the arrest of those who violate the national security of a country by knowingly, willingly and systematically abetting a terror organization.
By Halil Karaveli
December 7th, 2015, The Turkey Analyst
The interplay of Western interests and internal Turkish dynamics has more often boosted authoritarianism than democracy in Turkey. Turkey’s strategic value as a “sentinel” during the Cold War gave Turkish governments a tacit license to suppress freedoms and democratic rights. The historical pattern is now being repeated. It is reassuring for the authoritarian Turkish regime that Turkey has once again become indispensable as a guard-post for its Western partners.
Orhan Bursalı in Cumhuriyet observes that HDP representatives are now hoping that Erdoğan is going to resume the peace process and that he will make concessions to the Kurds if they back the presidential system that he insists on introducing. But is Erdoğan going to bargain with HDP in the parliament while he is fighting the PKK ferociously on the ground? It’s less likely for the time being. At most, they might consider making minimal concessions to HDP that don’t threaten the unitary state, when they think that they are close to “finishing off the matter.” And this is because of the alliance between Erdoğan/AKP and the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK). The greatest ally of the AKP in the country is the TSK. One reason why Erdoğan is able to pursue his authoritarianism so brazenly is the “alliance” he has entered into with TSK. They have reached an agreement with TSK on the war against PKK, on the unitary integrity etc. Erdoğan cannot step outside these limits, until a new situation. That means it’s probably not on the agenda to seek endorsement from HDP in order to get an amended constitution accepted in parliament.
Hasan Cemal on the t24 news site writes that the military and Erdoğan have converged on three points, and that there does not seem to be any disagreement at all between them. The three points are the Kurdish problem, the fight against PKK and northern Syria… I wonder if not a fourth point could be added to these three, and that is about democracy. Democracy and the rule of law no longer figure on Tayyip Erdoğan’s agenda. There is an Erdoğan on the stage that has turned his back on the West and who dislikes the EU… Erdoğan is facing east. He has his gaze on Russia, Central Asia, China, and of course on the Islamic world. This eastern orientation was quite strong among the military during especially the 1990’s and during the first years of the 2000’s. The big pashas used to say “The European Union means first class democracy. Turkey is not ready for such a democracy; it would lead to our breakup. Let’s make an opening to the East, to Russia, China; that would be much better for Turkey…” Could it be that Erdoğan and the military have met at the same point – that is in a common “antipathy toward democracy” – or perhaps more accurately in a shared “fear of democracy,” as Turkey is swinging from “military tutelage” to “civilian despotism?” Yes, I’d say that’s possible. Would not Erdoğan’s civilian despotism be strengthened when he sort of designates the military to deputize him? If this is indeed the case, it most certainly would strengthen his despotism.
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.