By Halil Karaveli (vol. 7, no. 10 of the Turkey Analyst)
The year after the Gezi Park protests has been the most difficult for Recep Tayyip Erdoğan since he became prime minister, but he has prevailed over his foes and challengers and he can confidently look forward to becoming Turkey’s first popularly elected president in the upcoming election in August. No one can challenge Erdoğan. However, that does not mean that Turkey is always going to bend to his will or that the country is going to be easy to govern even for an all-powerful President Erdoğan.
By Svante E. Cornell (vol. 6, no. 18 of the Turkey Analyst)
Following the Taksim square protests, Prime Minister Erdogan has instigated a witch hunt targeting the country’s largest industrial conglomerate, the Koç Group. Since the Koç Group-owned Divan hotel allowed a crowd fleeing tear gas fired by the police to take refuge in the hotel, the conglomerate has seen an unprecedented army of financial inspectors descend on its companies in the energy sector, saw the cancellation of a tender to construct warships for the Turkish navy, and had a lawsuit filed against for abetting the military intervention in 1997. This attack on a group responsible for a tenth of Turkey’s GDP is not only further evidence of Erdogan’s authoritarianism, but also dangerous for Turkey’s economic development. Coming at a time of uncertainty over the economic prospects of large emerging markets like Turkey, punitive action against the Koç Group would be taken very seriously by international markets.
by Gareth Jenkins (vol. 6 no. 13 of the Turkey Analyst)
On July 3, 2013, it was announced that the First Administrative Court in Istanbul had cancelled the Taksim Square and Gezi Park redevelopment project that had triggered the unprecedented anti-government protests that have been sweeping Turkey since late May. The verdict has still to be ratified by the higher court known as the Danıştay, or Council of State. Whatever the Danıştay’s decision, there can be little doubt that the protests have already permanently changed the Turkish political landscape.
by Svante E. Cornell (vol. 6, no. 12 of the Turkey Analyst)
The popular upheavals in Turkey, and the harsh government crackdown on them, have reshuffled the power struggle that was already ongoing within Turkey’s Islamic conservative movement. Prime Minister Erdoğan’s ambitions to remake Turkey into a presidential republic have been dashed for the foreseeable future. While he remains the undisputed leader of both the country and the movement, none of the options facing him are particularly appealing. Taksim may well mark the beginning of the end of Erdoğan’s single-handed domination of Turkish politics.
by Richard Weitz (vol. 6, no. 12 of the Turkey Analyst)
Since the dispersal of the first protest at Taksim’s Gezi Park towards the end of May 2013, numerous anti-government protests have erupted throughout Turkey, against what it is seen as the insensitive and authoritarian policies of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Torn between competing goals, the Obama administration has reacted very cautiously to the protests. U.S. officials have criticized the Turkish police for overzealous use of force, but have not taken issue with Erdoğan personally. This approach has the advantage of not antagonizing the Erdoğan government, which is seen as a strong regional security ally in Washington, especially regarding Syria and Iran. But this familiar approach - repeating the past pattern in bilateral relations, with the U.S. downplaying Turkish human rights and democracy concerns -- risks weakening the popular foundations of the alliance, which in turn constrain the partnership’s future potential.
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.