By Halil Karaveli
July 5, 2019
The resounding victory of the opposition in Istanbul has rekindled the democratic hopes of an urban middle class that had come close to losing all hope about the future of Turkey. Yet the democratic vision of Ekrem İmamoğlu, Istanbul’s new mayor, who many see as the next leader of their country, is limited by his embrace of a conservative political tradition that is very much responsible for the persistence of authoritarianism in Turkey. Although the Istanbul election has shown that it takes a conservative to beat a conservative, Turkey is going to need something else to build a lasting democracy.
By M.K. Kaya
March 29, 2019
There is every reason to expect that Turkey’s municipal elections on March 31 will be a major setback for the ruling AKP and that they will set in motion developments that are going to alter the political landscape of the country. The AKP may be headed toward what will prove to be a historic defeat. The elections are pregnant with consequential political changes that are going to affect the nature of the Turkish regime, its Kurdish policies as well as Turkey’s relations to the West.
By Gareth H. Jenkins
March 27, 2019
Despite intense pressure from the Turkish state, including the imprisonment of a large proportion of its leadership, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) is again expected to win the majority of votes in the predominantly Kurdish southeast of the country in the nationwide local elections on March 31, 2019. But President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s repeated public threat to prevent HDP officials from holding office means that, for Turkey’s Kurds, the election will be less about choosing who will run their local authorities than their own identity amid a growing conviction that their future lies in a considerably looser relationship with the central government in Ankara.
By Barış Soydan
February 11, 2019
It is impossible to understand the electoral successes so far of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the undisputed leader of Turkey since 2003, without taking the spectacular growth of consumerism in the country into consideration. Notwithstanding the fact that the neoliberal economic policies of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) have disproportionately benefited the wealthiest in Turkish society, low-income earners have also benefited from the economic growth of the last sixteen years. Yet this growth has to a large extent relied on the quantitative easing program of the U.S. Federal Reserve. The end of quantitative easing will be consequential for Erdoğan and his party. Erdoğan is not going to be able to retain the same level of support that he has enjoyed among low-income earners. Get ready for substantial drops in AKP votes in the municipal elections in March.
By Barış Soydan
October 10, 2018
Since 1950, Turkey’s conservative parties have carried every election except those in 1973 and 1977, which were carried by the social democrats. The key to the right wing parties’ electoral success has been their ability to retain the support of the working class. That is also what largely accounts for the conservative Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) sixteen year long hold on power. But with the economy in crisis, the AKP’s grip on the working class is bound to become more tenuous. The protests among the workers at Istanbul’s new airport herald the end of the love affair between the working class and the ruling conservatives, but the lack of a social democratic political alternative may offer the AKP another lease on life.
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.