By Toni Alaranta
October 28th, 2015, The Turkey Analyst
The refugee crisis is only the most recent chapter in the complex relationship between the European Union and Turkey. The common assumption in EU circles was for many years that the ruling Islamists in Turkey were Euro-democrats. Now, the EU has re-engaged with Turkey, not as a supposed beacon of “Muslim democracy” but as a gatekeeper. But by re-embracing Erdoğan’s authoritarian regime in order ensure that it keeps refugees away from Europe, Angela Merkel and her EU colleagues send the message that they care little about the fate of Turkey’s authentically European-oriented, democratic constituencies.
Ali Bulaç in Zaman observes that the “Kurdish problem” is at the center of the massacres that have taken place in Diyarbakır, Suruç and Ankara. The mass killings are in fact targeting a development that had promised to yield a peaceful solution. The deep forces within the state who do not want the Kurdish problem to be solved, international actors and certain elements of the PKK dislike that the HDP, after its surge in the June 7 election, has embarked on a path toward embracing the whole of Turkey. They started their disgusting terror just after the HDP had 80 deputies elected to parliament. I do not think that the AKP, the government or those state levers that sincerely hope for a solution of this problem have had anything to do with the restart of the terror. But I do not think that it would be right to dismiss those who suspect that the coup makers who have regained strength during the last two years, deep groups, foreign powers and certain elements of the PKK are in collusion as conspiracy theorists. The explosion in Ankara targeted the whole of the country, and sought to blow up the hope for peace. They are setting a trap for all of us.
By Halil Karaveli
October 16th, 2015, The Turkey Analyst
Turkey’s democrats, leftists and minorities have always been prey to the sinister machinations of the multi-tentacle Leviathan that is in charge of the country. Arrayed against them have been authoritarian right wing governments, the military and the deep state. The Ankara massacre is a reminder of who the victimized “others” in Turkey really are. It is also a reminder that the course of modern Turkish history has more than anything else been shaped by a sustained effort to stamp out any kind of challenge from the left. The deep reservoir of popular, ultraconservative, ultranationalist resentment has continued to yield politically instrumental mass murderers. It has ensured that fascism – whether in Kemalist or Islamic disguise – has always prevailed in Turkey.
Oral Çalışlar in Radikal writes that it is highly likely that various coalition formulas are going to be discussed after November 1, just as was the case after June 7, and that the AKP is once again going to be at the center of these. [HDP co-chair] Demirtaş has made the assessment that "the AKP needs to change itself." It is a fact that this assessment points toward an interesting potential. Whatever happens, Turkey is ultimately going to return to the solution process [of the Kurdish issue]. The discussions about disarmament and about democratization projects are going to resume… For that to happen, and for the discussions to continue once they have started, AKP and HDP, as in the past, are going to have to put in work hours together. If the AKP does not get a majority, there is inevitably a coalition on the horizon. It is useful to be open to new experiences, to new searches and to be courageous.
By Nick Danforth
September 23rd, 2015, The Turkey Analyst
Turkey’s democratic and authoritarian legacies have been thoroughly intertwined from the outset. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s authoritarian instincts have been both motivated and enabled by the authoritarian behavior of his predecessors. Yet Erdoğan is also restrained by institutional forces that remain in place because military and civilian leaders before him proved willing to step down and compromise. And he is moreover restrained by the instincts of voters and some within his own party who value Turkey’s democratic tradition.
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.