By Gareth H. Jenkins
September 18th, 2015, The Turkey Analyst
The recent spate of violent protests by Turkish ultranationalists – including attempted lynchings of ethnic Kurds -- and the attacks by government supporters on the Hürriyet newspaper have reinforced already serious concerns about both the deepening fissures in Turkish society and the continuing weakening of the rule of law in the country.
Yavuz Baydar in Bugün writes that the assaults against media are part of the strategy of the AKP to ensure that the November 1 election yields a three-party parliament, without the HDP, with the AKP’s majority restored. Ömer Laçiner in Birikim warns that the election campaign threatens to be Turkey’s historically most violent one. Korkut Boratav on the sendika.org site writes that there is no reason to expect that finance capital is going to precipitate the fall of AKP from power by deserting Turkey. Ertuğrul Özkök in Hürrriyet observes that the new Chief of the General Staff Hulusi Akar made very unusual, ethnic references, to a supposed Turkish identity of the state of Turkey, in his Victory Day speech. Ali Bulaç in Zaman writes that Turkey’s participation in the Western war against IS amounts to waging war against Muslims, that this has no Islamic legitimacy, besides being politically and militarily wrong.
Yavuz Baydar in Bugün asks, what kind of game is it that is being played openly now with the suffocation of media? The preservation of power depends on the emergence of a three-party parliament at the polls on November 1. An equation of four parties will spell disaster. Thus, it is absolutely necessary on the hand that the HDP is left out of the parliament, and on the other hand, that MHP is undermined and its votes transferred to AKP. In order to achieve these goals, a never before seen manipulation of public opinion is called for. The “silent majority” in Turkey – the lower and middle classes – (at a rate of around 80 percent) follow only the TV channels as sources of information. And note that the efforts of the government to cut the media down to size have always been concentrated on the media groups that have TV channels. Of course, the turn will come to independent newspapers like Cumhuriyet, Taraf, Sözcü and Birgün as well after this. If their attempts to suffocate the media results in a backlash, if the distribution of votes among the parties do not change, the option to postpone these elections is kept as a card in the cupboard.
By Svante E. Cornell (vol. 8, no. 16 of the Turkey Analyst)
The growing efforts at Islamization of Turkish society have largely gone unnoticed. For many years, Islamization was the dog that did not bark: in spite of dire predictions by secularists, the AKP did not introduce conspicuous efforts to Islamize Turkey. But since 2011, this has changed. The main exhibit is the education sector, which President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has remodeled to instill considerably more Islamic content, in line with his stated purpose to raise “pious generations”. Ultimately, the Islamic overhaul of the education system is bound to have implications for Turkey’s civilizational identity, and on the choices it will make on where it belongs politically.
By M. K. Kaya (vol. 8, no. 16 of the Turkey Analyst)
In violation of the Turkish constitution, Ahmet Davutoğlu’s new caretaker cabinet is a pure AKP government. The government may be temporary, but it is nonetheless nothing but an expression of the determination of the AKP to secure permanent power. Both the process that led to its formation and its extra-constitutional composition bears testimony to the power-grab of the AKP.
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.