By Halil Karaveli
January 12, 2022
The political destruction of Istanbul mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu is ultimately meant to demonstrate that the alliance, supported by the Kurdish political movement, which carried him to victory in 2019, is not going to be allowed to repeat its success at the national level. In theory, the removal of İmamoğlu from office will enable the mainstream opposition to turn the presidential election into a referendum about popular sovereignty. However, to succeed it would have to convince voters in Diyarbakır, Mardin and Van that it is as sensitive about their sovereignty as it is about that of the electorate in Istanbul. This is unlikely as the right-wing nationalist Good party of the main opposition alliance resists democratic openings to the Kurds. The division between rigid statist-nationalism and popular democracy runs through the ruling alliance of the AKP and the MHP as well. To tip the balance in favor of popular democracy, Turkey needs a rearrangement of political alliances.
By Natalia Konarzewska
December 13, 2022
Turkey has seized on the opportunity to bolster its standing as an “energy power,” but Russia’s offer to expand the existing Turk Stream pipeline and create a natural gas hub in Turkey seems to be a ‘’pipe dream’’ under current circumstances. The feasibility of the project is highly questionable. The Russian proposal may in fact not be seriously intended. Rather than a realistic goal, it appears mostly to be a window-dressing maneuver in order to put pressure on gas-deprived Europe. Yet even though there are several obstacles to its realization, and ultimately may not be feasible, the Russian proposition nonetheless offers Turkey a welcome opportunity to advance its long-standing goal to turn itself into an energy hub at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
By Gareth Jenkins
November 22, 2022
The response of Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu to the deadly bomb blast in central Istanbul on November 13th has raised more questions than it has answered and intensified already widespread concerns about the possibility that elements in the state apparatus will ratchet up security concerns in the run-up to the next presidential and parliamentary elections, which are due to be held by June 2023 at the latest. By taking such a high public profile, Soylu also appears to have seized on the opportunity presented by the attack to try to boost his public standing -- which has been badly damaged by a string of revelations by exiled organized crime boss Sedat Peker -- and take advantage of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s absence at the G20 summit in Bali to assert his claim to being the second most powerful person in the government and Erdoğan’s heir apparent.
By Barçın Yinanç
November 17, 2022
Washington’s response to Turkey’s foreign policy choices has been to look for other allies that are either at odds with Turkey, like Greece, or which confront it, as Kurdish groups in northern Syria do. This is a risky strategy. U.S. policy makers need to be cognizant that the more the confidence gap between Ankara and Washington persists, the more it will benefit Russia that is set to use it to advance its own interests.
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.