By Halil Karaveli

April 11, 2024

The historic victory of the social democratic CHP in the March 31 local elections has redrawn Turkey’s political map and overturned established truths about Turkish politics. Turkey is not condemned to permanent authoritarian right-wing rule. The CHP won because it combined an inclusive stance toward conservatives and Kurds with a centre-left message. But to reach national power, Turkey’s new leading party will need to show audacity and be prepared to take on entrenched economic interests.

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By Halil Karaveli

January 25, 2024

Turkey’s new opposition leader Özgür Özel is proposing to do something that no one has attempted in Turkey since the early 1990s, to revive a social democratic alternative.  Yet the CHP’s new leader is making a turn to the left under inauspicious circumstances. The right in its different shades is hegemonic and there is no societal clamor for social justice and equality. Meanwhile, the Turkish labor movement has been reduced to insignificance, depriving social democracy of a base of working class militancy. Yet rampant inequality needs to be addressed, and a left-wing message that addresses economic concerns can help transcend Turkey’s crippling ethnic divisions, encouraging Turkish and Kurdish lower classes to make common cause. It offers a way out of Turkey’s democratic impasse.

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By Reuben Silverman

January 12, 2024

On the eve of Turkey’s centennial anniversary celebrations, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan held a mass rally in support of Palestine. He reminded his audience that, only a century earlier, Gaza had been part of the Ottoman Empire. He condemned Israel’s government and criticized the West for remaining silent in the face of Israel’s retaliatory killing of civilians, wondering if it wanted to encourage conflict between “crescent and cross.” Yet, while this heated rhetoric positions Turkey as the ultimate opponent of Israeli expansionism and protector of Palestinians, it obscures on-going Turkish-Israeli relations and the strategic interests that may limit Erdoğan’s actual diplomatic options.

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By Barış Soydan

September 8, 2023

Hailed by markets as the “savior” of the Turkish economy, Mehmet Şimşek has in fact launched policies whose price will be borne by large segments of the public. Tax hikes, although narrowing the budget deficit, will further fuel inflation, increasing poverty. In this respect, the new fiscal policy resurrects the paradigm that guided the IMF program in 2001. However, staying true to the spirit of the IMF program is a recipe for political troubles ahead for the Erdoğan regime. With municipal elections due in March 2024, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan may therefore well conclude that “heterodox” economic policies will have to be resurrected.

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By Halil Karaveli

 May 23, 2023

 

Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s failure in the first round of Turkey’s presidential election is a testimony to the waning appeal of liberalism in the face of ethnic conflict and refugee flows. The Turkish nationalism on which Kılıçdaroğlu has fatefully stumbled is fuelled by the Kurdish challenge and the Syrian refugees. But it is also fed by a heightened sense of national insecurity in a global context of escalating geopolitical confrontation. The virulently nationalist rhetoric against the Syrian refugees that Kılıçdaroğlu has adopted in order to make himself a palatable choice to right wing Turkish nationalists does not necessarily offer him a path to victory. Tarnishing his image as a liberal and social democrat, he risks forfeiting the support of the Kurdish voters as well as the support of Turkish liberals and leftists.

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Joint Center Publications

Op-ed Halil Karaveli "The Rise and Rise of the Turkish Right", The New York Times, April 8, 2019

Analysis Halil Karaveli "The Myth of Erdogan's Power"Foreign Policy, August 29, 2018

Analysis Svante E. Cornell, A Road to Understanding in Syria? The U.S. and TurkeyThe American Interest, June 2018

Op-ed Halil Karaveli "Erdogan Wins Reelection"Foreign Affairs, June 25, 2018

Article Halil Karaveli "Will the Kurdish Question Secure Erdogan's Re-election?", Turkey Analyst, June 18, 2018

Research Article Svante E. Cornell "Erbakan, Kisakürek, and the Mainstreaming of Extremism in Turkey", Current Trends in Islamist Ideology, June 2018

Analysis Svante E. Cornell "The U.S. and Turkey: Past the Point of No Return?"The American Interest, February 1, 2018

Op-ed Svante E. Cornell "Erdogan's Turkey: the Role of a Little Known Islamic Poet", Breaking Defense, January 2, 2018

Research Article Halil Karaveli "Turkey's Authoritarian Legacy"Cairo Review of Global Affairs, January 2, 2018

 

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.

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