By Halil M. Karaveli (vol. 5, no. 6 of the Turkey Analyst)
Is there a third way for Turkey, one that would offer an escape from the statist and nationalist authoritarianism to which both Kemalism and Islamism condemns the country? While the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has increasingly come to embrace an illiberal approach, the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) is attempting to move in the opposite direction. However, the assumption that there is still a significant constituency for liberal change to tap into, as was the case a decade ago, when the AKP first came to power and when EU membership beckoned, is a dubious one. History teaches that it is unlikely that Turkey, left to its own devices, will emancipate from illiberalism.
By Gareth H. Jenkins (vol. 4, no. 15 of the Turkey Analyst)
The resignations on July 29, 2011, of the Turkish chief of staff and all three force commanders are without precedent in modern Turkish history. They were portrayed in the most of the international media as the military’s final admission of defeat in a long-running political power struggle with the civilian government of the Justice and Development Party (AKP). In reality, any contest for power had long since been decided in favour of the AKP. The resignations were a product of the period that followed – not preceded or accompanied – the AKP’s assertion of supremacy; namely, a protest against what the military regarded as the AKP’s abuse of its monopoly of political power to persecute and imprison hundreds of members of the officer corps.
By Halil M. Karaveli (vol. 4, no. 7 of the Turkey Analyst)
Agreeing upon the rules for how they are going to live together, with mutual respect for differences, is the fundamental challenge that faces the citizens of Turkey. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has pledged that the authoritarian constitution will be replaced with a new, “civilian” constitution following the general election in June. Yet a truly “civilian” constitution must be a societal covenant, of which Turkey has had no prior experience. The question is if the people of Turkey will be able to surprise each other with restraint and generosity.
By Halil M. Karaveli (vol. 4, no. 4 of the Turkey Analyst)
In the deeply polarized climate that pervades Turkish society, it has become near-impossible to stake out an ideological terrain that would enable the country to come to terms with an authoritarianism that is in fact a generalized phenomenon haunting the country. There is a compulsion to take sides either for the AKP or for the generals, who are convicted or acquitted depending on political preferences. Liberal values, on the other hand, risk being sacrificed as Turkey neglects to take a comprehensive look at its authoritarian past and present.
By Toni Alaranta (vol. 7, no. 11 of the Turkey Analyst)
The Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power by promising to establish a liberal-democratic regime in Turkey. The increasing authoritarianism of the Turkish ruling party and the recurrent attempts to suppress dissident voices raises the question what kind of freedom, and in what circumstances, the party advocates. There is a need to go beyond the simplistic assertion that the party suddenly changed from being liberal to authoritarian.
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.