By Gareth H. Jenkins
February 1st, 2016, The Turkey Analyst
The sustained clashes in urban areas that have wracked southeast Turkey in recent months mark a new stage in the decades-old insurgency of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and threaten to escalate into a full-blown civil war. Although it is still not too late to pull the country back from the brink, neither the Turkish government nor its Western allies appear aware of the extent of the danger that it is facing.
Orhan Bursalı in Cumhuriyet writes that the Russian planes are hitting the armed groups in Syria that Ankara support, and that the Russian offensive risks paving the way for a Kurdish advance, connecting the three Kurdish cantons. Ankara relies on the armed groups that Russia is hitting to defend the 98 kilometer long corridor that separates the Kurdish areas. Russia is in all probability aiming to create the conditions for the capture of this corridor by Syrian government forces. This is the main reason why Ankara shot down the Russian plane in this area. The loss of the forces that Turkey has built up during all these years means that its whole Syria policy is crumbling. The question is if this area might come under the control of PKK? Russia’s operation in the area creates the possibility that the corridor of 98 kilometers might be taken over by PKK/PYD. What happens if the U.S. and Russia were to come to an agreement on this? Would they do it? Let us here remind that Ankara has declared that it will certainly intervene if that were to come to pass. However, if the area comes under the control of the Assad forces that might perhaps prevent the realization of what Turkey fears – the establishment of a contiguous Kurdish corridor that reaches to the Mediterranean. Ankara ought to keep this in mind and make its plans accordingly. Otherwise it will lose everything. Peace with Assad is the solution!
By Halil Karaveli
November 12th, 2015, The Turkey Analyst
The AKP regime does not stand out in the history of the Turkish republic because it is authoritarian. Rather, what makes it unique is that its endeavor to establish uncontested rule is endowed with assets that previous authoritarian attempts lacked. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s regime enjoys a stronger social foundation than any of its predecessors. Erdoğan’s recent alliance with the military has bolstered it further. The collusion of Erdoğan and the military entrenches authoritarianism. But the war with the Kurds threatens to become a threat to the stability of the regime.
By Halil Karaveli
November 3rd, 2015, The Turkey Analyst
The combination of military and deep state operations has rescued the power of the AKP, restoring its majority in parliament. Now, it is in President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s interest to call back the army from the Kurdish areas and offer the Kurds some kind of carrot, after wielding the stick has had the desired effect. The future stability of the AKP regime is to a significant extent going to depend on its success – or lack thereof – in coping with the Kurdish challenge. The all powerful Turkish president should probably not assume that he and his regime is out of the woods just because the Kurdish voters were intimidated back into the fold this time.
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.