by Svante E. Cornell (vol. 6, no. 8 of the Turkey Analyst)
Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan hardly hides his ambition to accede to the presidency under a new constitution providing for a presidential system. Yet his ambition for a further concentration of power in his own hands is beginning to generate unlikely counter-forces. Chief among these is the growing coordination among other forces on the Turkish political spectrum – including the CHP, the Fethullah Gülen movement, and president Abdullah Gül. The latter, in particular, is beginning to more vocally distance himself from Erdoğan in both domestic and foreign affairs. While it may be too early to talk of a rupture, Gül is becoming an important counter-balance to Erdoğan.
by Halil M. Karaveli (vol. 6, no. 2 of the Turkey Analyst)
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s talk of joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and abandoning the pursuit of EU membership cannot be dismissed as loose talk, but neither does it herald a major strategic pivot. The Turkey of Erdoğan will continue to privilege and nurture its relations with the West, above all with the U.S., Erdoğan’s anti-Western prejudices and sentiments notwithstanding. And Erdoğan’s embrace of a club of autocrats should not obscure the fact that a very significant portion of the population of Turkey still endorses the goal of EU membership, and that holds true not least among the voters of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
by Gareth Jenkins (vol. 6, no. 11 of the Turkey Analyst)
The unprecedented anti-government protests that have erupted across Turkey pose the most serious challenge to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan since his Justice and Development Party (AKP) first took office in November 2002. Although it is still too early to assess the extent of the threat to Erdoğan’s grip on power, he has been seriously weakened. At the very least, his dreams of establishing a presidential system and ruling the country singlehandedly for the next decade have suffered a fatal blow.
by Gareth Jenkins (vol. 6, no. 9 of the Turkey Analyst)
On May 8, 2013, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) formally began to withdraw its militants from Turkey as part of the peace negotiations between the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and imprisoned PKK founder Abdullah Öcalan. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is likely to wait until the withdrawal is complete – a process that could take several months – before announcing what, if any, concessions he is prepared to make to Kurdish nationalist demands. Managing the resultant uncertainty will be a major challenge, particularly given the diametrically opposed hopes and fears of Kurdish nationalists and Turkish nationalists. Erdoğan’s record suggests that the Kurds have more reason to be skeptical. But, in the short-term, assuaging Turkish nationalist fears could prove to be the greater problem.
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.