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  • Author: Amanda Paul, Demir Murat Seyrek
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Policy Centre
  • Abstract: The establishment of two new political parties by former AKP heavyweights, Ahmet Davutoğlu and Ali Babacan, in December 2019 and March 2020 respectively is cause for hope. President Erdoğan’s AKP is suffering from mounting domestic headaches and a moribund economy, which is taking a toll on its public support. Still, he is sure to push back fiercely against any effort to weaken AKP rule. The EU must keep its channels of communication with Turkey open and work to improve and deepen their currently contentious relationship.
  • Topic: International Relations, Politics, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, AKP
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Mediterranean
  • Author: Pinar Elman
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Since the EU-Turkey deal on refugees on 29 November, there has not been a significant reduction in the numbers of migrants crossing into the EU from Turkey. One of the main reasons is probably lack of trust between Turkey and European Commission in their readiness to keep promises. EU can break the impasse by offering Schengen visa liberalisation but at the same time should use the accession negotiations to exert greater pressure on Ankara.
  • Topic: Human Welfare, Migration, Politics, Refugee Issues, European Union
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Following the 2015 national election in Turkey the AKP, for the first time since coming to power in 2002, failed to win enough votes to form a majority government. Since the election the AKP has given the impression that it is attempting to form a coalition government, but in reality the party has been employing a number of tactics in order to increase its share of the vote in preparation for a snap election. These tactics have mainly revolved around increasing the nationalist vote and damaging the main Kurdish party. However, these manoeuvres have increased polarisation in Turkey and have resulted in an escalation of the conflict with the Kurds. Worryingly, it has become evident that the AKP aims to win power in the next election at all costs.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Politics, Governance, Elections
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Muhammed Ammash
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Global Political Trends Center
  • Abstract: Benjamin Netanyahu, who was heading the last two governments, won the Israeli elections held in 17 March 20151 . Despite all the predictions and evaluations made until election day showing Netanyahu in the second row, and despite the victory speeches made by other party leaders at election night, with the announcement of the official results in the morning of March 18th Netanyahu’s victory was definite.
  • Topic: Government, Politics, Bilateral Relations, Elections
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Steven Blockmans
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Concerns about the deterioration of democracy in Turkey are not new: the trials over the 2003 „ Sledgehammer ‟ alleged coup plan (2010-12) and over the ‟ Ergenekon ‟ secret organisation (2008-13) broke the military‟s influence over politics, but were widely criticised because of their reliance on secret witnesses and disputes over evidence. Ironically, their outcome has recently been challenged by Prime Minister Erdoğan himself, who has disowned the trials now that the judiciary has the AK Party in its sights. International concern was also stirred by the violent crackdown on the countrywide protests of May/June 2013. Unrest then was triggered by the planned redevelopment of Istanbul‟s Gezi Park in May 2013, but developed into a wider movement critical of government corruption, increasing restrictions on freedom of speech and concerns about the erosion of secularism. Protests simmered on through September, winding down in autumn and winter only to reignite in March of this year.
  • Topic: Government, International Cooperation, Politics, Regional Cooperation, Reform
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey
  • Author: Filippo Urbinati
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Global Political Trends Center
  • Abstract: After more than three1year deadlock, 2013 was marked by the attempt by Brussels and Ankara to restart the dialogue for Turkey’s accession to European Union. Two developments were remarkable in this process: the release of the most favorable Progress Report on Turkey since 2009, and the opening of the community acquis Chapter 22 on Regional Policy and Coordination of Structural Instruments. Regarding the former development, the European Commission underlined the positive steps achieved by Turkey and the pressing need for the EU to enhance its engagement with Turkey and revitalize the accession negotiations’ framework as the main way to promote EU sponsored reforms. As far as the latter development is concerned, the relevance of the opening of a new chapter cannot be overestimated as the political stumbling blocks, which led the negotiations to stagnation, have been kept untouched and are still far from solved. This policy update is intended to give account of the main issues connected with these developments and underline the reasons for why they have to be considered important steps forward but¬ the decisive ones.
  • Topic: International Relations, Politics, European Union, Negotiation
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Emanuela Pergolizzi
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Global Political Trends Center
  • Abstract: Iraq, Turkey, and the Kurdistan Regional Government are in tense political relations over recent energy politics and regional dynamics. While major international interests related to oil and gas resources might currently be at stake, historic mistrusts and deeper political challenges seem to stand in the way of a peaceful trilateral cooperation. While energy deals with the Kurdistan Regional Government grow apace, Ankara seems to stand both as an active gambler and a key facilitator. The domestic and regional dynamics unfolding in Turkey will likely be indicators of whether a durable peace situation can succeed over longHstanding political obstacles and historical tensions between the countries.
  • Topic: International Relations, Energy Policy, Politics, Regional Cooperation, Peace
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Turkey, Middle East, Kurdistan
  • Author: Rahman Dag
  • Publication Date: 04-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Strategic Research and Analysis (CESRAN)
  • Abstract: Once the Newroz on 21 March, 2013 in Diyarbakir would be the subject of any sort of conversation, academic discussion, journalistic research and daily bread on the lips of people, it would be absolutely considered as one of the most significant turning points in the history of politics in Turkey. Since, whether it will be successfully accomplished or dramatically failed and cause an internal high-level armed struggle, as a part of peace process initiated by AKP and assisted by BDP, the announcement of Öcalan calling for leaving the armed forces out of Turkey's border and superseded it with ideas and politics will be the inception of new horizons in Turkish politics. The main crux of Öcalan's most recent announcement should not be narrowly seen as part of the Kurdish question alone, but rather in my point of view, its consequences are expected to affect every tiny aspect of Turkey; ranging from the prime sphere of politics to social, cultural, and economic structures. When it comes to specific analysis of these aspects, the implication and strategy of peace process will be much clearer in minds.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Economics, Politics, Culture
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Lenka Peťková
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Global Political Trends Center
  • Abstract: The UN Good Offices’ website1 featuring the latest updates on the UN-sponsored Cyprus talks currently gives the accord of 110 meetings of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders, which translates into a frequency of one meeting in every 9 days. Yet, when the RoC celebrated its 50th anniversary in the Autumn of 2010, the island was still cut into two parts by the ceasefire line that was first marked in 1964.
  • Topic: Politics, United Nations, Elections, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, Mediterranean
  • Author: David Makovsky, Michael Eisenstadt, Robert Satloff, Soner Cagaptay
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Although a full narrative will have to wait until the ongoing Israeli inquiry is complete, it is possible to sketch the outlines of what happened on the Turkish ferry Mavi Marmara . The six boats of the "Free Gaza Flotilla" departed Turkey on May 28, and Israeli naval vessels began shadowing them two days later, around 11:00 p.m. on May 30. At that time, Israel requested that the boats divert to Ashdod to allow inspection of their cargo for contraband, but they refused to comply.
  • Topic: Political Violence, International Law, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Turkey, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: ALİ ÇARKOĞLU
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This article aims at presenting a descriptive account of the March 2009 local elections in Turkey. Comparing the general and local elections since 2004, an overall evaluation of trends in electoral preferences is presented. Using provincial general council election results, a detailed geographical comparative analysis of the 2004 and 2009 local elections is also carried out. The analyses show that the AKP's rise has stalled but it still remains as the dominant power in the party system. The electoral map continues to be divided between the coastal western and most developed provinces where the opposition is significantly supported, the east and southeastern provinces where the Kurdish ethnic electoral support is rising and the more conservative provinces in between where the AKP continues to be dominant with the MHP trailing behind. Even though the March 2009 elections had all the characteristics of a local election, they also revel the rising trends in electoral behaviour in Turkey.
  • Topic: Democratization, Ethnic Conflict, Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Asia
  • Author: Hasan Kösebalaban
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The closure case against AK Party heralds a new era in Turkish politics marked by the increased intervention of the judiciary in politics. Inasmuch as the governing party enjoys support of half of the Turkish electorate, the case has harmed the image of Turkish democracy and consequently risks jeopardizing Turkey's quest for full membership in the EU. The overall reaction of the West to the case indicates that the Western political and intellectual elites avoid the conventional Islamist secularist dichatomy in interpreting Turkish politics. To-level EU bureaucrats have emphasized that closure would seriously jeopardize the process of membership. AK Party needs to accelerate the democratization process by focusing on the rest of the constitutional reforms required for EU membership.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Mustafa Şentop
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Female students with headscarf are currently prevented to enter the university in Turkey although there is no legal ground for such a ban. The ongoing controversy about the type of clothing for female students at the higher education institutions has become more intensified since the recent constitutional change in February 2008 to lift the de facto headscarf ban. The debate over this question revolves around whether headscarf is a religious attire or a political symbol, whether it should be banned to protect the secular foundations of the state or conversely allowed on the basis of individual freedom of religion as a corollary of secularism. The solution lies in the implementation of constitutional amendments without a further delay.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Education, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Rabia Karakaya Polat
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: In the parliamentary elections of July 22, 2007, AKP (Justice and Development Party) won 47% of the votes, obtaining a very strong mandate to take issue with Turkey's outstanding problems. In the predominantly Kurdish east and southeast region, the AKP doubled its vote from 26% to 53%. The AKP seemed to have persuaded the Kurds thanks to the party's earlier moves to solve the Kurdish problem by granting more rights and freedoms as well as jobs and economic prosperity. Having started the negotiation process with the EU and obtaining such a strong mandate from the Kurdish voters, why did the AKP turn its back to the Kurdish issue? This can be explained with reference to three groups of factors working at the domestic, the EU and international levels.
  • Topic: Political Economy, Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Kurdistan
  • Author: Ihsan D. Dagi
  • Publication Date: 08-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The Constitutional Court ruled not to close down the AK Party, relieving Turkey from an unprecedented level of political uncertainty, social and economic turmoil, and potential chaos. Instead, the court chose to keep the ruling party under close scrutiny by declaring it “a focal point of anti-secular activities,” and imposing financial measures.
  • Topic: Government, Islam, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Nuh Yilmaz
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Joe Biden was selected as Barack Obama's vice presidential candidate largely because of his expertise in foreign policy. Traditionally, in U.S. politics, Dick Cheney-like strong vice presidents are exception, not the rule. It is wiser to focus on Obama's foreign policy outlook rather than Biden's, which would benefit Turkey in the long run with its realistic tendencies. Biden's voting pattern, as it is displayed in three different issues (Cyprus- Armenian Issue-Iraq) does not seem friendly to the Turkish position. However, Biden as a statesman would not create extra problems for Turkey at the expense of U.S national interests. In all of these issues, the person that should be watched carefully is Obama, not Biden. Spending more energy to analyze Obama's geopolitical priorities can benefit Turkey in the long run.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Turkey, Armenia, Balkans
  • Author: Soner Cagaptay, H. Akin Unver, Hale Arifagaoglu
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On March 14, Turkey's chief prosecutor, Abdurrahman Yalcinkaya, filed a case with the country's Constitutional Court asking it to shut down the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and ban seventy-one of its members from seeking elected office for five years. He accused the party of spearheading "anti-secular activities" in violation of the Turkish constitution. Although the court's disposition is uncertain, the case is likely to strengthen the AKP regardless of the outcome.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Government, Islam, Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Zühtü Arslan
  • Publication Date: 11-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This paper aims to analyse the basic parameters of the new draft constitution in Turkey. Having outlined the radical amendments to the current Constitution in terms of both fundamental rights and state organs, the paper takes up the procedural and substantial criticisms directed against the draft Constitution. It also contains a number of policy recommendations for taking necessary measures to ensure the broadest possible participation of the Turkish people in the constitution making process. The paper concludes that adoption of the proposed constitution will remove the physcological obstacle to democratisation of the Turkish political regime by disproving the deeply embedded belief that civilians in Turkey cannot make a new constitution under truly democratic circumstances.
  • Topic: Government, Political Economy, Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Soner Cagaptay
  • Publication Date: 11-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On November 5, Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and deputy chief of military staff Gen. Ergin Saygun visited President Bush in Washington to discuss the growing threat posed by the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). The composition of the Turkish delegation was symbolically important and demonstrates a new political stability based on the working relationship between the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Turkish military. Yet the newfound weight of the PKK issue may prove problematic for the United States -- and, in the long term, for Turkey as well.
  • Topic: Government, Islam, Politics, Religion
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Soner Cagaptay
  • Publication Date: 10-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On October 21, Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) operatives carried out an attack from northern Iraq into Turkey, killing twelve Turkish soldiers. This incident followed the killing of more than thirty people in recent weeks, including an incident in which the PKK pulled a dozen civilians off a public bus and shot them. The Turkish public has responded to the attacks by calling for incursion into northern Iraq to eliminate PKK camps there.
  • Topic: Government, Islam, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Turkey, Middle East, Armenia