Turkey’s Authoritarian Legacy
It’s tempting to blame the country’s recent slide into repression on President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s thirst for personal power. But did the ruling Islamist party ever really abandon the country’s long tradition of state authoritarianism?
For years, explaining Turkey’s democratic travails seemed an easy task. There was the persistence of an authoritarian tradition, whose source was identified as Kemalism—the secularist-nationalist founding ideology of the Turkish republic—and which the military embodied. According to the conventional narrative on Turkey, with which anyone who has only casually followed international politics during the last decades will be familiar, the Turkish military had a mission—to “protect secularism”—which explained, so we were taught, its habit of overthrowing governments. All that was needed for Turkish democracy to flourish was the emergence of a force strong enough to end the tutelage of the military.
Living on Different Planets: Washington, Ankara and the Zarrab Case
Reza Zarrab’s testimony in early December to a New York court was hardly helpful in breaking the impasse in Turkish-American relations. By implicating Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan directly in […]
Turkey and the West: How Bad is it?
The U.S. suspension of visa services in Turkey is an indication of the depth of the fissures between the West and Turkey. While Turkish bureaucrats are trying to maintain functioning relations with the West, there are growing calls in Washington, Ankara and Berlin to redefine Turkey policy. Is Turkey headed for an incremental divorce with the West?
Walking for Justice: The Path Forward for Turkey’s Opposition
With his call for justice, which is a concept and a call that resonates among vast swathes of the population, CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has positioned himself as the tribune […]
Turkey’s Constitutional Referendum and Erdogan’s Faded Democratic Credentials
The Turkish constitutional referendum of April 16, 2017 dealt yet another blow to President Tayyip Erdoğan’s already faltering claim to democratic legitimacy. Not only did both the referendum and campaign […]
Turkey and Russia: Aggrieved Nativism par excellence
Turkey and Russia have recently both turned to an aggrieved nativism that delegitimizes democratic opposition. This nativism is nationalist, anti-elitist, protectionist, revanchist/irredentist, xenophobic and “macho”. Despite three decades of post-Cold […]
“Weaponizing” the Diaspora: Erdoğan and the Turks in Europe
Scandals have emerged all over Europe over the alleged illicit intelligence activity of organizations loyal to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. But the issue is considerably larger. The Turkish government […]