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.
Will the Kurdish Question Secure Erdoğan’s Re-election?
The Kurdish question may serve President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, helping to secure his re-election. The election campaign has demonstrated that Erdoğan no longer energizes the masses; after fifteen years in […]
The U.S. Should Go Around Erdogan to Engage Turkey
Following recent clashes at the Gaza-Israel border, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has broken his tenuous two-year cease-fire with Israel and returned to spewing invective at the Jewish state. But […]
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 […]