Seen from Ankara, Brussels, Istanbul, London, Washington…

On the eve of the G20 summit, Turkey urgently needs more serene Democracy & Foreign Policy !

The EU is now waiting to see if, under a confident leadership and with no more elections for nearly four years, Turkey will make a constructive contribution to the international arena and restore harmony and freedoms on the domestic scene.

The EU is now waiting to see if, under a confident leadership and with no more elections for nearly four years, Turkey will make a constructive contribution to the international arena and restore harmony and freedoms on the domestic scene.


How Will the EU Deal With Postelection Turkey?


By Marc Pierini – The election results can be read in a number of ways from an EU and a Western standpoint.

On the foreign policy front, the badly dented rule-of-law architecture is likely to draw more criticism from the EU. (But does this really matter for the president?). Postelection messages from Brussels, Berlin, and Washington all stressed their deep worries on the subject.

On the refugee crisis, the ill-footed EU approach of a refugee action plan with Turkey is unlikely to work as originally conceived. Turkey seems poised to benefit from the panicky attitude of EU politicians, who have offered to speed up the country’s accession negotiations in return for Ankara’s help in the refugee crisis, among other potential concessions. But the plain reality is that Turkey shares with the EU very similar problems.

This mass exodus carries the potential for major social, economic, and political destabilization in all the countries concerned, Turkey included.

Similarly, Turkey’s policy in the Middle East has been seriously challenged on all fronts, in particular in Syria. There, Turkish policy is now confronted with a set of U.S. and Russian options that run counter to Ankara’s own preferences for removing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, fighting the Syrian Kurds, and establishing a safe zone in northern Syria.

Seen from Brussels, what Turkey needs is a return to normal governmental operations after five months of political vacuum. Long considered a rare case of Muslim democracy and an example of successful economic transformation, Turkey has lost a huge part of its international prestige during the past two years. On the eve of the G20 summit Turkey urgently needs to go back to a more serene relationship with its European and U.S. allies.

The EU has saluted the AKP’s victory with prudence. The EU is now waiting to see if, under a confident leadership and with no more elections for nearly four years, Turkey will make a constructive contribution to the international arena and restore harmony and freedoms on the domestic scene. [Full Analysis]


Can Democracy Be Rescued in Turkey?


by Judy Dempsey – Wednesday, November 4, 2015 ; Every week, a selection of leading experts answer a new question from Judy Dempsey on the foreign and security policy challenges shaping Europe’s role in the world.



Zeynep Alemdar : Sure, but it would take self-reflective politicians and caring international friends, so it is very unlikely. Politicians’ priorities are to keep their seats, increase their gains, and be elected in the next election, not to promote values. Democracy is more likely to consolidate in countries whose friends and neighbors are democratic and value democratic norms.

Furthermore, the EU’s decision to delay its annual Turkey progress report—which surveys the country’s democratic process and strengthens the hand of the Turkish opposition in critiquing the lack of rule of law—while seeking a money-for-refugees deal proved Europe’s hypocrisy in postponing Turkey’s EU membership under the guise of a lack of democracy.


Bayram Balci : Does this mean that the door is open for Erdoğan to introduce a strong presidential system that will give him more power? It is not easy to predict what will happen in Turkey. Whatever transpires, Turkish voters have been very wise. In June, they sent Erdoğan a message that they didn’t appreciate his omnipresent, omnipotent style of government. Between June and November, he took the message and retreated a little. This retreat helped the AKP improve its score—a reality that Erdoğan will take into consideration in the future.


Rana Birden Çorbacıoğlu : President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s “me or chaos” discourse has worked perfectly as a part of his domestic polarization strategy.

However, after the epic failure of the opposition parties to defeat the AKP, strengthening civil society in Turkey remains the only way to rescue the sinking democracy ship. Thus, the EU has to deepen its role in addressing challenges with regard to rights and freedoms in Turkey by supporting civil society and democratization.


Kristian Brakel ; Democracy in Turkey is a strange animal. On the one hand, the country has had no lack of democratic and relatively free elections in recent years. On the other hand, what happens before and after these elections only partly resembles a democracy.

The three biggest problems that Turkish democracy faces are an aggressive nationalism among all parties, a political culture that understands the citizen as a servant of the state (not the other way around), and an extreme polarization of politics.

Opening the EU accession negotiations chapter on justice reform and using the refugee issue to renew dialogue with Turkey at eye level—based on a real partnership, not just the transfer of funds—would be positive first steps.


Aykan Erdemir : Against all the odds, Turkish citizens have proved their defiance of and resilience against Erdoğan’s brutal autocratic rule. If Turkey’s democrats are to stand any chance of success, they will need the genuine solidarity of European politicians who have so far chosen to let Turkey down by appeasing Erdoğan.


Hugh Pope : The Turks’ clear vote for the ruler they know in the November 1 parliamentary election reflects a yearning for stability.

Even though peace talks are not currently high on the public agenda, the Turkish government and the Kurdish nationalist movement both know that this is an unsustainably high rate of attrition. Finding compromise will be tougher than ever.


Gönül Tol : Turkish democracy has to undo years of damage brought on by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to put itself back on track.

Turkish democracy desperately needs a push from the EU. The union can play a constructive role in Turkey’s democratic consolidation, as it has in the past. Specifically, this means keeping the country’s EU membership prospects fresh and maintaining the focus of the accession negotiations on the rule of law, the freedom of expression, minority rights, and judicial independence. [Full Q&A]


What Turkey’s Election Surprise Says About The Troubled Country


by Steven A. Cook – The most obvious and pressing problem for the new Turkish government is security. For the better part of the last 18 months, Turkey avoided direct confrontation with the Islamic State, fearing retaliation on the streets of Turkish cities. Ankara was also wary of the American strategy to fight the group in Iraq first without addressing what Turkish officials have long believed to be the root cause of the Islamic State problem—the regime of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, which has created the kind of chaos in which the Islamic State has thrived. The Turks also determined that Kurdish nationalism and the consonant political gains that Syrian, Iraqi, and Turkish Kurds have made was a greater threat to their sovereignty than the Islamic State’s nihilism.

There is little reason to believe that Sunday’s elections have put an end to Turkey’s troubles. The AKP seems intent on pressing its political advantage and imposing its worldview on the country despite the fact that approximately half the population disagrees with that vision. Security remains a significant and ongoing problem, which will continue to weigh on international investors. In 2002, the AKP was elected to resolve a similar set of problems. The irony of Turkey’s present situation is that Erdogan and the AKP exacerbated these very problems in order to reestablish their dominant position in the political arena. Despite outward signs of a robust and healthy political system, Sunday’s election disguises a troubled country. [Full Anaysis]

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