Whirlwind of Regional Challenges Overwhelming Turkey
Fadi Hakura – Top among them is combatting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militant group : Turkey views ISIS as a clear and present danger, and has adopted security measures against the radical Islamists, the group is hardly the only threat to Turkey’s stability.The country suffers from near complete isolation in the Middle East. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan tends to blame outsiders for Turkey’s growing litany of problems rather than government policy.An ill-defined ‘higher mind’ are responsible for Turkey’s internal and external predicaments.
Turkey’s ruptured relations with Russia, mistrust with Iran and the Iraqi central government, and gyrating ties with the US and European partners means that it is no more the bridge-builder and peace facilitator between the conflicting parties, such as Iran and Saudi Arabia, in the volatile Middle East. It is incredible to imagine that between 2007 and 2008 Israel was happy for Turkey to sponsor reconciliation talks with Syria and that, in 2010, Iran trusted Turkey to such an extent that it agreed to the exchange of low enriched uranium for fuel rods on Turkish territory.
Adding to the turmoil is the obsession of President Erdogan to transform Turkey from a parliamentary republic to a centralized and powerful presidency unencumbered by any checks and balances. [Full analysis.]
Then And Now
By Nick Danforth – A decade ago many observers hoped that Turkey’s Justice and Development party (AKP) would at long last succeed in consolidating Turkey’s troubled democracy. Even as such hopes proved increasingly unfounded, it still seemed possible that the AKP would succeed in a more limited realm by finally bringing an end to the country’s long-running “Kurdish problem.”
Today, though, renewed fighting between the government and the PKK has dashed these hopes as well, making stability in southeastern Turkey seem as elusive as ever.
One way to understand both the AKP’s early potential and its eventual failure in regard to the Kurdish question is to examine how the party transformed the language of Turkish nationalism while sustaining its essence.
AKP government ultimately faced two obstacles in these efforts. The first was winning support for cultural reforms from nationalist voters. The second was making peace with the PKK, a militant group whose use of violence against Turks and Kurds alike had given it a monopoly over Kurdish politics. Ironically, as a result of its failing to overcome both obstacles, the AKP ended up in the strange position of deploying a new, multi-cultural form of Turkish identity that explicitly embraces Kurds in order to justify its ongoing war against self-proclaimed representatives of the country’s Kurdish citizens.
Kurdish politics in Turkey are undergoing a similarly radical but incomplete transformation, in which a long-standing commitment to Kurdish nationalism is competing with a new, more multicultural approach to identity.
That the AKP’s new multicultural language refuses to come to terms with Turkey’s violent legacy of forced assimilation suggests the party fails to understand the resistance their current efforts will create. To bring peace and stability to Turkey, the state must respond to legitimate democratic demands for a more inclusive national identity and greater regional autonomy. This, unfortunately, requires the government to deal with the PKK, which for better and worse has come to embody these demands. [Full analysis.]
By Krzysztof Strachota – An open question what the international implications of the attack will be for Turkey. In the short term the country can count on the sympathy and support of the West in the face of the common terrorist threat. On the other hand, another attack in recent months, along with continuing social and political tensions, has affected Turkey’s reputation at the international level. Once more Turkey’s aspirations to play a stabilising role in the Middle East have been undermined and its co-operation with the EU on the migration crisis potentially complicated. Furthermore, Turkey’s position in the EU accession process, which was relaunched in autumn last year, will have been weakened, as will the process of lifting the visa regime it has with the EU. [Full story.]
Filed under: A K P, Barış Süreci/Peace Process, Başbakanlık_Prime Minister, Cumhurbaşkanlığı_President of Republic, European Union/Avrupa Birliği, HDP, Iraq-Irak, Israel-İsrail, Kürt Sorunu, Orta Doğu, Suriye/Syria/Syrie, Temel Hak ve Özgürlükler/Fundamental Rights, Terörle Mücadele, Terrorism, USA, İslâm