In Dossiers, Turkey / Türkiye, West Asia

Turkey’s snap election, on 24th June, will mark an important juncture in the country’s fractured politics. President Erdogan, having polarised the country by an all-out attack on the Kurdish population whose votes fuelled the rise of the left-wing HDP, faced an internal coup which many ascribed to US influence, on the strength of which he launched a frontal attack on his perceived enemies within the state, the education system and the newspapers, jailed HDP leader Selahattin Demirtas, and by a combination of extra-legal intimidation, suppression and semi-military crackdowns, reduced the capacities both of the coup leaders and his left-wing and Kurdish opposition. Despite having secured the backing of a browbeaten parliament for constitutional changes that greatly strengthen Presidential powers, his position remains shaky. Turkey’s economy is passing through difficult times, assailed both by loss of tourist revenue and negative Western reaction to Turkey’s invasion of Syria and its looming break with NATO.

Turkey has always been a pivotal factor in Middle Eastern and world politics, and remains so.

This New Cold War dossier provides background material for readers seeking to understand the current  situation in Turkey. Each section deals with one aspect and contains links to relevant articles on the New Cold War website, together with a brief introduction to the article.

New Cold War dossiers will be updated and republished from time to time as new items are added.

To view an article click on its headline; to view the original, click on the ‘originally published’ link immediately preceding the introduction to the article.

By Alan Freeman and Radhika Desai, editors, NewColdWar.org, 10 June, 2018.


Analysis

Purges and paranoia in Erdogan’s ‘new’ Turkey

A comprehensive analysis of the background to Turkey’s 24th June elections, reproduced from London Review of Books

By Ella George, May 24, 2018

Originally reposted, with commentary, on A Socialist in Canada

The Economy

Turkish election pledges belie serious economic problems

By Mehmet Cetingulec, May 14, 2018, First published on AL-MONITOR

Ahead of Turkey’s June 24th elections, both the ruling party and the opposition have pledged various incentives and social welfare benefits ahead of next month’s vote. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had called snap elections in Turkey for June 24, bringing the polls forward by over a year and a half after a call from his main nationalist ally on April 18, 2018. But behind the ‘promises auction’, unresolved economic problems loom

Is Erdogan failing economics 101?

By Borzou Daragahi, May 25, 2018, Originally published on Foreign Policy

According to the journal Foreign Policy, Turkey’s president Erdogan has made a huge bet that he’s right and all of the world’s economic experts are wrong. It doesn’t take much to believe the experts are wrong. But is Erdogan right? Borzou Darahagi explains what his policies actually are.

Who is really driving the slump of the Turkish lira?

Mustafa Sonmez, May 10, 2018, First published in AL-MONITOR

The Turkish Lira’s slump is often blamed on the flight of foreign investors. But official data indicate that growing distrust in the currency stems largely from domestic actors.

The Election

Turkish opposition motto comes from unexpected contributor: Erdogan

By Pinar Tremblay, May 13, 2018, First published on AL-MONITOR

Turkish President Recep Tayylp Erodgan’s statement that he will step down if the people say “Enough” gave the opposition the best slogan for the June 24 snap elections.

Calls mount for Turkey to release jailed Kurdish politician ahead of vote

By Ayla Jean Yackley, 16 May, 2018, Originally published on Al-Monitor

Selahattin Demirtas, leader of Turkey’s second-biggest opposition group the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP),was jailed in a wave of anti-Kurdish hysteria, astutely managed by the country’s president. The other opposition parties found it a convenient excuse to exclude the HDP from attempts to unify. But these manouvres are not only divisive -they leave them exposed to charges of collaborating in electoral suppression which could backfire. The belated spate of calls for Demirtas to be released reflect the perilous state not just of the President but of his ‘official’ opposition.

Issues

Turkey’s university faculties unite against being divided

By Fehim Tastekin, Apr 30, 2018, First appeared on Al-Monitor

Turkish academia is in upheaval following the government’s decision to split up 13 major universities to form new ones, while university departments say that the proposal is fueled by ulterior motives and that resources are already spread too thin.

How a Turkish general’s smile is now a key election issue

By Metin Gurcan, Jun 8, 2018, First published in AL-Monitor

There’s not much time left before what could become Turkey’s most consequential elections. On June 24, about 60 million people are expected to vote in what could lead to a regime change. All candidates, notably President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, have stepped up their campaigns. But the three different “hats” Erdogan wears in his campaign have made Turkey’s civilian-military relations — already strained by the 2016 attempted coup — more fragile.

 

 

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Selahattin Demirtas, leader of Turkey's second-biggest opposition group the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP),was jailed in a wave of anti-Kurdish hysteria, astutely managed by the country's president. The other opposition parties found it a convenient excuse to exclude the HDP from attempts to unify. But these manouvres are not only divisive -they leave them exposed to charges of collaborating in electoral suppression which could backfire. The belated spate of calls for Demirtas to be released reflect the perilous state not just of the President but of his 'official' opposition.