By Özer Khalid[*]
(The opinions expressed in this paper are analytical and expert views offered by specialists do not necessarily always overlap with this author`s. )
(The world, in recent years, witnessed a host of surprising voting outcomes. The rise of right-wing[i] populist[ii] outfits in the US such as the Tea Party, Mike Huckabee and alarmingly Donald Trump, the European Parliamentary elections of 2014, the Dutch Party for Freedom (Partij voor de Vrijheid, PVV)[iii], Tsipras` SYRIZA triumph of the far-left in debt-saddled Greece and an encouraging rise of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader are a few electoral surprise cases in point. However, few foresaw the steep decline of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development (AK) party`s rule on 7 June, 2015, which had been pulling a hat-trick since 2002… History alone will be the final arbiter of whether or not Mr. Erdoğan and the AK Party manage to tactically embrace consensus-building and compromise-seeking… Mr. Erdoğan and the AK Party must now tailor their policies to suit the circumstances du jour, even if it implies tough policy reversals. Turkey’s future success relies on it. – Author)
Turkey: 7 June, 2015 Election Results – Representation and Constitutionality
On 7 June, 2015, President Erdoğan faced the most important election of his life. Apart from being a general election, 7 June was a litmus test for his popularity. The laws of gravity applied, his popularity ebbed. The result undermined President Erdoğan and his Justice and Development[iv] (AK hereafter) party’s 13 years of single-party rule. June 7th elections derailed any drastic Constitutional amendments to further entrench Presidential power. Mr. Erdoğan’s implacable assaults on Atatürk-envisioned secular order and his autocratic style may have been the major causes of his diminished popularity.
The info graphic hereunder depicts the election results, illustrating especially the surprise strength in parliamentary representation of the pro-Kurdish, HDP, in Turkey`s South-East, their traditional stronghold.
Source: One Europe, Eurographics[v]
This election is by no means conclusive. It is too early to write off President Erdoğan as the AK remains the largest party in Parliament. The center right-wing in Turkey still sways 60 percent of votes whereas the center-left holds 40 percent, as of June 7. De facto, the AK won a fourth election scooping 40.8 percent of the vote, teetering Turkey into the throes of constitutional ambiguity[vi]. Second in place were the secular-nationalist Republican People’s Party (CHP)[vii] at 24.96 percent with 132 seats[viii], third the right-wing Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) at 16.29 percent with 80 seats and fourth the leftist People’s Democratic Party (HDP) at 13.12 percent.
The AK which had held onto the reins of power since 2002 lost their parliamentary majority but still retains 258 seats. AK was aiming for 330 seats[ix] which would have emboldened Mr. Erdoğan to change the country from a Parliamentary system to a US or French-style executive Presidency[x].
Inconclusive polls on June 7, failed coalition talks , Jihadist and Kurdish terrorist affronts to Turkey`s sovereignty have given birth to an unprecedented impasse, one which Mr. Erdoğan affirms will be solved with the `magic wand` of an Executive Presidency, critics deride such assertions as the President`s unquenchable thirst for turning Turkey into an autocratic autarky under an all powerful presidency. This researcher deems such regional permutations as a broader sequel to the Arab Spring, that incidentally was fuelled by the tremendous success of the AK party bringing change and reform through electoral means.
An Arab Spring awakening allowed Messrs. Erdoğan and Davutoğlu a historic opportunity to exert Turkish regional leadership in a Middle East which, in their eyes, had broken out from tyrannical régimes[xi] of yesteryear and a post-Colonial order imposed via imperialists and their 1916 Sykes-Picot Pact.
The world, in recent years, witnessed a host of surprising voting outcomes. The rise of right-wing[xii] populist[xiii] outfits in the US such as the Tea Party, Mike Huckabee and alarmingly Donald Trump, the European Parliamentary elections of 2014, the Dutch Party for Freedom (Partij voor de Vrijheid, PVV)[xiv], Tsipras` SYRIZA triumph of the far-left in debt-saddled Greece and an encouraging rise of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader are a few electoral surprise cases in point. However, few foresaw the steep decline of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development (AK) party`s rule on 7 June, 2015, which had been pulling a hat-trick since 2002.
Turkey witnessed her first hung parliament since 1999. The specter of a hung parliament[xv], one which haunted David Cameron at 10 Downing Street only a few months ago, now becomes a living reality in Ankara`s corridors of power.
The inauguration of Turkey’s new parliament on 23 June was a heady day for many segments in the chamber. Pious Muslim women were able to take the oath shoulder-to-shoulder with old-school Kemalists, donning head-scarves for the first time without being harassed by the secular dinosaurs. Three Armenians, two Yazidis, a Syriac, a Roma and numerous Kurds and Alevis (and a total of 96 women) made for the most colourful assembly in the Republic’s 92-year history (Zaman, 2015)[xvi].
The subsequent race for the election of a Parliamentary speaker heated up paving the way for Deniz Baykal to assume the mantle on June 23, 2015. Since Baykal belonged to the opposition CHP (Republican People`s Party), the semblance of a `separation of powers` was (partially) restored, as Baykal warmed the Speaker`s seat unhinged by AK`s diktat. As a new government was not formed by August 23, the Constitution mandated that new Parliamentary elections be held. August 23 marked the 45 day deadline to form a coalition. Failing to cobble together a coalition, PM Davutoğlu, the leader of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) handed the mandate back to President Erdoğan. According to the Constitution, the AK Party continues to rule as a minority government until re-elections.
President Erdoğan, using the constitutional power vested in him, consulted with and received the consent by the speaker of the Parliament on 24 August to declare re-elections. Unprecedented in Turkey’s political history, Mr. Erdoğan declared that this repeat election will take place on 1 November, validated by Turkey`s election board. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu since formed a caretaker election government within five days on 25 August.
Turkey’s re-election, is unlikely to paint a drastically different political portrait. The AK Party is only 18 MPs shy of achieving single party rule; therefore it doesn’t require a momentous leap in voter support to warm the seats of government. To re-gain 18 more MPs on November 1st, AK will emphatically articulate a need for preserving stability and economic prosperity, an odyssey Turkey journeyed toward under the aegis of AK Party’s government over the past 13 years.
Coalition talks between Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) ended negatively on August 13, which set the stage for a snap election on November 1. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, after weeks of flirtation, could not tie the proverbial knot. Opposition toward the social constituency of an AK Party-CHP coalition, the contending visions of the parties on domestic and foreign policy, and the allure to the AK Party of reclaiming a parliamentary majority via a new election shut the doors to a coalition government between AK-CHP[xvii]. An added thorn in the potential AK-CHP petal was that Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, CHP front man, refused to even set foot in Ak Saray, President Erdoğan’s lavishly constructed `ivory tower` in Bestepe, Ankara which irked President Erdoğan.
AK-MHP coalition talks also never saw the light of day. Speaking after his meeting with MHP’s leader Devlet Bahceli in Ankara, Mr. Davutoğlu said MHP wouldn’t support a short-term government with his own AK Party, an ultimate deal-breaker for AK. “Erdoğan has called for repeat elections with the aim of not sharing power” complained Devlet Bahceli, chairman of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). PM Davutoğlu, under the tutelage of President Erdoğan thereby laid the groundwork for a re-election.
News of collapsed coalition talks sent the lira tumbling to a record low of 2.81 to the dollar, losing 3.1%. Many investors had hoped for a grand coalition between the AKP and the pro-business, centre-left CHP, and now fear another election will prolong uncertainty. Turkey’s lira slipped into a downward spiral and depreciated as much as 1.2 percent to 2.8678 against the dollar, before trading at 2.8635 in Istanbul.
Number-crunching analysts forecast that the lira will further depreciate to about
3.30-3.35 vis-à-vis the US dollar in the coming four to ten months. The yield on two-year
government bonds climbed 10 basis points to 10.28 percent, the highest since June. The
Borsa Istanbul 100 Index of stocks dropped 0.5 percent to the lowest since March 13[xviii].
Political uncertainties, coupled with Euro zone woes, `Grexit`, and China`s
economic malaise rattling the global markets, have all taken their toll in battering
Turkey remains a pivotal convergence play for investors, despite brewing
political risks and a lack of progress in the EU accession process. While Turkey’s public
debt load is low by regional standards, the private sector’s unbridled external
borrowing over the past years has greatly augmented macroeconomic vulnerabilities.
As both the secularist centre-left Republican People’s Party (CHP)[xix] and
the ultra right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP)[xx], the second and third largest parties
in parliament, announced that they would not take part in government
coalition formation, all camps are harnessing their energies for heated rounds of
AK Party’s flawed attempt to cobble together a coalition government bears proof
that it lacked a comprehensively cogent, compelling and credible argument for the
formation of a broader-based government. Yet if it seeks electoral success post
November 1, AK needs to assimilate a more inclusive narrative, essential not only for
re-entering into power, but re-validating the ebbing relevance of President Erdoğan,
who might otherwise be relegated to a ceremonial Presidency. No doubt political
differences between each party is widespread, demands are conflicting, vested interests
run rampant, and social bases are diverging. Yet it is precisely during times like these
that leaders do, nay must, against all odds, rise to the occasion, offering long-term
inclusion, a social sense of belonging and assimilation.
Amidst an avalanche of civil unrest, insurgency, militancy, economic woes and
political uncertainty, 80 million Turkish citizens, crave a convincing argument to sway
their vote and switch the colour of their political stripes. There is a high likelihood that
the November 1 election will mirror a similar result ushered in by the June 7 elections.
If this proves substantiated, the AK Party will enter the coalition talks with a weakened
bargaining position after the election. Even if AK gains enough seats to form the single
party government, it will be a wobbly fragile and fractured government, unlike the AK
Goliath of yore, its` seat caputre will unlikely be barely above the threshold.
Despite such electoral setbacks, President Erdoğan is still accorded a privileged status under Turkey`s Constitution, wherein he is (supposed to) act as a neutral, yet potent leader. Constitutionally, de jure, Executive power is vested with the Prime Minister, though owing to a Constitutional modification, in 2014 Mr. Erdoğan was the first President to ever be elected directly by the people instead of by Parliament. Come what may, a popularly elected President is de facto vested with great powers.
Meanwhile, political parties flung stones on each others` glass houses accusing one another of giving birth to a leadership vacuum as Turkey teeters on the brink of tumult, terror and financial instability, as witnessed in August and September, 2015 exacerbated by Cizre`s[xxi] curfew, the Dağlıca attack where at least 16 Turkish garrison were martyred, the Iğdır incident, terror in Suruç and the deeply moving images of a drowned Syrian baby, three year old Aylan Kurdi, whose body was found washed ashore on Turkey`s sea.
Metropoll, a pollster, found in a recent survey that if an election were held now, the result would be much the same as June 7: a hung parliament. Negotiating a coalition will be an uphill struggle, complicated by the vitriol of the campaign, the variances between the four camps and a latent power motivation of President Erdoğan, still a heavy-weight contender in Turkish politics despite his hypothetically `neutral` role as President.
No coalition government in Turkey ever successfully completed a full political term. Any junior coalition partner would extract their proverbial pound of flesh. Effective coalitions necessitate checks and balances, not yet fully ingrained in Turkey’s political DNA[xxii].
Turkey, over the next coming few weeks, is fully geared for an intense no-holes-
barred electioneering, electorate-pleasing, manifesto over-promising contest. Between
now and November 1st there is bound to be mud-slinging, name-calling and finger-
pointing aplenty, all with the aim of ratcheting up maximum votes and capturing an
ever-dwindling electoral attention span in an age of sensationalism and sound bytes.
The unfolding political saga in Ankara begs a seminal question: who truly
saddles on the reins of influence in Ankara, is it the Prime Minister or the President?
Applying Max Weberian indomitable force of personality and charisma criteria, there is no
doubt that Mr. Erdoğan rules the roost. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, despite
showing some recent teeth, still remains, by and large, a ceremonial figurehead rubber-
stamping Mr. Erdoğan`s hegemony.
Mr. Erdoğan’s informal influence over stealthy AK stalwarts, his considerable
grip over media organs, and his Weberian[xxiii] span of control over the
bureaucracy, after years of calculated positioning of loyalists in key portfolios and a
purging of undesirables, leaves him, in a prized position, despite inconclusive polls.
Yet for him all this does not suffice. His eyes are still fixated on the über prize, a
constitutional amendment to replace the Parliamentary system with a France or U.S.-style
The President deployed every trick in the trade to ensure that Mr. Davutoğlu would be
incapable of forming a coalition government with any opposition party, as that might have
swung open a Pandora`s Box exposing Mr. Erdoğan, his family and close allies to corruption
charges, whilst freezing his aspirations for an Executive Presidency. Mr. Erdoğan also
broke with political custom and refused to offer the main opposition party the chance to
knit together its own coalition.
From the get-go, Mr. Erdoğan made it patently obvious that he sought either an
AK minority government or fresh elections. If the AK fail to achieve a majority come
November, then Mr. Erdoğan’s iron grip on the AK and Turkish politics will inevitably
loosen. Over the next few weeks, Mr. Erdoğan will intensify his efforts on the campaign
trail, much like he did prior to the June 7 elections, owing, inter alia, to Mr. Davutoğlu`s
lackluster charisma deficient personality.
Many accused Mr. Erdoğan of politically capitalizing on Turkey`s current trials and
tribulations, especially with regards to the Kurdish contingent, arguing that the tumult and
curfew of Cizre, the Dağlıca attack on Turkish garrison by Kurdish PKK fundamentalists in the
southeastern province of Hakkari, on the Iranian and Iraqi border, Iğdır and terrorism in Suruç
all occurred as Mr. Erdoğan was not given a clear majority of 400 AK MP`s. Such a glaring lack
of mandate, he contends, causes the current power vacuum and sparks the fuse for crisis.
President Erdoğan, reminds us all, time and again, that such colossal chaos might be
avoided if his AK reassumed the reins of power. The President blames a rising tide of
violence between the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Turkish
security forces on the Kurdish HDP, which failed to lower PKK`s appeal.
The 2012 peace talks with the Kurdish PKK floundered and minorities were marginalized. Kurdish terrorism within Turkey has climbed to unseen levels since 10 years. Ever since peace talks crumbled, the PKK has ruthlessly and relentlessly been attacking Turkey`s security forces. From September 5-8th, 2015, the PKK targeted 16 Turkish soldiers and 14 policemen, mercilessly ambushing and killing Turkish garrison in Dağlıca, a village in Yüksekova District, Hakkâri Province, near the Iraqi border.
The President and the Premier are accused of stoking war with Kurdish
insurgents in a bid to bolster the AK’s support with nationalist votes and prevent the
HDP party from passing a 10% electoral threshold again.
Security forces have already placed HDP officials behind bars at will. Kurdish
towns like Cizre, where children have been killed, are under siege with their inhabitants
unable to leave their residences to acquire life-saving amenities. Selahattin Demirtaş, co-
chair of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), cancelled a trip to Germany returning to Turkey
on September 7, after the large-scale militant attack in the southeastern province of Hakkari, on
the Iranian and Iraqi border. In his first reaction to the Dağlıca attack, Demirtaş tweeted: “As
killing has no justification; leading our people to death has no justification either. Death knells that upset
us cannot be our destiny.”[xxiv]
Expressing his condolences for those who lost their lives in the Dağlıca attack as well as
children killed in Cizre in continuing attacks by security forces, Demirtaş declared:
“We won’t surrender to the war policies of those who deem only death proper for the
poor children of this people. We should altogether find ways to break this catastrophic cycle
instead of spilling out hatred [against each other].”[xxv]
This author feels a credible concern that amidst the mayhem, a slew of violence
and illegal political campaign tactics[xxvi], this election might be delegitimized in the eyes
of a media savvy younger generation yearning for lasting change. Such a chimera of
disenfranchisement paves the way to a prolonged period of political malaise in Ankara
and in the wider Anatolian region.
Mr. Erdoğan is fully cognizant that should the November 1 elections not
produce an outcome considerably different from June 7, or even if they bring about a
result whereby the AK is able to form a single-party government, it will be difficult to
expect a smooth cohabitation between Mr. Erdoğan and the AK. Mr. Erdoğan’s
ambitions and his perceived lust for one-man rule will deepen the already existing
cracks and chasms within the AKP. A Janus-like double-headed administration is
doomed to fail, especially when there are two separate heads that will not want to share
If au contraire, Mr. Erdoğan manages in lowering the pro-Kurdish HDP below the
ten percent threshold required to enter Parliament, then Kurdish activists are likely to
take to the streets engaging in civil unrest and active disobedience in major metropolis
like Mersin, Adana and Istanbul most likely tearing the country further apart, alienating
masses, denting essential revenues from tourism and foreign direct investment.
The quintessential question now is where Turkey heads to next. Erdoğan, though unlikely, may scuttle under a ceremonial presidency, espousing a non-meddling back-seat, permitting Davutoğlu, who visited and cemented ties with Pakistan in February 2015, to knit together a coalition with the opposition. Leaving Mr. Erdoğan, a lonelier Sultan, in his $ 615 million, 1,150 room Ak Saray Mega-Palace. This is highly unlikely. True to his real nature, the President is likelier to fight to the bitter end. Observers should never be betrayed by historical amnesia. Mr. Erdoğan is a born fighter, a self-made Sultan who forged his own destiny from truly humble beginnings.
Mr. Erdoğan, rose to become a highly effective Mayor of Istanbul, much like ex-Mayor Ahmadinejad in neighbouring Iran. Like his former Iranian counterpart, (back then) he remained squeaky clean, humble, rooted out corruption, got Istanbul`s traffic congestion, energy and sanitation issues sorted.
However, his more recent ornate Ottoman like opulence portend to ill-fated illusions of grandeur. Salubrious Sultan-like behavior is unbecoming as Turks are mired in economic malaise. The 1150-room Presidential palace, Ak Saray, for example, reportedly cost $615 million and is rumored to contain toilets made of gold, a questionable privilege only enjoyed by an oil revenue-drenched Sultan of Brunei, oozing with wealth. Opulence for which the Sultan of Brunei in fact gained ill-repute. While Erdoğan was leading his lavish lifestyle, other parties began to articulate a more coherent and imaginative economic policy (Kirişci and Melis, 2015)[xxviii].
Once Prime Minister Davutoğlu fully realizes that a Presidential system is certainly not on the cards, he might be less likely to keep playing second-fiddle to President Erdoğan. A discrete rift between the two seems to be brewing, on domestic policy. This may spark divisive internal rifts within the AK. Founder of AK Party, Mr. Gül, though a behind-the-scenes operator might also spring to the forefront. A surprise meeting on the sidelines at the funeral of another former president, Süleyman Demirel[xxix], stirred rumours, as yet unfounded, that the President may seek to assign Mr. Gül some powerful seat. Yet it remains doubtful that a risk-averse play-it-safe Mr. Gül will come back without airtight assurances of his political independence.
June 7 also achieved a historical milestone. For the first time in Turkey’s history, 18 million Kurds, Armenians and Yazidis received parliamentary representation via the HDP, an emissary for the excluded, buoyed by a charismatic guitar-strumming Selahattin Demirtaş, evolving the Kurdish[xxx] movement from the blood-stained battlefields of the southeast to the corridors of influence in Ankara.
The map below exhibits areas of Kurdish dominance, where Mr. Erdoğan’s influence has been eroded, and HDP`s MHP`s increased. Witness on the map that Mr. Erdoğan’s support diluted in areas bordering the highly volatile countries of Georgia, Armenia, Iran, Iraq and Syria, which teeter on the razor`s edge of uncertainty.
Eroding Erdogan’s power: Our guide to Turkey’s general elections
Source: The Economist[xxxi]
A definitive sign of the settlement of the Kurdish debacle in Turkey will be the representation of the Kurds at the political epicenter with their unique voice, interests and identity echoed in Ankara`s Parliament. This could be a true harbinger of hope. It is high-time that the armed wing of the Kurdish contingent (PKK) to lay down their arms, and chose ballots over bullets, as did the IRA in Northern Ireland now present in Westminster Abbey or ETA in Spain.
As one of the most formidable political and social forces in the country, the Kurds are capable of advancing their cause through political and peaceful narratives. Selahattin Demirtaş, a man of our times, is capable of delivering the aspirations of the Kurds, evolving their concerns from the blood-stained battlefields of the southeast to the influential corridors of power in Ankara.
As Turkey sat on the precipice of political uncertainty, one of its towering political architects, former President Süleyman Demirel, passed away at the age of 90 on 17 June. History alone will be the final arbiter of whether or not Mr. Erdoğan and the AK Party manage to tactically embrace consensus-building and compromise-seeking the way Mr. Demirel did for over four decades. Mr. Erdoğan and the AK Party must now tailor their policies to suit the circumstances du jour, even if it implies tough policy reversals. Turkey’s future success relies on it.
A power vacuum in Ankara will jeopardize Turkey`s economy further, casting a hovering cloud of doubt over long-term political quiescence. Eurasia`s Emerging Markets political risk ranking, priced as of December 1, 2014, portrays a downward political trajectory for Turkey over a 24-month time-span, with less than bullish year-to-date equity market performance.
Source: Eurasia Group[xxxii]
The AK`s consecutive three party term dented their campaign credibility, as in any natural election cycle, citizens eventually yearn for change and want to see fresh blood with new faces. Despite Mr. Erdoğan’s huge media machine, MHP & HDP gained amazing traction, benefiting from strategic tactical voting against the AK.
Explaining President Erdoğan’s Ebbing Popularity – A Fall from Grace
An Anatomy of Autocratic Autarky
Mr. Erdoğan’s dwindling support, as we have examined, is multi-causal. The economy is in a downward spiral, the Lira is depreciating, stock prices plummeting. Turks usually cast their votes premised on a party’s track-record in bolstering the economy. The AK Party rose to power precisely because it promised more financial security and economic progress on the heels of a financial meltdown in the country. Turkey’s economic growth rate rose to 7.5% between 2003 and 2006 and climbed to 8.5 % (coming second in the world after China) when Turkey was at the pinnacle of its global prestige.
Today, however, the picture looks Dickensian `bleak`. Turkey’s economic growth by the end of 2014 tumbled to 2.58 % per Brookings Institute figures. The AK Party lamentably missed its key economic targets for 2014 and watched the lira hit all-time lows against the U.S. dollar. An unusually high level of private credit, some of it held in U.S. dollars; and a decrease in credit flows into the economy make Turkey look economically feeble.
Economists stipulate that President Erdoğan has not helped improve the dire straits of Turkey`s economy. Instead of aiming for sorely needed structural reforms to boost the economy, Mr. Erdoğan has mounted an assault on the independence of regulatory bodies, dictated central bank policies[xxxiii], and aligned economic problems to all-to-easily hatched international conspiracies.
Recent terror by ISIS in Suruç and PKK in Dağlıca represent a death toll which are not just dry statistics for Turkey. Every one of these brave soldiers were dubbed “martyrs” in Turkey, young men considered “sons of the soil“ in the former patriotic land of the Ottomans. These young men left behind families, wives, children, babies as Turkey shed tears of blood. Each one of them a tragedy which has scarred the nation[xxxiv]. Salting the wounds further is that the PKK is no heroic guerilla army grinding axes with ISIS, as is often wrongfully romanticized in Western media. The PKK seeks to establish a totalitarian state in all of Turkey`s southeastern provinces.
A lot of Turkey`s citizenry blame Mr. Erdoğan for such civil unrest and carnage which exhibits no sign of abating. Turkey is “on the brink of civil war” warned Selahattin Demirtaş, of the HDP. Since July, at least 113 Turkish security officers have lost their lives. On September 11, Turkish fighter jets launched a renewed air strike offensive vis-à-vis PKK targets in the Kurdish controlled Northern Iraq[xxxv].
Amidst such cataclysm and blood-letting, plausible concerns have been raised by Ankara`s pundits, that the November 1 Parliamentary elections may even be called off. Skeptics suggest that this is exactly what President Erdoğan initially intended when he ignited the flames of wrath with the PKK, part of a cynical plan to cement a one-man rule [xxxvi]. Cynical minds attest that the President might also be trying to whip up nationalist fervour with a desire to reassert AK`s majority rule.
Others assert that the PKK purposely piques nationalist scorn against the HDP to undermine the hugely popular Demirtaş, seen as a challenge to their heretofore unchallenged grip over the Kurdish narrative.
Whilst it is easy to hatch sinister speculation, plots and sub-plots, discerning minds must note the broader backdrop against which tensions between both sides (PKK versus Turkish army/AK) brewed and boiled over to full blown war[xxxvii].
The Turkish state, in Weberian terms, of exercising the ultimate monopoly over the use of force, is eroding especially in much of southeastern Turkey, the Kurdish hinterland, where non-state actors as the PKK and other off-shoots mushroom. A perceived insatiable ego of an autarkical President does not help. Turkey finds herself between the devil and the deep blue sea.
“The Turkey of today looks like a horror tunnel with no end in sight….whereby all troubles are interactive working together to tear apart Turkey`s societal peace and stability” lamented Mustafa Akyol[xxxviii]. Mr. Erdoğan had “implicitly and indirectly” inferred that had his 400 AK MP`s been present in government such terror would not reign. Technically, however, he did not specifically mention Dağlıca and co-relate it with the absence of 400 AK MP`s , so some paranoid AK loyalists considered it heresy for Hürriyet newspaper to present the news as such. It was, perhaps, at worst, a comment on what President Erdoğan had really implicitly been seeking if not outwardly expressing.
An estimated half of the Kurds are secular, whereas others identify with cultural ethnic values, so Erdoğan’s plea to Islamic solidarity has not softened their concerns of historic mistreatment.
Many women, also did/do not hold the President in high regard. They were largely ostracized under AK cabinets, conveniently relegated to a single portfolio of “family affairs”. The most dramatic change of a new government would be that, after long years of basking in the shadows, under the AK, women politicians would finally hold prominent seats. One key contender for instance is CHP`s deputy and party vice-chair Selin Sayek Böke, who could also be Turkey’s first Christian-denominated[xxxix] government minister[xl] since the demise of the Ottoman Empire, a first truly prominent role for women, many say, since Tansu Çiller, the 30th Prime Minister of Turkey from 1993 to 1996.
Mr. Erdoğan’s popularity also waned as AK sought to erect a controversial commercial plaza in Istanbul`s highly cherished Gezi park. The Gezi protests of summer 2013 were a turning point. Those disappointed took bold action, an important stride in the maturity of active citizenship as Turkey`s civil society started to bloom. Gezi led to initiatives such as Vote and Beyond, the first domestic NGO to monitor elections in Turkey[xli]. However, active citizenship denotes much more than monitoring elections and casting ballots.
Journalists and sitting MPs often found themselves in jail. Freedom of expression was curtailed and clamped down upon. Over the past decade, the AKP has tightened its grip over the media. On February 6, 2014 the Turkish Parliament approved a highly contentious internet law, which is an omnibus bill that curtails freedom of expression. Such overbearing Orwellian[xlii] oversight wrought ire.
Heavy-handedness vis-à-vis the media is another ill-fated attribute of President Tayyip Erdoğan`s era. His supporters often dub and deem every AK opponent and critic a “traitor” of the nation, who are “in bed with all the nefarious powers out there, from the PKK to “Zionism.”[xliii]
A prime example of media bullying can be witnessed during this September`s Dağlıca PKK terror attack. A headline on Hürriyet’s webpage, read “Erdoğan spoke on Dağlıca: This is all happening because there are no 400 MPs.”[xliv] Hürriyet, inferring that Mr. Erdoğan attributed the terror incident to a lack of a government majority with 400 AK MP`s, approximately 200 supporters of Mr. Erdoğan staged an angry protest in front the daily Hürriyet building, pelting stones, vandalizing windows, and attempting to break into the building. Among them was Abdürrahim Boynukalın, an AK MP who leads the party’s youth wing. He condemned the Doğan Group, the parent company which owns the daily Hürriyet, co-relating the newspaper as “the same thing” as the PKK. He also vowed that “we will kick all of them out after Nov. 1,” referring to the upcoming general elections. Erdoğan echoed a similarly angry sentiment on TV, saying that “terror would be fought more effectively”[xlv]
Any news or critique who ruffles Mr. Erdoğan`s feathers becomes fair-game for a vendetta-ridden violent backlash from the bully pulpit of pro-Erdoğan cadres. Other media crackdown examples are abundant. Fines were increasingly levied by Turkey`s Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTUK), and the Presidency of Telecommunication and Communication (TIB)[xlvi], which rather than being supervisory boards became instruments of censorship. They sought to ban social media portals such as Twitter and YouTube. Data below, from July 1 to December 31, confirms that in 2014 Turkey ranked first in Twitter content removal requests totaling 796, with 1,982 Tweets withheld. Such social media clampdown is shock-therapy to any democracy.
Now, for the first time since 2002, the AKP will not appoint a majority of RTUK or TIB members. This suggests that the party’s media intimidation techniques stand curtailed and freedom of expression gets a breather[xlviii].
Mr. Erdoğan’s media clampdown is a tad counter-intuitive given that he himself was imprisoned for free speech, upon reciting stanzas of an Islamic poem in 1998. Long pre-trial detentions and the use of (possibly) forged evidence, are practices that have generated criticism from the EU.
Wiser AK members should curb this feverish zeal to suffocate freedom of expression. The world has witnessed, many times over, that democracies and societies only flourish when allowed to socially ventilate through an interchange of ideas in an open supportive society. Heavy-handed over-bearing Orwellian oversight ends in failure, the former USSR, an isolationist North Korea and Mexico`s bleak history of harsh anti-media stance stick out like sore cacti.
Most of all, Mr. Erdoğan`s legacy is deemed an assault on Atatürk’s secular impulses. The AK, for instance, instilled Islamizing changes to education, allowing female students a freedom to don headscarves and a recent verdict to teach Sunni Islamic practices to all schoolchildren beginning from at a tender age of six in publicly funded schools.
Constitutional Conundrum & Legality – Presidential vs. Parliamentary system
Turkey and Pakistan – Comparative Frameworks
Most controversially Mr. Erdoğan sought a pumped-up Pakistani constitutional equivalent of the 8th amendment, albeit with much more powers. For now, the Turkish Presidency, much like the British Monarchy, is a quasi-ceremonial figurehead. However, often in Turkish politics, the `cult of personality` reigns supreme. Therefore Mr. Erdoğan, much like President Sarkozy or Putin, has a proclivity to impose the power of personality onto the Presidency, ensuring that the role is never reduced to rubber-stamping. For such Presidents, it always helps to have a pliable Prime Minister, and Mr. Davutoğlu certainly fits the bill[xlix].
Mr. Erdoğan and proponents of a Presidential system underline the system`s propensity toward governmental stability, whereas under a Parliamentary system, the legislative and executive powers can bring one another down (Kalaycıoğlu, 2005) [l] with no separation of powers.
In a Presidential system, Mr. Erdoğan could preserve his post regardless of Parliament’s confidence[li] assuming full control over the executive. Under a Parliamentary system it is also possible to prompt the fall of government and end its term through the interpellation mechanism[lii].
In the U.S. a Presidential system is successfully afoot owing to well-ascertained checks and balances specific to the system, and their established democratic culture, however when Turkey’s political life experience is taken into account, one can hardly conclude that this is a system fit for Turkey. Likewise, the fact that this system successfully operates in the U.S. but could not equally replicate success in Latin America might show the system’s peculiarity to the U.S.
The 7 June elections were not without hiccups. Despite OSCE monitoring, accusations of fraud, misconduct and violence were hurled, harking back to the controversial 2014 local elections. Candidates, activists and property were all subject to politically induced violence and vandalism, leading to the demise of 5 HDP supporters after two car bombs detonated in the southeastern[liii] city of Diyarbakir on 5 June. By and large though, this was no Pakistan-scale dhandlee (rigging) fiasco and an independent European Parliament in Strasbourg declared Turkey`s elections `free and fair`[liv].
In an unprecedented show of electoral mobilization and transparency in Turkey, citizens formed a civic initiative “Vote and Beyond” to verify vote counting in 45 provinces with more than 50,000 volunteers. Such electoral screening and active citizenship initiatives along with bio-metrics are the fruits which Pakistan could most certainly benefit from.
Mr. Erdoğan campaigned for the AK under the guise of `public opening` rallies. By so doing he acted ultra vires violating Turkey`s Constitution which requires a President to exercise neutrality and remain above the fray of partisan politics. As a result, the elections were deemed a referendum on Mr. Erdoğan himself.
Presidential neutrality per se, is legally enshrined in Articles 101 and 108 of Turkey`s Constitution, sections devoted to “executive” powers. Articles 101 and 108, both respectively elucidate upon a President`s “characteristics and objectivity”[lv].
Turkey`s Constitution of 1982[lvi], much like Pakistan`s Constitution of 1973, bears remnants, if read between the lines, of military régimes from 1980-1983[lvii]. According to lawyers, Turkey`s Constitution, despite countless liberalizing amendments since 1987 epitomizes an authoritarian, statist and tutelary mindset of its military founders (Ozbudun, 2011). The prohibitive 10% minimal electoral threshold designed to exclude minorities from Parliament is but one glaring example.
Constitutional Articles still echo a deep distrust for civilian politics, a stark reminder of the salience given to the forces. Both Pakistan and Turkey, have been unable to liquidate such a khaki constitutional spirit. It is cautious to comment, however, that it is this very khaki spirit often salvaging both Pakistan and Turkey from incompetent civilian rulers more concerned with aligning pockets and purses and ratcheting up personal power rather than exhibiting genuine statesmanship[lviii].
The major distinction between Pakistan and Turkey`s Constitution[lix] lies in secularism, the latter nation bearing secular attributes owing to an ingenious founding father Atatürk`s foresight (Ciddi, 2009)[lx]. Also Turkey`s Men on Horseback, an allegory for the khaki brigade, whenever they saddled onto the seats of government, promptly returned the reins of power back to civilians, be it in 1961, 1971 or 1981.
In defense of the 1982 Constitution and Turkey`s Parliamentary system, the President, alone, cannot currently dissolve parliament, or appoint judges to the Constitutional Court and high judicial organs without legislative approval or responsibility. It is for this reason that Turkey, especially nowadays, needs a Prime Minister with a strong Parliamentary majority, who could be no less an important actor than a President.
Coalition Calculations, Party Pledges and Manifesto Mandates and Foreign Policy
Turkey’s future yet again faces the prospect of a return to the coalition culture of the 90s. November 1 election outcomes are likely to mirror those of June 7: as no party enjoys a landslide. Not only will coalition agreements prove daunting but any permutation may push the country again towards gridlock and stalemate[lxi].
Metropoll, a pollster, found in a recent survey that if an election were held now, the result would be much the same as June 7: a hung parliament. This would usher in impasse and inertia-laden indecision, not to forget civilian unrest. Negotiating a coalition will be an uphill struggle, complicated by the vitriol of the campaign, the variances between the four camps, a richly diverse electorate, and an insatiable ego and latent power motivation of President Erdoğan, still a heavy-weight contender in Turkish politics despite his hypothetically `neutral` role as President.
No coalition government in Turkey ever successfully completed a full political term. Any junior coalition partner would extract their proverbial pound of flesh. Effective coalitions necessitate compromise and accommodation, checks and balances, not yet fully ingrained in Turkey’s political DNA[lxii].
November 1 will most likely yield an unwanted harvest of a hung-Parliament, made even more arduous due to such starkly divergent political poles. Weaving a coalition out of the current Turkish political tapestry is an uphill battle. Yet, ironically and historically proven, it is exactly this wide amalgam of political philosophies between a multitude of parties that render the formation of a coalition ever more prized and precious.
In recent years, interestingly, while social cleavages between diverse identity groups – Kurds and Turks, Alevis and Sunnis, secularists and Islamists – has shrunk, political polarisation has considerably broadened. Such political polarisation did not take root from a social level; rather it was instigated via years of top-down developments. It is largely political in nature and reinforced by the decisions and deeds of an increasingly isolated political elite, Mr. Erdoğan is just the icing of a much deeper cake.
A coalition government made up of the representatives of the Islamist and secularist camps would have significantly decreased such polarisation, as compromise and bridge-building would become the norm, rather than a deeply desired exception.
Mr. Erdoğan’s key calculation, in embracing any coalition post November 1, may be that a premature coalition collapses and hastens a loss in opposition party support, enabling the AK to come out roaring, armed with a Constitution-changing majority to silver-platter him with an executive-style Presidency. Therefore a minimal time-threshold of two years may be suggested for any coalition formula.
However, CHP, MHP and HDP leaders have all proven lukewarm to shaking political hands with AK, partly because a marriage of coalition convenience dents their image as tactical weakness over the longer-haul. A junior coalition partner must also justify their sudden U-turn to a discerning and increasingly critical electorate.
If a hung parliament arises post November 1, the first possibility is an AK-CHP coalition, CHP being a left-leaning secularist party in the footsteps of Atatürk`s Republican People`s Party. However, this August AK-CHP coalition faltered, whereas the CHP’s account cited the opposition of President Erdoğan as the main failure for these coalition talks, the AK Party account focused on differences of opinion and stance on major political issues such as the parties’ foreign and education policy visions being particularly irreconcilable. Moreover, the AK Party referred to the wide opposition of its social base to an AK Party-CHP coalition government as another factor for the failure of talks. The AK Party and CHP have historically been each other’s political antithesis. The AK Party is the main representative of the conservative/Islamic social base whereas the CHP speaks for the secularist/Kemalist segment of society. This cleavage along secularist-Islamist lines has been one of the main fault lines of Turkey’s politics and socio-political polarisation[lxiii]. CHP’s Murat Karayalçin, Kemal Kiliçdaroglu and Deniz Baykal are all critical of an AK-CHP tie-up.
However, a strategic tie-up between the country`s two most sizeable parties may end an époque of schism which could augur well for Turkey. An unassailable majority, believe many, is exactly what Turkey needs to exit from its current quagmire of unrest. Though bitter rivalry between AK and CHP runs so deep it’s difficult to envision them acting in tandem (Satter and Fraser, 2015)[lxiv].
Collectively, the AK and CHP would have ample seats to initiate Constitutional changes[lxv]. CHP would demand that the former AK Party ministers be brought to justice over 2013 corruption allegations and that President Erdoğan should be brought down to size, in effect incapacitating him (Çevik, 2015)[lxvi].
A sine qua non for the CHP’s partnership in a coalition would be for President Erdoğan to circumscribe his penchant for an executive Presidency. Similarly, AK would insist that CHP withdraw its corruption charges levied against AK[lxvii]. President Erdoğan was in Pakistan when the corruption scandal broke (Özgür, 2013)[lxviii].
An AK-CHP coalition is preferred by Turkish businesses, for it could herald an era of stability, initiated by the return of Kemal Derviş as a CHP Cabinet member, hailed as an economic miracle man. Derviş was the architect of Turkey’s economic restructuring in 2001 dubbed the `miracle years of recovery`[lxix] Prophets on Wall Street, Canary Wharf as well as economic doomsday forecasting wolves like Nouriel Roubini would welcome this. The Association of Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen, TÜSİAD[lxx] – primarily representing Istanbul`s big business secular capital[lxxi] would favour any CHP tie-up. An AK-CHP coalition would indeed be in the interest of “secular” business as it releases the centrist potential that the AKP is assumed to still possess[lxxii].
The CHP has been critical of AK’s condoning various rebels in the Syrian war, especially anti-Assad elements. Generally in Turkish coalition alliances, the junior partner is awarded with the Foreign Ministry portfolio. Thus empowered, the CHP would downgrade Turkey’s involvement in Syria and support to the rebels, aligning Turkey`s policy closer to that of the U.S. State Department. Under a CHP foreign minister, Turkey would try to pivot back to its traditional foreign policy axis, including NATO and the EU. Perhaps the most unlikely foreign policy reversal for an AK-CHP coalition would regard ties with Russia, which the CHP deems a threat.
Coming to the possibility of an AK-MHP coalition formula: we must remember these talks faltered this August because the MHP’s demand for the termination of the Kurdish peace process altogether, its rejection of the granting of any cultural-democratic rights to the Kurds, its problem with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s place in the political system, and request that Erdoğan evacuate the new Ak Saray palace that he is currently occupying to return to the previous presidential palace, all made it unfit for the AK Party to form a coalition government[lxxiii].
An AK-MHP ensemble would be an avowedly rightwing merger. AK-MHP would be a tactical right-wing shift reflecting a broader global right-wing resurgence as with the BJP’s Modi, Belgium`s Vlaams Blok, Germany’s Pegida, Israel`s Likud, Hungary`s Viktor Orban, USA`s Tea-Partyites and Trump and France’s Front National[lxxiv].
AK-MHP would be a government unhinged by deadlock and could pass legislation with ease, bringing nearly the entire spectrum of the political right together under one government for the first time in forty years, reminiscent of the 1970s-era National Front (Milli Cephe) government[lxxv] formed by a contradictory coalition of center-right, Islamist, and nationalist parties[lxxvi], eventually culminating in the military takeover of 1981.
If a hung parliament occurs post November 1, an AK-MHP ensemble, fear critics, will further entrench the conservatism of AK, and might prop up the crony capitalism. AK-MHP have overlapping support bases, among religious and socially conservative Turks in the Anatolian heartland, even though the MHP also enjoys some support from urban, secular Turkish nationalists in the coastal areas that harbour a distaste for AK`s Islamism. The MHP has partnered with the AK on crucial occasions; as when the MHP helped elect Mr. Abdullah Gül to the presidency in 2007[lxxvii], and when it joined hands with the AK in the Parliamentary vote to lift the banning of headscarves in universities in 2008.
A coalition might dent MHP`s reputation as it did back in 2002 when it lost a chunk of seats (Çevik, 2015). MHP wants an end to the reconciliation process with the Kurds[lxxviii], which it denounces as a divisive charade that divides the country. Ironically, Erdoğan’s initial efforts to cooperate with Öcalan may have cost him precious votes from nationalist circles to the benefit of anti-Kurdish MHP (Kirişci and Cengiz, 2015)[lxxix].
An AK-MHP coalition is notably the preference of Turkey’s increasingly powerful, Anatolian, conservative business interests. The chairman of their organization, the Association of Independent Businessmen (MÜSİAD)[lxxx], cited that their first choice of preference[lxxxi] is an AK-MHP coalition[lxxxii].
AK-MHP is likely to lead to an Über-conservative government with a mélange of Neo-Ottomanism[lxxxiii] and Kemalism[lxxxiv]. The role of Islamism in government and nationalism in foreign policy would characterize Ankara`s movements. That impairs rather than improves the Kurdish issue, potentially impeding U.S.-Turkish efforts against a tyrannical ISIS in Syria. If MHP is awarded with the foreign affairs portfolio, its strong conservative-nationalist tendencies would likely keep it from posing a major challenge to the AK’s pro-Arab foreign policy.
Such a conservative dénouement might enhance extremist militancy, placing minority and human rights on a knife`s edge. Bearing nationalist stripes, the MHP will have a keen involvement in Turkish communities abroad. Therefore it would lobby to influence policy in three notable cases. The first is the Turkmen community in Kirkuk, Iraq. Since the rise of the “Islamic State”(ISIS) in June 2014, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has taken over this multiethnic city to stave off a radical fundamentalist offensive. Thus far, Ankara’s strong economic ties with the KRG and Erdoğan’s warm relations with KRG president Masoud Barzani helped temper Turkish nationalist reactions to this de facto Kurdish domination of the Iraqi Turkmens. The MHP would take issue with Kurdish control of the city, potentially hurting Turkish-KRG ties (Çagaptay, 2015)[lxxxv].
The second situation is that of Crimea`s, where Russian occupation has left the peninsula’s Tatar community — linguistic and historical kin of Anatolian Turks — in harm’s way. The MHP might not be able to strong-arm the AK to dilute its intimate relationship with the Kremlin, nevertheless, the MHP’s persistent focus on Tatar suffering under the Russians may spark a stalemate. Turkey and Russia are already at odds on Syria, where Russia is allegedly arming the Assad régime.
Third, the MHP could make things difficult for the AK in Syria. Turkey has vehemently pursued a singular objective: ousting Bashar al-Assad. Ankara’s preoccupation with Assad eclipses concerns over the fate and future of Syria’s 250,000 Turkmens. MHP would likely insist on prioritizing the Turkmen issue over other aspects of Syria policy, including the battle against an omniscient Assad régime and U.S.-Turkish cooperation against ISIS[lxxxvi].
Moreover, the MHP would probably take a strong stance against U.S.-Turkish assistance to the Democratic Union Party (PYD), which has been fighting ISIS in Syria and may totally hijack already ill-fated future talks with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) afoot in Turkey since 2012. Accordingly, continued assistance to or cooperation with the PYD — even against ISIS — could be a deal breaker for the MHP in the foreign policy arena[lxxxvii]. MHP`s vehemently anti-Kurd stance may ignite the wrath of Kurdish nationalists in Turkey, sparking further unrest in the predominantly Kurdish southeast, ruining Ankara`s ties with the KRG. MHP`s worries about a newly independent Kurdish entity along Turkey’s borders have increased since the PKK`s Dağlıca attack in September 2015.
The least likely option is that the AK courts the HDP for a coalition. This is highly unlikely as AK has, for now, shelved the peace process with the Kurds and is mounting airstrikes in the southeast as well as Northern Iraq. Erdoğan’s `alleged` tacit backing of ISIS in a battle for the Kurdish city of Kobanî[lxxxviii] alienated pro-AK Kurds toward the HDP and sharpened Kurdish distrust. This explains a sharp rise in the recruitment of YPG and PKK. Kobanî is a city of epic resistance against the genocidal assault of the Islamic State (IS)[lxxxix].
The AK’s genuine chance of grazing single-party rule is to re-entice alienated Kurds. Lots of humble pie will need to be swallowed and many claim this constitutes a faux-utopia. If after November 1, the HDP does not cross the 10% threshold this analyst fears a “Kurdish uprising“. Offering Kurdish HDP real political power in Ankara would undermine armed factions of the PKK, delegitimizing violent means, a win-win solution for all.
Though Demirtaş (HDP`s leader)[xc] won’t immediately cede to a coalition with the AK, most interestingly, Öcalan, over the long-term, caving into real politik, clasping influence over the HDP, may acquiesce. Abdullah Öcalan[xci] gave birth to the Kurdistan Workers Party[xcii] (PKK or Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan), an armed faction of Turkey`s Kurdish nationalist movement[xciii] (Romano, 2006), which Turkey battled against for decades prior to the Dağlıca attack. Turkey captured and incarcerated Öcalan backed by U.S. support. Turkey and the U.S. deem the PKK to be terrorists. A coalition would confer a more lenient status on Öcalan, in the form of either house arrest, cueing his potential release, thereby indirectly co-opting Syrian Kurds. However, Syrian Kurds have steadily expanded their reign, holding close to two-thirds of Turkey`s order, and are now inextricably linked with Washington to defeat ISIS.
In an AK-HDP calculation, Selahattin Demirtaş will insist on curbing President Erdoğan’s plans for an executive Presidency, a manifesto plank which brought Demirtaş to the very forefront. In return the HDP, in a political game of give-and-take would commit to drop corruption charges against the President. Constitutionally, Demirtaş will lobby for reducing the 10 percent electoral threshold required for parties to enter the parliament; the HDP would thereby safeguard its own Darwinian survival, in that if it relinquishes its left-wing support base for tying the knot with a conservative AK, it would nevertheless secure necessary parliamentary seats in future elections.
AK-HDP, though most unlikely, would be a healthy but contradicting cabinet configuration of old and new alike. A paradoxical mélange of leftists and rightists, Islamists and homosexuals, Kurdish nationalists and ultra-nationalist Turks, staunch socialists and consummate conservatives. However, Angela Merkel made her coalition work with the Green Party despite ideological differences so too did David Cameron with Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats. Though, in Turkey, a cabinet with such a heterogeneous blend of very liberal and very conservative MPs is likely to engender recurring disputes on social issues, igniting demands for religious, cultural and feminist along with minorities rights[xciv].
AK-HDP would create more foreign policy overtures especially with Iraqi and Syrian Kurds. This would further cement Ankara’s relationship with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq. Turkish-KRG ties are already sanguine, enjoying notable imports and exports, energy deals, and robust personal ties between Erdoğan and KRG president Masoud Barzani, bringing Ankara and Erbil even closer.
The Kurdish border region, dubbed Rojava, or Syrian Kurdistan, could serve as Turkey’s cordon sanitaire against ISIS[xcv]. HDP would play key facilitator. Öcalan is instrumental in defeating part of the Syrian ISIS reclaiming `Rojava`. This would compel the AK to posit a harder anti-ISIS stance. Turkey can ill-afford to play gateway for militants travelling from Europe to Syria.
To lend explanatory value to our argument, a map from Agence France Press, uploaded on 22 June, 2015, depicts the countries and contested areas, which are currently either under IS, government authority or Kurdish spheres of influence.
Source: Agence France Press [xcvi]
If the HDP came to power in Ankara, most likely as a junior coalition partner, it would be placed in charge of the Foreign Ministry, and strongly embrace the European Union’s liberal values and support U.S. policy against ISIS. Discrepancies on Syria could contribute to the premature fall of an AK-HDP government (Çagaptay, 2015).
Unlike in Ireland, where the armed wing of the main nationalist movement, the Irish Republican Army[xcvii], was born out of and remains subservient to the political wing, Sinn Fein[xcviii], the contrary holds for the Kurdish movement in Turkey — the HDP was given birth to by the superior armed-wing of PKK and remains subservient to it. Yet by entering a coalition government and offering Kurdish nationalists a taste of ministerial portfolios and other elements of real political power, the HDP could rise to the PKK’s detriment.
A caveat must be accentuated here. Öcalan could scupper such a development, particularly if Erdoğan releases him from prison (though unlikely). Such a move emboldens Öcalan and his former militant cadres to become the dominant Kurdish political actors in Turkey, further subsuming the HDP under the PKK. The country might then have a dual armed-political Kurdish movement represented in Parliament[xcix]. Öcalan’s quick resurgence could severely undermine the stability of an AK-HDP government. In contrast, if his entry into politics is gradual, the HDP could organically evolve into Turkey’s leading opposition party.
It’s just about conceivable that Turkey’s three opposition parties, even including the leftist HDP, could all band together and freeze AK out of power[c].
CHP-MHP coalition may gain momentum if Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, CHP leader, offered the seat of Prime Minister to MHP`s Devlet Bahçeli, as was the case in an 18 June interview with Hürriyet daily news[ci]. However, MHP representatives cold-shouldered Kılıçdaroğlu, stating they`d never agree to Kurdish peace talks. CHP-MHP would need the HDP’s acquiescence, though the MHP and HDP are at ideological loggerheads and both have ruled this out.
Turkey`s Future Foreign Policy and Diplomacy in light of 1 November Elections
These elections also provide an opportunity to have a closer look at Turkey’s foreign policy on the global geo-political chessboard. “A great nation, a great power”—hailed Mr. Erdoğan, in a far-reaching goal for 2023 and 2071. Erdoğan expects to preside over Turkey`s independence anniversary celebrations in 2023, as the President of a transformed Turkey that dominates the Middle East. What renders 2071 especially relevant is that it signals one thousand years since the Battle of Manzikert, in which the Seljuk Turks—a kinfolk which originated from Central Asia—resolutely whitewashed the foremost Christian command of that époque, the Byzantine Empire, and thereby astounded a benighted world. The Seljuk triumph commenced a sequence of events that empowered the Seljuk Turks to win the lands of modern Turkey and forge an empire that would stretch across much of today`s Iran, Iraq, Syria and Palestine.
Historians opine that Mr. Erdoğan, by exhorting to Turkey`s glories of yesteryear, with warrior ancestors who had set out to conquer non-Muslim lands and, along the way, reign over much of the Middle East, is scarcely an image of a peaceful and prosperous liberal state that influences others via virtues of tolerance, acceptance and goodwill. Historians critique Mr. Erdoğan’s grandiose romanticism, as it is what guides his foreign policy, and portends to aggressive Turkish power and militancy.
As such Mr. Erdoğan seeks to reverse the broad legacy of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who founded modern Turkey in 1923 and is eager to cast aside Atatürk’s secular state structures and Western inclination. The astute military strategist Atatürk cautioned against the appeal of military victories; the politician Mr. Erdoğan invokes them.
Much like Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (ZAB), who had started off with pioneering momentum, ZAB too got led astray by an unrealistic ideal of Pan-Islamism. In this sense, like ZAB, Mr. Erdoğan started off phenomenally but a vexing power complex and dreams of Pan-Islamism are getting the better of him.
Critics argue that Pan-Islamism, as an instrument of foreign policy, is unrealistic, because despite Islamic countries` ardent assurance in Muslim unity and virtue, bitter enmities, jealousies, vested interests and power play always rule the day. Rather than the panacea, the region`s sectarianism coagulates and intimidates adversarial Shiite and Sunni “camps.” The 26 June bombing of Kuwait`s Shia Imam Jaffer mosque, whereby an ISIS suicide bomber detonated an explosive that murdered 28 and injured 202 worshipping Shias at Friday prayers, is a stark reminder that Turkey should steer away from such divisive sectarian divides in the Middle East, or its citizens too can become further embroiled in such savagery, becoming a proxy where Iran and Saudi assert broader hegemony.
Turkey`s entire tilt toward Middle Eastern affairs has drawn her into an intractable 1432 year old sectarian strife between Sunni and Shi’a powers, as well as into an abyss of internecine struggles of the Sunni world between traditionalist monarchies and radical Islamism.
Domestic opponents affirm that Mr. Erdoğan’s preliminary pronouncement to put Turkey “back into” the Middle East, and his inclination to see the future in Islamist terms, impedes rather than improves Turkey’s future. Ataturk’s Western positioning launched Turkish headway; Mr. Erdoğan’s sidling sectarianism, trying to undermine Shia communities, in the Middle East, may sap that thrust forward without successfully courting Arab states into a neo-Ottoman alliance.
The Brookings Institute deems that the public is uncomfortable with Turkey’s involvement in Syria, doubts the wisdom of AK Party policies towards Egypt and Libya, and is skeptical of Erdoğan’s desire to become involved in Yemen (Kirişci, Kemal and Cengiz, Melis, 2015) [cii].
The AK Party’s foreign policy has undeniably taken a hit. Turkey is now home to 2 million Syrian refugees and mounting, it is without ambassadors in Syria, Egypt, Israel, Libya, and Yemen. Former foreign minister and current Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu’s “zero problems with neighbors” policy is often condescendingly derided as “zero neighbors without problems.”
Turkey’s five-year open-door policy for the rebels in Syria inordinately exposes the Republic to threats from Syria, including elements connected to the Assad regime, al-Qaeda-related groups, and the draconian Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).
In the President`s fervent desire to topple a defiant Assad, at all costs, he is alienating the UAE, Saudi and Iran, who in turn are pressurizing Qatar to relinquish Turkish support. The AK needs to geo-strategically calculate that even if Assad topples, there too, the aftermath maybe quite similar to that of Libya, as in bleak – leaving behind a power vacuum with countless warring factions in its wake.
The Syrian conflict cooled Turkey’s relations with Tehran, but boosted an alignment with certain Gulf States. However, the 2013 oil-for-gold scheme revealed that much like an iceberg, a great deal of Turkish-Iranian relations[ciii] lies behind-the-scenes and under the surface. President Erdoğan underscores the fact that Turkey imports 10 billion cubic meters of natural gas from Iran[civ], and therefore strategic bi-lateral ties are much deeper than the Syria issue alone.
The Arab Spring was a momentous democratic Intifada, one which Turkey herself experienced, to a lesser extent, via June 7 elections, which sprung Sunni Islamism as a political forerunner. As authoritarian rulers toppled in Tunisia and Egypt, Erdoğan was agile to embrace as brothers-in-arms the Muslim Brotherhood parties that swiftly moved to fill up a power vacuum.
However differences over Egypt complicated Turkish-Saudi and Turkey UAE relations, as President Erdoğan vilified General Sisi`s military overthrow of Mr. Morsi, always bearing a soft spot for the Muslim Brotherhood. The anti-Sisi stance led to the expulsion of Turkey`s ambassador from Cairo and aroused the scorn of the UAE and Saudi both. Pursuant to events in Iraq and Yemen, the deck appears once more to be restacked – a new understanding with Riyadh`s King Salman seems imminent.
Erdoğan’s single-minded vision of reaching out in prominence to the Middle East, transcending its Sunni core, rapidly encountered incongruities. Iran, especially, seeks proxy domination of Turkey’s neighbor Iraq, and regional leadership, thereby can be deemed a state rival of Turkey.
Having first opposed a Western intervention in Libya, he soon claimed a leadership role in that conflict. However, with historical hindsight, Libya is now seen as a quagmire and a primary hunting ground for ISIS operatives, from where they can infiltrate and torment Europe, via the Mediterranean, inflicting more terror. Even a dominant role in the Sunni camp, bedrock of his bid for influence, is not guaranteed for Mr. Erdoğan. As Egyptian determination resuscitates the Muslim Brotherhood will muscle-flex toward natural leadership of the Arab countries as well as the Islamist movement. Arab states do not warmly welcome a return of Ottoman days, to put it euphemistically. Amidst the darkest days after the downfall of Saddam Hussein, Iraq’s new leaders flatly dismissed Turkey’s assistance to secure Iraq’s borders against extremist insurgents.
The Middle Eastern region’s interminable predicaments seem impervious to his prescriptions. The Turkish elites—both from the opposition and among many who had hitherto favoured him—perceive a gap between rhetoric and reality. Diplomats note that Mr. Erdoğan and the AK have shown more eagerness than expertise in their endeavours to gain Middle Eastern clout. They have often miscalculated the medium-to-long-term repercussions of short-term policy stances. Turkey now needs to ride the Middle East rollercoaster without imposing injuries on itself and its potential allies.
Diplomats note that Turkey-Russia relations, which have blossomed under Mr. Erdoğan, are in many respects more real than the AK’s Middle East policy, which has left the country without allies, proxies, or friends in a volatile region. With the exception of friendly Qatar, which has stood steadfast by Turkey`s side, though is increasingly been pressured by Saudi and the Gulf States to alter their rapprochement with Turkey. Beyond the AK, Turkish politicians of various persuasions, including those in the CHP, deem the Kremlin a historic threat. Accordingly, Turkey will remain wary of provoking Russia in the Black Sea and will shy away from too closely identifying with Washington’s punitive Russia policy.
Energy-hungry Turkey imports half of its gas consumption from Russia, and “Turkish Stream”[cv] — a proposed pipeline carrying gas from Russia to Turkey under the Black Sea — will keep Turkey relatively close to Russia. The Turkish government, on June 15, 2015, gave permission to Gazprom, a Russian natural gas company, to conduct engineering surveys for the offshore operations of Turkish Stream. The pipeline will carry 63 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year. It will deliver 47 billion cubic meters of gas to Europe, while the remaining amount will be earmarked for Turkey’s domestic consumption. Russia and Turkey thereby deepen their strategic alliance with considerable influence over Europe, especially Bulgaria and the Black Sea region. President Putin now has deeper strategic vested interests in Turkey.
In the West, much of the early gusto for Erdoğan’s “Turkish Model”, praised by President Obama, and current Presidential contender Mrs. Hillary Clinton and others has now waned. Mr. Erdoğan did make overtures to the Pentagon by allowing access to Incirlik air base, a highly coveted aerial vantage point to the Middle East, Balkans and Eastern Europe. Incirlik air base was a thorny issue that had ignited the wrath of both the President and Joe Biden, driving a wedge between Turkey and the U.S.
Turkey’s recent tumult does not come at a propitious moment for Washington, which had managed to get Ankara to open its air bases for use in a future intensive bombing campaign against ISIS. To make matters more complicated for the Obama Administration, the Americans’ most effective ally on the ground in Syria against ISIS is the Syrian Kurdish group, PYD, which is a close affiliate of the PKK. The combination of the PYD fighters and the U.S. Air Force has proven to be an effective tactic for liberating chunks of territory from ISIS. The next phase of the campaign consists of further weakening ISIS to provide an opportunity for Iraqi forces to recover lost territory there.
Turkey needs to be more receptive to the Geneva 1 and 2 negotiation process vis-à-vis Syria, and might consider exerting soft power of diplomacy and intelligently, less aggressively, broker an on-going pro-West Iran nuclear program containment. Turkey might be better placed to do this than other countries, given that the two countries share deep-seated interests in lucrative oil and gas.
This author suggests that rather than a total Eastward re-orientation, any forthcoming government in Ankara might consider a deeper engagement between Turkey, the US and the West, partially unraveled over the past 13 years. Much like an isolated Greece today pivots Eastward to Russia, China and Iran, so too does Turkey.
Further, Turkey`s policy should be that of renewing the idea of Eurasia, whose time has come. Namely to geo-strategically calculate and optimize foreign policies in Turkey`s national self-interest, taking the best from Washington, Brussels and the Middle East, whilst providing profound returns and concessions, where and when required, on a cautious, case-to-case basis.
Mr. Erdoğan’s recent maneuvers affirm a verity that Turkey is now primarily a Middle Eastern power, immensely involved into a labyrinth of incongruous and swiftly evolving foreign relations across the region. Relying solely on the Middle East, with its mounting geopolitical and sectarian rifts mitigated by economic interests and internal regime considerations in Ankara is insufficient in and of itself. Deeper engagement with the Oval Office, State Department, Whitehall and Brussels are needed. More Western strategic depth needs to be added to present foreign policy calculations. Mr. Erdoğan is savvy and acutely aware of Turkey’s economic vulnerability, and is well advised to proceed accordingly under a new government set-up.
Angela Merkel’s ‘privileged partnership’ offer to Turkey is unattractive for the Turks as it falls way short of full membership. It is clear that Brussels needs to offer Ankara many more concessions than it previously had, for Turkey to truly re-orient back Westward. Brussels placed over-bearing conditions for Turkey`s EU accession, and despite Ankara`s best efforts she is kept waiting. Even though Europe is in dire straits nowadays, and accession remains out of the question for the next few years, the door should remain open with a pragmatic and practical wait-and-see stance. Here, Turkey`s allies in both Strasbourg and Brussels can play a truly instrumental role.
What unfolds in Turkey next is of direct consequence for the Middle East. Turkey is a harbinger for moderate Muslim democracy. A defiant Assad in neighbouring Syria, a nuclear assertive Iran and region-wide tumult with a Yemen war underscore the importance of Turkey’s stability. As a pivotal NATO ally, with the second largest army after the U.S., Turkey can also balance Russian hegemony given an emerging Neo-Cold War climate under President Putin in Eastern Europe. Turkey, now more than ever before, can ill-afford cumbersome political uncertainty. Turkey and the wider region’s future hinges on prompt government formation and decisive action.
From Barriers to Bridge-Building
The June 7 electoral setback and the upcoming November 1 election raises the question whether the AK’s supreme leader is capable of a policy re-orientation from ideological to one that is more accommodating and conciliatory. To do that, the AK must reverse authoritarianism, foreign policy adventurism and economic decline that marked the past five years of AK rule. The AK`s initial centrist potential is what appealed to millions of Turks. It was subsequently overshadowed by a more domineering tone and a lean right-ward. The time is ripe to unleash AK`s centrism and conciliation, including a strategic alliance-building with other centrists. This will add vigour to a party that can act as a strong agent of conciliation – either on its own or in a coalition. The time has come for AK to evolve from hegemony[cvi] to coexistence. [cvii]
Those stoking alarmist fears of an emerging dictatorship in Turkey have been mollified. Nonetheless, Turkey faces numerous challenges, domestic and international. Politics is the unique art of creating solutions. This is the historical need of the hour. Turkey`s 80 million citizens have given a responsibility, an assignment, a life-time opportunity, to the leaders of all political parties on November 1, 2015. To achieve this, political movements of all stripes have to compromise. Of course compromise ushers in collateral damage. However, not doing so would reap a heavier cost.
Turkey can never close the door to Damascus as it is now home to 2 million refugees. However, Turkey needs to build a more extensive infrastructure in order to better welcome more Syrian refugees who keep trickling across a porous stretch of the 911 meter-long border. At 2 million, Syrian refugees now constitute a sizeable new minority in Turkey, forever reconfiguring the ethnicity and demography of Turkish society. Turkey, very unfortunately, does not have a stellar track record with its minorities, witness the Kurdish conflict, Kurds, constituting one-fifth of Turkey`s population. Therefore before absorbing new immigrants and refugees, as noteworthy a humanitarian cause as it is, Turkey needs to get her own house in order in order to truly allow IDPs and refugees to rightfully integrate into Turkish life. To this end, president Erdoğan has shown impressive concern citing that USD $ 2.5 billion investment has already gone to accommodate Syrian refugees but the international community must step up its efforts, as the latter had only pledged USD $ 130 million in 2014[cviii].
Speaking of IDPs and refugees, Turkey is one of the only Muslim countries that has extended a much-awaited helping hand to the Rohingya. The future prospect of welcoming more Rohingya into Turkey, very harshly persecuted in a defiantly dictatorial Myanmar, raises the urgency for social and structural reforms as well as international humanitarian aid.
The most pressing challenge for any future government in Turkey is to end the schism of political polarization and form a government to manage the country effectively and in good faith, which has often been lacking. To restore a truly democratic set-up premised on the rule of law in a country where hung parliaments, heavy-handedness and indecision left endemic long-lasting scars on the institutional, political and juridical landscape as well as on the national psyche. Turkey must fortify borders, its security and stability with a coalition government formed on the basis of a common language, common targets and a common mind. Turkey can defy pundits and policy wonks alike, by showing, as was accomplished in Germany and the UK recently, that coalitions do and can indeed function. For coalitions to function, doors, hearts and minds need to emphatically remain open, for the hopes and aspirations of 78 million humans hinges on this reality.
With Europe in the debt doldrums, and the Middle East in a Hobbesian[cix] state of anarchic chaos, “Eurasia“, is a historic civilizational idea whose time may have come. Turkey can bridge modernity with the Middle East by remaining open to the West. Turkey can reconcile Islam with democracy as the AK achieved in its earlier years. Bridges need to be built between Europe and Asia. For this purpose, no nation can be a better strategic pivot than Turkey. Situated at a geographical epicenter, straddling key civilizational[cx] juncture points between Europe, Asia, the Balkans, the Caucuses, the Middle East and the Mediterranean, Turkey can geo-strategically make this dream a reality. Rather than barriers, the time has come for nations to build bridges. The land of the Bosphorus, seems a brilliant starting point.
Selected Bibliography – Authoritative Books, Journals, Circulars & Research Reports
- Akyol, Mustafa (2015) “Everything is getting worse and worse in Turkey” Hurriyet Daily News, 9 September
- Albertazzi, Daniele and McDonnell, Duncan (2008) “Twenty-first century populism: The spectre of Western European democracy” Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 120-165
- Altuncu, Özgür (2013) “Başbakan Erdoğan Pakistan’da havai fişeklerle karşilandı” [Prime Minister Erdoğan was greeted in Pakistan with fireworks], Hürriyet Daily News, 23 December
- Bolat, Ömer (2007) ”Medeniyet Ideali” [The Ideal of Civilization], İstanbul, Küre
- Çagaptay, Soner (2015) “Turkey`s Political Scene Post Election”, Policy Watch 2444, The Washington Institute, June 24
- Ciddi, Sinan (2009) “Kemalism in Turkish Politics: The Republican People’s Party, Secularism and Nationalism“, Taylor & Francis.
- Cook, Steven A. (2012) “Recent History: The Rise of the Justice and Development Party“. S.-Turkey Relations: A New Partnership” Council on Foreign Relations: 52
- Courcoulas, Constantine (2015) “Turkish Lira slide deepens as PM says Coalition talks failed” Bloomberg Business, August 17
- Çevik, İlnur (2015) “Even the most probable coalition formula is hard to achieve”, Daily Sabah, June 22
- Dalip, Galay (2015) “Turkey`s Election Fatigue” Middle East Eye, 26 August, 2015
- Duran, Burhanettin (2008) “The Justice and Development Party’s ‘new politics’: Steering toward conservative democracy, a revised Islamic agenda or management of new crises“. Secular and Islamic politics in Turkey: 80
- Ellis, Richard J. (1999) “Founding the American Presidency” Rowman & Littlefield
- Erdbink, Thomas (2013) “To This Tycoon, Iran Sanctions Were Like Gold“, The New York Times, October
- European Parliament (2015), official Press Release, made by EU Parliament Representative Mr. Schulz on Turkey`s General Elections, Strasbourg, France, 8 June
- Foucault, Michel (1995) Discipline and Punish, New York, Vintage
- Gil, Ata (1981) “La Turquie à marche forcée” Le Monde Diplomatique, February
- Göçek, Fatma Müge (2011) “The Transformation of Turkey: Redefining State and Society from the Ottoman Empire to the Modern Era” I.B. Tauris
- Gürcanli, Zeynep (2013) “Adli Kolluk Yönetmeliği’ne iptal davası” [Regulation of Judicial Police action for annulment]. Hürriyet Daily News, 23 December
- Humeyra Pamuk; Oliver Holmes (2014) “U.S.-led coalition jets strike Kobanî, Islamic State shells hit Turkey”. Reuters, 18 October
- Hobbes, Thomas (2001) “Of Man, Being the First Part of Leviathan“, Vol. XXXIV, Part 5. The Harvard Classics. New York: P.F. Collier & Son, Bartleby 1909–14
- Humeyra Pamuk; Oliver Holmes (2014) “U.S.-led coalition jets strike Kobanî, Islamic State shells hit Turkey”. Reuters, 18 October
- Hurst, Georgina (2014) “State of the Nations, Eurasia Group ranks Emerging-Markets Political Risk“, Institutional Investor, December (edn.)
- İlter, Turan (2005) “Başkanlık Sistemi Sevdası: Zayıf Temelli Bir Özlem“(Passion for Presidentialism: An Unsound Yearning), Başkanlık Sistemi, Türkiye Barolar Birliği, pp. 30-121
- Jongerden, Joost (2007) “The Settlement Issue in Turkey and the Kurds: An Analysis of Spatical Policies, Modernity and War” Leiden, the Netherlands: Brill
- Kalaycıoğlu, Ersin (2005) “Başkanlık Rejimi: Türkiye’nin Diktatörlük Tehdidiyle Sınavı” (Presidential Regime: Turkey’s Test with the Threat of Dictatorship), Başkanlık Sistemi, Türkiye Barolar Birliği, Ankara, 2005. Kalaycıoğlu, pp. 1-24
- Karaveli, Halil (2015) “Turkish Democracy is not out of the Woods“, Turkey Analyst, vol. 8, no. 12, 17 June
- Kaya, Esra (2013) “Ülkemizde tutmayız” [We do not keep our country] Hürriyet Daily News, 22 December
- Khalid, Özer (2015) “Süleyman Demirel`s Demise – the Eclipse of an Era“, The Journal of Turkish Weekly, June 18
- Khalid, Ozer (2015) “Turkey at a Crossroads“, Op-Ed section, The News International, 17 June, 2015
- Khojoyan, Sara (2009) “Armenian in Istanbul: Diaspora in Turkey welcomes the setting of relations and waits more steps” com, 16 October
- Kirişci, Kemal and Cengiz, Melis (2015) “The autumn of the patriarch? Turkey goes to the polls“, Brookings Institute, 3 June
- Kuzu, Burhan (2005) “TBMM Bütçe Görüşmelerinde Başkanlık Sistemi” (Presidentialism in TBMM’s Budget Meetings), Türkiye Barolar Birliği, p. 148
- Mango, Andrew (2005) “Turkey and the War on Terror: ‘For Forty Years We Fought Alone'”. Routledge: London. pp. 32-33
- Marcus, Aliza (2007) “Blood and Belief”New York University Press, pp. 1-363
- Matlack, Carol (2013) “The Far-Left Economics of France’s Far Right“ Business Week, 20 November
- Merijn Oudenampsen (2013) “Explaining the Swing to the Right: The Dutch Debate on the Rise of Right-Wing Populism“ in Ruth Wodak, Majid Khosravi, Nik Brigitte Mral “Right-Wing Populism in Europe: Politics and Discourse” A&C Black. pp. 189-192
- Mudde, C. (2002) “The Ideology of the Extreme Right“ Manchester University Press
- Orwell, George (1949) “Nineteen Eighty-Four” London: Secker & Warburg
- Önis, Ziya; Türem, Umut (2001) “Business, Globalisation and Democracy: A Comparative Analysis of Turkish Business Associations“, Turkish Studies 2 (2), pp. 94-120
- Ozbudun, Ergun (2011) The Constitutional System of Turkey-1876 to the Present, Palgrave Macmillan, 2011, pp. 1-192
- Pollard, Ruth (2014) “Islamic State gains ground in besieged Kurdish town despite US air strike“, Sydney Morning Herald, 7 October
- Romano, David (2006) “The Kurdish Nationalist Movement Opportunity, Mobilization and Identity” Cambridge University Press. pp. 1-46
- Rippon, Haydn (2012) “The European far right: actually right? Or left? Or something altogether different?“The Conversation, 4 May
- Satter, Rachel and Susan Fraser (2015) “Question mark over Erdoğan as Turk parties jockey for power“, Associated Press, June 21
- Taşpınar, Ömer (2008) “Turkey’s Middle East Policies: Between Neo-Ottomanism and Kemalism”. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. September
- Taşpınar, Ömer (2012) “Islamist Politics in Turkey: The New Model?“ Brookings Institution, 1 April
- Tezcür, Güneş (2010) ”Muslim Reformers in Iran and Turkey: The Paradox of Moderation” Austin: University of Texas Press, p. 157
- The International Religious Freedom Report of Turkey (2004), September 15
- Uğur, Mehmet; Yankaya, Dilek (2008) “Policy Entrepreneurship, Policy Opportunism and EU Conditionality: The AKP and TÜSİAD Experience in Turkey“, Governance 21 (4), pp. 581-601.
- Uygun, Oktay (2010) “Anayasa Değişikliklerinden Sonra Türkiye Nereye Gidiyor”? (Where is Turkey Heading for after the Constitutional Amendments?), Okan Üniversitesi Panel, 13 October
- Weber, Max (1994) “Political Writings“ (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought). Ed. Peter Lassman. Trans. Ronald Speirs. Cambridge UP, Xvi
- Weber, Max (1978) “Economy and Society: An Outline of Interpretive Sociology“ University of California Press, lix.
- White, Paul J. (2000) “Primitive rebels or revolutionary modernizers?: the Kurdish national movement in Turkey” Zed Books
- Yavuz, Ercan (2008) “Parties to draft constitution without CHP”. Today`s Zaman, 15 September
Yinanç, Barçin (2015) “Erdoğan saved you from the army, who will save you from Erdoğan?’ My answer” Hurriyet Daily News, 27 August, 2015
Zaman, Amberin (2007) “Turkey elects Islamist president Abdullah Gül”, Daily Telegraph, 29 August
Zaman, Amberin (2015) “Coalition dreaming: As expected, forming a coalition in Turkey is proving challenging” The Economist, June 27
- Zaman, Amberin (2015) “Can Turkey pull back from brink of civil conflict” Pulse, Al-Monitor, September 11
- Zeyrek, Deniz (2015) “Turkish main opposition leader offers Prime Ministry to MHP chair in coalition government” Hürriyet Daily News, June 19
- Zürcher, Erik J. (2004) “Turkey A Modern History, Revised Edition“B.Tauris. pp. 1-264
Web Citations, Online References, Live IP Streaming & Broadcasts
- ABC News Report “UK election: British voters go to the polls in most unpredictable election in decades“ http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-05-07/uk-election-britain-prepares-to-vote-in-unpredictable-election/6451872 . Retrieved 9May, 2015
- “AKP-MHP görüşmesinden de sonuç çıkmadı, hükümeti kuramayan Davutoğlu, görevi iade edecek mi?”.com.tr. Retrieved 21 August 2015
- Agence France Press, “The Battle for Syria and Iraq”, uploaded 22 June, 2015. Retrieved https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CIIZSTbUEAAxcK7.jpg Retrieved 22 June, 2015
- Al Jazeera, ”Talk to Al Jazeera – Interview with Mr. Erdoğan: Turkey’s role in the Middle East” Televised on February 12, 2014. Interview with Jamal El-Shayyal. Retrieved March 15, 2015
- “CHP’ye iş, aş Haydar Baş!” Retrieved 7 September 2015
- “CHP’li üye Ali Öztunç istifa etti, RTÜK kilitlendi” com.tr . Retrieved 7 September, 2015
- Economist`s data team. Accessed from the Economist website on 9 June, 2015. http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2015/06/daily-chart-5 Retrieved 15 June, 2015
- “Hürriyet Gazetesi’ne ikinci saldırı”.Hürriyet – türkiye’nin açiliş sayfasi. Retrieved 8 September 2015
- “Hürriyet binasına ikinci saldırı!”.com.tr. Retrieved 8 September 2015
- “Hürriyet Gazetesi’ne saldırıda gözaltılar”.com.tr. Retrieved 9 September 2015.
- “HDP’s Demirtaş cancels Germany trip, returns to Turkey after Dağlıca attack” Hurriyet Daily News. Retrieved 7 September, 2015
- One Europe, Infographic, Turkish Parliamentary Elections, 2015. http://one-europe.info/eurographics/infographic-turkish-parliamentary-elections-2015 Retrieved 10 June, 2015
- Selahattin Demirtaş` Twitter handle @hdpdemirtas which enjoys 1.02 million followers
- President Erdoğan on a live press conference concerning Hurriyet newspaper and the
- Dağlıca attack. Broadcast on 8 September, 2015 via live television streaming of TRT
- Retrieved 9 September, 2015
- Statistica “Turkey Infogrphics: Turkish Authorities Most Controlling Twitter Content” 31 December, 2015. http://cdn2.statista.com/images/infografik/small/3217_n.jpg, Retrieved June 20, 2015
- “Turkey Kurds: Many dead in Cizre violence as MPs’ march blocked”.BBC News. Retrieved 9 September, 2015
[i] Europe is increasingly being segregated into toxic uni-cultural “ghettos“. Events such as hard-line anti-immigration policies, banning head-scarves in Frances, prohibiting minarets in Switzerland, xenophobic measures in Austria abetted by Heinz-Christian Strache and Austria`s Freedom Party (FPÖ) catapult social separation, whereby fanatics commence shunning all “outsiderss“ gives rise to tribalism, identity politics and an unhealthy accentuation of the “us versus them” mentality. Such incidents (partially) helped trigger the Sousse and Bardo attacks in Tunisia, the Paris factory decapitation, brutal Charlie Hebdo and Oslo attacks, incidents at the Belgium museum, a vandalism of Jewsih cemetaries, the Copenhagen shooting and a myriad of other socio-culturally ostracizing tragedies. The same is witnessed in the U.S. with Ferrguson and the Charleston Shooting. For an alarming rise in far-right sentiment consult Rippon, Haydn “The European far right: actually right? Or left? Or something altogether different?“ The Conversation, 4 May, 2012. Also analyse Mudde, C. (2002) The Ideology of the Extreme Right. Manchester University Press
[ii] Albertazzi, Daniele and McDonnell, Duncan (2008), Twenty-first century populism: The spectre of Western European democracy, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 120-165
[iii] The PVV`s rise can partially be explained by Geert Wilders and his hate-fuelled anti-Islamic rhetoric spewn all over the Netherlands, in a country that had hitherto taken pride in its liberal and accommodating traditions. Merijn Oudenampsen (2013). “Explaining the Swing to the Right: The Dutch Debate on the Rise of Right-Wing Populism“ in Ruth Wodak, Majid Khosravi, Nik Brigitte Mral “Right-Wing Populism in Europe: Politics and Discourse” A&C Black. pp. 189-192
[iv] Examine how the Justice and Development Party have evolved in Duran, Burhanettin (2008). “The Justice and Development Party’s ‘new politics’: Steering toward conservative democracy, a revised Islamic agenda or management of new crises“. Secular and Islamic politics in Turkey: 80 For another detailed analysis on the Justice and Development Party consult Cook, Steven A. (2012). “Recent History: The Rise of the Justice and Development Party“. U.S.-Turkey Relations: A New Partnership, Council on Foreign Relations: 52 and Göçek, Fatma Müge (2011) “The Transformation of Turkey: Redefining State and Society from the Ottoman Empire to the Modern Era“. I.B. Tauris.
[v] One Europe, Infographic, Turkish Parliamentary Elections, 2015. http://one-europe.info/eurographics/infographic-turkish-parliamentary-elections-2015 Retrieved 10 June, 2015
[vi] Khalid, Ozer “Turkey at a Crossroads“, The News International, 17 June, 2015
[vii] For ease of reference throughout this article the following are the parties contesting and their English to Turkish translations: Justice and Development Party which in Turkish translates to Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi –hereafter known as AK. The Republican People’s Party which in Turkish is Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi –hereafter referred to as CHP. The Nationalist Action Party or Milliyetçi Hareket Partisi – MHP and the Peoples’ Democratic Party -Halkların Demokratik Partisi –HDP from here onwards in this paper
[viii] The secular Kemalist CHP fared worse than expected. Many forecasted that the CHP would win over disenfranchised AKP supporters, which they could not. However, the MHP ameliorated on their 2011 performance by winning 80 MPs. The biggest surprise came from the HDP, which had hitherto contested as `independents`, this time formed a `party` to vanquish the 10% minimal election threshold. A constitutional measure designed to keep Kurds and minorities out of Parliament.
[ix] President Erdoğan`s target was 400 seats
[x] Ellis, Richard J. (1999) Founding the American Presidency. Rowman & Littlefield
[xi] Mr. Erdoğan considers Egypt`s army ruler Mr. Sisi, a controversial Nobel Laureate candidate, an affront
to a `democracy resurgence` in the Nile Region. He had favoured the Muslim Brotherhood & Mr. Morsi
[xii] Europe is increasingly being segregated into toxic uni-cultural “ghettos“. Events such as hard-line anti-immigration policies, banning head-scarves in Frances, prohibiting minarets in Switzerland, xenophobic measures in Austria abetted by Heinz-Christian Strache and Austria`s Freedom Party (FPÖ) catapult social separation, whereby fanatics commence shunning all “outsiderss“ gives rise to tribalism, identity politics and an unhealthy accentuation of the “us versus them” mentality. Such incidents (partially) helped trigger the Sousse and Bardo attacks in Tunisia, the Paris factory decapitation, brutal Charlie Hebdo and Oslo attacks, incidents at the Belgium museum, a vandalism of Jewsih cemetaries, the Copenhagen shooting and a myriad of other socio-culturally ostracizing tragedies. The same is witnessed in the U.S. with Ferrguson and the Charleston Shooting. For an alarming rise in far-right sentiment consult Rippon, Haydn “The European far right: actually right? Or left? Or something altogether different?“ The Conversation, 4 May, 2012. Also analyse Mudde, C. (2002) The Ideology of the Extreme Right. Manchester University Press
[xiii] Albertazzi, Daniele and McDonnell, Duncan (2008), Twenty-first century populism: The spectre of Western European democracy, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 120-165
[xiv] The PVV`s rise can partially be explained by Geert Wilders and his hate-fuelled anti-Islamic rhetoric spewn all over the Netherlands, in a country that had hitherto taken pride in its liberal and accommodating traditions. Merijn Oudenampsen (2013). “Explaining the Swing to the Right: The Dutch Debate on the Rise of Right-Wing Populism“ in Ruth Wodak, Majid Khosravi, Nik Brigitte Mral “Right-Wing Populism in Europe: Politics and Discourse” A&C Black. pp. 189-192
[xv] ABC News Report “UK election: British voters go to the polls in most unpredictable election in decades“ Retrieved 9 May, 2015 http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-05-07/uk-election-britain-prepares-to-vote-in-unpredictable-election/6451872
[xvi] Zaman, Amberin “Coalition dreaming: As expected, forming a coalition in Turkey is proving challenging” The
Economist, June 27, 2015
[xvii] Dalip, Galay “Turkey`s Election Fatigue” Middle East Eye, 26 August, 2015
[xviii] Earlier Turkey’s economy minister helped fuel the lira’s drop when he said there was no need for intervention to halt the currency’s slide. Haphazard political comments over Turkey’s exchange rate exacerbated speculators to bet against the lira. For more in-depth analysis on the Turkish Lira consult Courcoulas, Constantine “Turkish Lira slide deepens as PM says Coalition talks failed” Bloomberg Business, August 17, 2015
September 2015 and “CHP’li üye Ali Öztunç istifa etti, RTÜK kilitlendi” on the portal t24.com.tr retrieved
7 September, 2015.
[xx] To obtain details on why AK-MHP coalition talks floundered cast a gaze at “AKP-MHP görüşmesinden de sonuç çıkmadı, hükümeti kuramayan Davutoğlu, görevi iade edecek mi?”. t24.com.tr. Retrieved 21 August 2015.
[xxi] “Turkey Kurds: Many dead in Cizre violence as MPs’ march blocked”. BBC News. Retrieved 9
[xxii] Khalid, Ozer “Turkey at a Crossroads“, The News International, 17 June, 2015
[xxiii] Weber, Max. Political Writings (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought). Ed. Peter
Lassman. Trans. Ronald Speirs. Cambridge UP, 1994. Xvi and also Weber, Max. Economy and Society: An
Outline of Interpretive Sociology. University of California Press, 1978. lix.
[xxiv] Retrieved from Selahattin Demirtaş` Twitter handle @hdpdemirtas which enjoys 1.02 million followers
[xxv] “HDP’s Demirtaş cancels Germany trip, returns to Turkey after Dağlıca attack” Hurriyet Daily News, 7
[xxvi] Constitutionally speaking, Mr. Erdoğan must remain above the political fray, neutral, refrain from immersing himself in election campaigns. A legal cornerstone which he has already contravened.
[xxvii] Yinanç, Barçin Erdoğan saved you from the army, who will save you from Erdoğan?’ My answer Hurriyet
Daily News, 27 August, 2015
[xxviii] Kirişci, Kemal and Cengiz, Melis “The autumn of the patriarch? Turkey goes to the polls” Brookings Institute, 3 June, 2015
[xxix] To learn more about the life and times of Süleyman Demirel and the lessons contemporary Turkish politicians can glean from his life read this author`s obituary of Mr. Demirel in Khalid, Ozer “Süleyman Demirel`s demise – the Eclipse of an Era“, The Journal of Turkish Weekly, June 18, 2015
[xxx] For a deeper probe into the mutual conflict and co-existence between the Kurds and Turks browse through Jongerden, Joost (2007) The Settlement Issue in Turkey and the Kurds: An Analysis of Spatical Policies, Modernity and War. Leiden, the Netherlands: Brill.
[xxxi] Created by the Economist`s data team. Accessed from the Economist website on 9 June, 2015. http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2015/06/daily-chart-5 Retrieved 15 June, 2015
[xxxii] Hurst, Georgina, “State of the Nations, Eurasia Group ranks Emerging-Markets Political Risk“, Institutional Investor, December 2014
[xxxiii] Not too dissimilar to Alan Greenspan and what many deem were his reckless policies at the Federal Reserve.
[xxxiv] Akyol, Mustafa “Everything is getting worse and worse in Turkey” Hurriyet Daily News,
9 September, 2015
[xxxv] Zaman, Amberin “Can Turkey pull back from brink of civil conflict” Pulse, Al-Monitor, September 11, 2015
[xxxvii] Zaman, Amberin, Can Turkey pull back from brink of civil conflict, Pulse, Al-Monitor, September 11, 2015
[xxxix] Turkey is home to at least 18 million minorities representing 36 different ethnic denominations. The influx of 2 million Syrian refugees and an increasing number of Rohingya refugees, will now render the population even more diverse. Turkey plays host to Assyrians, Alevis, Armenians, Azerbaijanis, Bosniaks, Dagestanis, Christians, Crimean Tatars, Georgians, Greeks, Iranians, Jews, Kabarday, Kyrgyzs, Kurds, Laz, Ossetians, Roma, Yazidis, Bahá’í and so many other minorities. For an overview of religious minority tolerance and participation in Turkish life consult The International Religious Freedom Report of Turkey, 2004, September 15, 2004
[xl] For illuminating insights into Turkey`s minorities research Khojoyan, Sara “Armenian in Istanbul: Diaspora in Turkey welcomes the setting of relations and waits more steps” ArmeniaNow.com, 16 October, 2009
[xli] Yinanç, Barçin Erdoğan saved you from the army, who will save you from Erdoğan?’ My answer Hurriyet
Daily News, 27 August, 2015
[xlii] Orwell, with accurate foresight, suggested that such social suffocation results from Governments acting as “Big Brothers” unhealthily watching over citizens whose privacy and rights are curtailed. Michel Foucault, excellently, in Discipline and Punish, was also tacitly critical of heavy-handed oversight, especially while alluding to the `Pantopticon` prison. Orwell, George (1949) Nineteen Eighty-Four, London: Secker & Warburg and Foucault, Michel (1995) Discipline and Punish, New York, Vintage
[xliii] Akyol, Mustafa Everything is getting worse and worse in Turkey, Hurriyet Daily News,
9 September, 2015
[xliv] For exhaustive reports on the Hurriyet newspaper attacks view “Hürriyet Gazetesi’ne ikinci saldırı”. Hürriyet – türkiye’nin açiliş sayfasi. 8 September 2015. Also “Hürriyet binasına ikinci saldırı!”. sozcu.com.tr. 8 September 2015 and “Hürriyet Gazetesi’ne saldırıda gözaltılar”. sozcu.com.tr. 9 September 2015.
[xlv] Broadcast on 8 September 2015 via live television streaming of TRT website
[xlvi] Islamabad`s equivalent of the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA)
[xlvii] Statistica, “Turkey Infogrphics: Turkish Authorities Most Controlling Twitter Content” released 31 December, 2015. http://cdn2.statista.com/images/infografik/small/3217_n.jpg, Retrieved June 20, 2015
[xlviii] Çagaptay, Soner “Turkey`s Political Scene Post Election”, Policy Watch 2444, The Washington Institute, June 24, 2015
[xlix] Although a rumour mill grinds that the two now have noticeable differences, especially on domestic policy
[l] Kalaycıoğlu, Ersin. Başkanlık Rejimi: Türkiye’nin Diktatörlük Tehdidiyle Sınavı (Presidential Regime: Turkey’s Test with the Threat of Dictatorship), Başkanlık Sistemi, Türkiye Barolar Birliği, Ankara, 2005. Kalaycıoğlu, pp. 1-24
[li] İlter Turan (2005), Başkanlık Sistemi Sevdası: Zayıf Temelli Bir Özlem (Passion for Presidentialism: An Unsound Yearning), Başkanlık Sistemi, Türkiye Barolar Birliği, pp 30-121
[lii] The interpellation system is vividly delineated in Kuzu, Burhan TBMM Bütçe Görüşmelerinde Başkanlık Sistemi (Presidentialism in TBMM’s Budget Meetings), Türkiye Barolar Birliği, 2005, p. 148
[liii] South-eastern Turkey being a Kurdish minority stronghold.
[liv] European Parliament, official press release, made by EU Parliament Representative Mr. Schulz on Turkey`s General Elections, 8 June, 2015
[lv] Turkey`s Constitution of 1982 was ratified on 7 November, 1982, replacing the earlier Constitution of 1961. It has been amended via referendum in 1987, 2007 and 2010 respectively. In totality, 113 of the 177 articles of the Constitution of 1982 were amended. Yavuz, Ercan “Parties to draft constitution without CHP”. Today`s Zaman, 15 September, 2008. For an authoritative reading on Turkey`s Constitution legally consult Ozbudun, Ergun (2011) The Constitutional System of Turkey-1876 to the Present, Palgrave Macmillan, 2011, pp.1-192. Ozbudun engages in legal reasoning for a more liberal democratic Constitution in Turkey.
[lvi] It should be noted that the 1982 Constitution already grants the President extensive powers.
[lvii] Teziç, Erdoğan (1999) Anayasa Hukuku (Constitutional Law), İstanbul: Beta Yayıncılık, pp. 1-421
[lviii] Witness in June 2015, the success of Sindh Rangers in Karachi whose rehabilitation centers helped in saving lives amidst an unprecedented heat wave, when civilian bodies proved incompetent.
[lix] For a compelling take on Turkey`s constitutional amendments see Uygun, Oktay, Anayasa Değişikliklerinden Sonra Türkiye Nereye Gidiyor? (Where is Turkey Heading for after the Constitutional Amendments?), Okan Üniversitesi Panel, 13 October, 2010
[lx] For a more exhaustive review of Kemalism in Turkish politics view Ciddi, Sinan (2009) Kemalism in Turkish Politics: The Republican People’s Party, Secularism and Nationalism. Taylor & Francis.
[lxi] Turkey is one of the countries mired with a gridlock of coalitions. Such stalemate also plagued Italy
with time-consuming inertia and indecision.
[lxii] Khalid, Ozer “Turkey at a Crossroads“, The News International, 17 June, 2015
[lxiii] Dalip, Galay “Turkey`s Election Fatigue” in Middle East Eye, 26 August, 2015
[lxiv] Satter, Rachel and Susan Fraser “Question mark over Erdoğan as Turk parties jockey for power“, Associated Press, June 21, 2015
[lxv] Çagaptay, Soner “Turkey`s Political Scene Post Election”, Policy Watch 2444, The Washington Institute, June 24, 2015
[lxvi] Çevik, İlnur, “Even the most probable coalition formula is hard to achieve”, Daily Sabah, June 22, 2015
[lxvii] The charges pertained to bribery, money laundering and smuggling gold and involved salubrious businessmen and four AK ministers who could be brought to justice. The second wave was more controversial as it allegedly implicated both the then Prime Minister Erdoğan’s sons, Necmettin Bibil Erdoğan and Burak. In the 2013 Turkish corruption allegations unsavoury Al-Qaeda affiliates like Sheikh Yaseen Al Qadi and Osama Khoutub were involved. President Erdoğan claims that these are ill-conceived graft allegations and smear campaigns with an underlying coup attempt by malicious parallel state stakeholders. The police confiscated some $17.5 million as money used in bribery during the investigation. For deeper probes into these allegations: Kaya, Esra “Ülkemizde tutmayız” [We do not keep our country] Hürriyet Daily News, 22 December, 2013. Erdbink, Thomas “To This Tycoon, Iran Sanctions Were Like Gold“, The New York Times, October 2013 and Zeynep Gürcanli “Adli Kolluk Yönetmeliği’ne iptal davası” [Regulation of Judicial Police action for annulment]. Hürriyet Daily News, 23 December, 2013
[lxix] In Argentina, Eduardo Duhalde, José Luis Machinea and Roberto Lavagna helped curtail the economic crisis under Francisco de la Rúa. The situation worsened after de la Rúa`s downfall, when the country cycled through five presidents in under two weeks. It was not until the election of Néstor Kirchner, a Peronist, that the simmering situation settled. Not only Turkey, but neighboring Greece especially these days, can take a leaf out of the Argentinian case study.
[lxx] Uğur, Mehmet; Yankaya, Dilek (2008) “Policy Entrepreneurship, Policy Opportunism and EU Conditionality: The AKP and TÜSİAD Experience in Turkey“, Governance 21 (4), pp. 581-601.
[lxxi] Önis, Ziya; Türem, Umut (2001) “Business, Globalisation and Democracy: A Comparative Analysis of Turkish Business Associations“, Turkish Studies 2 (2), pp. 94-120.
[lxxii] Karaveli, Halil “Turkish Democracy is not out of the Woods“, Turkey Analyst, vol. 8, no. 12, 17 June, 2015
[lxxiii] Dalip, Galay “Turkey`s Election Fatigue” in Middle East Eye, 26 August, 2015
[lxxviii] Çevik, İlnur, “Even the most probable coalition formula is hard to achieve”, Daily Sabah, June 22, 2015. Daily Sabah is a pro-AK newspaper.
[lxxix] Kirişci, Kemal and Cengiz, Melis The autumn of the patriarch? Turkey goes to the polls, Brookings Institute, 3 June, 2015
[lxxx] Keyman, Fuat; Koyuncu, Berrin (2004) “,AKP, MÜSİAD, Ekonomik Kalkınma ve Modernite”, Dusunen Siyaset 19, pp. 125-145.
[lxxxi] Önis, Ziya; Türem, Umut (2001) “Business, Globalisation and Democracy: A Comparative Analysis of Turkish Business Associations” Turkish Studies 2 (2), pp. 93-121
[lxxxii] Karaveli, Halil “Turkish Democracy is not out of the Woods“, Turkey Analyst, vol. 8, no. 12, 17 June, 2015
[lxxxiv] A phrase intellectually borrowed from Taşpınar, Ömer “Turkey’s Middle East Policies: Between Neo-Ottomanism and Kemalism”. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. September, 2008
[lxxxv] Çagaptay, Soner “Turkey`s Political Scene Post Election”, Policy Watch 2444, The Washington Institute,
June 24, 2015
[lxxxvi] Çagaptay is the author of the articulate The Rise of Turkey: The Twenty-First Century’s First Muslim Power. Also consult Çagaptay, Soner “Turkey`s Political Scene Post Election”, Policy Watch 2444, The Washington Institute, June 24, 2015
[lxxxvii] Çagaptay, Soner “Turkey`s Political Scene Post Election”, Policy Watch 2444, The Washington Institute, June 24, 2015
[lxxxviii] Pollard, Ruth “Islamic State gains ground in besieged Kurdish town despite US air strike“, Sydney Morning Herald, 7 October, 2014
[lxxxix] Humeyra Pamuk; Oliver Holmes “U.S.-led coalition jets strike Kobanî, Islamic State shells hit Turkey”. Reuters, 18 October, 2014
[xc] Under investigation since September 11, 2015, for inciting violence in southeast Turkey that left dozens dead
[xci] The highly authoritative Andrew Mango, who years back authored a best-seller on Ataturk, describes Öcalan as Apo (a diminutive for Abdullah) `a ruthless man` in Mango, Andrew (2005) Turkey and the War on Terror: ‘For Forty Years We Fought Alone’. Routledge: London. See especially pp. 32-33
[xcii] For a further exploration of Öcalan and the PKK read Marcus, Aliza (2007) Blood and Belief, New York University Press, pp. 1-363 and also White, Paul J. (2000) Primitive rebels or revolutionary modernizers?: the Kurdish national movement in Turkey, Zed Books
[xciii] Romano, David (2006) The Kurdish Nationalist Movement Opportunity, Mobilization and Identity. Cambridge University Press. pp. 1-46
[xciv] Çagaptay, Soner “Turkey`s Political Scene Post Election”, Policy Watch 2444, The Washington Institute, June 24, 2015
[xcvii] Lalor, Brian (ed) (2003) The Encyclopaedia of Ireland. Dublin, Ireland: Gill & Macmillan, pp. 7–8
[xcviii] In 2014 it was re-established that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute the Sinn Fein leader in 1972 murder of Jean McConville. Anthony Bond, Sam Adams (6 May 2014). “Insufficient evidence” to ‘pursue prosecution of Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams“, Daily Mirror, 6 May, 2014. For more historical accounts of the IRA and its evolution cast a gaze at English, Richard (2003). Armed Struggle: The History of the IRA. Pan Books, pp 1-111. Meda, Ryan (2005) Tom Barry: IRA Freedom Fighter, Cork and O’Ruairc, Padraig Og (2009) Blood on the Banner: The Republican Struggle in Clare 1913-1923, Cork.
[xcix] Çagaptay, Soner “Turkey`s Political Scene Post Election”, Policy Watch 2444, The Washington Institute, June 24, 2015
[c] Sinan Ciddi, the director of the Institute of Turkish Studies at Georgetown University, said he wouldn’t rule out anything either.
[ci] Zeyrek, Deniz “Turkish main opposition leader offers Prime Ministry to MHP chair in coalition government” Hürriyet Daily News, June 19, 2015
[cii] Kirişci, Kemal and Cengiz, Melis. “The autumn of the patriarch? Turkey goes to the polls“, Brookings
Institute, 3 June, 2015
[ciii] Tezcür, Güneş M. (2010) Muslim Reformers in Iran and Turkey: The Paradox of Moderation, Austin: University of Texas Press, 2010, p. 157
[civ] The President stated this in a televised interview on Al Jazeera, ”Talk to Al Jazeera – Interview with Mr. Erdoğan: Turkey’s role in the Middle East” Televised on February 12, 2014. Interview with Jamal El-Shayyal
[cv] The proposed Turkish Stream pipeline project plans to carry Russian natural gas under the Black Sea to Turkey’s northwestern Thrace region to reach Greece and further go into Europe. Offshore, Turkish Stream will consist of four pipelines, each with a capacity of 15.75 billion cubic meters. The Turkish gas market is estimated to cost €3.3 billion ($3.73 billion).
[cvi] Keyman, Fuat E. and Sebnem Gumüsçu (2014) Democracy, Identity and Foreign Policy in Turkey, Hegemony Through Transformation, Palgrave and Macmillan. See especially Chapter 3 “Constructing Hegemony the AKP Rule” pp. 29-55
[cvii] Karaveli, Halil “Turkish Democracy is not out of the Woods“, Turkey Analyst, vol. 8, no. 12, 17 June, 2015
[cviii] Al Jazeera, ”Talk to Al Jazeera – Interview with Mr. Erdoğan: Turkey’s role in the Middle East” Televised on February 12, 2014. Interview with Jamal El-Shayyal
[cix] Hobbes in Chapter 8 of his master-piece Leviathan refers to life under anarchy becoming “nasty, brutish and short” from Hobbes, Thomas (2001) Of Man, Being the First Part of Leviathan. Vol. XXXIV, Part 5. The Harvard Classics. New York: P.F. Collier & Son, Bartleby 1909–14;
[cx] Bolat, Ömer (2007) Medeniyet Ideali [The Ideal of Civilization], İstanbul, Küre.