May 29, 2023
The title of my last post on Türkiye was “An Election to Determine Türkiye’s Identity and Future”. And these were my concluding remarks:
“Pablo Neruda once said, “You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep Spring from coming.”
“Let’s hope so…” [i]
Okumaya devam et →
May 4, 2023
On May 14, Türkiye will hold what can only be defined as “the last exit to democracy” presidential and parliamentary elections. The AKP has been in power for two decades. Its early years in power inspired cautious optimism. Its last decade in terms of foreign and security policy, domestic politics, independence of the judiciary, the economy, and Türkiye’s internal peace and unity has been a disaster. In brief, the people of Türkiye will give marks to the AKP government, and the people of the world will give marks to the people of Türkiye.
Okumaya devam et →
March 7, 2023
On February 6, 2023, two major earthquakes struck southern and central Turkey and northern and western Syria. The international media correctly referred to them as the “Turkey-Syria earthquakes”. But for those familiar with the downturn relations between the two countries as a result of the Turkish government’s misguided leadership role in the regime change project in Syria, the title also had a political message: cooperation between neighboring countries is the dictate of reason no matter what. Twelve years ago, Ankara and Damascus were the closest friends, but then they became enemies. And the earthquakes united them in misery. The delays in getting international aid to quake-stricken regions of Syria were most unfortunate.
Okumaya devam et →
January 23, 2023
Although not yet officially announced, it appears that Türkiye will hold presidential and parliamentary elections on May 14, 2023. President Erdoğan is running for a third term and the group of six opposition parties known as the “table of six”, still has to agree on a candidate for president. To use two popular phrases used to define the changing global order, Türkiye is also at an “inflection point” or at a “defining moment”. Because in these elections, the people of Türkiye will judge the two decades of the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) increasingly authoritarian rule. And the world would judge them accordingly since these elections are the last exit for democracy, the separation of powers, the independence of the judiciary, and accountability.
Okumaya devam et →
November 28, 2022
President Erdogan’s handshake with President al-Sisi has once again triggered criticism about the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) leadership’s foreign policy U-turns. On the list were the relations with the UAE, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. Last Wednesday, in response to questions after the party group meeting, he said he could meet Presidents al-Sisi and Assad and there is no room for bad blood and rancor in politics.
Okumaya devam et →
July 5, 2018
In November 2003, thousands of Georgian demonstrators took to the streets to protest the flawed results of a parliamentary election. They gave red roses to the soldiers symbolizing their peaceful intentions. And, soldiers who were expected to quell the protests laid down their guns. Thus, it became known as the Rose Revolution. No one was hurt. President Shevardnadze was replaced by Mikhail Saakashvili. Later he led Georgia into a disastrous confrontation with Russia in 2008; left the country 2013 only become a headache for Ukraine’s President Poroshenko. Okumaya devam et →
June 26, 2018
Everybody knew this was a landmark election, the last exit on the road to authoritarian rule. With continuing state of emergency, a failing economy, extreme polarization and a chain of foreign and security policy disasters, Government’s only chance to stay in power was Justice and Development Party (JDP) supporters restating their adulation of President Erdogan and it worked. Anyway, through the constitutional referendum of April 16, 2016 they had already replaced Turkey’s parliamentary system with another, at the center of which is very strong leadership. JDP’s election slogan “strong parliament, strong leader” designed to mask its elimination of separation of powers was a glaring contradiction but the party faithful couldn’t care less. Thus, President Erdogan and the JDP won but democracy is indisputably more than the ballot box. Okumaya devam et →
June 3, 2018
At the opening session of the Munich Security Conference on February 16, 2018, NATO’s Secretary General Jean Stoltenberg underlined NATO’s past successes and then said:
“… But the paradox is that, throughout our history, people have questioned the transatlantic partnership, from the Suez Crisis to the Iraq War, from America’s Pivot to Asia, to perceived lack of support for Article 5, and unfair burden-sharing. All of this has fueled an impression of weakening transatlantic bond. But the reality is that the bond has proven to be resilient, because both Europe and North America benefit from the bond. What we see now is North Americans coming back to Europe, just as Europeans are stepping up their contributions to our shared security…” (emphasis added)
Since then, however: Okumaya devam et →
Co-authored with Yusuf Buluç (*)
May 31, 2018
With the publication of political parties’ election declarations Turkey’s election campaign has gathered steam.
In Turkey, political parties’ election declarations/manifestos are much longer than those of Western parties. For example, UK’s Conservative and Unionist Party Manifesto 2017 and Labor Party Manifesto 2017 were 84 and 123 pages respectively. US Democratic and Republican party platforms were even shorter, only 51 and 58 pages.
JDP’s Election Declaration is 360 pages long and those of the Republican People’s Party (RPP) and the Good Party (GP) are 226 and 134 pages respectively. They are so voluminous as to discourage even keen followers from perusing these texts in their entirety. At best, they may serve as speaking notes for campaigning party candidates. Okumaya devam et →
May 21, 2018
The EU summit held in Brussels on December 17, 2004 decided that accession negotiations with Turkey would start on October 3, 2005. The process was accordingly launched at the Luxembourg Intergovernmental Conference. This was three years after the Justice and Development Party (JDP) had come to power when “democratic reform” was high on Turkey’s agenda. Our relations with allies were strong. Our relations with Russia were mutually rewarding and steady. Our relations with neighbors were characterized by a determination to open new avenues of cooperation reflecting shared interests.
At midnight on January 1st, 2005 Turkey knocked six zeros off the lira. The BBC reported that the change marked the end of dizzyingly-high denominations as five million lira – enough for a short taxi ride – and the 20m note, worth $15. “The new lira is the symbol of the stable economy that we dreamed of for long years” said Sureyya Serdengecti, then Governor of the Turkish Central Bank. At the time a dollar was worth 1.34 lira.
In early April 2009 President Obama visited Turkey. He addressed the Turkish Parliament and referred to Turkey’s strong, vibrant, secular democracy as Ataturk’s greatest legacy. Regional countries were looking at Turkey with envy.
In brief, we were riding a wave of optimism. Okumaya devam et →