background reading

Following the elections it is useful to read some pre-election analysis again. This is what columnist Cengiz Candar has done, finding much of it wanting.

Walter Posch

A very interesting pre-election analysis of Turkish politics has been produced by Paris-based ISS expert on Turkey and the Middle East Walter Posch. In Crisis in Turkey: Just another bump on the road to Europe? (June 2007) he arrives at a conclusion that it is worth quoting in full:

"What then are we to make of the crisis? For once, it seems that it should be seen as a temporary setback, rather than a change of direction. … In the end this experience may even be helpful in the sense that it not only shows how Turkey's politicos can manoeuvre the country into a crisis but also how they can extricate the country from a crisis."

This holds true, he argues, even in spite of the harsh pre-election statements of the Chief of Staff, Büyükanit:

"On 12 April he said that the implementation of minority rights would result in the dissolution of Turkey, and on 31 May he articulated the new concept of the 'war of darkness' (karanlik savasi), an element of which the Turkish military has identified as the 'color revolutions'. However, it is hard to imagine that this heralds the beginning of a strategic reorientation of the country orchestrated by the military. There is simply no direction away from Europe, away from the US and away from democracy and democratisation …"

Walter Posch (IS) – Occasional Paper Crisis in Turkey (June 2007)

Ioannis Grigoriadis

Another interesting pre-election analysis has been produced by Ioannis Grigoriadis. The July elections and the post-election dynamics suggest that the nationalist wave is not necessarily the dominant current in future Turkish politics. Grigoriadis' paper is nonetheless a useful reminder that despite post-election optimism serious problems remain linked to the persistence of strong nationalist currents in Turkey.

Ioannis Grigoriadis (SWP) - Upsurge amidst Political Uncertainty – Nationalism in post-2004 Turkey (October 2006)

Another interesting post-election reaction has been that of the influential TÜSIAD (Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association):

"The result of Sunday's critical vote was the victory of hope over fear, civilian government over military tutelage and economic and political openness over introversion. It was a vote of confidence in the AKP's economic performance, which has given Turkey an average growth rate of 7.5 per cent over the past five years. It was also the electorate's response to the military intervention by "e-memorandum" on April 27. In that sense the Turkish electorate remained true to its tradition of resisting the dictates of the military rulers for the post-coup management of the country. Therefore, these elections strongly highlighted the democratic maturity of the Turkish public."

TÜSIAD (Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association) - Turkey's Quest to Modernize Remains on Track (31 July 2007)

Analysis on Turkey's current affairs, in partnership with ESI. Latest issue: Turkey & the EU – Stronger Together?.
Return to Europe film
ESI Turkey reports
Turkey picture stories
Background information
Recommended reading
Literary walk