"Reform Stalls, and Liberals Can No Longer Hold Their Fire

Memo From Istanbul – Reform Stalls, and Liberals Can No Longer Hold Their Fire – NYTimes.com

Published: November 24, 2008

ISTANBUL — When Recep Tayyip Erdogan was first elected prime minister of Turkey six years ago, his policy moves were brave and new, and this country’s liberals quickly lent him their support. He started accession talks with the European Union, stopped aggressive rhetoric on age-old disputes like the island of Cyprus, and told Turkey’s oppressed Kurdish minority, in a groundbreaking speech, that it existed. "

And while liberals had grown anxious in recent years, waiting for reforms that kept being deferred, in part because Mr. Erdogan’s party was tied up in legal battles for survival, they supported him, hoping he would return to his agenda.

Now, that seems to be changing. Liberal columnists and intellectuals have begun criticizing Mr. Erdogan for what they say is a shift away from his reformist ways toward a more nationalist line, closer to Turkey’s powerful military.

“Erdogan changed the whole discourse,” said Hasan Cemal, a columnist for the daily newspaper Milliyet. “This is the kind of disillusionment we have been having.”

An invisible hand redesigning the entire political landscape

In Columnists

As the readers of this column know, I have for some time been trying to understand and conceptualize the radical change of attitude demonstrated by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party). My endeavor has been successful in describing this negative change but, unfortunately, I could not make sense of the factors that would motivate the ruling party toward such a change. Thank God, the main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) "headscarf" move and the Nationalist Movement Party’s (MHP) "Alevi" initiative came to the rescue. Now I can make assessments about these changes and the motives driving them, though I cannot claim that these assessments are absolutely correct.

Turkish PM confesses he can access YouTube despite the ban

Turkish Prime Minister surprised everybody when he said that he can access the video-sharing website, YouTube, despite the ban implemented by courts for almost a year."

İ. Bülent Çelik’in 21 Kasım 2008’de Vatan gazetesinde yayınlanan karikatürü…

BBC: Violent nationalism blights Turkey

Turkey is fiercely patriotic and proud of it

Battle for rights

Writers targeted as violent nationalism grips Turkey

US spies see stronger, Islamic Turkey in 2025

WASHINGTON – The National Intelligence Council, which brings together all 16 US intelligence agencies, argues in its recent report titled Global Trends 2025 that Turkey’s most likely course in the next 15 years involves a blending of Islamic and nationalist strains."

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The headscarf as an instrument of political suicide in Turkey by HİLAL ELVER

The Constitutional Court recently delivered its long-awaited reasoned decisions on two controversial cases: one on the prohibition of the headscarf at universities, and the other on the closure of the governing Justice and Development Party (AK Party).

Is Baykal wooing conservative voters with softened scarf stance?

Staunchly secular Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal surprised all with his remarks on headscarves when he said: "It is not right to discriminate against people because of what they wear.

Embedded government

For some time we have been hearing quite shocking remarks from the ministers, including the prime minister, of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party).

Kurds between the ‘four walls’

There is finally some agreement that has been reached between the US and Iraq on the question of a withdrawal timetable. If the Iraqi Parliament approves it, the US military will withdraw completely from Iraq by the end of 2011.

CHP and the veil

Main opposition Republican People’s Party, or CHP, leader Deniz Baykal is engaged nowadays in some extraordinary practices. He is enlisting women in black chadors as members of the CHP, personally fixing the pin of the CHP onto their chadors and delivering statements that if delivered by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, he would lambasted as confessing the secret agenda of the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP.Yusuf Kanlı"

Ergenekon- Guide to Ergenekon, Accused of Terrorism in Turkey

By Amy Zalman, Ph.D., About.com

Ergenekon is the name of a mountain where, according to Turkish legend, Turkic tribes escaped from aggressing Mongols."

A move on the Alevi front

By SABAH NAZLI ILICAK on Turkish Press Review

The steps that need to be taken on the Alevi front are quite clear. Rather than asking, "But why have we waited until today?" we need to hope that promises made will be realized in a
timely fashion.

Why is the CHP approaching the scarf?

By STAR ESER KARAKAŞ on Turkish Press Review

Nobody should look for an attempt to promote empathy or create a more democratic and less-exclusive Turkey in the Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) recent discourse on the headscarf and the chador. The aim of this policy is to attract the support of middle-class voters, who are predominantly conservative.

The AK Party opening up to women

By SABAH OKAN MÜDERRİSOĞLU on Turkish Press Review

Amidst the ongoing discussions about the CHP’s new political discourse on covered women, the AK Party is relying on a different policy toward women. At an upcoming convention on "Women in International Business" to be held on Nov. 27 with the participation of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the AK Party will make a feminist move.

Alevi demands & religious freedom by ATİLLA YAYLA

In Op-Ed

A rally held in Ankara on Nov. 9 revived a set of discussions with respect to religious freedom, this time with a particular reference to Alevis. A large crowd attended the rally. The demands voiced at the rally were also published in newspaper ads and appeared in interviews with Alevi opinion leaders.


In Op-Ed

The headscarf is one of the central issues in Turkish politics. We can even assert that the entire year of 2008 was centered around debates on this issue.

The Russian trail in Turkey’s Ergenekon scandal: Who is Alexander Dugin? by ANDREAS UMLAND

In Op-Ed

Turkey’s current Ergenekon scandal has many peculiarities, one of them being the appearance of the name of Alexander Dugin, the leader of Russia’s so-called International Eurasian Movement, in connection with the conspiracy. Who is this man?

Alevis and provocation by BEJAN MATUR

In Op-Ed

For the first time in their history, Alevis marched in the capital city.

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