Category Archives: Turkish Current Events

Some of the President’s Men: Yıldırım, Davutoglu, and the “Palace Coup” Before the Coup

  When Ahmet Davutoğlu announced on May 27, 2016 that he would return all the gifts he had accumulated during his eventful nineteen months in office, the media had barely settled into referring to him as “Turkey’s former prime minister.”[1] Just a month earlier, no such end was in sight for Davutoğlu—in fact, he seemed […]

All Politics is Local, 2015: Ill Tidings for the Turkish Opposition

Provinces matter in Turkish elections. Understanding why is crucial for appreciating the scale of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) victory on November 1 and the true significance of the elections. Turkey has eighty-five electoral districts—essentially one for each of the country’s eight-one provinces with the largest three provinces (Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir) split into […]

Eastern Promises Squandered

On October 26, with less than a week remaining before the November 1 elections, a civil court in Ankara ruled that the holding company Koza-İpek and its subsidiaries should be placed under trusteeship while the firm was investigated for involvement in “FETÖ,” a allegedly sprawling terrorist organization headed by Fethullah Gülen, an imam living in […]

Men of State: Devlet Bahçeli and the MHP

In the aftermath of Turkey’s June 2015 elections, there was great excitement at the showing made by the pro-Kurdish People’s Democracy Party (HDP). In the months that followed, however, it became clear that the party and its youthful, multi-ethnic, multi-sectarian, leftwing cohort of legislators would not be setting the tone in Turkish politics: that power […]

The Shoebox is on the Other Foot: Turkey’s Year of Retaliation

    Which date is more useful for explaining the arrests of prominent Turkish media figures that occurred on December 14, 2014: April 4, 2009—when the Turkish religious leader Fethullah Gülen first issued a broadside against the “Tahşiyeciler,” a small religious group that opposed his interpretations of scripture—or December 17, 2013—when prosecutors and police connected […]

Alo, Presidente!

On a warm Sunday in March 2014, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan held his largest rally ever. The location, Istanbul’s Yenikapı Square, was a purpose-built public meeting venue along the Sea of Marmara. The rally was the first to be held in this new space. The entire project was controversial. From the beginning, there […]

Saving the AKP

Bekir Bozdağ, Turkey’s new Justice Minister, spent his first several months on the job performing duties more reminiscent of an emergency room surgeon than of a nation’s top law-enforcement official. It could hardly have been otherwise: when he assumed the office on December 25th, his party was badly injured with little sense of how to […]