Shocks and Aftershocks from the 2018 Elections

In the run up to Turkey’s June 24 national elections, foreign coverage was well summed up by articles with titles like “The End of the Erdoğan Era?” (not, of course, to be confused with the article “End of the Erdoğan Era?” from 2015, or the one from 2013). But it wasn’t just foreign observers: citizens […]

Turkey’s Back to the Future Opposition

With the economy worsening, Turkey’s governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) has decided to hold elections a year earlier than planned. Since the June 24 date was announced, however, the lira has fallen 5% relative to the euro and 12% relative to the dollar. If the trend continues, the government could conceivably lose its absolute […]

When Leftists Ruled the Airwaves: İsmail Cem, TRT, and a Divided Turkey (Part 3)

  From the minute he was appointed head of Turkish broadcasting by a newly-elected center-left government, İsmail Cem became a magnet for conservative criticism: he was giving too much time to left-wing perspectives, he was giving too little time to famous conservative artists, and he was turning the airwaves into a mouthpiece for the government. […]

When Leftists Ruled the Airwaves: İsmail Cem, TRT, and a Divided Turkey (Part 2)

When İsmail Cem became General Director of the Television and Radio Institution of Turkey (TRT) in 1974, it was an opportunity for Turkey’s center-left to present itself and its vision to the public. Cem, a well-known journalist, came to TRT with the ambition of  improving service, content, and quality. From the beginning, however, his tenure was controversial. […]

When Leftists Ruled the Airwaves: İsmail Cem, TRT, and a Divided Turkey (Part 1)

İsmail Cem was thirty-three in 1974, youthful and handsome, educated at the best schools in Turkey and Europe, president of the Istanbul Journalists Union and a famous columnist in his own right. He was also the author of several books on Turkish politics with a pronounced socialist-bent. He was, in short, an ideal candidate to […]

Party Building

    After thirteen years in office, Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş resigned on September 22, following a seemingly minor dispute with his fellow Justice and Development Party (AKP) legislators in the municipal council. The suggestion that his resignation was a “personal” decision—unlikely from the start—has become less tenable in the following days as two more […]

Laboratory of Democracy? Turkey’s Scientific Institutions After the July 15 Coup

Since Turkey experienced a failed coup attempt a year ago, hardly a week goes by without news of new firings, suspensions, detentions, and arrests. By the end of June 2017, over 138,000 government employees had been removed from their jobs and over 110,000 citizens had been detained—with nearly half of these detentions leading to formal […]