On November 1, Turks will head to the polls in a re-run of June’s parliamentary elections, which failed to produce either a majority government or a workable coalition. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had promised that victory for his Justice and Development Party (AKP) would lead to a “new Turkey,” but Turkey already seems transformed. Since the June vote, however, Turkey’s security situation has dramatically deteriorated. Bombings in Suruç and Ankara have killed hundreds of Turks, raising questions about intelligence failures that the Turkish government does not appear to want answered—choosing instead to put in place media blackouts on bombings. Arrests of multiple journalists, often for insulting Erdogan, have had a chilling effect on the media. And despite announcing that it would increase its involvement in the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State, Turkey is instead devoting its attention and resources to fighting the Kurds, in near-daily airstrikes against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, leading to a resurgence of violence.
In short, the Turkey of today looks very different than the Turkey of three years ago or the one promised by the AKP when it was first elected in 2002. Democratization, modernization, peace and prosperity have given way to growing autocracy, conflict and debts. The Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) released a new report and hosted a panel discussion about Turkey’s upcoming elections and what they might mean for its future trajectory.
Join the discussion on Twitter: @BPC_Bipartisan #BPClive
Ambassador Eric Edelman
Former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey
Co-chair, BPC’s Turkey Initiative
Dr. Svante Cornell
Associate Research Professor, Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies
Member, BPC’s Turkey Initiative
Dr. Michael Reynolds
Associate Professor of Near Eastern Studies, Princeton University
Former Turkey Correspondent, The Economist