Turkey experienced a turbulent 2008 that included a constitutional crisis, strained civil-military relations, an economic slowdown and an activist foreign policy. As the country prepares for local elections later in March, the tension between the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the rest of the Turkish body politic is once again rising. Moreover, growing questions about Turkey’s pro-Western orientation make the upcoming elections all the more critical. The future of Turkish democracy and its near-term geopolitical orientation could be significantly affected by the lessons the Erdogan government draws from the election.
On April 1, the Center on the United States and Europe (CUSE) hosted a discussion of the election results and the future of Turkey’s policies at home and abroad featuring two experts on Turkish politics, Soli Ozel and Murat Yetkin. Ozel is one of Turkey’s most respected analysts, and his post-election analyses have consistently been the gold standard in helping the Washington policy community understand electoral results. Yetkin is a prominent commentator on Turkish domestic politics and foreign policies whose years of reporting on Ankara enable him to provide a unique “inside the Ankara beltway” perspective.
Brookings nonresident Fellow Omer Taspinar, director of CUSE’s Turkey Project, provided introductory remarks and moderated the discussion. After the program, the featured speakers took audience questions.