Turkey's President Erdoğan was re-elected as head of government for the next five years, and his next term is bound to continue the streak of limiting the freedom of press and prosecuting opponents. Throughout the election campaigns, opposition parties were seriously limited by the ongoing state of emergency, and had to resort to creative methods to attract voters. In fact, oppositional parties expressed such energy that, until the results of the elections rolled in on Monday, June 25th, observers speculated that there was a real chance of challenging Erdoğan’s majority rule. Although Turkey remains a polarized country, social media has become the go-to approach for change-makers.
Met de hakken over de sloot (51,4%) slaagde President Erdoğan er op 16 April in om in een referendum meer macht naar zich toe te trekken en daarmee een voorlopige doodsklap aan de checks and balances in Turkije uit te delen. Met de voorgenomen grondwetswijzing concentreert de uitvoerende macht zich bij de president, benoemt hij rechters en kan de president drie termijnen van vijf jaar dienen. Dat 48,6% tegen de machtsconcentratie stemde biedt hoop voor democratie en rechtstaat in Turkije.
Turkish prime minister Ahmed Davutoğlu said that Islamic State (IS) is the prime suspect in the 10 October attack in Ankara, that left at least 97 dead and hundreds injured, the deadliest act of terrorism in Turkey’s history. A suspected double suicide bombing took place in the capital during a march against the violence in Eastern Turkey, where the Kurdish PKK forces and the Turkish army have been fighting since July. Many victims of the bombings are Kurds and/or members of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), which has led to a further increase in tensions between the HDP and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). The government announced three days of national mourning for the victims, including a halt to the campaigning for the November 1st snap elections by political parties.
Tuesday morning the Turkish finance ministry’s crimes investigation board (MASAK), escorted by masked police forces, raided the headquarters of the IPEK media group along with 22 other locations tied to its parent company the Koza-Ipek holding. Six people were arrested during the raids and a warrant has been issued for chairman Akin Ipek, whose house was raided as well. The Koza-Ipek holding is active in various sectors including mining, media and energy. Government-critical daily newspapers Bugün and Millet, as well as TV stations BugünTV and Kanaltürk are subsidiaries of the holding. The raids were conducted on the authorities’ suspicion of Koza-Ipek providing financial support and “the disseminating of propaganda” to the “Gulenist Terrorist Group”. With elections coming up in November, many of Erdogan’s critics fear that this raid is yet another step by the Turkish government to silence the media in a bid to strengthen the rule of the ruling Justice and Development Party ( AKP) and weaken Erdogan’s rival Fethullah Gulen.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has oftentimes been in the media spotlight for his controversial remarks. From telling the New York Times to ‘know their place’ when they criticize him to claiming that ‘Muslims discovered America’, Erdoğan rarely manages not to make international headlines. With the general elections coming up in little more than a week, the Turkish president continues to do what he can in order to secure his goal.
Op 10 augustus vonden in Turkije presidentiële verkiezingen plaats. Deze leverden echter weinig verrassends op. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, de premier die zijn derde termijn had uitgediend, zag zijn positie als machtigste politicus van het land bevestigd door reeds in de eerste ronde gekozen te worden tot president. PvdA-Buitenlandreporter Minke van der Sar spreekt met Turkije-expert Sinan Ülgen over deze verkiezingen.
Western countries have increasingly pinned high hopes on the Peshmerga, Iraq’s Kurdish militia, to fight against the Islamic State (IS) and prevent it from taking control of more territory. In order to counter their lack of equipment, they have decided to ship Kurds modern weaponry. This decision could have great implications on the military balance of the Middle East, especially for their neighbouring country Turkey, which has been in an armed conflict for thirty years with various Kurdish insurgent groups, including the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
After 11 years as Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan was elected on August 10th President of the Republic of Turkey. 53 million Turkish voters were eligible to cast their ballots in this first ever direct universal suffrage elections of the country’s history, which led to a rare first round victory of Erdogan. He received 51.95% of the votes, despite growing opposition to his authoritarian style and allegations of corruption in the government. Despite a low turnout, his coming presidency is likely to transform the country’s balance of powers in favour of the executive.
Turkey’s relations with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) entered a new phase on 15 July when Turkish President Abdullah Gül approved a law aiming at accelerate the peace process with the organisation. The PKK is still labelled as a terrorist one by Ankara, the European Union and the United States. The decision may have large electoral benefits for the incumbent President less than a month before the presidential election.