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Turkey

Fundamental information for understanding the state of political reform in Turkey
PROSPECTS FOR POLITICAL REFORM
» TURKEY UPDATE: THE LATEST
[Feb 23 5:59pm EST]
On Monday, Turkish police arrested 49 military commanders in Turkey’s three biggest cities- Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir- for allegedly conspiring to topple the government as part of the “Sledgehammer” plot. The details of this latest coup attempt were unveiled in the liberal Taraf newspaper last month and are possibly linked to the Ergenekon conspiracy. The arrest of high-level officials like former air force chief Ibrahim Firtina and former navy chief Ozden Ornek highlights once again the ongoing power struggle between the secular establishment and the moderately Islamist Justice and Development Party. For a concise, but thorough look at the military’s role in Turkish politics, check out this article in last week’s Economist.

[Feb 1 7:46pm EST]
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon arrived in Cyprus on Sunday to invigorate long-running talks between Mehmet Ali Talat, the Turkish Cypriot leader, and Demetris Christofias, the Greek Cypriot leader. Both are in favor of reunifying the island, but have made little headway since negotiations started in 2008. The clock is ticking, and ticking loudly– if hardliner Dervis Eroglu wins presidential elections in Northern Cyprus in April as expected ,it could mean an end to talks. (Eroglu supports a two-state deal, which is anathema to most Greek Cypriots.) The Turkish government has backed Mr. Talat in his efforts since a peaceful resolution to the Cyprus dispute would remove one of the biggest obstacles to Turkey’s bid for EU membership. Moreover, it would strengthen Turkey’s “zero problems with neighbors” foreign policy.

[Jan 25 1:28pm EST]
Last week, the Turkish Constitutional Court overturned a law that would have allowed military personnel to be tried in civilian courts. The ruling drew criticism from leading members of the Strasbourg-based European Parliament and proved that the relationship between the AKP-dominated Parliament and the Kemalist courts remains tense.

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Daphne Mccurdy, Turkey editor
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THE STATE OF POLITICAL REFORM
Political Parties and Participation
The Politics of Personality: Erdogan's Irascible Authoritarianism
Turkey Analyst, February 13, 2009 Gareth Jenkins
Turkey's Justice and Develoment Party and EU Reform
Umut Refik, April 3, 2009
The Court Blinks
The German Marshall Fund of the United States, August 2008
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Human Rights
Headscarf Dilemma: Implications for Turkey and the United States
Washington Institute for Near East Policy, February 2008
Progress, or Regress?
Haaretz analysis of the headscarf ban, Article 301, and the Islamist-secularist clash, February 2008
Human Rights in Turkey: Events in 2007
Human Rights Watch
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Elections
The Electorate's Tune Up
Soli Ozel, March 31, 2009
The Future of Turkish Democracy - an analysis of the March 2009 elections
Brookings Institution, April 1, 2009
Ergenekon, AK, and Turkey's Municipal Elections
Radio Free Europe, March 30, 2009
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Press Freedom
Eye of the Storm
Taraf and the Media Landscape in Turkey, Suzy Hansen, Jan 2, 2009
AKP Strengthens its Hold on the Turkish Media
The Jamestown Foundation, Eurasia Daily Monitor, May 2008
Government Amendments Will Not Protect Free Speech: Article 301 Should Be Abolished
Human Rights Watch, April 2008
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Political Institutions
Arrest, Court Case Reveal that Turkey is Dangerously Polarized
Eurasianet, July 2008
Turkey 2007 Progress Report
The European Commission, November 2007
How Will the Turkish Military React?
Washington Institute for Near East Policy, July 2007
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U.S. DEMOCRACY PROMOTION POLICY
Legislation
For an overview of U.S. legislation relating to political reform in Turkey, see the Congressional Policy and Foreign Assistance section of the Turkey backgrounder
H.Res.106: Affirmation of the United States Record on the Armenian Genocide Resolution (Summary | Full Text)
S.Res.65: Condemning the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist and human rights advocate Hrant Dink (Summary | Full Text
S.Res.331: Expressing the sense of the Senate that Turkey should end its military occupation of the Republic of Cyprus (Summary | Full Text)
H.R. 1268: Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Tsunami Relief, 2005 (Summary | Full Text)
H.R. 2673: Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2004 (Summary | Full Text)
H.R. 1646: Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 2003 (Summary | Full Text)
H.R. 1559: Emergency Wartime Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2003 (Summary | Full Text
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Congressional Hearings
Hearing of the House Subcommittee on Europe: “U.S.-Turkish Relations and the Challenges Ahead,” March 15, 2007 (Transcript)
Hearing of the House Subcommittee on Europe: “Turkey’s Future Direction and U.S.-Turkey Relations,” October 1, 2003 (Transcript)
Assistance Programs
USAID Turkey Homepage
Public Statements
Sean McCormack, DoS Press Briefing, 7/30/08: Comments on the Constitutional Court’s decision not to close the AKP, “We would also encourage Turkey to use this moment to reinvigorate its efforts with the EU.”
Matt Bryza, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, 7/27/08: Comments on the AKP closure case, “If Turkey is going to get into the EU, which we strongly support, it has to adhere to European standards. So there needs to be an evolution of the democratic system, and that’s what is under way.”
Stephen Hadley, U.S. National Security Adviser, press availability, Ankara, 7/17/08: “Turkey has made some important democratic political reforms and free market economic reforms in the last several years and the United States believes strongly that this reform effort should continue.” Later he says, “This reform effort is supported by the people of Turkey and it will also bring Turkey closer to the European Union. The United States strongly supports membership for Turkey in the EU.”
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ESSENTIALS
POMED Country Backgrounder Series: Turkey
Freedom House Country Report: Turkey (2008)
Freedom House Special Report: Turkey in Transition (May 2008)
The European Commission: Turkey - Political Profile
Other Reports and Publications
Turkey's Dangerous Message to the Muslim World
The Christian Science Monitor, July 24, 2008
Turkey and Armenia: Opening Minds, Opening Borders
International Crisis Group April 14, 2009
Turkey's Evolving Dynamics
CSIS Report March 30, 2009
Obama's Middle East Debut
Washington Institute, April 8, 2009
The Obama Visit and After
German Marshall Fund, April 14, 2009
Obama Sees Turkey's Influence and Value
Brookings Institution, April 9, 2009
Obama's Turkey Policy
Brookings Institution, January-March, 2009
Those Crazy Turks
Summarizes prevailing opinions on Turkish History and the EU process
Flags, Veils, and Sharia: Turkey's Future
The Economist, July 17, 2008
Turkey's Travails: Outlook and Strategic Consequences
The German Marshall Fund of the United States, May 2008
Court Likely to Shut Down Turkey's Ruling Party
The Project on Middle East Democracy, May 2008
Why Those Who Oppose Turkey's EU Membership Bid Are Wrong
FRIDE, May 13, 2008
The Kurds in Post-Saddam Iraq
Congressional Research Service, May 2008
Balancing Relations with Turks and Kurds
Center for Strategic and International Studies, February 2008
After Election Victory, Erdogan Faces Difficulties on European Track
Center for Strategic and International Studies, September 2007
Turkey and Europe: The Way Ahead
International Crisis Group, August 2007
Cyprus: Status of UN Negotiations and Related Issues
Congressional Research Service, July 2007
The Train to Europe Stalls
Center for Strategic and International Studies, December 2006
Upsurge Amidst Political Uncertainty: Nationalism in post-2004 Turkey
German Institute for International and Security Affairs, October 2006
Turkey on the Brink
The Washington Quarterly, Summer 2006
Cyprus, Turkey and the EU: Time for a Sense of Proportion and Compromise
Centre for European Reform, July 2006
Assessing Turkey's Future as an Energy Transit Country
Washington Institute for Near East Policy, July 2006
Generating Momentum for a New Era in U.S.-Turkey Relations
Council on Foreign Relations, June 2006
The Road Through Brussels: Cyprus on the U.S.-Turkey Agenda
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Spring 2005
BASIC INFORMATION
Official Name: Republic of Turkey
Government: Republic with Unicameral Legislature (550 seats)
Population: 71 million (2007); 80% Turkish, 20% Kurdish; 99.8% Muslim, 0.2% other (mostly Christians and Jews)
GDP per capita: $9,400
More Basic Info »
Constitution: The Turkish Constitution
Political Parties and Organizations
Justice and Development Party (AKP) (English and Turkish)
Republican People's Party (CHP) (Turkish)
Nationalist Action Party (MHP) (Turkish)
Democratic Society Party (DTP) (Turkish)
Felicity Party (SP) (English and Turkish)
Democratic Left Party (DSP) (Turkish)
Democratic Party (DP) (Turkish)
Young Party (GP) (Turkish)
Motherland Party (ANAVATAN) (Turkish)
Domestic Media
Hurriyet Daily News (English, formerly Turkish Daily News)
Today's Zaman (English)
Hurriyet (Turkish)
Anadolu Ajansi/Anatolia News Agency (Turkish and English)
The New Anatolian (English)
Sabah (Turkish and English)
Cumhuriyet (Turkish)
Milliyet (Turkish)
Radikal (Turkish)
Taraf (Turkish)
Vatan (Turkish)
Yeni Safak (Turkish)
Zaman (Turkish)
Human and Civil Rights Organizations
Human Rights Foundation of Turkey
Women for Women's Human Rights - New Ways
Human Rights Association
Kurdish Human Rights Project
Blogs
Kamil Pasha
Anthropologist and author Jenny White's blog
Istanbul Calling
Christian Science Monitor and Eurasianet journalist
"The White Path" by Mustafa Akyol
Liberal AKP supporter
"The Istanbulian" by Emre Kizilkaya
Secular-nationalist opposition
"James in Turkey" by James Vincent
Liberal foreigner based in Turkey
"The Bosphorus Watch"
Geopolitical analysis of Turkey and the region
Turkish Blogs Aggregator
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