22 May 2008

What is happening in Turkey? Party Closure and Beyond

Senem Aydin Düzgit

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Senem Ayd?n Düzgit, CEPS Associate Research Fellow, finds in this Commentary that the current political tensions in Turkey date back further than the recent attempt by the Turkish judiciary to close down the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP), but are also linked to the broader issues of secularism versus Islamism in the country and may also have implications for Turkey’s uniquely complex status as EU accession candidate.
Whatever the outcome of the court ruling in Turkey to close down the AKP, it will certainly signal the beginning of a new era in Turkish politics. The only way out of the current political impasse seems to be the adoption of a conciliatory attitude by all parties concerned. This, however, seems to be only a remote possibility, given a governing party whose democratic credentials are now in question, an opposition that provides no credible alternative policy to the political and economic ills of the country, and a judiciary that has still not fully purged itself of the entrenched beliefs and attitudes of the state bureaucracy.