Turkish voters get the message

Turkish local elections on March 30, as was expected by knowledgeable objective observers, resulted in sweeping victories for the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Istanbul and many areas of the country. The AKP held the Ankara mayoralty and even had a surprise win in Antalya.  The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) saw its provincial hold weaken from 29 to 22, while the AKP increased itsnationwide vote percentage by nearly seven percentage points, to 46%, over the 2009 local elections.  What do the results mean?The essential lesson that Turkish elites and international observers must take from these results, and with alacrity, … Continue reading Turkish voters get the message

Turkey walking a tightrope over Crimea

By Dorian Jones  The Russian-Ukrainian crisis over Crimea is forcing Turkey into a delicate balancing act: Ankara feels a need to be seen as a protector of the peninsula’s Tatar minority, yet it does not want to vex Russia’s paramount leader Vladimir Putin in a way that complicates Turkish-Russian economic arrangements.  There are abundant reasons why Turkey is taking a close interest in Crimean developments. Crimea operated as a vassal khanate of Ottoman Empire from the 1470s until 1783. In addition, Turks are bound by a strong cultural connection to Crimean Tatars, an ethnic minority group that comprises roughly 15% … Continue reading Turkey walking a tightrope over Crimea