Challenging ideas
On Turkish politics and International affairs

Author

Talha Köse

Ibn Haldun University, Turkey
Talha Köse
Rise and Fall of the AK Party’s Kurdish Peace Initiatives
April 1, 2017
This study analyzes the peace and reconciliation initiatives of the AK Party governments (2002 until 2017) to address the Kurdish Question, with a special focus on the Reconciliation Process. Steps taken throughout the Reconciliation Process and the strengths and weaknesses of these steps are discussed. It is argued that the main challenges and shortcomings were the shifting political priorities of the Kurdish political actors, the changing balance of power within Turkish domestic politics, new opportunities presented to the Kurdish Movement by the Syrian civil war and the uncertainties Turkey faced due to this war. The main conclusion of the paper is that the regional turmoil, especially the ongoing civil wars in Syria and Iraq, is the major determinant that blocked the Reconciliation Process.
Editor's Note | Fall 2015
October 1, 2015
2015 was the year of elections in Turkey with two parliamentary elections and months-long election campaigns that dominated the political agenda of the country. The parliamentary elections of June 7 brought an end to the AK Party’s 12-year long era of parliamentary majority and single-party government in Turkey. Nevertheless, the endeavors to form a coalition government could not be concluded successfully and another election appeared on the horizon. The country was ruled by an AK Party-led interim government and the elections were repeated five months later on November 1. While close in time, the two elections were quite distant with regard to the political contexts in which they were carried out, and in their respective results. The November elections witnessed a comeback for the AK Party, which increased its votes by over 9 points with the addition of five million new votes in the ballot box. 
Identity Dynamics of the June and November 2015 Elections of Turkey: Kurds, Alevis and Conservative Nationalists
October 1, 2015
Identity politics was one of the major dynamics in shaping the results of both the June 7 and November 1, 2015 general elections in Turkey. The parties that were affiliated with Kurdish and Turkish ethno-nationalism, the HDP and the MHP, increased their votes significantly in the June 7 elections. The AK Party was able to pull some of those votes back in November elections. The HDP tried to transform itself from being a regional or ethnic Kurdish party into a national party relevant to all of Turkey. The PKK’s goal of becoming an influential regional actor in the Middle East hindered the HDP’s goal, thus leading to a decline of HDP votes in November elections. CHP remained as the favorite party of Alevi voters by a wide margin despite some challenge from HDP.
The AKP and the “Alevi Opening”: Understanding the Dynamics of the Rapprochement
April 1, 2010
The AKP government has undertaken a series of steps to understand and respond to Alevi identity-based claims. Popularly known as the “Alevi opening” process, the initiative is the first systematic effort to deal with the identity-based discontents of the Alevis. This step is also part of the broader policy of “democratic opening,” which intends to address the burning problems of various identity groups (the Kurds, Alevis, religious minorities and the Roma people) in Turkey. This study provides an analytic background for understanding the governing AKP’s “Alevi opening”, which was launched in the summer of 2007. More specifically, the issues that are discussed are the Alevi claims, the obstacles to the fulfillment of these issues, and the methods and the processes of the ongoing “Alevi opening”. In order to provide a holistic analysis, the political, legal, psychological as well as cultural dynamics of the Alevi issue are emphasized here. At the end, a set of policy recommendations are formulated that are consistent with the analytic perspective.
The Alliance of Civilizations: Possibilities of Conflict Resolution at the Civilizational Level
July 1, 2009
This study examines the possible contributions of the critical perspectives and conceptual frameworks of the Conflict Resolution field to address “civilizational level” conflicts. The possibilities and limitations of dialogue processes at the civilizational level are critically examined. While recognizing the main assumptions and contributions of dialogue processes to deal with cultural/civilizational conflicts, this study puts forward an alternative and more practical vision: that of creating Spheres of Dialogic Interaction (SODI). In the second part of the study, the social and political backgrounds, practical contributions, and limitations of two recent projects the “Dialogue among Civilizations” (DaC) and the “Alliance of Civilizations” (AoC) are analyzed. It is argued that with its action-oriented agenda and the practical environment conducive to flexible, interactive and reflexive interaction, the ongoing AoC project is an important venue for creating SODI.

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