All Turkish governments have been historically presented with hard choices in launching democratization strategies; such attempts always risk shattering the existing balance of power which favors the political role of the military as the leading force of an establishment that may react to democratic reforms. Fearing the risks of a showdown with the military, Turkish governments have, more often than not, chosen not to challenge the conditions of military prominence in politics without very strong domestic and international backing. The lack of serious reaction from international actors in regard to Turkey’s internal military interventions has played a role in further emboldening these forces within Turkey, and continues to normalize the utilization of extreme measures. The political class has found it more worthwhile to guard itself against a potential showdown with the military by building up a power base for itself while in power. That is, it has opted for doling out benefits as part of the system of paying and receiving political payoffs from the rent-seeking networks.
The Emergence of the ‘Government’s Perspective on the Kurdish Issue
The AK Party’s chronic ‘political insecurity’ may have passed a threshold as the ruling party resurfaces as an actor taking advantage of its pro-European Union sentiments to begin a ‘grand negotiation’ with Turkey’s thus-far publicly shunned Kurdish leaders after decades of bloodshed. This new window of opportunity could not have emerged without the explosion of the Ergenekon incident, which has offered a persuasive critique of the closed, dark, intolerant and secret communities friendly with the military bureaucracy and state officials but insidiously devoted to destroying the government. In the post-Ergenekon era, the new democratic opening represents a significant departure from a military solution to the Kurdish issue which has blocked civilian imaginations by declaring the Kurdish identity demands as a security threat to the officially proscribed Turkish identity. The real issue at stake now for the AK Party government is a redefinition of the locus and space where the phenomenon of real political power takes place in Turkey.
The AK Party’s chronic “political insecurity” may have passed a threshold as the ruling party resurfaces as an actor taking advantage of its pro-European Union facet in order to shape new opportunities for restructuring the power balances and addressing t
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