RECOMMENDED READING: “Turkey’s New ‘Old Kemalists””


Turkish affairs analyst Soner Cagaptay has published an analysis titled “Turkey’s New ‘Old Kemalists'” which concludes that “if Turkey’s experience under the AKP proves anything, one should not expect Islamist parties to build liberal societies after the great Arab revolt is over.” The article begins:

The Arab revolts of 2011 awakened interest in the Turkish model, exemplifying an Islamist-rooted party building a liberal democracy. Turkey’s experience with the Justice and Development Party, or AKP, government since 2002 shows quite the opposite.

When the AKP came to power, some saw it as an opportunity to end Kemalism and liberalize the country. They suggested that the AKP, rooted in Turkey’s Islamist opposition, would move beyond rigid Kemalism, creating a truly liberal democracy. Some added that the AKP would also shed illiberal Kemalist traditions, such as its nationalist foreign policy line on European Union accession, as well as its taboos surrounding the Armenian issue. The AKP did not move Turkey beyond Kemalism. Instead, the party destroyed Kemalists, while at the same time it perpetuated old Kemalism’s taboos and attitudes and abandoned its liberal ideals, such as gender equality. Hence, a decade after the AKP assumed power, Turkey has become more illiberal. The old Kemalists are out and the “new” old Kemalists are in. The AKP’s “new” old Kemalists do not share any of Kemalism’s pro-Western tendencies and have plenty of illiberalism to spare.

Read the rest here.

The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA) has recently published an almost hundred page report titled “Turkey, the Global Muslim Brotherhood, and the Gaza Flotilla” which provides extensive background on the years leading up to the flotilla. The JCPA report abstract states:

There is strong evidence for Turkish governmental involvement in the Gaza flotilla incident, with Turkish government support channeled through the Turkish Muslim Brotherhood network. Since 2006, Turkey has become a new center for the Global Muslim Brotherhood. The IHH was not acting alone but rather was an integral part of a Turkish Muslim Brotherhood network.

With respect to the Global Muslim Brotherhood, report’s second conclusion states:

The Gaza flotilla incident brought into sharp focus an even more significant long- term development: the growing relationship between the Erdogan government and the Global Muslim Brotherhood, which has given rise to some of the most notorious Islamist terrorist groups – from al-Qaeda to Hamas. Since 2006, Turkey has become a new center for the Global Muslim Brotherhood, while the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip acted as the main axis for this activity.

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