US sanctions will not only affect Turkey’s economy negatively but also provide a scapegoat (United States and NATO) for the Turkish economic crisis. Such a situation may cause an irreparable rise in anti-Western sentiment among the Turkish people. Public opposition in Turkey may bring limitations to future collaboration – even those based on mutual interest – between Ankara and other NATO allies.
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The difficult relationship with Kurds and the HDP is embedded in this context. As long as the CHP does not resolve this dilemma and does not replace its ideological-authoritarian canon of values with a liberal understanding of the state, nation and protection of minorities, a substantial contribution to the democratization of the country and to the solution of the Kurdish conflict cannot be expected. As a result, selective cooperation with the HDP can be expected with regard to the HDP as well. The elites of the party are still faced with the ongoing challenge of overcoming the historically developed ideological fundament of the CHP and putting it on a genuine social democratic agenda, as it partly understands itself.
Imamoglu’s win represents a serious blow to the AKP’s electoral dominance in Turkey. However, observers should not mistake it for a fatal one. The party still commands powerful support across the country, even if it has lost the two largest cities. And although the first cracks seem to have appeared in Erdogan’s political base, it will not be until the next general election in 2023 – the centenary of the Turkish Republic – that the most pivotal consequence of this election will become evident: a CHP victory at the national level.
Any discussion of Turkish human rights must mention the difficulties faced in cementing the rights of women and ethnic and sexual minorities. Femicide, violence against women and honour killings remain a stain on Turkish society and one that has traditionally been met with a lukewarm government response.