March 24th, 2013 / July 2nd, 2018
From the co-leader embodying the free, pluralist future of Turkey, Selahattin Demirtaş became the co-leader of a party forced again to focus more on the Kurdish issue, defending the rights of the people in the southeast, who are enduring increasing suppression by the state security forces, with one curfew after another and one anti-terrorism operation after another, in the Kurdish cities where the youth is entrenched in defence against the state. But whatever happens, Demirtaş sticks to his message...
Now, the leader of the Gülen Movement faces criminal charges in many cases, including those seeking life sentences for his alleged attempt to overthrow the democratically elected government of then Prime Minister Erdoğan by plotting a coup and forming a terrorist organization.
Pumuk continues to write and publish actively. However, some members of a new generation of Turks believe that the old conflicts between Western modernity and Eastern tradition have been resolved decidedly in favour of Turkey’s Ottoman past. Thus it is difficult to see Pamuk’s writings carrying the same resonance in this new future as it had before. It may be that Orhan Pamuk’s era as the voice of modern Turkey is growing fainter.
Erdogan has cemented his place in the history books as modern Turkey’s second-most notable ruler, but he seems determined to better that. Even after last year’s referendum, he has orchestrated a purge of elected AKP officials in cities where results from the vote were lower than expected. Loyalty to Erdogan seems to be the sole determinant of survival in this latest reshuffle of Turkish politics. If Turkey’s future seems unsure, one thing is certain: Recep Tayyip Erdogan will be at its centre.
Aksener’s new popularity is certainly a threat to Erdogan’s working-class support base, and she has hinted that she may run against him for the Turkish presidency, but unless she can convert public attention into votes in the 2019 elections, her party could end up being good but not good enough.
It appears that not even prison can make Sik compromise his ideals. In his opening court statement, which he gave on 26 July 2017, he blasted Erdogan for persecuting those who think for themselves. He then declared that journalism is not a crime despite what the rulers of totalitarian regimes, their judiciaries and collaborators may say.
If Albayrak cannot inspire confidence at a time when Turkey is staring down the barrel of a currency crisis and increased US sanctions, then there seems little chance that he will ever be able to do so.
Kavala’s continued detention perhaps signals President Erdogan’s fear of well-connected civil society figures with money to spend. Kavala’s threat surely comes from his refusal to toe President Erdogan’s line and the potential of his wealth to turn a spark of dissent into a tide of change.
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