We have moved / Taşındık!

If you're reading this, you've come to the old home for the James in Turkey website. The website has changed servers and adopted a new look ahead of the 2014 local election.

For the latest Turkish politics and election analysis from Michael Daventry redirect your bookmarks to jamesinturkey.com.

Friday, 31 May 2013

Erdoğan's Thatcher moment?

It is hard not to be appalled by the scenes coming out of Taksim's Gezi Park, where police have swept in yet again to try and evict demonstrators protesting the park's demolition to make way for a shopping centre.

Police have used pepper spray and water cannon and batons to break the groups up. People wearing gasmasks – strongly suspected to be plainclothes officers – have been pictured setting fire to the demonstrators' tents. Dozens have been arrested, many others injured. The tear gas is so pungent and pervasive that Istanbul metro services into Taksim have had to be cancelled. And yet a further wave of protests is planned, meeting in Taksim at 7pm this evening.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Defining 'Turk': a constitutional barrier overcome?

Reverse psychology can be a wonderful thing. Just at Turkey's prime minister again cast doubt on his country ever having a new, cross-party constitution, the commission charged with writing that document appears to have accelerated its work.

Ahmet Türk
It was on Sunday that Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told reporters following him on his trip in the United States that he was "losing hope" over the constitution-writing process. He continued:

"If there is no solution, we will follow our Plan C and use our own [draft constitution] template. We have 326 MPs and, as you know, it will be a secret ballot, so perhaps a few brave souls will emerge despite their own party's pressure. If we can get the numbers, we will take it to a referendum."

The said parliamentary commission is made up of twelve MPs, three each from the governing AK Party and opposition Republican People's (CHP), Nationalist Movement (MHP) and Peace and Democracy (BDP) parties, and chaired by the speaker, AK Party MP Cemil Çiçek.

The prime minister’s Plan C refers to oft-repeated AK Party threats to team up with the pro-Kurdish BDP and other opposition rebels to reach the magic 367 number, a two-thirds seat majority, which would allow the government to change the constitution unilaterally.