ORIENT III 2019: Current developments in Turkey’s domestic and foreign policies

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Dear ORIENT readers,

Looking at the Near and Middle East today, it is hard not to see an increasing risk of what has long been dubbed a new Middle East Cold war turning hot. Regional as well as international actors over the past months seem to have taken a path toward conflict.

But aside from the threat of another war in the region, there are many other very interesting developments. One that has certainly garnered much attention are the Turkish municipal elections. At the point of writing – at which the Istanbul rerun is still pending – the ballot has handed the AKP a loss of several urban centres in the country. Despite her shortcomings in democracy and human rights the authoritarian government of Turkey remains an important though difficult partner in dialogue within NATO and with Europe.

In this issue of ORIENT we aim to take a closer look at Turkey’s domestic and foreign policies: what role do municipal elections play in the country and what do the results mean? How can this be related to broader trends in Turkey? And what are recent developments in Ankara’s foreign policy?

To begin, Salim Çevik and Charlotte Joppien analyse Turkey’s recent municipal elections. Then, Sübidey Togan looks at structural reforms and liberalisation efforts and needs in Turkey. Subsequently, Kerem Öktem provides his insights into the country’s political development at large and Funda Tekin takes a specific look at the EU-Turkey accession process. Özlem Tür and Ergin Günes lastly shift the focus towards regional and foreign policies of Turkey, shedding light on Ankara’s Syria policy and the issue of refugees, respectively.

I hope that the current issue provides you with valuable perspectives on Turkey’s domestic and foreign policies.

Dr. Gunter Mulack
Director of the German Orient-Institute



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