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Turkey After Snap Elections: Chaos or Reconciliation?

5th November 2015 - 12:00 PM

As Turkey heads to snap elections on November 1, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) is hoping to restore its parliamentary majority lost in June. Hinged on the election results is not only the make-up  of the next government, but also Turkey’s waning economy, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's quest for increased power, the Kurdish peace process, and prospects for national reconciliation and  Turkey's role in the Syrian war.

Which scenarios are most likely for the next Turkish government? Will Mr. Erdogan allow the AKP to form a coalition government? How will Ankara deal with Kurds within Turkey and across its borders following the election?

Sinan Ciddi is a visiting assistant professor and director of the Institute for Turkish Studies at Georgetown University. Dr. Ciddi was previously an instructor at Sabanci University between 2004-2008 and completed his Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the same institution between 2007-2008. Ciddi's book titled Kemalism in Turkish Politics: The Republican People's Party: Secularism and Nationalism (Routledge, January 2009) focuses on the electoral weakness of the Republican People's Party. He has recently published articles in Turkish Studies, The Huffington Post, and the Middle East Review of International Affairs.

Dr. Aykan Erdemir is a non-resident fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a former member of the Turkish Parliament (2011-2015). He served in the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee, EU Harmonization Committee, and the Ad Hoc Parliamentary Committee on the IT Sector and the Internet. As an outspoken defender of pluralism, minority rights, and religious freedoms in the Middle East, Dr. Erdemir is a founding member of the International Panel of Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion or Belief, and a drafter of and signatory to the Oslo Charter for Freedom of Religion or Belief (2014). Between 2004 and 2011, Dr. Erdemir worked as a faculty member at Middle East Technical University (METU), Ankara where he also served as the Deputy Dean of the METU Graduate School of Social Sciences and as the graduate director of the German-Turkish Masters in Social Sciences.

Merve Tahiroglu is a research associate focusing on Turkey. Merve supports the work of FDD scholars with Turkish language research and analysis on Turkey-related matters. Her research focuses on Turkey’s foreign policy, domestic politics, and Ankara’s ties to Tehran. Merve’s personal areas of interest include Turkey’s Syria policy and Islamic extremism in Turkey. Born and raised in Istanbul, Merve earned her B.A in Political Science with a concentration in International Relations from Duke University.

John Hannah is a senior counselor at Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Prior to joining FDD, he served for eight years, during the George W. Bush administration, on the staff of Vice President Dick Cheney, including as the vice president’s national security advisor. He was intimately involved in U.S. policy toward Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and on a range of international issues from the Middle East to North Korea to Russia. Previously, Mr. Hannah also worked as a senior advisor on the staff of Secretary of State Warren Christopher and as a senior member of Secretary of State James A. Baker’s Policy Planning Staff. He has also practiced law, specializing in international dispute resolution.