Turkey: The Politics of National Conservatism (Editorial)
For several years, the government of the AKP (Adalet ve Kalkınma Parti) was praised as a successful combination of Islam and liberalism and promoted as a model for the Middle East by Western academics, politicians and journalists. With the massive involvement of the Turkish government in the Syrian war and the hardening of the government’s internal attitude, these perceptions have changed. Within Turkey, a critical academic debate has accompanied the AKP government from the very beginning. This double issue of the Austrian Journal of Development Studies provides analyses of AKP government policies, ranging from policing, housing, industrial and monetary policies, to the gender implications of employment policies, and to AKP foreign policies, all examined from different political economy perspectives. The contributors – mainly coming from Turkey – put the policies into a wider historical and international context.
The Transformation of Internal Security and of the State in Turkey during the AKP Rule: A Class-Based Analysis
The restructuring of security relations is a neglected question in critical studies on neoliberal state transformation in Turkey. This became apparent in the 2010s, when insecurity and violence have turned into everyday practices, with paramilitarised police violence used against all sorts of social opposition. These ‘security’ practices, which are indeed the outcome of an internationally arranged ‘reform process’ in operation since the 1990s, contradict the fundamental duty of the modern state to ensure the physical security of its citizens. This paper problematises the class-based implications of this debatable security ‘reform process’ under the AKP rule. It identifies the conservative and pro-capital strategies the AKP has adopted to transform the institutional structure and ideological practices of the police in Turkey.
AKP’s Housing Policy: TOKI as the Loyalty Generator
Two general elections were held in Turkey in 2015 within only 5 months. The AKP, the party which has governed Turkey since 2002, promised nothing else but economic stability to the voters. In this article, I demonstrate in what way the housing policy of the AKP shapes lower class families’ dependence from the financial system and the government party. I argue that the TOKI (Mass Housing Administration), the leading actor in AKP’s housing policy, functions as a (political) loyalty generator in the name of the AKP.
Transition from ‘Woman’ to ‘Family’: An Analysis of AKP Era Employment Policies from a Gender Perspective
In Turkey, women’s labour force participation and employment rates have been low, due to historical, social, cultural, and economic factors. Although a mild increase in these rates has been observed since the Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power in 2002, the increase in unemployment rates and precarious forms of employment is striking. In government policies and programmes, together with the stated emphasis on increasing female employment rates, women’s responsibilities in the family are brought to the fore. Consequently, women are expected to join the labour market in ways that do not challenge their obligations in the household and family. The neoliberal and conservative approach to maintaining a gender-based division of labour and promoting women’s inclusion in the labour market through flexible forms of employment, is analysed, along with the concepts of private and public patriarchy within an historical context. Statistics and official documents are used to reflect on the developments in female employment in the period of the AKP governments.
Financialisation, Industry and Dependency in Turkey
From a regulationist perspective, the article discusses Turkish industrial development and industrial policies in the context of the wider models of development. Since 1989, dependent financialisation has been a defining feature of Turkey’s development model. Financialisation has been shown to impose limits on the available industrial policy options. Exchange rate policies have impaired the effectiveness of industrial promotion policies. In spite of a gradual upgrading of Turkey’s manufacturing industry, key features of dependent industrialisation – like a weak capital goods sector or a significant reliance on imported inputs – have remained in place.
New Fragmentations and New Alliances in the Turkish Bourgeoisie
This paper focuses on the process of internationalisation of accumulation, and tries to uncover the multiple power relationships among different capital groups in Turkey. The internationalisation process created a whole series of new contradictions between the capital fractions, which have a strategy of international expansion, and those with a strategy of limited expansion within the national scale. It also made it more difficult for the leading party (AKP) to specify an economic paradigm within which conflicts over competing interests can be negotiated and accumulation secured in the long run. Thus, the paper argues that not only is the present structure of Turkish economy expressive of both the search of globally expanding capitals for new areas for expansion and the fight for domination in the domestic market, but that the struggle between them also shapes both inter- and intra-class relations of power and intra-state conflicts over economic policies.
Central Banking and Monetary Policy under the AKP Government
This article wishes to contribute to the political-economic debate over monetary policy in emerging countries in times of global crisis. The influence of the Turkish Government on the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey (CBRT) and empirical consequences of this will be a major point of examination. The main research question will be in which way and under which circumstances monetary policy evolved and changed under the rule of the AKP (2002-2015). The main argument will be that the government asserted significant influence on the CBRT to end monetary tightening in order to cope with the repercussions of the global financial crises. In this regard, the political economic motive, as well as the scope and limits of the government’s influence on monetary policy, will be reconsidered.
Turkish Foreign Policy under the AKP Government: The Failed Hegemony of a Pivotal State
This article analyses Turkey’s active and ambitious foreign policy under the Justice and Development Party (AKP) governments. Many academics and experts on Turkish politics attributed Turkey’s foreign policy activity to the changing of the mentality of the AKP leadership. I argue in this article that the reason for this change lies not only on the capacity, ability and the will of the Turkish Islamists, but also, mostly, on the restructuring of global capitalism, which enabled the emerging powers to gain more autonomy in their foreign policies. The US has supported the growing influence of emerging powers, some of which are its allies, defining them as pivotal states. However, Turkey, under the AKP rule, failed both as an autonomous actor and pivotal state to play a leadership role in its region.
Human Rights Discourses in the Context of the Regionalisation of Border Regimes: Comparing Mexico and Turkey
Turkey and Mexico have been recently transformed from emigration to transit and immigration countries. Mexico (2012) and Turkey (2014) recently adopted new migration laws, which were presented as completely novel legislative constructions strengthening human rights by national and international actors. In this article, we analyse and compare the emergence of human rights discourses in the development and negotiation of these laws in Turkey and Mexico in relation to the irregular migration and refugees, and in the context of the regionalisation of migration policies. With reference to the concepts of the ‘human rights from above’ and ‘human rights from below’ we show how the different use of frames in legal developments in the migration field between Mexico and Turkey highlights two fundamentally different approaches to the discursive use of human rights.