New Political Balances and Possibilities for Conflict Resolution

This report was prepared for DPI by columnist, writer and political commentator, Ali Bayramoğlu. In this report, Bayramoğlu analyses the new political equilibrium in Turkey after the 2023 presidential and parliamentary elections and explores possible new opportunities for conflict resolution concerning the Kurdish Issue. Bayramoğlu describes the current political climate in Turkey as pulled between two ideals: the idea of a strong state and political leader, and the restoration of democracy within Turkey. These divergent ideals align with the cultural and political identities that shape Turkey’s political landscape and are highly associated with the nationalism that increasingly characterises Turkish politics. All of this serves to affect the electorates’ perception of the political situation. As such, the government operates with a certain style of politics which encourages the maintenance of a powerful state.  The opposition in response therefore has had to adopt a political attitude that promotes the idea of a democratic restoration. The 2023 election results consequently produced a political atmosphere that created despair in the opposition and bolstered the ruling party, as the electorate had accepted their trinity of conservatism, nationalism, and authoritarianism. Bayramoğlu examines the opposition’s reaction to this defeat, and their strategy to survive after the elections, as well as Erdoğan’s continued strengthening of his grip on power. While the results of a reinforced AK Party do not necessarily affect the government’s Kurdish policy and they also push the Kurdish movement away from building strong relationships with the opposition, and towards the strengthening of its own autonomy and space.

The opinions expressed in the report are those of the writer, and do not reflect the official position of DPI. This report is part of a larger project developed by DPI, titled ‘Forging Pathways to Peace and Democracy in Turkey’, which are supported by the Norwegian, Swiss and Irish governments.