tv Soner Cagaptay Discusses The New Sultan CSPAN June 1, 2017 12:46am-2:22am EDT
good afternoon and welcome to the washington institute. i am the executive director and i am delighted to welcome all of you to this very special event. before i begin if i could pleasa ask everyone to turn everything on silence because we are broadcasting live on c-span so please watch your language and speak in clear tone so people around the world can hear usngua today. to get the message of today's discussion out far and wide. it isn't often that one can find the publication of a new book to an international event or i
should say it isn't often one can arrange an international referendum in a friendly country to be timed perfectly with the publication of a new book. but it turns out that today we have a confluence of. we have the referendum in turkey that although the results and process were provocative and controversial and i'm sur ensure will hear more about that. the result seems to be to elevate the existing precedent into an even higher and more elevated position and one that might be able to call the new sultan. surprisingly enough, that is th. title of the new book by the director of the institute'srkise
program the crisis of modern turkey. right away we know that turkey is a country in crisis as the subtitle of the book suggests. the subject of today's discussion is what kind of crisis. how lasting a crisis, at home, abroad, getting worse or gettin better now that there may beve some clarity about the production of the turkishbo leadership.my i will welcome my colleague here at the institute and we have a turkish expertise here on the
panel a remarkable array of expertise within these four walls. i'm delighted to welcome the director of the middle east institute's center for turkishsn studies the middle east studies and then the public policy fellow at the woodrow wilson center's middle east program and 15 years in the turkish correspondent for the economist really delighted to have this panel that brings such in-depth knowledge of the situation and the likely direction of politics of turkey and special interest.h of course the direction of thee. u.s. turkish relationship in this new era.
we've already seen the first sign of the production of u.s. turkish relationship of course the president donald trump's outreach to the reagan powered just yesterday. i will now call to the podiumstt the author of several books on turkish domestic and foreign policy. i think one of the greatest claims to fame is there is a generation of american foreign service officers who have gone on to serve america abroad and who've passed through as an instructor of diplomats abroad and i think that we are all better served for that, that
america's representatives in turkey have had the benefit of the insight and wisdom and that is one of the things we try to do at the institute is not just to opine on books and televisioq by teaching american diplomats. so i am really delighted to have two. you. the podium is yours. i am so pleased to see friends and colleagues from around town. we appreciate that you are all here. there are top-notch experts if you haven't seen it yet i'm very
pleased both are with me on the panel today. i also want to start of course i the referendum with my but they couldn't have done it without them. this is literally and figuratively.bit ab i started to write this book last year in june and at the idea is i would write it over a year and it would be edited this spring and published in the summer. my editors reached out to me and i ever agreed a.gether.
at every stage of the book thanks for bearing with me. i should also mention i dedicated this book to my mother and i went to yale for my phd so this goes to my mom's memory but i want to turn to my book now and what it is about and then i will go to my colleagues and we will have a discussion on that. return the last 15 years in the institute will find traces of
the discussion and in many ways it follows the previous book as mentioned. in this book i look at the economic growth and argue after having witnessed tremendous economic growth in the lastit decade it's transformed and the test was to transform turkey politically. the path is an advanced economyd but to become an advanced economy it has to be a hub in the democracy. it was to get to be society that
would provide for freedom for the two halves of turkey that i will discuss in a minute that is the freedom of religion for the religious path and the secular half into the new constitution haved have to provide for broad liberties and i concluded the secular religious tension inside and outside of the country would soar and become a great power. let me tell you what the crisis is and where it is headed. since 2003 when he became minister.
the problem is half of turkey loves him and the other half loads him and that is the crisis they found themselves as a result of the political trajectory. what is more if they want to shape them in their own image. it was set up as a modern state including education policy at the european society an societyy want to use that model but they've taken their cue from the founder and they want to show the values and methods that are
top-down social engineering and they want to use that power once again including the educational power. it is religious and middle eastern and conservative and anat is the top-down method that i think they are borrowing from the model. the consensus is there were irregularities during the voting. we don't know the scale of the irregularities but that is where the problem is because they suggested to move forward and he declared himself and said we are not going back to the election
so they been mandated to question that doesn't support him and only exacerbates the deep societal polarization that does not alleviate but exacerbates. i also argued in the book bu bot ibut itis not likely they will e to impose the vision i highlighted on the entire turkish society as you know we have discussed this many times in the religious and social groups.
you can see the northwest is representing an overwhelmings percentage of the gdp goes up ar against them. this is where they provide good governance and clean up the city and why they decided to give the benefit of the doubt so it is some of the key parts. to me it suggests it would be impossible for the society going forward. i argue in my book that it is large demographically and too
big economically and complicated politically for one person to control in its entirety. but which controls a large part of the economic wealth is still the liberal accredited european values. trajme look at the trajectory is going forward. i will conclude. the first is to prevent a statef affairs deeply polarized society in which half of the country is nationalist and three groups that believe turkey is heaven
with opposition figures and leftist democrats. this is the best case in my view as the permanent state of crisis that it is stuck under. there is a chance they might become more democratic going forward and perchance they might end up democracy going forward. third is an extension of the second societal polarization coupled with attacks from the right and left. that is a scenario we have to be able to hash out that we haven't
it became a punching bag in the referendum and i think that this is going to continue with a lot to do with the next step.ep obviously there are elections pr coming up for the parliament and something happened so some of the voters of the national party in the parliament that pulls about 10% voted in the referendum and some of them voted against the referendum. there is an important party in the parliament that is splitti splitting.st erdogan they canceled if i end this is
in ultra nationalist party and also suggests that it not only strengthens that in th but in tf new elections they will sail the 10% threshold. when that happens they have a super majority in the parliame parliament. that is everyone's goal goingth forward so ultranationalism suggested they might want to bring back the capital punishment that would end up in the council of europe and the changes the political dynamics of the country and i also anticipate policy line.
that is primarily it. the growth is built the middle class states and it is the wealthy provinces along the mediterranean that have voted against them in the referendum so that is a good sign going forward but i don't want to getd to the way. it includes turkish nationalists and the center-right and centerleft and sometimes to get between them is a bigger challenge to the leadership issue.
this is a challenge for thehat other half, and i think until the day they can make the case that would provide freedom of religion simultaneously andti brought liberty for alled including the cultural liberties i become deeply worried about the future but i do think wireless remains a distant dream it is plausible given the transformation turkey has gone under. thank you everybody for coming. [applause]
as i mentioned in the book there is now a growing middle-class in the country and they are demanding middle-class values so this is striking because at the time there is a growing middle-class in turkey they are not really demanding old class values. instead, there is a growing authoritarianism and there is something in the political culture some might claim that it is applied at the heart of thei issue.
it's for the developmenit is fod the rebuilding of society created by the state itself t that's why we have a middle class and business class that isn't standing up against the authoritarian policies in the 21st century. instead they are outlined in the government. it is the rebuilding and the state itself and that explains the moment.
moving forward. he lost all major cities including istanbul which is anan important place and he hasn't lost since the 1990s. so the fact that he lost his istanbul is very telling. they are very happy with his authoritarian tendencies and also, in the run-up to the referendum, he pleaded to the nationalists and the strategy was galvanizing so he employed a degree and get that strategy didn't pay off.
instead, he increased his votes in the kurdish region compared to that of them were elections which is surprising. it's very fluid and very difficult to be sure about the numbers, but what you're hearing from the officials and local journalists is hundreds of thousands of people in the ruling party increased votes by around 400,000 which is almost and i think they are taken outtt of that. the victory speech before that for the referendum set to increase the votes if he wants to return the favor i think that is good news. so instead of aligning with the
nationalists, you might have to recalibrate the strategy. i know my friend and colleague disagrees me and he must go back to the negotiations and resume the peace talks. of course if he chooses to. instead of aligning with the nationalists that is good news only domestically. i think the economic downturn is going to impact his popularity as well. and also, that would make some room to maneuver.
i followed a lot of press conferences when i was living in armenia and what they said yesterday i was quite taken aback. so i am imagining that he ise. feeling intensely grateful given that he knows how desperate he was for that legitimacy.tuation. this means they will continue to instrument allies foreign-poli foreign-policy.u it also means in order to do
>> thank you very much. three fascinating and insightful presentations that gave us a lot to talk about now. the comment that you made for the direction of u.s. turkish relations now that we do have this outreach do you expectresit turkey to be a deeper and more complete partner with the united states and what the white house is trying to do with the approach as we go ahead.
times and we heard he's done so with the secretary. why you would have to ask him, but let's remember this gentleman. they would resolve who had been arrested in connection with that case was free but then got arrested in this country. the contention the first one as mentioned is the u.s. connection
we cannot continue to demonize the groups unless they go after enemies even further. but there is a benefit to support the party and i think that we are going to see the same regarding the kurdish issue and cooperation. it will be unfriendly on these which will harm the relationship with the united states. it's almost a given that washington is going to move in the support.
i also want to raise a second comment on the election outcome. it is free and fair until thiscf time. something that came out with the book is the election that took place on sunday was not fair but increasingly the size of the irregularities thrown into doubt whether they are free and fair and if that were the case,ea
turkey has had a free and fair elections and started doing this in 1950 with unfortunate developments. it puts turkey on the mark for doing that and they are not used to having these election to give their seal of approval. >> okay. very good. thank you very much.h. let me turn to all of those ino the room. questions from the audience. yes and if you could waste and identify yourself.
the total number of votes is fewer than 24 million but the population is over 70 million that suggests a voter participation rate. the population is 80 million. there was a balance that wasn'tt validated so the 48 million that are valid and counted but about 1.7 million. moe opposition is called into question.
but i don't think they will come to a breaking point. i agree completely even before compartmentalizing deprivation chip.is it is causing quite a bit of an annoying which has been expressed and i think a lot will be determined by the trump administration's position whether it decides to be much more aggressive than the obamard administration.
them and while there is compartmentalization they are not very happy with the turkish policy. i they will buy the oil and that is an ultimate goal and they have an interest in the amount of gas to sell. the market that can absorb as the money to pay for it and the political will to do such a deal. so there are some prospects of moving forward but their relationship is always going to be undermined by the continuedme relief with hamas so i would say
that it depends on to what extent they are able to tolerate a strong economic relationship which they also benefit in whether this will be a breaking point of moving forward. >> thank you. yes, please. in the center. >> please identify yourself. >> you seem to be sitting and standing orders of optimism declaring. for all three of you i am curious what you see as the basis of optimism given that yo have consolidated power and a fractured and weak position on civil society. what will be the remaining inn
i meane a recalibration of i rategy. the economic growth was achieved and in the absence of that, he has to make sure he carries out the structural reforms and make sure that we do not have those in the major cities. that is why they have to change course. my short answer is electoral politics is the reason why i am
slightly optimistic. i agree with the electoral politics. w i argue in my book that the model has passed and one of the reasons you can't change the societies like this anymore. it doesn't work anymore. that's why they have to give ups on it. you cannot shape a society top-down especially if that society is 97% literate. it becomes a large society.
it will be hard to shape the whole country and its image not sustainable. they can try but it won't work. that will balance it out and my sense of optimism despite the fact they control the large part of the media and there is a media blackout on the option inl the referendum. it got to 50% if that.
despite the fact the information and access to the equal campaigning is limited and came out on the large numbers. so i'm betting on the diversity and protected as economically too big to the graphically to large and complicated for one person to shape in their own image. the model they are emulating repeat the methods to get rid os the legacy and i had a lot of faith in the electoral politics going forward.oi the question is whether we have the center-right option because it is a right-wing country and right-wing parties do it about 60% of the vote sometimes up to two thirds.
the challenge will come from the center-right. one is in central andone is in northeastern and one is coastal and urban. the parties electorates may be for the most part folded on her butt in the big cities they voted against them. where are they going to go next, that has been ported for theitun center-right movement can they take over the power and although it is led by the pedigree it has many center-right figures.
general context about where you think the relations are going to go in this new era. >> i think it is hard to answerr that question without telling what the future is. but setting that aside, these negotiations with russia. there is a fair bit of posturing that felt the united states was outlining with its own interest in particular but we wouldn't be hearing so much about themem anymore. just looking at the situation o. the ground and the behavior despite this lovefest after they pretty much apologized to him.
it has forced together with regime forces and some people say they swapped uniforms and that worked. like to i it also seems very ready to go after turkey the minute they show any sign of shifting back to the regime change especially when we saw the enthusiasm displayed when the cruise missiles hit and then we have this whole business of what
happened. but obviously lots of pressure to move against them in the position to do so because of his right there on the turkish border.t. they were expecting them to go back to turkey and they decided to cancel them so there is tension on that front thatates indicates contrary to what we have been seeing in the media, neither side trusts each other. he was quite optimistic and thought if he could change it to
russian calculations which obviously he couldn't, but i don't think it is as smooth as it is projected by the government circles in turkey. >> he thinks he has a friend in moscow he is on wrong. athe way that they look at the middle east is the main concern with everything else going on. secular politics and entities over the brotherhood alternative
in the near middle east so they will do anything they can to undermine him and support the opposition and they will have stronger ties going forward. they would be surrounded and if you are there fighting on the long term i think that is a position so he sees the fall as the ultimate goal and to think they are a friend going forward there is another reason why they are in adversarial to the success of the experiment turkey. it's about 20% of the muslim community that has either historic or ethnic ties and
constitute the majority that are closely linked because they were expelled. of course they know what happens resonates much stronger than what happens in egypt or libya and i think the ultimate fall i don't know how they can bes friends going forward and i think russia will be the main adversary as it continues. thank you.atulat congratulations.
maybe because you consider the issue relevant to the referendum i will give you the opportunityi to help me get better educated. it's what we have been reading about in the roundup. what have the consequence has been on and the situation in turkey going forward because it almost sounds like the issues are separate to where it is going to today. i'm sorry if i forgot to mention
that. but once again, that victimhood that is talked about in the book could be able to re-create that narrative and now they are the victim of enemies not just out there within the state. so i think that played a veryro. important role. they were talking about this thousands of people after and people were asking whether that would target the vote.
really know what happened and who actually participated in the plan it. the narrative is a significant number were involved and this was a coalition between them and various other offices but i don't think we know because the government have seen to it that we don't know. the parliamentary inquiry that was supposed to be conducted so as to be very opaque and the media has been muzzled and unable to do its job so we don't know what is going on inside of the army itself as a result. ?
what's the new ideology of the army? there are suggestions out there that it's very different it's much more conservative, religious, the new inductees are much more in the mold of erdogan vision as described by sonar. this is just speculation for now. >> okay. thank you. yes, sir. >> i have a couple quick questions. we heard about resuming peace process after what happened and.
[inaudible] do you think it's an opportunity for to make the peace process with the hgb for my other question first,. [inaudible] to think he can get the first from mhp was what kind of deal between the catalysts to get to that deal and pass on to draft the constitution. >> why don't we take two questions. for non- turkish aficionados this was the peace process between the government and the
kurds in the south and the second question on the relationship between the islamist, h kp and the hard nationalist secularists mhp. what deal was struck? >> i can take the second one. or you can. >> since i'm not contrary in here, i'm the curtis issue, first of all, we need to be very careful about which kurds do we think that president erdogan would be talking to, if indeed, he feels this new magnanimity is compelled because he has no other choice. the fact that he's already talking about the death penalty, the fact that he's lashing out against the white pg just within hours of the results being
announced, i don't think that suggests that he is ready anytime soon to resume peace talks with the inspired kurdish political movement, that's how i roughly defined it which in turn i think is bad news for people like. [inaudible] especially between now and the time that this presidential system fully kicks in and he has new parliamentary elections where he hopes to drive the hgb and the mhp below the 10% threshold so that he'll have an absolute majority in parliament and the chp will end up looking pretty much like, i guess, the opposition does in russia. i don't think that he's ready to talk to them at all. on the contrary, as i said on the panel, i think he's creating his own curtis nomenclature which will be a mix of kurds we
already saw that they voted for him in the selection and that might extend part of the bump those sums would argue that irregularities and the fact that the kurds were prevented from campaigning effectively and monitoring effectively explained that as well. he will create, i think, by awarding contracts in the cities and towns that were destroyed, through patronage create some kind of a base for himself among the kurds. i don't think he will go back to talking to either the pkk or the hgb unless erdogan completely rolls over and agrees to do everything he tells them to do which again, i don't think it's likely because if you were to do so he lose all credibility with the kurdish people or his own followers among the kurdish people. >> unlikely to see a
reconciliation there. >> i would like to add thing. when he talks about the death penalty i think he's referring to the. [inaudible] you can't apply proactively. >> you think he cares when he's talking about severing terms with europe and tells the osc to mind their own business, you know? >> my point is if you read -- you think because he talks about the death penalty he cannot be possibly talking about returning to the kurdish peace process. what i'm saying is that maybe that's not relevant because maybe he's not referring and instead referring to the. [inaudible] when he talks about the death penalty. yeah, i make my point.
i'm more optimistic. especially if you look at the hgb and has lost ground too. i think of the kurds, they don't have very many options to turn to. if you look at places like the border town it's an hgb stronghold has been the only party there and places like. [inaudible] for instance, the fact that in such a context where erdogan is being restored this ultranationalist if he could be able to capture in those towns at the expense of the hgb this tells me that the kurds also they think he is the only person who can broker a peace deal. if there's such demand and electoral politics and i think he might end up going back. >> that presumes that the election was free and fair in the southeast.
>> it wasn't free and fair, that something. >> also, comparing the results of the referendum whether it appeared yes or no with those of parliamentary elections where, let's say, the voter would be voting for. [inaudible] in this case says, yes. it's apples and oranges. we need to be careful and need much more information about what happened before we draw conclusions about voting among the kurds in the southeast. >> i can also chime in. it's a great discussion and i'm enjoying it. [laughter] i think what happened is a little bit of a mystery. overall, turks love to vote. we know that. 85% turnout, turnout was much higher in areas where the referendum fails. it reached 90% although with coastal provinces and failed at 90. that's impressive for any democracy.
turnout was lower in kurdish areas than the national average. it was about 80 and in some provinces higher upper 70s. lower turnout in kurdish areas but it's the only area where erdogan made significant gains compared to vote for kp in elections before. it's part of the bump they don't explain gains of 20% in some provinces. overall, erdogan vote compared to age kp vote in the last election voted for him in the presidential election if you compare whichever when you take, mainly stagnated across the country and dropped in provinces and symbol it dropped a little bit and an encore it dropped a little bit across the board. an increase in kurdish areas. it still a mystery. if there any irregularities, it will be there. my non- poster view, nonspecifically way of looking at the secular observer of
turkish politics and i'd love to see if there's anything that's really happened. >> i would like to add, of course, the pkk decision to carry the water to the city's, caused a lot of unhappiness among ordinary turks. they were very, very upset that the pkk did that to them. in that sense, if you had a free and fair election and i still think you'd see the hdp vote go down. i absolutely agree with that. >> let's take a couple more questions and will bring it to a close. halal and david, will run out of time on this. >> congratulations and congratulations to the panel. i wanted to go back to his scenarios and also his remark about erdogan strategy. i think he said his strategy was to, or had the effect of
creating half of his country's enemies and now that he's run out of domestic energies enemies he has to turn towards foreign enemies but it also seems that he has nothing but foreign enemies. so i'm wondering how how he handles the situation in which he has no friends, no external friends and what that would mean for your three-four original scenarios. >> dave pollock, up in front. >> thank you very much. again, congratulations on a great book and a great panel. i want to ask about strangely enough islam. we really haven't heard all that much from any of you about the specifically religious islamic aspect of either erdogan program going forward, his appeal to voters, what effect that has on
foreign policy and i guess my conclusion from what you've been saying is that after 15 years in power erdogan and the akp have not managed to further islamized turkish society and politics. is that a correct conclusion: what else can you say about what specific aspects of islamic issues might come up in the future? >> implications of having no friends. islam in turkey and lastly, just for the record, is this the last election erdogan wins or do you expect them to win again when he comes up for election in 2019? >> were going to market in the history books. [laughter] >> i can take the last question on islam.
he managed to islamized society but he hasn't really, he hasn't tried to islamized the state. that's why, especially, i always argue that turkish islam is somewhat different than middle eastern islam is a in the region of other parts of the region. again, that has something to do with the tradition that i talked about. when he came to power, he became part of the democracy and he became a part of the culture. he didn't try to islamized the state institutions itself. the islam literature, in turkey for instance, makes reference to concepts like soraya law that often. that tells me something about the turkish islam psyche. i think if there is no respect they are. when we say that the problem is
not don' erdogan it's his authoritarianism. i don't think it will be a problem. again, his whole project is the revolved around raising the pious generation and turning the turkish society into a more religious society and that he has manage that. but of course, we need a political site is to do more research on this global phenomenon and the rise of religiosity. maybe turkey is not an exception in this regard. i don't know if it wasn't erdogan doing. >> to a certain extent. because he changed the foreign system in the deny mix in society but when it comes to creating a soraya state he hasn't done much. before he came to power he was critical of the institutions like religious affairs because
he always argued that. [inaudible] has always been a tool, to not only suppress religion but to control religion. he promoted getting rid of that institution but he came to power and now it's even a bigger bureaucracy with a bigger budget. i think that points to his states instinct so he became a bureaucrat in this regard. >> i'd like to add a few words. he does instrumental lies islam, though. that can be dangerous as we see it manifested in the videos that were posted of a police cadet training where they chant islamic slogans or the people they are training to do the same and the fact that when the coup
was unfolding he rallied people around religion, you had the imams blaring islamic slogans, making a call for jihad, essentially. a lot of instrumentalization of islam much more so than any of his predecessors, clearly. another thing i would point to which is a risk is solid to schism. the fact that group like. [inaudible] and isis have established networks inside turkey and seem to be have at least recruited with great ease and that something, obviously, needs to be watched. >> final word before we conclude, of course, i agree with amber and if turkeys neighbors were luxembourg, belgium untreated belgium, they have a strong middle-class educated people and connected to
the world. that's not the case. isis is a neighbor and it has been a neighbor for a while. the jihadists next door that makes turkey islamic for turkey and for us. it means turkey can become a recruiting tool for their ideology. there's a chapter in my book -- i will tell you more about it because you have to buy it but i want to take the other question before finishing on foreign enemies. because the polarization politics won't help him win another election, there will be another election and he has to when that because otherwise left to do what the french call. [inaudible] will be president and his parliament will come under party and the system is not set up to function like that. it set up to have a majority controlled by the present in the pilot. he will have to have akp solid majority in the next election and to not and up in.
[inaudible] yes to win the election. whenever the elections are this year, or on time in 2019, foreign enemies is his only way going forward. nationalism will drive his agenda and it's easy to unify. yeah, they're very different parties but akp base and mhp -based in certain areas overlaps significantly in turkey. again, if you look at the map the areas of central and northeastern turkey where support for erdogan was support from mhp was where mhp -based was significantly more conservative than other areas so that's why the deal work. i think this will be his game going for it. help consolidate a national agenda with his strongman image. these problems with europe, problems with the united states,
at least, in the short-term, significant problems with the us on the kurdish account. before i finish i want to take one final word, i was extremely delighted to see so many friends and colleagues here today. thank you for coming. it's a great afternoon for me. it was a labor of love for the last year. thank you again. thank you for bearing with my crazy overworked hours it's been a wonderful product. i'm happy to launch this book with you. finally, before i conclude i want to thank tony and vanessa, the buyer family fellow on their generosity makes my work happen, i hope there watching me -- hello. thank you for coming and if you want me to sign copies, i will be out there and will do more than on the books. thank you. >> thank you very much. congratulations, take you for joining us today