Turkey’s Elections: Results, Consequences, and the Outlook Ahead

June 15, 2015
12:00 pm -

Event Description

A conversation with Amb. Eric Edelman, Aykan Erdemir, and John Hannah discussing the recent elections in Turkey. Join FDD to discuss the results and ramifications for Turkey’s foreign and domestic policies.

Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) lost its parliamentary majority in Sunday’s elections for the first time in 13 years. The party will now likely be forced to govern through a coalition or minority rule, and either way, will be limited in its capacity for bold, unilateral policy moves. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s plan to consolidate power by centralizing control in the office of the presidency now faces major challenges. Meanwhile the Kurds have been elected to parliament as a party for the first time in Turkish history. Which scenarios are most likely for Turkey’s next parliament? How will the election affect Ankara’s domestic affairs and foreign policy?

Ambassador Eric Edelman is a Distinguished Fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. He retired as a Career Minister from the U.S. Foreign Service on May 1, 2009. He served as U.S. ambassador to Finland in the Clinton administration and Turkey in the Bush administration and was Vice President Cheney’s principal deputy assistant for national security affairs. He has served in senior positions at the Departments of State and Defense as well as the White House where he led organizations providing analysis, strategy, policy development, security services, trade advocacy, public outreach, citizen services and congressional relations. Amb. Edelman has been awarded the Department of Defense, Medal for Distinguished Public Service, the Presidential Distinguished Service Award, and several Department of State Superior Honor Awards.

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 has been at the forefront of the struggle against religious persecution, hate crimes, and hate speech in Turkey. He 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.

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.