Nov 13 2017

"Neo-Kemalism: Turkey’s new political compass"

Some commentators see Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's rediscovered respect for Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey, as a tactic to appease secularists before 2019 elections.

Hurriyet Daily News (HDN) columnist Sinan Baykent however, said last year’s failed coup had shaken Turkey and forced the government to take security measures to tackle internal threats. Meanwhile U.S.-backing for Syrian Kurdish forces, the independence referendum in northern Iraq and developments in Saudi Arabia had “forced Turkey to adapt itself to a new and changing equilibrium”, he said.

Kemalism, Baykent said, had always been seen as Turkey’s “official ideology”, but it was an ideology of the last century and had been misinterpreted in recent decades.

Turkey should adopt a neo-Kemalism, adapting the values of the country’s founder to the modern day, he said:

Neo-Kemalism is a blend of the founding will and modern necessities for national sovereignty, prosperity and peace. It embodies the attempt to re-actualize the classical Kemalist thought by cropping its radical edges. In this framework, Kemalism would reconcile with its old “demons” in order to fit in the new scheme of the 21st century.