Turkey’s Election 2011 & Georgia’s Future

Turkey Election 2011 - Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Copyright Lynsey Addario.
Turkey elections 2011. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan puts on his shades before a photo op with businessmen in 2004. Erdogan seems confident of another victory at the polls in 2011. Lynsey Addario/ Corbis

Tours to Launch Our Summer Season

While all eyes are drawn to the upheaval in the Middle East, Political Tours focuses on two areas that will play a critical role in Europe’s foreign relations – Turkey and Georgia.

From May 29 to June 5 leading Turkish affairs analysts, Ekrem Guzeldere and Piotr Zalweski, examine the key issues at play in the run up to Turkey’s 2011 elections. The poll is a crucial factor in its European ambitions. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has committed himself to a complete overhaul of the constitution after the elections, so that it falls into line with most European norms and gives individuals greater rights.

Turkey’s Elections Tour

Guzeldere and Zalewski’s program covers the key issues in the electoral campaign, including the treatment of the Kurds, and the role of the “deep state”, the conservative forces allied with the state security structures that would prefer the state to retain its powers. With excellent access to leading Turkish commentators and politicians, this promises to provide first-rate insight into the elections and the region at a critical juncture. With less than two weeks to go before voting day, participants should be able to see the campaign at first-hand, witness electoral rallies and see the main political debates.

To book your place on our next tour to Turkey click here »

Georgia’s Future

Further east, on June 12, Chatham House Associate Fellow, Professor Neil MacFarlane, begins a 7 day tour of Georgia, where Euro-Russian relations come under the microscope. Together with leading Georgian analyst, Ketevan Tsikhelashvili, they piece together the causes of the 2008 conflict between Georgia and Russia, and examine its implications for the international community.

MacFarlane, who is the Pearson Professor of International Relations at Oxford University, also looks at the prospects for Mikheil Saakhashvili’s government. He argues that while Saakhashvilli survived the fall out from the 2008 conflict, his own free market reforms have failed to deliver sustainable improvements to the economy. That, as well as an erosion of democratic rights, may cause further political instability.

Government officials and other commentators provide differing views on this fascinating journey that starts in the picturesque Black Sea port, Batumi, traces the boundaries with the breakaway states of Abkhazia, and South Ossetia, and ends with high-level briefings in Tbilisi. There is also an optional 3 day extension to the tour that takes in the stunning Khaheti region, which is the centre of Georgia’s wine growing culture.

Both tours will be interspersed with visits to religious and cultural sites, and perhaps needless to say, some very good restaurants and nightspots. You can find out more by viewing the tour pages, or calling us directly on +44 203 004 8464.

To book your place on our next tour to Georgia click here »