Turkey remains deeply insecure and strongly nationalist.
While Erdoğan and the AKP have sought to reshape and appropriate Atatürk’s legacy, the have also made a concerted effort to build July 15 and the public’s resistance to the coup attempt into a founding myth of the «New Turkey» they are attempting to build.
Given the depth of the nationalist sentiments outlined in the previous section; the durability of Kemalist school curricula highlighting the importance of the republic’s founder; and the current siege mentality, it is perhaps no surprise that Atatürk remains the dominant, defining political-historical figure across Turkish society.
The Turkish electorate is pessimistic about the direction of the country and the economy. While Erdoğan remains by far the most popular political figure in the country, there is growing discontent among young voters, including among the AKP.
The challenges of long-term incumbency and high youth unemployment are taking a toll. Balancing this growing generational gap is the unswerving loyalty of key AKP constituencies, particularly older and poorer voters, and the devotion of conservative women to Erdoğan personally.
What this prevailing national mood and new emerging national self-perception means for Turkey’s place in the Western political, cultural, and security order is an important and open question. Certainly, the assumptions that underpin it)that Turkey is beset by enemies and that the West wants to weaken Turkey)do not bode well for the road ahead.