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Keeping Nationalist Ally Close Trumps Reform in Erdogan’s Turkey

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan dismissed an ally’s proposal to release two dissidents from prison, calling into question his commitment to reforms needed to reset strained relations with the West.

Barely a week after promising legal and economic reforms, Erdogan accused Bulent Arinc, a key figure in his ruling AK Party, of trying to sow discord with his proposal. His apparent motive was to mollify a nationalist party that is distrustful of the Kurdish political movement and is crucial to the Turkish leader’s grip on power.