I know you're all wondering what's new in Turkey. This is the big news. I also know it makes little sense to anyone outside of Turkey, so let me explain the two key points. If you remember these, you'll be able to fake your way through any dinner party. Or Senate hearing, for that matter.
1) The AKP has been able to dominate Turkish politics since 2002 not because everyone here loves them so much, but because there's been no credible opposition. The reason there's been no credible opposition is that the main opposition party, the CHP, has been under the control of the elderly, authoritarian, singularly uninspiring Deniz Baykal. Think John Kerry's populist touch mixed with John Edwards' feel for fine ethical judgments. The big news -- huge, from the Turkish perspective, although I'm aware it barely registered outside of Turkey -- is that somehow, by means of a devilishly ingenious and typically Turkish conspiracy, Baykal's enemies have finally forced him out. They caught him on tape with his mistress. Who caught him? Beats me. It's not the kind of thing anyone claims credit for, really. But they got him. And he's out. No, I haven't seen the tape: The man is 71 years old, for God's sake, that's the last thing I want to watch.
So this completely changes the landscape. They're calling the new CHP leader, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, a Turkish Gandhi who is going to revitalize the CHP and save Turkey. I wouldn't take that all too seriously: The whole thing has a bit of an Obamamania feel. But definitely, for the first time there's some sense that there's an opposition party that means to win here.
Main point: The name you need to remember is Kılıçdaroğlu, and you pronounce it Kuh-luch-dar-o-loo, mild stress on "dar." If you call him "Kemal Gandhi," and say it with mild irony, you'll sound particularly well-informed.
2) In fact, of all the policy proposals Kılıçdaroğlu's come up with so far, only one counts: lifting parliamentary immunities. Everything else is hand-waving.