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  • Author: Erdem Dikici
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Recently, there has been a growing body of literature on the multifaceted relationship between religion, politics and security in both national and global contexts, with a special emphasis on church-state relations and/or secularism. Various aspects and influences of religion on a variety of thematic issues occupy columns, journals and books. However, one might argue that the same does not apply for the study of religious freedom. The violation of religious freedom is a phenomenon that has been observed not only under authoritarian regimes or Third World countries, but also in democratic and so-called civilized nations. Authoritarian regimes, restrictive state policies, intolerant and hostile societies as well as security-oriented (inter)national political legitimations have tried to control, restrict or suppress the rights of religious groups and minorities and religion per se in the public sphere. In The Future of Religious Freedom, the different reasons for controlling religion through restrictive laws and policies are elaborated from a variety of perspectives.
  • Topic: Security, Politics, Law
  • Author: Anita Sengupta
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The relationship between Islam and foreign policy has become the subject of a number of volumes in recent years as scholars seek to understand the role that political Islam plays in determining foreign policy. This is more often than not accompanied by the assumption that Islam is fundamentally incompatible with modernity. Turkey, with its complex history of modernity and the transition from its Ottoman past, remains an interesting case for the study of the causal relationship between the construction of a modern nation state, secular identity and nationalized foreign policy. The rediscovery of Turkey's regional interests and affinities from the 'Balkans to Western China' – areas that had been largely absent from Turkish foreign policy debates since the foundation of the Republic – have emphasized the significance of the state's internal evolution in determining its external policy. In her book, Turkey Facing East: Islam, Modernity and Foreign Policy, Ayla Gol critically analyzes Turkey's engagement with modernity in the course of its transformation from the Ottoman structure into a modern nation state in order to understand Turkey's foreign policy towards its eastern neighbours between 1918 and 1921. This is a clear and important departure from studies that tend to examine this transition period in terms of Turkey's engagement with the West.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Islam, Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Balkans, South Caucasus
  • Author: Candice Moore
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The use of the concept of agency in relation to Africa's foreign relations has, up to now, been very limited. This has often related to the actions of individual pivotal states, such as South Africa or Libya. Indeed, there has not yet been an in depth examination of African agency in international relations, making this volume a welcome addition. Admittedly, this is an enormous subject, one that has grown in significance and relevance given the deepened involvement of actors such as China on the continent since the end of the last century. Questions started to be asked about how African states could structure their engagement with an actor so obviously superior in economic and political power. However, this is not the first time that African agency has been addressed, as these questions were previously inspired by the post-colonial experience and the analysis of enduring Great Power involvement in African affairs, during and after the Cold War.
  • Topic: International Relations, Politics
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Libya
  • Author: Edibe Sozen, M. Hakan Yavuz
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to examine the social and political causes of the Gezi protests, and their long- and short-term impact on Turkey's domestic landscape. As part of our endeavor to enrich the conversation over the protests, this paper puts in context both the meaning and media coverage of the Gezi protests. This in turn will explain how on the one hand a protest over a particular environmental dispute escalated into vulgar anti- Erdoğan slogans and wild Tahrir comparisons, but on the other hand faded away without leaving a mark on Turkey's national political map. Following our analysis of the Gezi Park phenomenon, we will offer our view of its implications.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Umut Azak
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Beyond Turkey's Borders: Long-distance Kemalism, State Politics and the Turkish Diaspora Beyond Turkey's Borders is based on Banu Şenay's PhD dissertation, which is an ethnographic study of Kemalism among migrant Turks in Australia. Şenay conducted her fieldwork in Sydney in 2007 and 2008 among Turkish migrants who have settled there since the late 1960s. She draws her material largely from formal and informal interviews with first- and second-generation migrants, as well as Turkish and Australian state officials. She also performs content analysis of relevant community papers' archives and contemporary visual and textual materials, such as political speeches, cartoons, internet blogs, etc., produced, shared or followed by the migrant actors of “trans-Kemalism.”
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Australia
  • Author: Annika Rabo
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The Emergence of Minorities in the Middle East. The Politics of Community in French Mandate Syria Ethnic and religious minorities – and concomitant majorities – do not just exist sui generis. They have to be constructed or invented. It is not self-evident who is included in which category and who is excluded. It is only once these categories are accepted and used by people that they appear as natural and even eternal. This basic argument in White's book is not new or startling for readers familiar with today's mainstream research on ethnicity and social classifications. None the less, it is an argument well worth reiterating, not least because of its contemporary relevance for politics in the post-Ottoman empire in general and in Syria in particular. White does this by investigating the actual emergence of concepts such a 'minorities' and 'majority' during the French mandate in Syria.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Sinisa Malesevic
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Nationalism and National Identities There is a strong tendency among public commentators and many scholars to view nationalism as a phenomenon of yesteryears. Hence the 19th and beginning of 20th centuries are usually identified as the heyday of nationalist movements, whereas much of the 20th and the beginning of this century are analysed through the prism of apparently more universalist ideologies: liberalism, socialism, conservatism, religious fundamentalism, anarchism, fascism or racism. The past two decades are in particular viewed as being characterised by the strong forms of universalist creeds: the world-wide proliferation of the neo-liberal doctrines and practices; the ever increasing globalisation of the economy, politics and culture; the intensive expansion of cosmopolitanism, individualism and transnational identities; and conspicuous religious revivals. However, despite all these major organisational and ideological transformations that have taken place nationalism did not vanish. On the contrary, nationalist doctrines and practices have demonstrated resilience and ability to adapt to different political and economic conditions and to co-exist with very different belief systems. Hence, nationalist discourses were crucial for the justification of the communist rule in Romania of the 20th century and in Stroessner's right wing dictatorship in Paraguay just as they were in the democratic USA and France. This has not changed dramatically in this century as the strong nationalist sentiments underpin such diverse political orders as Islamist Iran, communist North Korea, and liberal Denmark. Nationalism remains a potent source of popular legitimacy.
  • Topic: Nationalism, Politics
  • Political Geography: North Korea, Romania
  • Author: Nurullah Ardiç
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Secularism and Religion-Making Recent scholarship in the sociology of religion has produced fresh perspectives on the understanding of religion and its inter-relationships with society. Largely influenced by post-structuralist social theory, these new perspectives call for a re-evaluation of existing theoretical and methodological approaches as well as empirical analyses, as reflected in the oft-used terms to describe their projects, including “rethinking,” “imagining” religion and its “invention” and “manufacturing” a là “invention of tradition”. The term “religion-making” is one such concept that questions the traditional ways of studying religion (and its constitutive other, secularism). It refers to the reification by political and intellectual actors (with different motivations) of a religion (its beliefs and practices/rituals) based on certain taken-for-granted (binary) concepts, such as the religious/secular divide, within the discursive field of world religions. The collection of articles edited by Markus Dressler and Arvind-Pal Mandair brings together eleven theoretically-informed and empirically-focused studies on religion-making in different socio-historical contexts. It fits nicely, and contributes to, the above-mentioned recent trends in the sociology of religion and secularism. A strong trend within this scholarship is a critique of the “secular critique” of the Enlightenment-inspired secularization theory, which also implies a critical re-evaluation of the (secularist) notion of a clear-cut distinction between the religious and the secular. This is also a common theme among the articles brought together in this edited volume: each study questions from a post-structuralist angle (but focusing on a different aspect of) the assumption of the 'boundedness' of “religion” and “secularism” and their opposition to one another. The theoretical aim of the volume, according to the editors, is to problematize this dichotomous assumption and demonstrate instead the codependency of “secular” and “religious” discourses. Its empirical aim is to “examine the consequences of the colonial and postcolonial adoption of Western-style objectifications of religion and … the secular, by non-Western elites” (p. 3), but it also contains cases of Western actors. Moreover, the editors' lengthy Introduction contains a useful discussion on the philosophical foundations (from Kant to Heidegger, from Hume to Hegel) and current manifestations (in Taylor, Habermas etc.) of the epistemological hegemony of the religious/secular dichotomy and of the “universalization” of the concept of religion out of Western Christianity. The analyses contained in the volume address the processes of religion-making at three different levels. First, “religion-making from above” refers to the discursive strategy of reifying religion(s) from powerful positions rendering them an instrument of governmentality. This is often undertaken by nation-states in their efforts to reframe existing religious traditions in a docile manner. As the editors note, this strategy is also applied by individual political actors, intellectuals and NGOs, as exemplified by the famous American think-tank RAND Corporation's call for “rebuilding Islam” in a manner that would not constitute a threat to American interests worldwide. The same advice was reiterated in 2004 by Daniel Pipes, a member of the Zionist lobby in the US who was close to the Bush administration, who argued that the ultimate goal of “the war on terror” was “religion-building,” implying the neocon elites' desire to “civilize Islam” (p. 22). These examples show not only the fact that the notion of religion-making from above is extremely relevant to current global geo-politics but also a paradigmatic symptom of the secular-liberal hegemony over religion in Western imagination: all religious traditions are encouraged and/or forced to “fit in” the existing socio-political structures in the form of “protestantization” –i.e. becoming an a-political, “modernized”/secularized and docile religion with no agenda for change in the status quo. Therefore, this hegemonic secular discourse does not so much aim to cleanse the public sphere and politics from religion as to make the latter fit in with the existing system and, if possible, function as a source of legitimization for hegemonic powers.
  • Topic: Islam, Politics
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Hatem Ete
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The context of and the meaning conferred upon the local elections led it to be fought in a referandum-like atmosphere. Prior to the March 30 local elections, various scenarios put forward both for the governing AK Party and the opposition parties, which largely remained unfulfilled on the elections day. As the local elections is over, a sound analysis of the election's context, results, and possible implications is warranted. Despite the rapid and dramatic transformation that Turkey has undergone over the last decade, particularly since 2007, no such dramatic shift in the voters' behaviors has occurred. This article argues that this is because of the dominance of the identity-politics, over all other issues, that shaped the content and context of the elections. It further claims insofar as this dominance continues to prevail over other concerns in the elections, no major change should be expected in the voters' inclinations and behaviors.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Michael McGaha
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: In this book, Erdağ Göknar, the award-winning translator of Orhan Pamuk's novel, My Name Is Red, has set himself the task of explaining why Pamuk's novels have received comparatively little critical attention both in his native Turkey and elsewhere. According to Göknar, most of the educated reading public in Turkey disdains Pamuk because they believe he has betrayed Kemalism (the combination of French-style secularism and nationalism that has become a sort of state “religion” in the Turkish Republic) in order to curry favor with foreign readers. This is the “blasphemy” to which the book's title refers. At the same time, foreign readers have generally misunderstood Pamuk's work because they are unfamiliar with Turkish literary and the political context from which it emerged. Göknar's burden is therefore the dual one of clarifying Pamuk's real political views for Turkish readers and educating foreign readers about his indebtedness to earlier Turkish writers.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Ömer Aslan
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Fathers and Sons: The Rise and Fall of Political Dynasty in the Middle East A decade after 9/11, the Arab revolts gave a second impetus to scholarly interest in the Middle East. A plethora of books and other academic and popular pieces have been published in the last few years. McMillan's book, Fathers and Sons, gives the reader a fine, bird's eye view account of the Arab world's journey in particular and the Muslim world in general from the time of the Prophet. McMillan's work is a historical narrative of how and why the Arab world inherited a system of dynastic succession that is blatantly un-Islamic and how that path culminated in the Arab revolts. The book, more popular than academic, is unbiased in its perspective towards Muslims/Arabs and is especially easy to read and follow. McMillan starts his narrative with the method of succession from one Guided Caliph to another. The convening of shura to decide the Caliph in the early period of “Rightly Guided Caliphs” contrasts starkly with the later period, when the method of consultation is abandoned for patrimonial rule. The consequence was that “the caliphate would no longer be a community of the faithful but a kingdom like any other” (p. 23). McMillan traces the history of militaries as the backbone of regimes in the modern Arab world to the period of Umayyad rule as well. It was “army officers wedding themselves to their rulers” that created the authoritarian stability in the region after the 1960s. The author reminds us that “this welding of a loyal army to an elite ruling family [during Muawiya's rule during the Umayyad] became the bedrock of a political model” (p. 26).
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: David Ramin Jalilvand
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Revolution and Reform in Russia and Iran: Modernisation and Politics in Revolutionary States In her comparative study, Ghoncheh Tazmini investigates the Russian revolution of 1917 and the 1979 Iranian revolution to identify patterns of continuity and change, including attempts at reform. At first, both revolutions might appear entirely different. In Russia, the Tsarist monarchy was replaced by socialism, whereas in Iran political Islam prevailed. However, Tazmini convincingly shows that both revolutions had related roots: the people's opposition to Western-inspired, autocratically enforced modernization that was endorsed by the Russian Tsars and Iranian Shahs. Moreover, in Vladimir Putin and Mohammad Khatami, she argues, both countries saw reformers with a similar outlook. By adopting beneficial Western practices without 'Westernizing' their countries, Putin and Khatami overcame the “antinomies of the past.” After the introduction, chapters two, three, and four discuss the experiences of modernization in Russia and Iran under the Romanov tsars and Pahlavi shahs. Both Peter the Great (in the 18th century) and Reza Shah (in the 20th century) sought to catch-up with developed European countries. To this end, they embarked on ambitious modernization programs, which were continued by their successors. In this context, Tazmini shows that the Russian and Iranian modernization programs only partially followed the European example. While embracing outward signs of modernity such as modern industries, state-society relations remained traditionally autocratic. Tazmini rightly grasps this as “modernization without modernity” in an attempt of “modernization from above.” Modernization from above is described as a “double helix” of economic modernization on the one hand and authoritarian political stagnation on the other hand. She notes, “Whilst both countries aspired to converge with the West by meeting its material and technological achievements, they ended up diverging by retaining the autocratic foundations of the ancient régimes.”
  • Topic: Islam, Politics, Reform
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iran
  • Author: Salim Cevik
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Filistin Politikamız: Camp David'den Mavi Marmara'ya The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is presumably the most problematic and persistent theme in Middle Eastern politics. Thus, the conflict is one of the most studied topics in academic literature on the region. In this light, it is all the more surprising that the current study of Erkan Ertosun is the first book-length work on Turkey's Palestinian policy. It is also a very timely contribution as Palestine becomes an ever more central topic in Turkish foreign policy. The author claims that he has attempted a holistic analysis in which domestic, regional and international factors are integrated. However, despite this claim, the real emphasis of the book is on international affairs and rightfully so.
  • Topic: Security, Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Murat Yeşi̇ltaş
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This article examines the critiques directed at Turkish foreign policy during the AK Party administration. There are three basic critiques leveled at the foreign policy that has been followed by the AK Party: Islamist ideology, geopolitical codes, and lack of capacity in foreign policy. These criticisms will be examined through a multi-layered approach, whereby they will be contextualized in terms of global fragmentation (macro level), regional disorder and fragmentation (meso level), and restoration in domestic politics and the opponents within Turkey towards these policies (micro level). A look at the challenges that Turkish foreign policy faces today and the search for a new foreign policy model will follow.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Ian Morrison
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: In recent years, religious pluralism has become the focus of intense debate in Europe - from controversies regarding religious clothing and symbols in the public sphere, to those related to limits on religious speech and the accommodation of religious practices - owing to the perception that pluralism has failed to contend with the purported incommensurability of Islam and European society. This article examines this purported crisis of religious pluralism in Europe and argues that while it is often depicted as resulting from the particularities of Islamic culture and theology, recent controversies point to a deeper crisis born of a historical failure to resolve the question of the governance of religious subjects.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Zuhal Mert Uzuner
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Change is a central concept in Turkish and global politics. It forms the basis of liberal ideology, alongside freedom, democracy, and equality. In this spirit of change, radical liberal thinkers question the state of contemporary international relations with a focus on justice and fairness. Ahmet Davutoğlu appreciates the importance of these liberal considerations, and he claims the global order is in a period of transformation, in which Turkey and the rest of the world will come into new political roles. In order to facilitate the formation of a fair, cooperative world order, Davutoğlu promotes a global consensus based on cosmopolitanism and multilateralism. These ideas for international reform are consistent with radical liberalism. However, he also considers the formation of a new global order according to his conservative and Islamic ideas-a position inconsistent with liberalism. This contradiction demands a better understanding of Davutoğlu's stance in domestic politics and international relations, and a consideration of implications for Turkey's global identity.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Cold War, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Ödül Celep
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The current peace process regarding Turkey's Kurdish question could pave the way for the normalization of politics and democratization in Turkey if the existing opportunities are not missed. The major actors that represent the Kurdish left in Turkey, the PKK and the HDP (formerly BDP), are all equally significant parts of the peace process. The HDP in particular has the potential to turn into a constructive actor for Turkey's democratization in the near future. This article argues that the Kurdish left of the democratic, parliamentary stage, lately the HDP, could contribute to Turkey's democratization if it can fulfill the libertarian left policy space in Turkish politics, which has long been abandoned by all existing political parties.
  • Topic: Development, Islam, Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Oscar J. Martin Garcia
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This commentary tries to study the current socio-economic crisis in Spain and the end of the political era which began with transition to democracy in the second half of the 1970s. Following pages deal with the intense rise of the unemployment rate and the social drama caused by the increase of material inequalities in Spain. It also analyzes the political crisis that threatens to destroy the institutional model which was crafted after 40 years of harsh dictatorship. All these factors are provoking political suspicion and social despair among some sectors of Spanish society. But there are not only feelings of disappointment and defeat in Spain. The large-scale protests that have engulfed the country over the last two years represent a powerful social force for grass-root democratic regeneration in this part of the Iberian Peninsula.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Spain
  • Author: Jakub Wodka, Sarah Kuzmicz
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This article explores the strategic importance Turkey holds to the European Union and how Ankara could contribute to the EU's achieving the status of a veritable global power. It seeks to understand how the often contradictory threads (democratization vs. creeping authoritarianism) in the recent transformation of Turkish domestic politics affects its European credentials. The main argument of the paper is that it is in the core interest of both parties to align their policies in the neighboring regions, namely the Balkans, Caucasus, and the Middle East, especially in the post Arab Spring era. What hinders the genuine EU-Turkey partnership is often the political and tactical short-sightedness of both parties rather than the factual divergence of strategic interests.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Ali Erken
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The article analyses the use of Ottoman past as a central theme in Turkish politics since the 1960s. It discusses how the revivalist discourse treats the question of westernization and shapes the perception of young activists towards the Ottomans. As confrontational themes with the West surfaced more frequently, the search for a new “order” became more tangible. Furthermore, the negative outlook of the Republican historiography towards the Ottoman heritage was dismissed, especially among young and educated followers of the MHP and MSP-RP. This orientation gained more widespread acceptance among the mass during the AK Party years as a result of the government's revisionist foreign policy and increasing frequency of the references to the Ottoman history in the party leadership's discourse.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: ÇIĞDEM HAJIPOURAN BENAM
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: ALMOST eight years on from the start of accession negotiations, the view of Turkey-European Union (EU) relations is somber. The Union is too busy with its enlargement fatigue and economic turmoil, whereas Turkey has been experiencing a confidence boom as a result of its impressive economic performance and proactive foreign policy, pushing the two parties further apart. However, despite this gloomy picture in Turkey's EU membership negotiations, change has been and is taking place in Turkish politics. A crucial question, therefore, is without the full membership perspective what is triggering change in Turkey? Is this change a sign of a continuing process of 'Europeanization'? If yes, how do we explain this? How far does it relate to the appeal of the EU membership and how far can Turkey's various policy fields be Europeanized? What are the limits of Europeanization and under what conditions does it work better? Why are there diverging levels of transformation in different policy fields? These are some of the questions Turkey and the European Union: Processes of Europeanization comprehensively answers.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey
  • Author: Suna Gulfer IHLAMUR ÖNER
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: STARTING FROM 1980s different religions “went public” all around the world and reclaimed their agency in the public sphere. However, while in this process of 'deprivatization' certain religious traditions such as Catholicism became the focus of many research initiatives, the Eastern Orthodox tradition attracted little scholarly attention. The book Religion, Identity and Politics in Poland and Russia, which is based on Sevinç Alkan Özcan's Ph.D. thesis submitted to the Marmara University in Istanbul in 2010, does justice to these two traditions with its focus on the role and stance of the Polish Catholic Church and Russian Orthodox Church within the context of church-state relations, public space, civil society and democratization in two post-communist countries: Poland and Russia. In these two countries, Catholicism and Orthodox Christianity, despite interruptions during the communist rule, play a determining role in church-state relations, political patterns, national identity and social sphere. The book offers a well-structured comparative analysis and valuable insights into the experiences of these two major representatives of Catholicism and Orthodox Christianity in Eurasia during the pre-communist, communist, and post-communist era.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Poland
  • Author: Laurence Raw
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: ALTHOUGH written from a variety of perspectives at different points in history, all three books reviewed here offer penetrating insights into Turkish politics past and present, as well as commenting on how they are interpreted both inside and outside the country. Written in English, while he was guest professor at the University of Marburg, Germany (having quit his post at Boğaziçi University in protest at the law curtailing academic freedom), Gündüz Vassaf's Prisoners of Ourselves comprises a series of meditations mostly written between October 1986 and March 1987. His basic thesis is straightforward enough: although human beings consider themselves members of the free world, they are actually subject to totalitarian rule. He surveys some familiar binaries—for example, madness and sanity—and shows how they are used to curtail individual liberties. Western historians have conventionally accepted that the Nazi period in Germany was one of collective madness. However the validity of that judgment can be called into question in the light of Adorno and Horkheimer's research, which discovered that anti-semitism in the United States was much higher than it had been in Germany after Hitler came to power. Vassaf concludes that everyone is part of that “collective madness,” in which one nation is willfully prioritized over another as a means of sustaining power (p. 35). Anyone questioning that notion is abruptly silenced.
  • Topic: Politics, History
  • Political Geography: United States, Turkey, Germany
  • Author: Ergun Özbudun
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The article analyzes the historical roots and the current nature of the constitutional crisis in Turkey. The Constitution of 1982 strongly reflects the authoritarian, statist, and tutelary mentality of its military founders. The Constitution established a number of tutelary institutions designed to check the powers of the elected agencies and to narrow down the space for civilian politics. Consequently, it has been the subject of strong criticisms since its adoption. There is also a general consensus that despite the 17 amendments it has gone through so far, it has not been possible to fully eliminate its authoritarian spirit. The article also deals with the constitutional crises of 2007 and 2008 over the election of the President of the Republic, and the annulment of the constitutional amendment of 2008 by the Constitutional Court. It concludes with an assessment of the constitutional amendments of 2010.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Michael M. Gunter
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Most of the recently published books on the Kurdish problem in Turkey focus on the armed struggle and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). Watts, however, offers a much-appreciated alternative approach. "Pro-Kurdish political parties" (p. xvii), or what she also calls "challenger parties" (p. 16), "have made themselves matter and... have impressed their ideas and agendas on reluctant and often repressive states" (p. x). "The central argument of this book is that... pro-Kurdish elected officials and party administrators engaged [as]... 'loudspeaker systems' for the transmission of highly contentious information politics that challenged the narratives of security, identity, and representation promoted by Turkish state institutions.... They [also] tried to construct a competing 'governmentality' and new collective Kurdish 'subject' in cities and towns in the southeast" (p. 13).
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Kurdistan
  • Author: Ergün Yildirim
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This article examines the trajectory of Islamism as a modern phenomenon. It demonstrates that, having evolved under the influence of myriad political, intellectual and historical developments of the past two hundred years, the concept is still surrounded by various debates, movements, acts of violence, ideologies, policies and positions. Islamism also continues to be a significant element in Turkey's political and intellectual life as well. The article then engages several critical questions. Has Islamism reached its end? Is a new type of Islamism emerging? Is post-Islamism on the horizon. In response, the article argues that Islamism's diversification–as opposed to its end–leads the movement to survive as pluralities that result from structural changes stemming from global and plural modernities' interaction with societies. In line with social and political organizations' pursuit of violence, poverty, challenge, reconciliation and alliance, Islamism too is being plurally reconstructed.
  • Topic: Islam, Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Halim Rane
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The political and economic success of Turkey's Justice and Development Party (AKP) has generated extensive discussion about the extent to which Turkey provides a model for other Muslim, especially Arab, countries. The notion of a Turkish model has received intense focus since the uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region began in 2010. Amid the excitement, more cautious voices have highlighted fundamental differences in historical and political experiences and relations with Islam between Turkey and the Arab countries. Considering these factors, this article contends that rather than Turkey's AKP, a more accurate comparison and potentially viable model for the emerging Arab democracies can be found among the Islamic-oriented political parties of South East Asia, which advocate an approach to Islam based on the maqasid, or higher objectives. This article examines the appeal of the maqasid approach in respect to its utility for maintaining Islamic legitimacy and transitioning from ideology-oriented to policy-oriented parties and thereby responding to the needs and aspirations of broad constituencies. This article discusses the function of the maqasid for Islamic political parties in the MENA region as it undergoes political liberalization in the aftermath of the Arab uprisings.
  • Topic: Disaster Relief, Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Arabia, North Africa, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Sean Patrick Smyth
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This work by M. Şükrü Hanioğlu somewhat represents a departure from previous work on the subject in that it seeks to distance Atatürk from the greatman theories that have plagued his legacy. In doing so, Hanioğlu evaluates the development of Atatürk's political views in terms of both the international and domestic contexts of the late Ottoman Empire.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Author: Ramazan Kılınç
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The Arab world has been making a new history since January 2011 when the uprisings against President Ben Ali resulted in his fleeing from Tunisia. Throughout 2011, the decades-old rule of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and Moammar Qaddafi in Libya ended. Political change came to Yemen and the status quo has been strongly challenged in other Arab countries. Jean-Pierre Filiu, in his The Arab Revolution: Ten Lessons from the Democratic Uprising, takes stock of the revolutionary movements in the Arab world, briefly summarizes the events in key countries and comes up with ten lessons that we can learn from the uprisings.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Yemen, Arabia, Egypt, Tunisia
  • Author: Nader Hashemi
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The democratic uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East have been widely celebrated but in the West they have generated concern and apprehension. Most of this concern involves the future role of religion in the politics of the Arab world. In this essay, I make two broad observations. First, concern in the West about the rise of mainstream Islamist parties is partly based not on the illiberal orientation of these groups but the fact that they are politically independent actors who challenge Western geo-strategic interests in the region. Second, the role of religion in government has never been democratically negotiated en masse in the Arab world. To assume that this issue has been resolved and a broad consensus exists is to project a Western understanding of religion-state relations on the Arab-Islamic world. Doing so is both erroneous and analytically distorted. The battles over the role of religion in politics have yet to begin in the Arab world.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, North Africa
  • Author: Necati Polat
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This piece is on a number of critical rulings issued recently by high courts in Turkey in brazen disregard of the discourse of human rights, to which a growing commitment appears paradoxically to be the case in democratic politics. The bureaucratic authority that characterizes the dissipating old regime in the country is often associated with the military. Yet the civilian bureaucracy, in particular the high judiciary, with justices long handpicked from among the legal elite with a disdain of democratic politics, has been just as crucial in sustaining the old order molded by anachronisms of the 1930s, when the regime that defines this order, Kemalism, emerged in concerted thinking with authoritarianisms prevalent in Europe at the time. The overhaul of the system of high courts from 2010 has clearly been momentous in seeking to bring the judicial establishment into line with democracy and human rights. Still, the settled reflexes seem on the whole to be resilient in dictating the outcome in crucial cases, rendering the transformation both sluggish and painful.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey
  • Author: Menderes Çınar
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The 2011 elections marked the emergence of the AKP as a political brand that is likely to win all the elections in the foreseeable future. The party's overwhelming popularity is linked to its image as the most reliable and trustworthy political party today. The ambitious democratization promises of the AKP created hopes for a paradigm shift in Turkish politics in the aftermath of the elections. However the AKP's overemphasis on its brand name and its consequent monopolization of the democratization process, excluding Turkey's other parties, have raised concerns over the fulfillment of a more profoundly democratic participatory system in Turkey. Moreover, the AKP's adoption of populist rhetoric and stereotypes, which is usually the hallmark of Turkey's right-wing traditionalist parties, raises further concerns. Finally, the failure of the main opposition CHP to form a coherent platform to challenge the AKP's monopoly over Turkey's political scene has contributed to the growing skepticism for a new democratic political paradigm in Turkey.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Mesut Yeğen
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This essay argues that the 2011 election results point to a number of important conclusions concerning the Kurdish question in Turkey. First, the Kurdish party will continue to be the main actor in “Kurdish question politics.” Second, the AK Party has been unable to halt the rise of the Kurdish party in a number of provinces with large Kurdish populations. Third, political parties, other than the Kurdish party and the AK Party, have been eliminated from “Kurdish question politics.” This essay will demonstrate that the support for the Kurdish party is gradually acquiring a territorial dimension. Thus, this essay argues that the notion of democratic autonomy proposed today for the whole of Turkey by the Kurdish party may over time give way to the political objective of “autonomy for Kurdistan” or even “federal Kurdistan.” It is also argued that the same trend may foster a political agenda of “Kurds to Kurdistan” to take hold in Turkish politics.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Gökhan Bacik
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The MHP won 13 percent of the vote in the June 2011 elections, which guaranteed it 52 seats in parliament. Ever since the 1960s, the MHP has operated with a vague party identity that amalgamated different, even contradictory, elements such as Islam, folk nationalism, secularism, militarism, Kemalism, statism, and even Ottomanism. However, the serious issues that are challenging Turkish politics today, such as civilian-military relations, the Ergenekon trial, Islam in the public sphere, the Kurdish question, the crisis of the presidential election, or the 2010 referendum, have made a nebulous discourse operationally impossible. This paper argues that the recent political polarization between the AK Party and the CHP put an end to the MHP's strategy and discourse of traditional obscurantism, causing in these last elections this party's unimpressive electoral performance.
  • Topic: Islam, Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Vural Aksakallı, Hatice Tekiner-Moğulkoç, Muammer Koç
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The changes in Turkey's political landscape over the past decade have been quite dramatic. In this study, we present a quantitative analysis of the 2011 national elections based on clustering techniques and we compare our results with those of the previous elections in 1999, 2002, and 2009. Our results suggest, once again, that Turkish citizens turn out to vote consistently since the1950s. We also investigate significant changes in voting trends of different regions and provinces. We conclude with a future-based qualitative outlook to indicate what the results could be if certain electoral changes are made, such as the law for political parties, a different national threshold for parties to be represented and elected to Parliament, and an eventual new constitution.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Şener Aktürk
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This article looks at the impact of Turkish voters in German politics since the 1980s with a special attention to the latest elections in September 2009. While Turks were almost entirely connected with the Social Democratic Party (SPD) in Germany in the 1960s and 1970s, the 1980s witnessed the rising appeal of the Greens among immigrants in general and Turks in particular. This was followed by the success of Turkish candidates in the Left Party in the 2005 elections. The latest elections in September 2009 witnessed a further diversification of Turkish representation as the SPD, Greens, Left, and the (liberal) FDP each sent a Turkish member into the Bundestag, while the CDU/CSU remained the only party without Turkish representation at the federal level. Despite persistent under-representation in the political arena, and some obstacles against their acquisition of citizenship and religious observance, the Turkish minority in Germany still registers a higher level of political presence than the Muslim minorities in France and Britain.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Britain, Turkey, France, Germany
  • Author: Sevgi Çilingir
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This article attempts to analyze various aspects of ethnic and religious identity configurations among the Turkish Sunni Muslims in Britain and to explore how such social processes influence their socio-political integration. It tries to situate the Turkish community in the context of British Muslim identity politics. Findings in this article are based on in-depth interviews on perceptions and attitudes the Turkish Sunni Muslims have and their implications in the planning of collective activities, especially in the field of education. This study reveals that although the current level of integration among the Turkish Sunni Muslims in Britain is less than expected, neither living in a non-Muslim country nor claiming to have a British identity are perceived as incompatible with Turkish and Islamic values. This paper concludes that educating Turkish youths in ethnic and religious values is a priority, as it is seen as a means to protect against assimilation, while allowing for successful integration.
  • Topic: Education, Islam, Politics
  • Political Geography: Britain, Turkey
  • Author: Martin Bak Jørgensen
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: It has become a conventional approach to look at the impact of the political institutions to understand immigrant organizing patterns in the receiving countries. The underlying assumption in this process is that the organizational language of the host state makes an impact on the organizational patterns of immigrants in a given state. The article takes this insight as the backdrop for understanding the Turkish organizing processes in the Danish context and first looks at the institutional arrangements and integration- and citizenship model prevailing in Denmark and secondly, at the collective Turkish organizing processes within this structural framework while taking dynamics of social participation and agency into account. The Turkish minority group is the largest immigrant group in Denmark and the article pays attention to the heterogeneity that exists within the Turkish group and seeks to outline emerging organizing patterns with regard to ethno-national, religious, political and other dividing categories.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Denmark
  • Author: Elizabeth Shakman Hurd
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This article explores the cultural politics of European opposition to Turkish accession to the EU. It argues that the foundations of secularism-the powerful a prioris that structure the debate in Europe regarding religion and politics-make it difficult for Europeans to cope with what is often described as an "Islamic challenge" to Europe, both internally and externally. Turkish candidacy makes these stumbling blocks explicit, as Turkey has become the symbolic carrier of domestic European angst about religion, particularly Islam, and politics. Turkish candidacy highlights unfinished business in the social fabric of the core EU members, including what it means to be secular and how religion, including but not limited to Islam, relates to European identity. These sticking points are what the debate over Turkish membership is really about, and it is for this reason that it is culturally-in addition to economically and politically-so contentious.
  • Topic: Economics, Islam, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey
  • Author: Mert Bilgin
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This paper hypothesizes that analyzing the geo-economic and energy security characteristics of gas supplies to Europe may help in understanding the features of regional and international relations with regard to selected countries. The paper highlights the significance of natural gas in the New Energy Order, and points to the importance of supply security for the EU. It looks at Russia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Libya and Algeria as suppliers and Turkey as a transit country in an emerging gas corridor to Europe. It examines supply-side opportunities, which promote new fields of international cooperation based on gas trade, and addresses certain restraints that may reduce the likelihood of further regional cooperation. Economic and geographic factors create new opportunities for regional trade and international relations. This geoeconomic aspect, however, takes place with international security issues varying from case to case.
  • Topic: Security, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iraq, Iran, Kazakhstan, Libya, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Egypt
  • Author: Kemal Özden
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: In this book, the author focuses on Muslim people's social and legal situation and their legal attitudes from various points of view.
  • Topic: Politics, Law
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, United Kingdom, Turkey
  • Author: Emmanuel Karagiannis
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This book examines the role of clans in Central Asia from the 19th century up to 2004. Most studies of regime transition focus on formal institutions. However, Collins claims that modern clans, defined as networks of individuals linked through kinship and fictive kin identities (p. 17), function as informal political actors which has initiated or undermined political change in Central Asia. Moreover, clan membership frequently determines career prospects, especially in the public sector, influences social status, and functions as a defense mechanism against outside competitors. To begin with, the author does a very good job of providing a theoretical framework to understand clan politics (p. 24-53). From her point of view, understanding clans requires the comprehension of both rational and cultural elements. In addition, she adequately explains why and how clans survived during the Soviet period, despite efforts to eradicate them and impose new national identities among Central Asia's indigenous population (pp. 62-134).
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Central Asia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan
  • Author: Nancy Bisaha
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Religions of the Book adds to a growing body of scholarship on Christian perceptions of Muslims and Jews. The collection is somewhat uneven, but several strong The Religions of the Book: Christian Perceptions, 1400-1660 Edited by Matthew Dimmock and Andrew Hadfield New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009, 213 pp., ISBN 9780230020047.
  • Topic: Politics, Reform
  • Political Geography: New York, Poland
  • Author: Ömer Aslan
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The quest to incorporate non-material factors into international relations has continued apace into the twenty-first century. After religion, culture and identity, now 'civilization' seems to be attracting a great deal of attention from international relations (IR) scholars. Civilizations in World Politics: Plural and Pluralist Perspectives, which is the result of a roundtable and a panel organized at the 2007 and 2008 annual meetings of the American Political Science Association, investigates the potentiality of the concept of civilizations in order to better explain world politics. The book consists of six case studies of civilizations (American European, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, and Islamic) in six chapters, bookended by an introduction and a conclusion by Peter J. Katzenstein and Patrick T. Jackson respectively.
  • Topic: International Relations, Politics
  • Political Geography: China, America, Europe
  • Author: Muharrem Ekşi
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: An increase in world's energy needs coupled with a decrease in available resources has created a trend that will lead to the militarization of energy resources in the future. This could cause a realpolitik style international conflict and power struggle, and it is this issue that is addressed in this work. This book consists of 11 articles that look at energy security policy in world politics and the militarization of resource management.
  • Topic: Security, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Central Asia
  • Author: Ahmet T. Kuru
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Redeploying the State is a book about statehood, which can also be called state strength, capacity, or effectiveness. In order to address this topic, it takes as its subject a comparative study of Egypt and Mexico, particularly in the arenas of privatization and labor disputes. Hishaam Aidi asks why the Egyptian state was much less effective than the Mexican state in economic reforms, especially in regard to Mexico's ability to overcome the labor movement's opposition, despite the fact that Egypt was much more authoritarian and therefore had a more repressed labor movement than Mexico. While explaining this puzzle, Aidi implicitly refutes essentialism, which refers to certain “essences” of Islam, while explaining Muslim socio-political life
  • Topic: Economics, Politics, Reform
  • Political Geography: Egypt, Mexico
  • Author: Nagihan Haliloğlu
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Christian Joppke's study is an ambitious project that tries to examine the different ways in which European countries respond to the increased visibility of veiled women in the public sphere. The book paints a picture of a scene in which Muslim women become more and more assertive about their rights as citizens in a Europe that is increasingly unsure about its own identity. Joppke's book is testimony to the fact that discussions about the veil provide a framework within which one can ask fundamental questions concerning the nature, responsibilities and limits of modern European states.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Egypt, Mexico
  • Author: Talip Küçükcan
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: There are many institutions playing a role in weaving the ideals of democracy into Turkey's social fabric. Many political actors in Turkish politics, which include the leftists, rightists, liberals, and statists along with those who established the Republic with their military identity, all contributed to society's participation in the execution of the state affairs. They all had a stake in implementing universal democratic standards in Turkey in general, and within certain strata of Turkish society in particular. The reasons behind these actors' support for democratic ideals vary; some groups were Book Reviews Insight Turkey Vol. 12 / No. 3 / 2010 279 it can also play a role in persuading different religious segments of the society to accept democracy. Here, democracy can be perceived as a solution to many of Turkey's current problems, ranging from poverty to social injustices Movements, such as the Progressive Republican Party (Terakkiperver Cumhuriyet Fırkası), Free Republican Party (Serbest Cumhuriyet Fırkası), and Democrat Party (Demokrat Parti), have been instrumental in the consolidation of democracy as opposed to the authoritarian political system, which predominated the single party era of the Republic.
  • Topic: Islam, Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Ruşen Çakır
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: There has long existed a Kurdish political movement with its illegal, legal, and semi-legal aspects of it. All of Turkey wants peace but most people in the Southeast want this peace not “despite the PKK” but with “the PKK's consent and participation.” While the Kurdish political movement wanted the government to shoulder all the weight of the opening, they also had serious responsibilities. It became clear very quickly that the important personalities of the movement were not very enthusiastic in facing these responsibilities. The Kurdish political movement has distanced itself from the opening process and, at times, appeared against it. Parallel to this, there have been changes in the state's perspective and even, to some degree, “return to the old state line. The discussion of “who is the counterpart?” impeded the process as much as, if not more, the opposition parties' obstructions.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: ALİ ÇARKOĞLU
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This article presents a descriptive account of the March 2009 local elections in Turkey and offers a nation-wide and regional evaluation of trends in Turkish elections since 2004. The results of these analyses suggest that, although the AKP's rise in support has stalled, it remains the dominant political party in Turkish politics. However, a regionally differentiated analysis shows that significant differences can be observed between the more developed western coastal regions, where the opposition parties received a lot of support, and the eastern and southeastern provinces, where parties that represent the ethnic Kurdish minority have seen rising support. In between these two areas, the AKP continues to dominate in the more conservative provinces, followed by the MHP. The article emphasizes the worsening economic conditions as the main factor that shaped these developments, and underlines the geographically advantageous positioning of the MHP which may mount a credible opposition to the AKP in the future.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey