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  • Author: Vahap COSKUN
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Turkey's 1982 Constitution does not reflect the values of modern constitutionalism. Originally, the Constitution maintained a state-centered, authoritarian character and failed to meet society's expectations. Pro-reform parties sought to replace the Constitution to address various societal demands. The AK Party also identified the drafting of a new Constitution as a primary objective and attempted thirteen amendments. There were two main motivations behind the amendments: Turkey's EU membership bid and frequent constitutional crises. In this sense, the amendments promoted individual rights and liberties in Turkey. The Constitution today is a legal text that underwent major changes over the years to establish more effective safeguarding mechanisms for individual rights and liberties. Turkey's need for a new constitution, however, remains alive.
  • Topic: Reform
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • 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: Metin Atmaca
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Picknick mit den Paschas: Aleppo und die levantinische Handelsfirma Fratelli Poche (1853-1880) Studies on the Europeans who lived in the Ottoman Empire have been mostly conducted through the Ottoman and European state archives. Few works on the social history are based on private papers, such as Beshara Doumani's work, Rediscovering Palestine: Merchants and Peasants in Jabal Nablus, 1700-1900 (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1995). As scholars of the Ottoman social history focus on the ethnic and religious minorities, foreigners, merchants, peasants, and women, such archives have become more precious than ever in order to reconstruct the story of understudied subjects. Ade's book takes its power from this background, as she skillfully uses the private archives of Poche and Marcopoli families, which were discovered in the 1990s. Comprised of two separate folios, the trade firms of both families kept chronologically archived accounting books, daily payments, warehouse books, and deadline records of payments from 1853 until 1921. Apart from family papers, there are memoirs, the archives of European vice-consulates, accounting and trade books, and documents from state archives in Aleppo, Istanbul, Paris and Nantes. After the Ottomans took over Aleppo, the city became a trade terminus for the mercantile coming from the Asia and a maritime link for European merchants. In a few decades time, most European consular representations and trade companies moved their centers from Damascus and Tripoli to Aleppo, which became the third largest urban center in the Ottoman realm after Istanbul and Cairo. Aleppo was not only in the middle of the empire but also a major city in the Arab territories on the cultural boundary of the Turkish and Arab population, which was made up of Kurds, Arabs, Turks, Christians, Jews and Bedouins. The city kept its status as one of the most active trade centers in the Eastern territories of the Ottoman Empire until late 19th century.
  • Topic: Reform
  • Political Geography: Europe, California, Palestine