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  • Author: A. Kadir Yildirim
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Egypt's democratization efforts require domestic and international considerations: Domestically, the country must focus on the economy at the expense of the military's political role: While military involvement in politics is crucial to democratization, improvements in this area represents an outcome, not the cause, of the process. Discussions should concentrate on protecting lower- and middle classes, generate prosperity and create common ground between democracy and class interests. At the international level, Egypt requires countries to support democratization efforts and condemn extra-democratic actions. Meanwhile, the prominence of Islamists causes concerns for Western governments with regard to the Peace Treaty and Israel's security.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Islam
  • Political Geography: Israel, Egypt
  • Author: Mark Perry
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Fire is both the symbol of revolution and its most potent weapon. Much like the American Revolution and other key historic events, the Arab Spring began with fire when Tunisian street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi set himself alight to protest his treatment by police. Ever since the Arab Spring's onset, experts have debated about its eventual conclusion and concentrated on major forces, including the army and the clergy. The future of the revolutions, however, rests with the masses in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, and Syria. The uprisings marked deep and irreversible changes in the Arab world and will inevitably entail future repercussions. For onlookers, the best policy is not to interfere, but to let the fire burn.
  • Topic: Islam, History
  • Political Geography: Yemen, Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: Francis Ghilès
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: In recent years the Arab lands have been reduced to a uniform discourse, which well suited those in America such as Bernard Lewis who tried to convince their political masters that a clash of civilisations between the West and Islam was inevitable. However, over the past twelve months a series of revolts recast the map of the Middle East. When the revolts in Tunisia and Egypt started, many Western commentators failed to understand how young Arabs peacefully managed to overthrow well-entrenched dictators such as Ben Ali and Mubarak. Their initial reactions fitted into a broader collective spirit of Orientalism, which long gave up hope on Arab societies ever joining contemporary trends towards democratization. It was not Islam or poverty that provoked the uprisings – it was the crushing humiliation that had deprived the majority of the Arabs who are under the age of thirty of the right to assert control over their own lives.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: America, Middle East, Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: Stefano Maria Torelli
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: More than a year after the start of the Tunisian and Egyptian revolts, the question of how political Islam will return to regional politics is still open. This article explores the differences between the AKP's Turkish model and the Tunisian al-Nahda movement. The Tunisian and the Turkish case studies are examined and compared on three levels. First of all the historical and structural contexts of the two countries and the relationship between the state and Islam are taken into account. Secondly the two models of political Islam that have developed in Tunisia and Turkey are analyzed. Finally, the two different views of the social, political and economic life proposed by al-Nahda in Tunisia and by the AKP in Turkey are compared. By examining the structural differences between these two contexts, and consequently by looking at the two distinctive ways of understanding Islam in public life, the article will also demonstrate how and why the “Turkish model”, as represented by the AKP, cannot be applied to Tunisia, although the al-Nahda has itself embarked on a process of “de-radicalization.”
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia
  • Author: Ş. İlgü Özler
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: In this book, Asef Bayat explores Islam and democracy especially with regard to what he calls the “post-Islamist” movement in the Muslim world. Instead of asking whether Islam and democracy are compatible, he asks, “under what conditions can Muslims instigate democratization within their countries?” He challenges the Orientalist view on Islamic exceptionalism by not only contesting the validity of the question about the compatibility of democracy and Islam, but also through a very thorough investigation of the post-Islamist movement in Iran and the Islamist movement in Egypt. He defines post-Islamism as a “condition” and a “project” that emphasizes change through religiosity and rights that arises after Islamism runs its course as a legitimate source of hope for political and economic development (p. 10-11). Through his in depth case studies he demonstrates that the state has been successful in suppressing the post-Islamist social movements and their secular and reformist demands for political change in Iran. While the state has been equally successful at suppressing opposition (the political Islamist movement) in Egypt, the Egyptian state has not been able to quell society's turn to Islamism.
  • Topic: Economics, Islam
  • Political Geography: Iran, Egypt
  • Author: İhsan Yılmaz
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Partial and limited opening of authoritarian political systems in Turkey and Egypt created new democratic opportunities for Islamists to participate in public life. It also fostered democratic learning by permitting Islamists to compete for power and popular legitimacy. In the process of democratic opening, Islamists have had to address and represent the interests of a group much larger than their own ideological constituency. They have also had to endure repression and party closures in a semi-democratic political framework. However, the democratic learning process coupled with the establishment's constraints has paved the way for the transformation of Islamists to Muslim democrats. While the process in Turkey is almost complete, in Egypt there are still heated debates on the transformation among the Islamists. This study highlights the importance of the democratic opportunities given to Turkish Islamists and argues that if given similar opportunities, Egyptian Islamism will also transform to a post-Islamist phase.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Egypt