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  • 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
  • Author: A. Kadir Yıldırım
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The recent emergence of Muslim democratic parties such as AKP in Turkey and PJD in Morocco draws attention to the perennial question on the moderation of Islamist parties yet again. Economic liberalization and the accompanying socioeconomic transformation underlie the democratic and liberal turn political Islam has taken in the Middle East. The precise nature of liberalization is critical to this moderation. Competitive liberalization, by enabling peripheral groups to benefit from liberalization, conduces to the renewed interest in democracy and a liberal system. Crony liberalization, by reinforcing the archaic rent-seeking relationship between the state and big business and continuing to marginalize the peripheral groups from politics and the economy, sustains the interest of peripheral groups in the reactionary discourse of Islamism. The strength of Muslim democratic parties is a reflection of competitiveness economic reforms introduce in the society and the economy.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Morocco
  • Author: Yücel Bozdağlıoğlu
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Despite its unique geographical and cultural position between East and the West, Turkey, throughout its modern history, has followed a Western-oriented foreign policy. This essay argues that Turkey's Western orientation is closely linked to Turkey's official Western identity created as a result of Turkey's modernization project in the years following the Independence War. The Islamist challenge to this new identity occasionally created a tension between the secular/Kemalist elite and the Islamists in Turkey, which from time to time impinged upon Turkey's foreign policy. The debate on Turkish foreign policy has been an extension of the debate on national identity in the past and still continues to be so. Therefore, in order to better understand the main determinants of Turkey's foreign policy preferences and behaviors, an analysis of Turkish identity is needed.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Islam
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Michael Gunter
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This paper challenges the view that the AKP is "an Islamist party" and "hardly a democratic opening". It puts forward the argument that the AKP's recent election victory represents a triumph over (1) inward-looking, anti-EU, ultra-Turkish nationalism, (2) unwarranted military interference in politics, (3) selfish Kemalist desires to protect their own privileged position, and 4) misguided secular fears of a secret Islamic agenda.
  • Topic: Islam, Nationalism, Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Nurşin Ateşoğlu Güney, Contentious Issues of Security and the Future of Turkey Aldershot, U.K., and Burlington VT, Ashgate, 2007. 197 + xvii pp. Index. ISBN 13: 978-0-7546-4931-1 by William Hale
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Turkey
  • Author: Joshua Walker
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The recent closure case brought against the ruling Justice and Development Party is a direct assault on Turkey's democracy. For this reason, America should not lose the opportunity to swiftly and unequivocally repudiate the establishment's attempts to re-assert control over Turkish politics by undemocratic means. The lack of a concrete resolution on the part of the U.S. in regard to the case has already resulted in a credibility gap. Given America's emphasis on and interest in Turkey's democracy and attendant reform process, a simple re-affirmation of its commitment to citizen's choices in free and fair elections would send a powerful message to a country that is on edge. Instead, Turkey is left with 'friends' who lack credibility and resolve at the worst possible moment. If the ruling party and its leadership are banned from political life, not only will Turkey lose its credibility in the Middle East as the only indigenous Muslim-majority democracy, the United States will also lose credibility in the world theatre for failing to support democracy in Turkey.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Government, Islam, Politics, United Nations
  • Political Geography: America, Turkey
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Turkey as a U.S. Security Partner by Stephen Larrabee / 146 Ömer Taşpnar Turkey and the European Union: Prospects for a Difficult Encounter Edited by Ezra LaGro, Knud Erik Jorgensen / 149 Natia Ejoshvili The Importance of Being European: Turkey, the EU and the Middle East Edited by Nimrod Goren and Amikan Nachmani / 151 Christopher Brewin Between Islam and the State: The Politics of Engagement by Berna Turam / 153 Tuba Kancı The Kemalists: Islamic Revival and the Fate of Secular Turkey by Muammer Kaylan / 156 Michael M. Gunter The Politics of Turkish Democracy: İsmet İnönü and the Formation of the Multi-Party System, 1938-1950 by John M. Vanderlippe / 158 Paul Kubicek The Ottoman Empire, the Balkans and the Greek Lands: Toward a Social and Economic History Edited by Elias Kolovos, Phokion Kotzageorgis, Sophia Laiou and Marinos Sariyyannis / 160 Fatma Sel Turhan
  • Topic: Security, Islam
  • Political Geography: United States, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Ali Bardakoğlu
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This article aims to show how exchanges between religion and secularism, Islam and democracy and cross-cultural relations over many years have shaped Turks' perception of Islam and their position towards freedom of religion and co-existence of different faith communities. Muslims are generally attributed a monolithic identity marked by intolerance despite the fact that they have considerable diversity in their understanding of Islam and its practice. The Turkish case challenges such essentialist views by demonstrating that despite some isolated events, Turkey succeeds in managing religious diversity because the perception of Islam has developed in connection with a variety of current and historical events. The perception that emerged in the course of Turkish cultural and political history provides strong grounds for peaceful co-existence within the shared social order. Turkey's achievement in establishing a political culture and a perception of Islam that facilitates religious pluralism can be attributed to factors as such democracy and secularism and Turkey's efforts to join the European Union.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey
  • Author: Melkulangara Kumaran Bhadrakumar
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The 85-year-old Turkish state finds itself at a crossroads. But the implications of Erdoğan's final choice go far beyond Turkey's borders. Turkey's standing as a regional powerhouse, its strategic location as a bridge between Europe and the Middle East, its historical and cultural heritage in the Muslim world – all these are bound to come into play in the coming months. The crucial importance of what is unfolding in Turkey lies in that, to quote former Israeli foreign minister Shlomo Ben-Ami in a recent article, "Engaging political Islam will need to be the central part of any successful strategy for the Middle East. Instead of sticking to doomsday prophecies of categorical perspectives that prevent an understanding of the complex fabric of Islamic movements, the West needs to keep the pressure on the incumbent regimes to stop circumventing political reform."
  • Topic: Islam, Reform
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Naoise MacSweeney
  • Publication Date: 07-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Dramatic, controversial, and fiercely fought, the Turkish elections of 2007 marked a pivotal point in the administration of the ruling AK Party, and, it has been suggested, for Turkey as a whole. The presidential race in particular triggered a storm of academic and media discussion, and stimulated large-scale popular responses such as mass demonstrations in several urban centres. Amid such high-level interest, relatively little attention has been paid to the perspectives of small, rural communities on the issue. Although they represent an important section of the electorate, the views of such communities are rarely researched in detail, and are not always shaped by religious and cultural issues as is often assumed. Interviews carried out over the election period suggest that the rural electorate hold much more complex views concerning presidential politics than has been widely supposed, and point to a more nuanced interpretation of 'political Islam' than is usually implied by the term.
  • Topic: Islam, Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey