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  • Author: Nimrod Goren
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: 2011 brought an opportunity for Israel and Turkey to mend their bilateral relations. The re-election of Erdoğan in June 2011, coupled with the dramatic events of the Arab Spring, provided a new political and regional context in which the relations could be reevaluated. This context enabled Turkey and Israel, with US mediation, to make progress towards drafting an agreement between them – an agreement intended to enable the two countries to restore normal working relations following the 2010 flotilla incident. However, the draft agreement was eventually rejected by the Israeli government in August 2011, leading to a new cycle of escalating tensions between the two countries. This article analyzes the Israeli decision-making process and discourse regarding the crisis with Turkey, and examines the changing circumstances of 2011, including the impact of the Arab Spring and the contrasting Israeli and Turkish reactions to it; the dynamics leading to the Israeli decision to reject the draft agreement; and the possible next phases in Israel-Turkey relations, including the conditions that can provide a new opportunity for the two former allies to become less alienated.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Turkey, Israel
  • Author: Bill Park
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: In a remarkable turnaround, Turkey and the Kurdish Regional Government have recently emerged as close partners in a region increasingly characterized by uncertainty. They share a discomfort with the centralizing inclinations of Baghdad's current government, a stake in seeing an end to the PKK's campaign of violence, and a preference for greater unity between the various forces opposing the Assad regime in Syria. Their economies are increasingly interlocked, and the KRG's emergence as a significant producer of energy is of benefit to both parties. Furthermore, the Ankara-Erbil relationship is one that serves Washington's regional interests and perspectives well. However, serious differences remain. Iraqi Kurds still aspire to incorporate Kirkuk, and support greater autonomy for the Kurds of Turkey and Syria too. Turkey's support for Erbil could unintentionally help produce greater Kurdish autonomy throughout the region. This article explores some of the possible ramifications of the burgeoning Ankara-Erbil relationship.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Turkey
  • Author: Shwan Zulal
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The Kurds were late to the idea of nationalism in the 20th century, and when the borders were drawn in the region they became the largest stateless nation in the world, divided mainly between Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria. In an unlikely period when hope was fading, a Kurdistan regional government in Iraq was born as the former Iraqi regime was weakened after the first Gulf War and the subsequent no-fly zone. Two decades on, the region has become more assertive and been making many new friends, largely because of its newfound wealth, its influence in post-Saddam Iraq, and its stability when compared with the rest of Iraq. Oil has been a curse for the Kurds and Iraq as a whole, but now the Kurds appear to have found a way to use its resources for economic development, ensuring that the Kurdistan region remains stable and can establish itself as a self-governing and influential entity.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Iran, Turkey, Syria, Kurdistan
  • Author: Mümtaz'er Türköne
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: What happens when an ideological movement whose raison d'être is to challenge the existing political system and government structure, and one that gains its identity and character from criticizing power, takes control of the government? Turkey no longer has a noteworthy Islamist project. We must place this vanishing, or death, at the end of the story, a story that begins with its birth. When Muslims are able to express themselves through democratic means, they move away not only from violence, but also from an ideological Islamic interpretation. The death of Islamism in Turkey can therefore be explained by the wide-open channels of democracy. In such a free and democratic setting, there is no environment for Islamism to survive, especially when it is fit into a different mold through the support of the government.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Feride Aslı Ergül
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Women have been both the subjects and objects of Turkish modernization for a long time. They have always been at the forefront of burning questions in Turkey, either with the decades-old debate of wearing headscarves in public institutions, or, lately, with Erdoğan's agenda-setting remarks that women need to give birth to at least three children or abortion will be constrained. However, studies about their position in society or their role in modernization have not gone far beyond superficial repetition. Dedeoglu and Elveren, to a large extent, fill this academic gap in Turkey through editing this book. It consists of thirteen valuable chapters dealing with different aspects of gender issues that are at the junction of tradition and modernity. To this end, the book mainly aims at understanding the impact of neoliberal social policies, political Islam, and EU accession on gender in Turkey. Women stuck between formal equality on paper and social realities in practice are examined using different data sets and topics, from female labor ratios to payment policies, and from social security reform to the individual pension system. For all the diversity of topics, the authors' comprehensive analysis about the reasons for the secondary position of women in society and the possible outcomes of eager but not-yet mature governmental reforms makes this study a reference book not only for readers who want to learn more about gender, society and the neoliberal economy in Turkey, but also for decision makers who want to be aware of the margins of socio-economic dynamics in Turkey.
  • Topic: Government, Islam
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Christopher Phillips
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Syria's refugee crisis is getting worse - for those who flee and for those who take them in. Christopher Phillips reports
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Syria
  • Author: Kemal İnat
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: Sakarya University, Institute of Social Sciences
  • Abstract: Turkish foreign policy toward the Middle East has confronted with more and novel security challenges in 2012. The problematic issues related to Arab revolutions of 2011 have already had negative repercussions for Ankara. As a result of diverging policy choices toward the Arab revolutions, these conflicting issues caused more strained relations between Turkey and its neighbors in the region. Regional actors divided over how to respond to political deadlocks in the Middle East. While Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia have sided together, Iran, Syria and the central government of Iraq have made their policies jointly. This very division between the regional actors has increased the security risks within the Middle East. These two camps have particularly conflicting policy agendas and as a result, they have become part of a “proxy war” in Syria which constitutes the biggest security threat to the whole region. Despite the deteriorating situation in Syria and its own tense political environment domestically, Turkey, has continued to strengthen its economic relations with the Middle Eastern capitals except Damascus. It was partly a result of this policy that Turkey's export toward the Middle East increased significantly.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Economics, Environment, Government
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Middle East, Arabia, Syria, Egypt, Damascus, Ankara
  • Author: Ümit Cizre
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The article analyzes the new roadmap for Turkey after the summer 2011 elections as not a “resumption” of unfinished business from the last nine years, but from the perspective of the ability of Turkey's ruling party, the AK Party, as well as the opposition forces and actors to “transform” some anachronistic features of the dominant politics as well as deal with troubling new trends in society. The AK Party governments made progress in many areas by pushing forward a series of far-reaching reforms which have genuinely changed Turkish politics. However, Turkey under AK Party rule includes a society which has failed to shed its extreme hostility toward different ideas, identities and values. Moreover, current opposition parties and movements in Turkey continue to be weak in imagination, vision, capacity and leadership, which have led to rigidities and even deeper political divisions. More importantly, the new government will have to create new possibilities out of its past failures and turn paradoxes, contradictions and ambiguities in politics and society, in the country and in the region, into positive achievements.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Mustafa Kibaroglu
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Nonproliferation Review
  • Institution: James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies
  • Abstract: US nuclear weapons have been an important part of Turkey's security strategy since their first deployment on Turkish soil in the early 1960s. Turkey's NATO membership and its close relationship with the United States have been perceived to be integral to maintaining its security. The release of the 2010 US Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), with its focus on disarmament and reduced reliance on nuclear weapons, has a number of potential consequences for Turkey. This article provides background on the history of Turkish-US nuclear weapons policy in light of issues ranging from Middle Eastern politics to the development of NATO's new Strategic Concept. It then describes how actors in the government, military, and academia in Turkey have reacted to the NPR, why they reacted as they did, and how the Obama administration's initiatives may be received in Turkey in the future. This article concludes that both military and civilian actors in Turkey have reacted favorably to the NPR and are pleased by its emphasis on nuclear nonproliferation and the maintenance of extended deterrence; however, there is less agreement in Turkey about the emphasis placed by the NPR on the danger of nuclear terrorism.
  • Topic: NATO, Development, Government, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: United States, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Ufuk Ulutaş
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Since the early 2000s, Turkish foreign policy has experienced a fundamental transformation. Turkey's regional and global position, its relations with the countries in surrounding regions, and its long-lasting disputes with its neighbors were reshaped through the adoption of the "zero-problem with-neighbors" policy. In line with this policy, Turkey has taken a pro-active stance and followed a multi-dimensional foreign policy approach to establish itself, first, as a conciliatory partner for peace with its neighbors, and second, as an agent of mediation between its clashing neighboring countries. 2009 was a year of foreign policy initiatives towards Syria, Armenia, and Iraq, including the Kurdish Regional Government. And it marked the beginning of more positive and constructive relations between Turkey and the United States. Turkey gained substantial ground in becoming a regional hub for energy by undersigning two critical energy deals. Yet, two major issues remain as challenges for Turkish foreign policy: a) the EU accession process, and b) the Cyprus dispute.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Turkey, Armenia, Syria
  • Author: Emrullah Uslu
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This article analyzes Turkey's domestic political developments in 2009, by situating them against the results and implications of the 2007 national elections. It examines major issues on Turkey's agenda: the redefinition of civilian-military relations, the Kurdish question, the issue of conservative social networks and the Ergenekon investigation. The article argues that while the governing Justice and Development Party previously pursued a survival strategy based on alliances with liberal reformists and the EU to curtail the power of the military, in the wake of the 2007 elections it opted to explore issues of common ground with the military. The developments in 2009, which was a year of harvesting the fruits of this new strategy, show that this strategy worked in regards to the Kurdish question, but it has failed on the issue of conservative social networks, as the military and the government remained embroiled in an undeclared confrontation on this issue.
  • Topic: Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Emiliano Alessandri
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The recent reform of the Turkish constitution makes Turkey a more democratic country according to European Union standards. This does not mean, however, that Turkey is automatically closer to its goal of EU membership as a result of the September 12 referendum. Dynamics surrounding the latest reforms confirmed that, over the years, Turkey's democratization and Europeanization processes have become less and less the product of a deliberate effort coherently pursued by Turkish elites than the uncertain outcome of what is primarily a struggle for power involving actors representing different segments of the Turkish state and society. A democratic Turkey as a full member of the EU remains a possibility in the medium-to-long term but one that seems to increasingly depend on a combination of favorable developments — a renewed interest in the EU in Turkey and vice versa, a constructive engagement between the government and opposition parties on the future reform agenda, as well as a sustainable solution to the Kurdish issue — which at the moment look far from likely.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey
  • Author: Tanju Tosun
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The CHP constitutes a crucial place in Turkish political life. From its establishment to its closure after the military intervention of September 12, 1980, the CHP occasionally became a partner of coalition governments and came to power alone. The party was reopened and became more powerful after merging with the SHP in the 1990s. After the resignation of Baykal from party chairmanship in May 2010, whether new party chair would be able to extend the party base and become electorally successful has been started to be discussed. The new party chair Kılıçdaroğlu has a differentiated view of society, politics, democracy and freedom compared to Baykal. But then, the main problem is whether this difference would be able to turn the CHP into an alternative political power against the AK Party.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Vahap Coşkun
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Turkey is moving toward achieving an ever-greater level of democracy by removing the remnants of restrictive and paternalistic administrative structures. The judiciary in Turkey has been one of the most influential instruments of state power in maintaining these structures. In the wake of the recently passed constitutional amendments, the question of whether the current government is trying to create a docile judiciary for its political purposes has been widely circulated. However, such questioning misses one of the most crucial motivators of the much needed reform package, i.e., the undemocratic record of the Turkish judiciary. The Turkish judiciary has traditionally considered itself as one of the guardians of the Turkish republic alongside the military. It has consistently delivered undemocratic decisions in the name of protecting the state. This article focuses on many examples of restrictive and paternalistic judiciary decisions in order to highlight the judiciary's undemocratic role in the Turkish political system.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Stefan Ihrig
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Within a larger trend of critically rewriting the history of the early Turkish Republic, the history of the Jews in 20th century Turkey has received a lot of attention lately. In Turkey, there is now a growing body of literature somewhat dominated by the work of Rıfat N. Bali. And in Germany as well, there have been some interesting additions to the existing research. Many focus on the Haymatloz topic, i.e. the German emigrants who worked in Turkish universities and other institutions in the time of the Third Reich.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Germany
  • Author: Ihsan Dagi
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Turkey's political transformation is continuing with new waves of democratization. The latest move is an initiative proposed by the AK Party's parliamentary group to amend the constitution. With proposals to amend 27 articles, the reform package, currently being considered in the Turkish parliament, is one of the most comprehensive amendments to the current constitution. Amending some articles of the constitution may be a fresh beginning for a new round of democratic reforms, which is needed to speed up the EU accession process on the one hand, and to consolidate democratization on the other.
  • Topic: Government, Reform
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Semih İdiz
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Turkey and Armenia signed two protocols on October 10, 2009 at Zurich University in Switzerland, with a view to opening a new chapter in bilateral ties, as well as improving the troubled relations between Turks and Armenians in general. But the signing ceremony in Zurich had started inauspiciously. The problem turned out to be the seemingly intractable issue of Nagorno-Karabakh, which cast its shadow over the process at the outset. After Karabakh, the second key issue that emerged was a ruling by the Constitutional Court of Armenia, which said that the protocols in question could not stop the government of Armenia from pursuing its duty of trying to get international recognition for the genocide allegedly perpetrated by Ottoman Turks against Armenians. These two topics effectively blocked the process enshrined in the protocols. But how could these problems not be foreseen? What were the two governments expecting in this respect when signing the protocols?
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Armenia, Switzerland
  • Author: Menderes Çınar
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Turkey under the pro-Islamic Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has represented an opportunity to go beyond the Orientalist modernization framework and produce “value” by countering the culturalist arguments that foreclose the possibilities of democratization in modernizing Muslim countries. The secular opposition, however, has reproduced the logic of the February 28 process and has therefore immobilized and forced the AKP into a struggle to survive, both as a political party and as the elected government of the country. It is this power struggle that has come to epitomize the democratization debate and the democratization process in Turkey. In this context of an impoverished democratization debate, it remains to be seen whether and to what extent the AKP can accomplish the task of revitalizing the constitutive capacities of politics in Turkey.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Islam
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Ödül Celep
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Turkey's current government's 'democratic opening' project has led to a series of political discussions regarding the cause and resolve of the Kurdish issue. One major consequence of this debate has been the polarization of opinion between conservatives, represented by the ruling Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, AKP) and nationalists, represented by the Nationalist Action Party (Milliyetçi Hareket Partisi, MHP). This study elaborates on the major reasons for MHP's opposition to AKP on the 'democratic opening.' In doing so, the study examines the historical, ideological distinctions between the two parties and their perception of ethnic and linguistic differences in Turkish society. AKP comes from a political tradition that has been relatively more accommodating towards such differences. On the contrary, MHP has roots in an ethno-nationalist and mono-culturalist ideology, which can be observed in its denial of the identity component of the Kurdish issue.
  • Topic: Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Talha Köse
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The AKP government has undertaken a series of steps to understand and respond to Alevi identity-based claims. Popularly known as the “Alevi opening” process, the initiative is the first systematic effort to deal with the identity-based discontents of the Alevis. This step is also part of the broader policy of “democratic opening,” which intends to address the burning problems of various identity groups (the Kurds, Alevis, religious minorities and the Roma people) in Turkey. This study provides an analytic background for understanding the governing AKP's “Alevi opening”, which was launched in the summer of 2007. More specifically, the issues that are discussed are the Alevi claims, the obstacles to the fulfillment of these issues, and the methods and the processes of the ongoing “Alevi opening”. In order to provide a holistic analysis, the political, legal, psychological as well as cultural dynamics of the Alevi issue are emphasized here. At the end, a set of policy recommendations are formulated that are consistent with the analytic perspective.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Turkey