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  • Author: Taha Ozhan, Ozhan Ete
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The Kurdish question in Turkey has a long history which was viewed within the framework of nation building, integration and underdevelopment until it was perceived as a security issue with the emergence of the PKK in the 1980s. During the 1990s, dominated by the security perspective, the scope of the question was reduced to terrorist acts alone under a state of emergency rule. A number of changes transformed the nature of question, such as the Kurdish political movement since the 1990s, forced migration, the capture of PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan in 1999 and the emergence of autonomous Kurdish government in northern Iraq. A permanent settlement of the Kurdish question must be based on developing new and alternative strategies vis-a-vis existing policies. In this context, a comprehensive package of measures should include not only security measures, but more importantly democratic reforms and economic investments.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Turkey
  • Author: Ramazan Kılınç
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: His article asks why Turkey recently adopted the emerging international norm of inter-civilizational dialogue as one of its foreign policy priorities. In addressing this question, we turn first to an assessment of the limitations of normative and realist arguments, then suggest that the Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) considerations of domestic political survival were necessary factors in the adoption of intercivilizational dialogue, even though in and of themselves, they were not sufficient. The AK Party government, circumscribed by the secularist establishment, strategically adopted the norm of inter-civilizational dialogue to create a legitimate space for its survival in Turkey's domestic political sphere. This conclusion stems from the theoretical finding that in those states in which political power is not concentrated in the government, the domestic political considerations of the government gain priority in foreign policymaking.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: William Hale
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Barack Obama's inauguration as America's new president has been welcomed as opening a 'new era' in Turkey's relations with the United States. May 2009 also saw the appointment of a new foreign minister in Ankara, in the person of Professor Ahmet Davutoğlu. This article examines how these new directions are playing out in the Middle East, one of the world's most turbulent regions which also has crucial economic and strategic importance for Turkey. It focuses on Turkey's relations with four regional states – Iraq, Israel/ Palestine, Syria and Iran. The article closes by assessing whether Turkey has been able to achieve the government's ambition of 'zero problems' with its neighbors, and the degree to which it has been able to develop a new role as conciliator and go-between in addressing the region's bitter conflicts.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Ümit Cizre
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The AK Party's chronic 'political insecurity' may have passed a threshold as the ruling party resurfaces as an actor taking advantage of its pro-European Union sentiments to begin a 'grand negotiation' with Turkey's thus-far publicly shunned Kurdish leaders after decades of bloodshed. This new window of opportunity could not have emerged without the explosion of the Ergenekon incident, which has offered a persuasive critique of the closed, dark, intolerant and secret communities friendly with the military bureaucracy and state officials but insidiously devoted to destroying the government. In the post-Ergenekon era, the new democratic opening represents a significant departure from a military solution to the Kurdish issue which has blocked civilian imaginations by declaring the Kurdish identity demands as a security threat to the officially proscribed Turkish identity. The real issue at stake now for the AK Party government is a redefinition of the locus and space where the phenomenon of real political power takes place in Turkey.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Kurdistan
  • Author: Cengiz Çandar
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This commentary reflects on the Turkish government's recent 'opening' to address the Kurdish problem and the domestic, regional and international conditions that created a conducive environment for this initiative. It maintains that although the Turkish leadership has grasped the new dynamics of the regional and domestic developments and changed its conventional perception of the problem, the initiative is constrained by the fact that it is motivated by a concern to remove the violent aspect of the Kurdish question, i.e., terminating the Kurdish insurgency once and for all. It also suggests that despite the optimism generated by the opening to solve the Kurdish problem, the achievement of its ultimate objective is far more complex than seen at the first glance. The commentary places a special attention on the dilemmas encountered by the Democratic Society Party as it seeks to represent the demands of its predominantly Kurdish constituency.
  • Topic: Government, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: 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
  • Author: Yusuf Şevki Hakyemez
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This article discusses the limits of the freedom of political parties in Turkey. The political party bans constitute one of the most important problems threatening the freedom of political parties in Turkey. The restrictions on the political parties come to the fore in two different forms: dissolution after the military coups and closure by means of legislation. In the current context of the case opened against the AK Party, it may be possible and advisable to apply an amendment, bringing Turkish jurisprudence in such matters in line with the standards of the European community. It is concluded that the Constitutional Court should interpret cases of the dissolution of political parties in the context of the principles of "secularism" and the "unitary state" in such a way as to take into account the requirements of the principle of "the rule of law" and to allow different political alignments to express themselves in a "human rights respecting" and "democratic" country.
  • Topic: Democratization, Government, Human Rights, Politics, Law
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Ertan Efegil
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: In a sharp break from the past, Turkey's AK Party government now openly accepts the existence of a domestic Kurdish problem, and views it moreover as being mutually interrelated with the rise of separatism among Iraqi Kurds and the problem of PKK terrorism. Turkey now has official contacts with the Iraqi Kurds and is working to find a lasting solution to the Kurdish problem by implementing socio-economic and cultural measures in addition to the military one. While the Iraqi Kurds, the American administration and Turkey are beginning to reconcile their differences concerning the Kurdish issue, Turkey faces internal division; certain parties such as the General Staff, the National Movement Party and the Democratic Society Party continue to push for radical measures. Today, there seems to be little opportunity to find common understanding. But as existing conditions deteriorate and pressure mounts both within the domestic sphere and from the international community, it grows increasingly important for Turkey to find a lasting solution to the Kurdish issue.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Turkey
  • Author: Rabia Karakaya Polat
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The Kurdish question has been a source of domestic conflict since the inception of the Turkish Republic. It has been one of the mostly securitized issues in domestic politics. Despite the continuation of the securitizing agenda, and years of denial by the state, in the mid-1990s alternative discourses on the cultural rights of the Kurds started to emerge. The AK Party government departed from previous attitudes by repeatedly emphasizing the Kurds\' right to express their culture and identity. This article analyzes the developments regarding the Kurdish issue during the AK Party government and asks whether they can be seen as a desecuritization process. The article argues that although there are significant signs of desecuritization, Turkey continues to swing between forces, agendas, and actors of securitization and desecuritization when it comes to the Kurdish issue.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Michael M. Gunter
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The newly elected AK Party looks to cement its authority over the Turkish Military and its Kurdish citizens through progressive reforms and EU membership.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Globalization, Government, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Kurdistan