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  • Author: Ezra Akcan
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: In Istanbul, architectural ideas on how to transform Taksim Square can get you killed. A case in point would be the recent police violence over Gezi Park in Taksim, which began as a public protest against the undemocratic planning of the prime minister's “delirious projects” for Istanbul. Sadly and ironically, the first democratically elected prime minister in Turkey's history, Adnan Menderes, was the target of violence about half a century ago, when he was sentenced to death partially based on the charges against his urban projects in Istanbul. Murat Gül's book The Emergence of Modern Istanbul: Transformation and Modernisation of a City effectively tells a 150-years long story of urban transformation that culminated in the Menderes' execution. While the author devotes his most detailed last chapter, one of his major scholarly contributions and conclusion to the Menderes years, he also provides a much needed and useful synthesis of scholarly works that describe Istanbul's dramatic transformation during the late Ottoman, early Republican, and postwar Democrat Party (Menderes) periods. “Mid-nineteenth century Istanbul was chaotic, overcrowded, poorly sewered, badly administered, prone to catastrophic fires and plagued with ineffective transportation systems. A century later the city was a metropolis with large avenues, postwar modernist architecture and city blocks which had swept away much of its traditional nineteenth century street pattern and altered its urban form.” (p.1)
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Senem Aydin-Duzgit
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: THE EUROPEAN UNION (EU) faced a stalemate of institutional reform between the signing of the Treaty of Nice in 2001 and the Treaty of Lisbon in 2009. Although the provisions of the Treaty of Nice were far from resolving the institutional troubles of the EU in the aftermath of the Eastern enlargement, the process for wider reform was painstaking and long. This book explains the convoluted process through which the EU managed to achieve the much-needed, but least expected institutional reform following the Nice Treaty. Thus the major puzzle, which the book tackles, is the dynamics under which the political actors changed their positions and preferences to agree on the Treaty of Lisbon provisions for further institutional reform. In other words, why did political actors shift their preferences in the aftermath of the Treaty of Nice? What were the reasons and processes that pushed the EU towards further reform?
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Lisbon
  • Author: Ali Murat Yel
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: THE NAQSHBANDIYYA is perhaps one of the widest-spread Islamic religious brotherhoods due to its active involvement in political affairs. Its 'strength' comes from the fact it could trace the sheiks of the order as far back as to the Prophet of Islam through his companion Abu Bakr. The silsila (the chain of transmission) of the order also contains some very important figures in Islamic history, like Salman al-Farisi and Bayazid al-Bistami. Despite the importance of the order and its worldwide expansion, the published works on the subject could fill only a small shelf. The order also has a great number of followers in Turkey, including some prominent political figures. Since Shah Bahauddin Naqshband, the founder of the order, the succeeding sheiks of the Naqshbandiyya tarikat (religious order) have currently been handed to Sheikh Nazim al-Kibrisi al-Haqqani, a Turkish Cypriot. The Sheikh has been given the task of expanding the order to the West, and as a result of arduous efforts he has been able to establish some centers in various European and American cities, with the biggest one being in London. Author Tayfun Atay studied this center for his Ph.D. thesis submitted to London University.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Britain, America, Europe, Turkey, London
  • Author: Mohammad Siddique Seddon
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: THE CONTINUED and growing presence of Islam and Muslims in the West has produced a plethora of conflicting literature and debates around interpretations on and representation of minority Muslim identity constructions. Incorporated into the configurations of the ever-shifting debates on Muslim identities is the impact of the 9/11 terror attacks and the subsequent re-framing of Islam/Muslims in modern, liberal and increasingly secular western societies. Geoffrey Nash's new book sets about unpacking what has been produced, by whom and why on evolving fictional narratives on Muslims over the last two decades. His survey covers a series of interrelated styles of English writing: ranging from the novel, through memoir and travel writing to journalism, including a wide range of authors and texts.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom
  • Author: John Mattausch
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: WHEN BRITAIN was more permeated by Christianity than it is today, well-meaning vicars would run youth clubs offering table tennis along with church homilies intended to keep young people on the straight and narrow and away from worldly temptation: these clubs were rarely over-subscribed and the attempts to be 'relevant' to the youth were always lame. Nowadays, very few young Britons attend church regularly, younger British Muslims are much more likely to be the ones receiving religious instruction on the weekend and older Muslims in their turn are now the ones trying to keep their children within their religious fold.
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom
  • Author: Laura R. Olson
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: THE UNITED STATES supposedly is premised on “separation of church and state,” which means the American government should be neutral regarding religion. But is that really true? The author, a law professor and committed secularist, has strong opinions on this matter. Particularly since the 2004 presidential election that returned George W. Bush to the U.S. presidency for a second term, Ledewitz has been concerned that American secularism—both as an individual choice and a stance on the part of government—is under threat. Although the proportion of secular Americans has been growing rapidly in the twenty-first century, the successful marriage of religion and conservative politics in the U.S. might be inhibiting secularism from full acceptance as a valid alternative to religious commitment. After completing two earlier books on secularism in the U.S., Ledewitz reached the rather specific conclusion “that American constitutional law stood in the way of any serious engagement of secularism with religion” (p. xiii, emphasis mine). Thus, he sets forth in Church, State, and the Crisis in American Secularism to accomplish two tasks. First, he aims to detail how and why he feels current interpretation of “church-state separation” by the U.S. Supreme Court is problematic. Second, he endeavors to construct an alternative legal approach that would put religious people on common ground with secularists before the eyes of American law.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Harvey E. Goldberg
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: THE SUBTITLE of this one-volume overview of Jewish history presents its main focus as the notion of diaspora, but its twenty-eight chapters are more accurately grasped by dividing them into sub-themes. Chapters 1-9 discuss the development of “diaspora” as a social-historical concept in recent scholarship, and sketch the emergence of the Jewish diaspora from Biblical times (when Israelites and Judeans were exiled by the Assyrian and Babylonian empires), through the diaspora under Roman rule whose benchmark was the destruction of the (second) Jerusalem Temple in 70 of the Common Era. The next section (chapters 10-15) portrays medieval Jewish life, mainly within the context of Christian Europe. Chapters 16-18 are a history of ideas, touching upon major Enlightenment luminaries and some of the reactions of Romantic thinkers. It underlines the (often multivalent) ways that Jews appeared within these intellectual schemes. The emergence of racial ideas, feeding into Nazi ideology and policies, and a condensed history of the Holocaust are presented in chapters 19-27. A final chapter discusses “Zionism, Israel, and the Palestinians,” tailing off in the 1970s.
  • Topic: Development
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Unal Eris
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: SHIVDEEP GREWAL has written this excellent research-turned-into-a book on Jurgen Habermas, one of the most important philosophers of our time. He makes a thorough analysis of Habermas' work and in the theoretical part of the book he discusses how modernity in both cultural and social terms has evolved in such a way that transcends the importance of nation state and finds a new meaning at the European Union level.
  • Topic: Globalization
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Muzaffer Senel
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: THE CONTINUITIES, changes, ruptures, and transformation of Egyptian foreign policy have been analyzed from different angles. The changes in Egyptian foreign policy, in line with the Arab Spring and its transformative forces, were important for analysts, practitioners, and scholars working on both foreign policy and International Relations theory. Since the end of the Cold War, academia has become more receptive to the issues of the Middle East. However, in the last decade most work on the Middle East have revolved around a limited number of themes: ethnic/religious-based violence, the Arab/Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the Iranian nuclear issue, and problems related to Israel. Despite the prolific amount of literature on the foreign policies of Arab Middle Eastern countries, many of these works lack a theoretical analysis of the geostrategic positioning of these countries within the dynamics of international political power. Geostrategic positioning helps measure the possible weight of a country within the existing interna-tional and regional system, which leads to the analysis of what role a country can play in international politics. Mehmet Özkan's book is a timely addition to this literature with its in-depth analytical historical analysis and theoretical angle.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Egypt
  • Author: Richard Falk
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The end of the Cold War marked the end of adversary patterns of alignment in the Middle East, and the ebbing dichotomy between the U.S. and USSR led to vast uncertainty. In response, then-President Turgut Özal stated, as early as 1991, that Turkey should seek an active foreign policy. It was not, until the AK Party came to power a decade later, however, that Ankara began to seriously question Turkey's acquiescence in Washington's strategic unipolarity. Ahmet Davutoglu's appointment as Foreign Minister emphasized Turkey's independence and activism, causing unease in Washington. Nevertheless, the U.S. has been generally flexible toward a more independent Turkish foreign policy, under the condition that it does not threaten vital U.S. interests.
  • Topic: Cold War
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East
  • Author: Michael M. Gunter
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The Turkish-Kurdish peace process began in early 2013 and stalled soon after. During that period, the Kurds expected the government to release KCK activists, improve Ocalan's prison conditions, allow Kurdish-language education, and lower the 10-percent electoral threshold. In response, the government announced a reform package, which, among others, allowed education in Kurdish in private schools. The government also sought to shut down Ocalan and remove the PKK from the peace process, by reaching out to Massoud Barzani's Kurdistan Regional Government. Still, there is no doubt that a strong and democratic Turkey would improve the Turkish-Kurdish relationship and benefit the lives of Kurdish citizens.
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • 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: Franck Düvell
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: States often fall out or collaborate over issues to do with international migration whilst migrants through their very actions shape the interdependence of states. Turkey and the EU also frequently argue over migration issues. Over the years, Turkey's economy grew significantly. It became an attraction and a safe haven to migrants and refugees. In April 2013, a new migration and asylum law came into force that responds to these new challenges. This was followed by the EU-Turkey visa liberalisation and readmission agreements. This contribution sketches some of the issues and notably the wider context to these latest developments.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Migration
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Azzam Tamimi
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: During the months leading up to July 3, 2013, the state of Egypt mirrored that of Chile 40 years ago. What Egypt's Mohamed Mursi and Chile's Salvador Allende shared was the misfortune of coming to power with a relatively large majority and an adamant refusal to surrender. While there is no evidence of U.S. involvement in the process, America and its allies in the European Union have refrained from calling what happened in Egypt a coup. Egypt – much like Chile – will likely return to the path of democracy, though after considerable time and effort, and a projected roadmap that will likely generate further economic hardship and instability.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Egypt, Chile
  • Author: James M. Dorsey
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Surveying today's Middle Eastern and North African landscape offers few straws of hope. Iran's reemergence producing a potential catalyst for a focus on core domestic political, economic and social issues could be one of those few straws. Whether Iran wittingly or unwittingly plays that role, the Middle East and North Africa are only likely to break their internecine cycle of violence and despair when the alternative becomes too costly. A resolution of the nuclear issue offers Iran far more than the ultimate lifting of crippling international sanctions. It would also allow Iran to capitalize on geostrategic gains it has made despite its international isolation. What worries opponents of the nuclear deal like Israel and Saudi Arabia most is the potential transformation of Iran from a game spoiler into a constructive player.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Saudi Arabia, North Africa
  • Author: Kilic Bugra Kanat
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The transformation of Turkish foreign policy has become a closely followed subject, fueling important debates on the underlying reasons, resources, actors, outcomes, and nature of the policy progress. This change has also introduced new challenges to those who have adopted generic models to understand and explain Turkish foreign policy. This article will examine and discuss the main causes that have complicated the study of Turkish foreign policy during this period, such as simultaneous changes in the nature and conceptualization of the international system –the end of the unipolar world, the emergence of new power centers - and domestic transformations in Turkey, including active civilian control of military, the emergence of an attentive public opinion in foreign policy.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Turkey
  • Author: Emre Ersen
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Critical geopolitics, which is a relatively new field of study for scholars of international relations, seeks to understand and analyze how politics is imagined spatially. To this end, it makes a distinction between three types of geopolitical reasoning: formal, practical, and popular geopolitics. Ahmet Davutoğlu is a very significant figure in terms of exploring the close relationship between formal and practical geopolitics in the context of Turkey due to his dual identities as an international relations professor and a foreign minister. Employing a critical geopolitical approach, this paper aims to discuss Davutoğlu's geopolitical ideas toward the Middle East by analyzing his writings and speeches to reveal the main images and narratives that shape his geopolitical understanding of this region.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Mehmet Ugur Ekinci
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This article provides a general overview of Turkey's relations with the Western Balkans during the AK Party government. Although the Western Balkans has always been of primary interest for Turkey, the relations with this region had progressed only slowly and partially until the mid-2000s. From that time onwards, the convergence of a number of factors, including Turkey's economic progress, the AK Party's active foreign policy vision, the growth of civil society and the business sector, and favorable international political and economic conditions created new opportunities for Turkey in the Western Balkans. Consequently, the relations between Turkey and the Western Balkans has developed rapidly, especially in the economic and social spheres. Meanwhile, Turkey still has to deal with certain challenges and shortcomings for further deepening of these relations and their translation into political influence.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Cold War, Economics
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Balkans
  • Author: CEMALETTIN HASIMI
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: During the last decade international development assistance became an indispensable aspect of Turkish foreign policy. While expanding development cooperation activities both geographically and in the variety of development programs, Turkey's successful demand-driven aid policy and effective responses to humanitarian crises gained global attention. Displaying a systematic increase, Turkey has become the 4th largest do-nor in development assistance and 3rd in humanitarian aid generosity in 2012, providing development assistance to 131 countries listed as aid recipients in 2011. This study, providing the most up-to-date and comprehensive data on Turkish developmental assistance, aims to provide a history of Turkey's international assistance policy with a focus on the last decade.
  • Topic: Humanitarian Aid
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Edibe Sozen, M. Hakan Yavuz
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to examine the social and political causes of the Gezi protests, and their long- and short-term impact on Turkey's domestic landscape. As part of our endeavor to enrich the conversation over the protests, this paper puts in context both the meaning and media coverage of the Gezi protests. This in turn will explain how on the one hand a protest over a particular environmental dispute escalated into vulgar anti- Erdoğan slogans and wild Tahrir comparisons, but on the other hand faded away without leaving a mark on Turkey's national political map. Following our analysis of the Gezi Park phenomenon, we will offer our view of its implications.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey