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  • Author: Muhittin Ataman
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: When we consider Saudi Arabian large population, territories and natural resources, it is obvious that it will continue to preserve its geopolitical, geo-economic and geo-cultural importance in future. The assumption of King Abdullah as the ruler of the country provided an opportunity to restructure the country's foreign policy. The new king began to follow a more pragmatic, rational, interdependent, multilateral and multidimensional foreign policy. He pursues an active foreign policy required to be less dependent on a single state (the United States) and on a single product (oil).
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Oil, Political Economy, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Turkey, Middle East, Arabia, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Evrydiki Fotopoulou, Erdal Tanas Karagöl
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: It has been almost four years since the global financial crisis started in 2008 and it has become an inherently European affair. One after another, weaker European economies seeing their growth plummeting have become unable to recover on their own and are resorting to loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), European Central Bank (ECB) and the European Union (EU). Already, Ireland, Greece and Portugal have requested full bailouts with Southern Cyprus as the newcomer, still under negotiation, while Spain has requested only partial assistance not acknowledging it may soon need full support. Many experts predict that Italy will follow suit as it is quite possible that it will be the next which without any access to credit markets to finance its needs. This policy analysis sheds some light on the current status of these countries: how the crisis was brought about, what measures they took, how have they performed thus far and what are the prospects for them. The role of the European Union is also being discussed in reference to the hesitant way it has addressed the problem and the cracks that appeared in the European establishment due to lack of mutual understanding and cooperation. In contrast to the weaker European economies, neighboring Turkey has managed to recover fast and exhibit positive signs that the economy is moving towards more sustainable growth rates while dealing with domestic vulnerabilities. This comparison serves as a reminder to reconsider both the usefulness of the single currency as well as whether Turkey's economy would benefit from closer ties with it, given that Europe faces a continued slowdown at least until 2014.
  • Topic: Markets, Global Recession, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey
  • Author: Ufuk Ulutas
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The publication of the Palmer report written by the panel of inquiry established by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon once again brought the 31 May 2010 Gaza Flotilla incident and the blockade of Gaza back to world's attention. On May 31, 2010, Israeli commandos stormed a passenger ship, the Mavi Marmara, the largest boat of a flotilla of six boats which were carrying 10000 tons of humanitarian aid to besieged Gaza, in international high waters. The operation left 9 activists dead and over 30 activists wounded. The Israeli military assault against the Mavi Marmara immediately ignited worldwide protests and condemnation. Turkey, whose citizens were attacked by Israeli soldiers in international high waters, 72 miles away from the Gazan coast, took the lead in protests and condemnation. Israel, however, claimed that the demonstrators on the Mavi Marmara were aiming to break the blockade of Gaza and the Israeli commandos were forced onboard to react in an act of self-defense.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Humanitarian Aid
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Bülent Aras
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The Palestinian question is a central issue at the both state and society level in Turkey. Thousands of Turkish people protested the Israeli aggression against the Palestinians in Gaza this month in different parts of Turkey. Turkish PM Erdogan responded to the Israeli action by labeling it an act of disrespect to Turkey and suspended Turkey's facilitating role for indirect talks between Israel and Syria. Erdogan also initiated an intensive diplomatic campaign at the regional and international levels, utilizing Turkey's seat in the United Nations Security Council. Turkey calls for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, and urges a compromise between rival Palestinian groups. Finally, the war on Gaza will have far-reaching consequences for the future of the region as well as for Turkish-Israeli relations.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Central Asia, Turkey, Middle East, Palestine
  • Author: ALİ ÇARKOĞLU
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This article aims at presenting a descriptive account of the March 2009 local elections in Turkey. Comparing the general and local elections since 2004, an overall evaluation of trends in electoral preferences is presented. Using provincial general council election results, a detailed geographical comparative analysis of the 2004 and 2009 local elections is also carried out. The analyses show that the AKP's rise has stalled but it still remains as the dominant power in the party system. The electoral map continues to be divided between the coastal western and most developed provinces where the opposition is significantly supported, the east and southeastern provinces where the Kurdish ethnic electoral support is rising and the more conservative provinces in between where the AKP continues to be dominant with the MHP trailing behind. Even though the March 2009 elections had all the characteristics of a local election, they also revel the rising trends in electoral behaviour in Turkey.
  • Topic: Democratization, Ethnic Conflict, Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Asia
  • Author: Bülent Aras
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Ahmet Davutoğlu was appointed Foreign Minister of Turkey on May 1, 2009. Chief advisor to the Prime Minister since 2002, Davutoğlu is known as the intellectual architect of Turkish foreign policy under the AK Party. He articulated a novel foreign policy vision and succeeded, to a considerable extent, in changing the rhetoric and practice of Turkish foreign policy. Turkey's new dynamic and multidimensional foreign policy line is visible on the ground, most notably to date in the country's numerous and significant efforts to address chronic problems in the neighboring regions. Davutoğlu's duty will now shift from the intellectual design of policies to greater actual involvement in foreign policy, as he undertakes his new responsibilities as Minister of Foreign Affairs. The Davutoğlu era in Turkish foreign policy will deepen Turkey's involvement in regional politics, international organizations, and world politics.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Power Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Asia
  • Author: Tarik Oguzlu
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Recent years have made it clear that NATO is going through a transformation process; Turkey will be one of the allies most affected by this process. Both the future of NATO and Turkey's perception of NATO membership will be at stake unless the allies can reach consensus on the core strategic issues of the transformation agenda. Analysts urgently need to come up with convincing answers to the following questions: In which ways has NATO's transformation been going through? Why does Turkey feel uneasy with some aspects of the process? What steps should Turkey take in order to ensure that the transformation of the Alliance is viewed positively at home?
  • Topic: NATO, International Cooperation, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Central Asia, Turkey
  • Author: Cengiz Çandar
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: There is a lively debate centered on whether Turkey is undergoing an axis shift, meaning Turkey is drifting away from the Transatlantic system and heading towards the Middle East in the most acclaimed dailies and journals of the Western world. One may witness a flurry of commentaries, appraisals and op-ed articles published in these media outlets. Taking notice of the vibrant debate on Turkey's orientation in the international sphere, Turkey's leaders underlined Turkey's position with varying degrees of emphasis. Despite the statements of Turkey's policymakers, which argue against the idea of shift of axis, the debates over Turkey's identity and foreign policy orientation has not lost steam. The shift should not be attributed to Turkey's departure from its Western ties to be replaced by those with the East but rather, a shift of power as the inevitable outcome of the end of the Cold War and a fact of the new millennium.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Bülent Aras
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: After the collapse of the Soviet Union, a Turkish world from the “Adriatic Sea to the Chinese Wall” became a new topic of discussion in Turkish policy circles. While Turkey tried to develop close political, economic and cultural relations with the newly independent Central Asian Republics, the mid and late 1990s witnessed a steady decline in the relations and failed to produce any concrete results. With its new foreign policy outlook, Turkey is seeking to increase its field of sphere in Central Asia by revitalizing its efforts to reconnect with the sister Turkish states. Security, economic cooperation, energy and civil society initiatives are the new dynamics of the Turkish- Central Asian relations
  • Topic: International Relations, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Central Asia, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Enika Abazi
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Kosovo's independence has revealed shifting strategic landscapes, security concerns and domestic developments in regional and international politics with significant implications for all actors in the region. Russia calculated to restore its lost 'superpower' status and control Serbia's strategic oil industries. Turkey's prompt recognition of independence increased its impact and prevented a stronger Greek-Serb- Russian axis in the region, while strengthening its Western identity. Kosovo's independence will be a test case for keeping peace and stability in the Balkans within the new dynamics of regional and international politics.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Asia, Kosovo, Balkans, Albania
  • Author: Hasan Kösebalaban
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The closure case against AK Party heralds a new era in Turkish politics marked by the increased intervention of the judiciary in politics. Inasmuch as the governing party enjoys support of half of the Turkish electorate, the case has harmed the image of Turkish democracy and consequently risks jeopardizing Turkey's quest for full membership in the EU. The overall reaction of the West to the case indicates that the Western political and intellectual elites avoid the conventional Islamist secularist dichatomy in interpreting Turkish politics. To-level EU bureaucrats have emphasized that closure would seriously jeopardize the process of membership. AK Party needs to accelerate the democratization process by focusing on the rest of the constitutional reforms required for EU membership.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Erdal T. Karagöl
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Since 1960, nineteen Standby arrangements have been signed. With these agreements, significant progress has been made in Turkish economy: inflation has fallen to the lowest level since 1986, the public debtto- GNP ratio has been falling, and interest rates have declined rapidly. IMF's immediate goals concern exchange rate stability and balance of payments, and evaluations of IMF programs tend to concentrate on these two objectives. Yet, whether or not the IMF programs have positive effects on these short-term goals, what ultimately matters is that they induce economic growth and do not concentrate on incomes.
  • Topic: Economics, International Organization, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Mustafa Şentop
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Female students with headscarf are currently prevented to enter the university in Turkey although there is no legal ground for such a ban. The ongoing controversy about the type of clothing for female students at the higher education institutions has become more intensified since the recent constitutional change in February 2008 to lift the de facto headscarf ban. The debate over this question revolves around whether headscarf is a religious attire or a political symbol, whether it should be banned to protect the secular foundations of the state or conversely allowed on the basis of individual freedom of religion as a corollary of secularism. The solution lies in the implementation of constitutional amendments without a further delay.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Education, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Hakki Uygur
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The Iranian nuclear issue has serious implications for regional and international security and as such requires a comprehensive analysis of the Iranian domestic power structure, foreign policy decision making process and nuclear diplomacy. Iran has a complex internal decision making process and the management of nuclear issue makes the situation more complicated. This policy brief argues that the Iranian nuclear issue is as much a regional and international issue as it is part of the domestic power struggle in Iran. It also argues that Turkey should follow the nuclear issue closely and play a constructive role in opposing the proliferation of WMD including nuclear weapons in the Middle East while maintaining good relations with Iran.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: Iran, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Yusuf Yazar, Hasan Hüseyin Erkaya
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Turkey has a growing economy demanding about 7% more energy each year. It's electric power generation capacity (approx. 41,000 MW) must be doubled in the next 10 years to meet the demand. Natural gas has a significant share in electricity production, which should be reduced. Domestic and renewable energies should be employed in meeting the demand. Turkey took major steps toward liberalization of its energy market. Private enterprises are expected to invest in the energy market in a timely manner. Turkey has an “energy corridor” position between the gas and oil producing countries and the importing countries. Turkey's efforts to actualize the use of renewable and domestic sources should be supported.
  • Topic: Development, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Rabia Karakaya Polat
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: In the parliamentary elections of July 22, 2007, AKP (Justice and Development Party) won 47% of the votes, obtaining a very strong mandate to take issue with Turkey's outstanding problems. In the predominantly Kurdish east and southeast region, the AKP doubled its vote from 26% to 53%. The AKP seemed to have persuaded the Kurds thanks to the party's earlier moves to solve the Kurdish problem by granting more rights and freedoms as well as jobs and economic prosperity. Having started the negotiation process with the EU and obtaining such a strong mandate from the Kurdish voters, why did the AKP turn its back to the Kurdish issue? This can be explained with reference to three groups of factors working at the domestic, the EU and international levels.
  • Topic: Political Economy, Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Kurdistan
  • Author: Bülent Aras
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Turkish policymakers exhibit a high degree of selfconfidence and willingness to pursue intensive diplomatic initiatives in the Middle East. Turkey pursues a multidimensional policy line to foster peace and stability in the region, and has already enjoyed some degree of success. Turkish policymakers seek to utilize Turkey's good relations with Syria and Israel to wield an influence on these countries to facilitate Israeli-Syrian negotiations. The increasing level of trust to Turkey's new image of civil-economic power in the Middle East and the U.S. support for Turkey's potential contribution to chronic problems of the region have made Turkey a potential mediator in the decades-long Syrian-Israeli conflict.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Saban Kardas
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The Turkish Constitutional Court's verdict annulling the Parliament's amendments to Articles 10 and 42 of the Constitution disregards popular will, legalizes arbitrary restrictions on the right to equal access to education, and erodes the separation of powers by permitting itself to act outside of the legal order. The emergence of a new precedent of judicial activism is now the biggest threat to the future of Turkish democracy. Turkey cannot afford an unaccountable judiciary exercising substantial powers of governance through judicialization of politics. The Parliament must reassert its authority and reconfigure the Court's competences and composition to bring it into line with liberal-democratic principles as part of a comprehensive constitutional reform.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Democratization, Government
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Aylin S. Gorener
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Perhaps the most consequential and drastic decision in Turkish foreign policy in recent months was to engage in direct negotiations with Kurdish Regional Government in northern Iraq. This is significant because, since the onset of Iraq War in 2003, Turkey has sought to ignore or marginalize Iraqi Kurds, and has refrained from all acts that could be viewed as concessions or de facto recognition. Although the Iraqi Kurdish leadership has received red-carpet ceremony in Ankara in the1990s, Turkish foreign policy toward northern Iraq, since the war, has been stymied by anxiety and emotional rhetoric. Indeed, the fear of Iraq's disintegration and the rise of an independent Kurdish enclave in the north, inspiring or even assisting separatist sentiments in Turkey, have appeared to cloud the possibility of rational evaluation of the pros and cons of policy alternatives. As a result, the policy of projecting illegitimacy to the Kurdish Regional Government has cost Turkey a significant loss of clout not only in northern Iraq but also in the wider Iraqi political affairs, as Kurds have come to occupy significant positions in the central government as well.
  • Topic: Government, International Political Economy, War
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Ihsan D. Dagi
  • Publication Date: 08-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The Constitutional Court ruled not to close down the AK Party, relieving Turkey from an unprecedented level of political uncertainty, social and economic turmoil, and potential chaos. Instead, the court chose to keep the ruling party under close scrutiny by declaring it “a focal point of anti-secular activities,” and imposing financial measures.
  • Topic: Government, Islam, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East