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  • Author: Alexander Iskandaryan, Aybars Görgülü, David Barchard, Sergey Minasyan
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV)
  • Abstract: After unimaginable steps in recent years, Turkish-Armenian relations have reached a point where full diplomatic relations could be established and the land border between the two countries could be opened. However seven months on from the signing of the historic protocols in Zurich, the process has stalled. TESEV Foreign Policy Program and Caucasus Institute’s new report “Assessing the Rapprochement Process” attempts to analyse progress to this point, identify why the process has stalled and offers recommendations aimed at solving the current impasse. Working in a collaborative fashion, the authors from both organisations identified the following areas where progress can be made: The ratification process must continue. Momentum is fickle and letting the protocols sit and fester is in no one’s interest. Rapprochement is a two pronged process: one involves the technical normalisation of relations and the other is reconciliation between the two societies. Both are extremely important and require both states and society to play a significant and active role. The media in both Turkey and Armenia has a responsibility to create an atmosphere conducive to rapprochement. Unbiased, positive and accurate reporting is far more favourable than the existing sensationalism common on both sides of the border.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Caucasus, Middle East, Armenia
  • Author: Meliha Benli Altunisik, Mustafa Ellabbad
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV)
  • Abstract: The main objective of this study is to uncover different views on Turkey among opinion makers and bureaucrats as well as among the public in the Arab world. To this aim, along with the aforementioned survey data, personal interviews were also conducted and incorporated into the publication. As the report makes clear, not only have Arab perspectives on Turkey become increasingly positive in recent years but also debate of Turkey in the Arab world has become more nuanced.
  • Topic: International Relations, Regional Cooperation, Public Opinion
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Dilek Kurban, Yılmaz Ensaroğlu
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV)
  • Abstract: There is more to the dominance of “rule of law” or “supremacy of law” in a state than the mere availability of a constitution or laws, or the presence of judicial institutions. Indeed, it is a fact of history that even the bloodiest dictatorships had their idiosyncratic laws and courts. In addition, there are countless historical examples of tyrannical and oppressive policies being implemented through courts. Thus, in paying special attention to the matter, international human rights law emphasizes in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that “…it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law.” Article 3 of the Statute of the Council of Europe follows suit: “Every member of the Council of Europe must accept the principles of the rule of law and of the enjoyment by all persons within its jurisdiction of human rights and fundamental freedoms…” Article 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights, in addition, states: “The High Contracting Parties shall secure to everyone within their jurisdiction the rights and freedoms defined in Section I of this Convention.” These and other instruments of law confer on the states substantial responsibilities for the protection of human rights. Of a state’s obligations in that regard, the most important include constitutional and legal recognition of citizens’ human rights, non-interference in individuals’ exercise of those rights as long as such exercise does not violate the freedoms of others, and protection of those rights against interventions by others. These obligations have also become sources and criteria for a state’s claim to legitimacy. In other words, states are now considered to be legitimate to the extent they recognize and protect human rights. As a matter of fact, the protection of states’ rights to sovereignty cannot hold its ground against human rights, thus no state can have recourse to the ‘non-intervention in domestic affairs’ discourse in the face of violations within that state’s borders. The judiciary is the most important mechanism that will check the compliance of government policies and practices with the law and protect citizens’ rights and freedoms. This is why all acts and transactions of the administration need to be subject to judicial review in a state where rule of law prevails. In short, the judiciary is the one and only power that will put the principle of the rule of law into practice. In order for the judiciary to serve that function, that is, to protect human rights, it is indispensable that constitutional and legal arrangements be compatible with human rights law. Put differently, implementing the principle of rule of law necessitates that the law should, instead of siding with the state, have an autonomous standing vis-à-vis the state. The law must maintain equal distance to the state and the citizen. Otherwise, it will not be able to serve its arbitral function between the two sides, and as a result, its legitimacy becomes contested. Considering Turkey in this light, one sees that the legal framework has adopted the ideology of creating a homogenous society and a modern nation, instead of securing all individuals’ rights. Founded as a modern state upon the remnants of the multi-religious, multilingual, and multiethnic Ottoman Empire, the Turkish Republic decided that it would not be possible for it to realize the plans to construct the new nation without denying room to the distinct identities. In line with the secularist and nationalist policies pursued as an outgrowth of this approach, the legal framework underwent a complete overhaul. It has become widely accepted today that Kurds were one of the primary targets of these policies. As a matter of fact, in addition to general legal and constitutional amendments necessary for a Turkey committed to human rights and the rule of law, a number of particular arrangements are also required for a lasting and democratic solution to the Kurdish Question. Constituting the main focus of this report, these arrangements can be broken down into two groups: constitutional and legal. Although the constitutional articles and legal provisions examined in detail and the regulations and statutes which occupy lesser space in the report might appear to have a general character and do not include the words “Kurd” or “Kurdish”, they are essentially instruments aiming to restrict Kurds’ fundamental rights and freedoms and practically causing indirect discrimination against the Kurds. It goes without saying that several administrative measures that do not necessitate any particular legal arrangements must also be taken to solve the Kurdish Question. Discussed as part of the debates on the ‘democratic initiative’, some of these measures include the restitution of names in Kurdish and other languages to places plastered with Turkish names, removal of nationalist slogans etched by the state onto mountain slopes in Turkey’s eastern and southeastern region, changing the militarist names given to schools in the same region, and appointment of Kurdish-speaking public servants in the region to facilitate the use of Kurdish language in accessing public services. Though they are outside the scope of this report, these administrative steps and similar others need to be negotiated upon with Kurdish political representatives and opinion leaders and put in practice soon.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Law, Constitution, Legislation, Kurds
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Kurdistan
  • Author: Dilek Kurban, Konstantinos Tsitselikis
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV)
  • Abstract: This report aims to analyze the implications of reciprocity policies on the day-to-day lives of Muslim and non-Muslim minorities in Greece and Turkey, specifically their impact on the community foundations2 belonging to these minorities. With a specific focus on the property and self-management issues of Muslim and non-Muslim community foundations in Greece and Turkey, the report will try to situate the issue in its historical context and trace the evolution of the ‘community foundation issue’ from Lausanne to the present day. Drawing similarities and differences between the laws, policies, and practices of Greek and Turkish states vis-à-vis their minority foundations, the report will critically assess the progress made to this day as well as identify the outstanding issues. In the hope of contributing to efforts to develop a democratic, sustainable, and just resolution of the problems facing community foundations, the report will propose policy solutions to the governments of Turkey and Greece.
  • Topic: Human Rights, International Law, Treaties and Agreements, Law, Minorities
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Greece
  • Author: Melissa Conley Tyler
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Australian Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Australian Institute of International Affairs (AIIA) was established over 75 years ago to promote public understanding and interest in international affairs. In recent years the AIIA has been increasingly active in promoting its activities to younger members of the community. The AIIA has launched a variety of initiatives to involve young people including ACCESS Youth Networks, careers fairs, schools events and the Young Diplomat Program. This has helped the AIIA reach its present strength of more than 1600 members across seven State and Territory Branches.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Australia
  • Author: Jeffrey P. Bialos, Stuart L. Koehl
  • Publication Date: 01-2004
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Transatlantic Relations
  • Abstract: At the end of the day, missile defense is and should be here to stay as a key element of U.S., and in all likelihood, European defense strategy for the twenty-first century. The threats are real and there is an emerging consensus about creating defenses against it. While the “macro” issues of ABM withdrawal and initial fielding of the U.S. midcourse segment are behind us, there are very legitimate issues that warrant debate on both sides of the Atlantic. We now need to focus on making the right choices to provide a better balance of capabilities between various strategic, regional, force protection, and homeland security needs. Moreover, U.S.-European engagement on missile defense is potentially, but not inevitably, a win-win proposition—binding alliance partners together geo-politically, creating a layered, multi-national plug and play “system of system” architecture, and enhancing our ability to fight wars together. And, an enhanced coalition war fighting capability is likely to have beneficial spillover effects on the broader Transatlantic relationship; it is axiomatic that countries that fight wars together tend to have congruent interests in a range of areas. But for this to happen, Europe needs to begin to seriously consider its missile defense needs soon and apply resources to the task and the United States needs to resolve the underlying technology transfer issues and questions of roles and responsibilities. Thus, with hard work and good will, multi-national cooperation between the United States and its allies offers “win-win” from the standpoint of strengthening the alliance and our mutual security.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy, Weapons , Missile Defense
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe