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  • Author: Ayşe İrem Aycan Özer
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This analysis is about the change in Israel’s security understanding. Israel is a country located in the Middle East surrounded by Arab regimes which were historically hostile to its very existence in the region. The unification of the Arab countries against Israel and the lack of an ally in the region created a constant fear in Israel. When it started having better relations with Egypt, Jordan, and Turkey, Israel ended its isolation and found partners in its immediate geography. Even when relations between Turkey and Israel took a turn for the worse, Israel continued to have Egypt and Jordan on its side.
  • Topic: International Security
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: In 2018, Turkey encountered a complex security environment and endured a wide range of challenging situations ranging from cross-border counterterrorism operations to multidimensional conflicts involving various influential state actors. With this in mind, the SETA Security team compiled SETA Security Radar: Turkey’s Security Landscape in 2019 in line with the critical developments that took place in 2018. This work aims to provide a timely and accessible assessment of the challenges awaiting Turkey in 2019. Hence, SETA Security Radar: Turkey’s Security Landscape in 2019 pertains to the following topics: Turkey’s role in Syria, Turkey’s counterterrorism strategy, Turkey’s military activism, the Turkish defense agenda, Turkey and the Eastern Mediterranean, and Turkey’s bilateral relations with the United States and Russia. By creating awareness among policymakers and interested researchers, SETA Security Radar: Turkey’s Security Landscape in 2019 intends to achieve a common understanding of the security prospects awaiting Turkey in 2019.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Murat Yeşiltaş, Omar Özkızılcık
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Since the planned wide-scale military operation by the Assad regime in July 2018 against the different military factions, Idlib has been the center of the Syrian conflict. On January 1, 2019, renewed clashes between Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the former Al-Nusra Front, and the Nureddin Zengi Movement brought Idlib again at the epicenter of the Syrian conflict. Now, HTS has become a dominant power in the region in terms of controlling territory, and has become capable of transforming Idlib. This paper aims to give a brief overview of the recent battle and the dynamics inside Idlib which led to the fighting between the Nureddin Zengi Movement and HTS. Furthermore, the dynamics which enabled HTS to win the battle will be analyzed. Based on the implications for the interfactional dynamics in Idlib, the Sochi agreement between Turkey and Russia has to be adjusted given that certain of its terms couldn’t be implemented on the ground. The paper also offers an array of possible scenarios of how Turkey and Russia might adjust the Sochi agreement in order to counter the violent extremist group in Idlib and prevent a humanitarian crisis
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Mehmet Ugur Ekinci
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The decline in the speed of the EU enlargement and in the EU’s transforming power has led to the rise of alarmism among international commentators regarding the future of the Balkans. The argument is usually twofold: if the EU integration of the Balkans is delayed further, not only will ominous third actors jump in and bring instability, but also the Balkan people will start grabbing each other’s throats. This is obviously a hegemonic discourse based on the immutable assumption that the EU is and will be the only legitimate international actor to be present in the region and ensure peace and prosperity there. It also assumes, by disregarding the historical contexts of the earlier conflicts in the region, that the Balkan societies are inherently violent and immature.
  • Topic: International Organization
  • Political Geography: European Union
  • Author: Zeliha Eliaçık
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: To the contrary of its relatively “new” relations with the United States of America, Turkey’s relations with the West have been established and continued via Europe since the period of the Ottoman Empire.1 The military alliance and cooperation initiated between Turkey and Germany in the late 19th century have gained a human dimension in the frame of the “Turkish Labor Force Agreement” signed upon the settlement of Turkish workers in Germany in the 20th century. Bilateral relations have been maintained without interruption despite occasional fluctuations in the intensity of these relations. Recently, the two countries have maintained closer ties as they both are affected by the U.S. sanctions and “trade wars.”
  • Topic: International Relations, International Cooperation, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Germany, Global Focus
  • Author: Murat Yeşiltaş, Omar Özkızılcık
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: On December 19, 2018, U.S. officials stated that the Pentagon has an order to move troops out of Syria as quickly as possible, and began to inform partners in northeastern Syria of their plans to begin an immediate pullback of American forces from the region where they have been trying to wrap up the campaign against the Daesh. Shortly after the Washington Journal report, President Trump wrote on Twitter, “We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency.” In a statement, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed, “We have started returning United States troops home as we transition to the next phase of this campaign.” She pointed out that “[t]hese victories over ISIS in Syria do not signal the end of the Global Coalition or its campaign.” Additionally, U.S. officials told Reuters that all U.S. State Department personnel are being evacuated from Syria within 24 hours and U.S. troops will pull out of Syria in a time frame of between 60 to 100 days. This development came after Turkey’s military decisiveness to clear its border of the terrorist threat, Turkey’s airstrikes against PKK positions on the Sinjar and Karajak Mountains in Iraq, and the phone call between President Erdogan and Trump. The decision by Trump will be a turning point in the Syrian conflict, but how this development will reshape Turkish-American bilateral..
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Syria
  • Author: Murat Yeşiltaş
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: DAESH was one of Turkey’s significant security threats and the terrorist group was able to conduct several major terrorist attacks on Turkish soil; however, DAESH terrorism was halted by Turkish counterterrorism efforts which culminated in cross-border military engagements. This paper analyzes the factors behind this success in order to draw conclusions that explain why previous terrorist attacks took place, and to offer proposals that can further enhance Turkey’s national security policy in a post-DAESH environment. The study argues that specific developments such as the territorial decline of DAESH, the removal of the terrorist group from the borders, enhancements in intelligence and operation fields, and counterterrorism experience ensured the prevention of more terrorist attacks by DAESH terrorists. Consequently, this study proposes that in a post-DAESH setting, Turkey’s national security should be shaped by certain requirements including intelligence superiority, high-level readiness, awareness, and external military activism. Furthermore, it is important that Turkey meticulously examines from the perspective of de-radicalization the possible risks that could unfold from the thousands of DAESH militants detained and currently incarcerated within its borders.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Mohammed Hafez
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: On April 21, a manifesto was published in the French daily Le Parisien. It was signed by some 300 prominent people, intellectuals and politicians including former President Nicolas Sarkozy and former Prime Minister Manuel Valls. The manifesto “contre le nouvel antisémitisme (lit. against the new anti-Semitism)” basically stresses an older topic that is regularly popping up around the Global North, especially in France: According to this concept of “new antiSemitism”, anti-Semitism is currently not a threat perpetrated by the political far-right, but rather by Muslims living in the West
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: When Islamic finance is mentioned around the world, the first thing that comes to mind is Islamic banks. The sphere of Islamic finance has expanded in the last decade with developments particularly in capital markets and the insurance sector. Nonetheless, the market share of Islamic finance in the world’s financial market accounts for approximately 1 percent. Still, many segments are interested in Islamic finance because of its high growth figures, resilience against crises, and the fact that it offers a system that prioritizes ethical values in contrast to conventional finance. Islamic banks in Turkey date back to the establishment of the Adapazarı Islamic Trade Bank (Adapazarı İslam Ticaret Bankası) in Sakarya (Adapazarı) in 1913. However, examples of globally accepted Islamic banking models in Turkey appeared with the emergence of Special Finance Houses (SFHs) following the passage of relevant legal regulations in 1984
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Markets
  • Author: Şener Aktürk
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This article analyzes Turkish-Russian relations since the end of the Cold War (1992-2014) from a neorealist perspective, while highlighting relevant analogies and major turning points. Georgia (2008), Syria (2011--), and Ukraine (2014--) crises have has been detrimental for the two countries, mutual economic interests with strategic significance, such as the increasing importance of Turkey as a potential reseller of Russian natural gas, have sustained a high level of cooperation between the two countries.
  • Political Geography: Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, Georgia, Syria
  • Author: Mehmet Özkan
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Turkey's foreign policy in Africa has achieved more than what initially has been planned as Opening to Africa in the last decade. A new post-2014 vision for Africa is necessity for variety of reasons including the tiredness among some segments of society and some state institutions. This article outlines the challenges fort his vision and put forward some ideas for the future of Turkey-Africa relations. The underlying point is that time has come for partnership with other actor in Africa to deepen further the relations.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Turkey
  • Author: Olexiy Haran, Maria Zolkina
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Mass protests in Maidan, the central square of Kyiv, during the bitter cold winter of 2013-2014, known as 'Euromaidan' or 'Revolution of Dignity' were non-violent for more than two months. The demonstrations began when, under Russian pressure, former President Viktor Yanukovych abruptly resisted in signing the long promised Association Agreement with the EU. However, when President Yanukovych, reputed for his corruption and authoritarian style, responded to the peaceful protests by violent repression, Euromaidan quickly moved beyond its initial slogans and demanded the president's resignation. In February 2014, after security forces started to shoot protesters, Ukraine became one of the only countries in the world where a hundred people died “under the EU flags” defending democracy and the European choice. In this context, according to the agreement signed on February 21, 2014, between the opposition and President Yanukovych, the parliament returned to the 2004 constitutional reform and, consequently, combined a parliamentary-presidential form of government. The 2004 constitutional reform had previously been unconstitutionally abolished by President Yanukovych in 2010 and its restoration was among the main demands of the Euromaidan.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Zuri Linetsky
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: At the conclusion of the summer 2014 Gaza War Israel, Hamas, and the P.A. agreed to meet in Cairo, Egypt to discuss a long-term ceasefire. The goal of this summit was to allow for Gaza to rebuild itself, and for political changes associated with June's Unity Government deal between the P.A. and Hamas to take effect. The summit has since been postponed. However, Gaza still requires significant financial and material aid in order to function and provide for its people. This work examines the economic and security benefits to all parties involved of a long-term ceasefire between Israel, and Hamas. An economically open Gaza benefits Israel, the P.A. and Hamas, with few associated costs and creates an opportunity to reinvigorate final status negotiations.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Israel, Gaza, Egypt
  • Author: Kristen Sarah Biehl
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The growing flow of international migration to Turkey has serious implications for the social, economic and spatial transformation of recipient cities across the country. This paper highlights some of these implications by discussing findings from an ethnographic case study carried out in an inner-city locality of Istanbul. It raises four main points: 1) urban localities of migrant settlement are not accidental; 2) they are often highly diverse in new and complex ways; 3) space and difference are intricately intertwined in such urban localities; and 4) migration and diversification at the local scale can produce conflicted space narratives and governance systems. This paper aims to emphasize the importance of acknowledging the position and impact of migration to Turkey in the framework of larger processes of urban and societal transformation.
  • Topic: Economics, Migration, Governance
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: M. Murat Erdoğan
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This article is a summary of the study “Syrians in Turkey: Social Acceptance and Integration,” which was conducted by the Hacettepe University Migration and Politics Research Center-HUGO in six cities based on interviews with Syrians and locals and analysis of the media and NGOs. Over 1.8 million Syrians arrived in Turkey and accepted under “temporary protection” status between April 2011 and December 2014. The efforts of the Turkish government and society has spent 5-5,5 billion dollars on the crisis. Turkish society has been overwhelmingly accepting of Syrians. However, concerns and objections are increasing as the permanency of Syrians in Turkey becomes more visible. Therefore, it is essential to develop strategies on permanency with the support of Turkish society.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Syria
  • Author: Stephanie J. Nawyn, Nur Banu Kavakli Birdal
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This analysis offers an evaluation of the last three elections of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq. These three elections included the regional parliamentary elections in September 2013, and the local and federal elections held simultaneously in April 2014. The KRG, as a federal region, exists in the north of Iraq where Kurds have managed their own affairs through a regional government since 1992. The KRG elections have very little in common with elections in the rest of Iraq. Compared to the rest of Iraq, the “region” has experienced a very different trajectory during the last two decades. As a postwar region, the KRG strives to solidify a stable democracy in a landlocked region, which suffers from minimal economic capital and weak democratic culture.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Turkey
  • Author: Franck Düvell
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This article argues that Turkey is going through a paradigm transition regarding its migration characteristics and has changed from an emigration to an immigration country. It briefly reviews the history of immigration of mostly ethnic Turks or other Muslims to Turkey, but then concentrates on contemporary non-Turkic and non-Muslim immigrants. In the first part, it distinguishes between flows of travelers and migrants and stock of immigrants. Notably, it illustrates national diversity, assesses the quantitative level of immigration to Turkey, including estimates on irregular immigration, and addresses the geographic dispersal of immigrants across the country. In the second part, it analyzes the macro-level economic, political and social factors and discrepancies between Turkey, its neighbors and other countries in the wider region, which represent the structural determinants of migration. It concludes that immigration to Turkey is still comparably low but that due to macro-level factors, it could grow. In order to develop adequate policy responses, more research must be done.
  • Topic: Islam, Immigration
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: E. Murat Özgür, Ayla Deniz, Derya Hasta, M. Murat Yüceşahin, Sutay Yavuz
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Turkey in the recent years has become a destination for individuals from various regions, migration histories and experiences, with an explicit increase observed in the number of those coming from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Migrant groups coming to Turkey gather geographically in certain cities such as Antalya, a touristic city that has become an important migration destination, particularly for Russians and Azerbaijanis. The study aims to be acquainted with these migrants, who have been the subject of very few analyses, and to understand why they have immigrated to Antalya, substantially within framework of “Who are They?” and “Why are they Here?” It is based on data obtained from a comprehensive questionnaire applied to 418 Russian and Azerbaijani respondents. Moreover, the data is supported by observations, in-depth interviews and media analysis.
  • Political Geography: Russia, Azerbaijan
  • Author: Canan Balkir, İlkay Südaş
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: As a country in transition from emigration to immigration, Turkey hosts many diverse migrant groups, creating a very dynamic research field to explore. Amongst them, European retirees have settled in the coastal Turkish Riviera. This paper tries to understand the perspectives of both retired EU migrants and local hosts on migration and settlement processes. After briefly describing the geographical distribution of EU citizens in Turkey, the paper focuses on the demographic characteristics and socio-economic integration of retired migrants in Antalya, the most popular destination in Turkey.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey
  • Author: Susan Beth Rottmann
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: In conversation with recent work on transnational social fields, this article explores how Germany and Turkey are linked through a “set of multiple, interlocking, networks of social relationships” . The article examines how the social field affects migrants returning from Germany to Turkey. Specifically, it describes how the transnational social field emerges through a concrete set of economic, political and cultural exchanges. It also illustrates that the social field is a space of imaginations of Germany and Turkey, reflecting and producing citizens' uncertainties about the “Europeanness”. For German-Turkish return migrants, the transnational social field exacerbates conflicts with non-migrants and fosters anxieties about migrants' “Germanization” and loss of “Turkishness.” Ultimately, this research shows that Turkish citizens remain deeply concerned about the meaning of modernity, Muslim citizenship in Germany, and Turkey's current and future position in Europe.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Germany
  • Author: Sanaa Alimia
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Many Afghans, often male, in Pakistan are migrating (again) and increasingly toward 'new' destinations such as Turkey. Transnational lives are not unusual for Afghans as a method of survival, as well as a space for 'self-making'. However, these migrations are also the result of Turkey's own regional ambitions and projection of itself as a modern neoliberal 'Muslim' state. Moreover, increased migration is also a result of the historic role that cheap labor migrants, particularly from Central/South Asia, have played in the development of rising neoliberal economies. Thus in the 2000s and 2010s, as Turkey's 'star' rises, so too does Turkey find itself shifting from a migrant sending to a migrant receiving state.
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Turkey, India
  • Author: Judith Zijlstra
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This article discusses Turkey's increasing role as a country of immigration by using the case study of Iranian migration to Turkey. While Turkey predominantly functions as a transit country for Iranians on their way to the West, this article will focus on a small group of Iranian migrants who went to Turkey with the purpose of transit but eventually settled down in the country. At the same time, the article investigates the concepts of “transit” and “settlement” among a growing group of Iranian students who entered Turkish universities in recent years. In which ways can these students be compared to other Iranian migrants in Turkey? And to what extent are Turkey's institutions for higher education becoming an easy channel for migrants looking for ways to leave their home country?
  • Topic: Migration
  • Political Geography: Europe, Iran, Turkey
  • Author: Nilüfer Karacasulu, Irem Aşkar Karakır
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This paper discusses EU-Turkey relations with a specific reference to regional developments in the Middle East after the Arab Spring. In the last decade, the Turkish government has tried to intensify Turkey's influence in the region. However, increasing activism in Turkey's foreign policy toward the region was not accompanied by a parallel commitment in its relations with the EU. In the meantime, the EU was caught unprepared by the Arab Spring in the middle of the Euro-zone crisis, and now its strategic interests are being threatened by regional instability. Both sides have been faced with the task of adapting their policies to the political transitions in the region. After an analysis of their contemporary regional policies, this article argues that even though their strategies are not totally in line with each other, Turkey follows the same objectives that the EU neighborhood policy has pursued towards the Middle East.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Erdem Dikici
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Recently, there has been a growing body of literature on the multifaceted relationship between religion, politics and security in both national and global contexts, with a special emphasis on church-state relations and/or secularism. Various aspects and influences of religion on a variety of thematic issues occupy columns, journals and books. However, one might argue that the same does not apply for the study of religious freedom. The violation of religious freedom is a phenomenon that has been observed not only under authoritarian regimes or Third World countries, but also in democratic and so-called civilized nations. Authoritarian regimes, restrictive state policies, intolerant and hostile societies as well as security-oriented (inter)national political legitimations have tried to control, restrict or suppress the rights of religious groups and minorities and religion per se in the public sphere. In The Future of Religious Freedom, the different reasons for controlling religion through restrictive laws and policies are elaborated from a variety of perspectives.
  • Topic: Security, Politics, Law
  • Author: Valerie Behiery
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: he recent book edited by A.C.S. Peacock and Sara Nur Yıldız, The Seljuks of Anatolia: Court and Society in the Medieval Middle East, demonstrates how a cognizance of historiography affords the ability to reexamine a historical period. The book, which emerged out of a workshop held in Istanbul in 2009, reinvigorates the study of the Seljuk Empire. Its authors, in order to compensate for the paucity of Muslim sources on medieval Anatolia, draw from a number of “untapped” sources such as Greek and Armenian texts, epigraphy, poetry and letters sent to the court. More significantly, they employ innovative frameworks that test standard perceptions of the Sultanate of Rūm (c. 1081 -1308) and emphasize its religious, cultural, and linguistic diversity. Thus, while the cited aim of the book is to “explore how court and society interacted and shaped one [an]other,” moving “beyond the more purely political history that has dominated to date” (p. 4), its larger purpose of questioning entrenched views of the Seljuk dynasty and medieval Anatolia, and the methods that it uses to offer up new avenues of research make this book a benchmark in the field.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Armenia
  • Author: Tahire Erman
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This book is written as part of the series on “Modern Architectures in History.” Yet, it covers much more than architecture and urbanism in modern Turkey. It is a comprehensive study that relates the production of the physical environment to larger forces shaped by the economy (capitalism) and the state. Moreover, it demonstrates how the architectural environment is used by the Turkish state to 'shape' society. The different practices and ideologies from various eras are well articulated; detailed information as well as a large variety of photographs and drawings are provided to present a contextualized summary of modern architecture and urbanism in present-day Turkey. Consequently, I can say that the book is the product of a commitment to excellence both in content and visual presentation.
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Emilian Kavalski
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The discussion of China's growing prominence in international life has attracted the increasing attention of policy-makers, the public and scholars alike. Usually sidelined by the mainstream, such interest in China's role and position in global politics has grown exponentially in the context of the deepening concomitant economic, social and political crises across Europe and North America – which, until very recently, were considered the traditional locales of power and influence in world politics. Indicative of the emerging weight and significance of non-Western actors on the global stage, the trend set by China seems to challenge the conventional framework of the study and practice of International Relations (IR).
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, North America
  • Author: Shaimaa Magued
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Muslims in Modern Turkey: Kemalism, Modernism and the Revolt of the Islamic Intellectuals presents a comprehensive overview of contemporary Turkish intellectuals' thoughts on Kemalist ideology. With a selection of six intellectuals, the first chapter gives an overview of the Kemalist ideology and its sociocultural impact on both the private and public spheres in the newly-formed Turkish state. In the second, third and fourth chapters, more details are given about the lives and thoughts of the selected intellectuals, followed by a comparison with their counterparts in the Arab/Muslim world and the old Islamic intellectuals in Turkey. Overall, the book compiles the views of Islamic intellectuals regarding the secularization process in Turkey since the conception of the state; however, the book has weaknesses that prevent the ignition of the reader's curiosity and leaves one wondering what the author intended to contribute to existing literature.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Mauricio Jaramillo Jassir
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Democracy, Islam and Secularism in Turkey, edited by Ahmet Kuru and Alfred Stepan, decribes the so-called “Turkish model” in detail, while trying to avoid unfounded criticism. The book is divided into eight chapters, written mainly by Turkish authors, with the exception of Karen Barney, Stathis Kalyvas, Alfred Stepan and Joost Lagendijk.
  • Topic: Government, Islam
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Mehmet Fatih Öztarsu
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The Soviet Union, which has two contradictory definitions (“Prison of Peoples” and “Free Association of Peoples”), is seen as the perpetrator of many ethnic and regional problems in Eurasia today. Its management of culture with numerous ethnic and religious elements and an ideological perspective that deflects criticism are the most important issues to focus on to understand the Soviet Union. The ideals imposed on social and cultural life by communist ideology – nationalism, religious movements, local conflicts and decomposition – tell the true story of the Soviet geography.
  • Topic: Nationalism
  • Political Geography: Eurasia, Soviet Union, South Caucasus
  • Author: Priya Singh
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Robert O. Freedman\'s edited volume, Israel and the United States: Six Decades of U.S.-Israeli Relations, is a compilation of an interesting assortment of essays by Israeli and American scholars from various fields, contending with different aspects of a complicated and multilayered relationship that comprises not only diplomatic and economic links, but also religious, legal, military and strategic connections as well as common beliefs. The first section of the book articulates the political ties between the United States and Israel since 1948. It contends with U.S.-Israeli diplomatic relations, an enquiry of the progression of the pro-Israeli lobby in the United States, and an analysis of the evolution of U.S. public attitudes toward Israel. David Makovsky\'s essay, which deals with the U.S. and the Arab–Israeli conflict, emphasizes that the U.S.\'s relationship with Israel and the Arab world is not a zero-sum game and that the United States can maintain good ties with both sides. The essay reiterates that Israel has been an asset for the United States rather than a liability, which has been suggested by the likes of John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt. Robert Freedman, in contending with the policies of George Bush and Barack Obama towards the Arab-Israeli conflict, brings to the fore the similarities in their approaches as well as the significant differences, with the former pursuing an episodic approach while the latter has adopted a more continuous line. In his essay on the pro-Israeli lobby in the United States, Dov Waxman discusses the ruptures and fissures that have emerged within the lobby and concludes that there is no single organization that can persuasively claim to exemplify the vast majority of American Jews; as such, its clout/influence is expected to wane. Amnon Cavari\'s essay deconstructs the shifting trends in American support for Israel, contending that a decline in support among college-educated Americans along with an upsurge in support among evangelical Christians could weaken bipartisan backing for Israel.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Israel
  • Author: Anita Sengupta
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The relationship between Islam and foreign policy has become the subject of a number of volumes in recent years as scholars seek to understand the role that political Islam plays in determining foreign policy. This is more often than not accompanied by the assumption that Islam is fundamentally incompatible with modernity. Turkey, with its complex history of modernity and the transition from its Ottoman past, remains an interesting case for the study of the causal relationship between the construction of a modern nation state, secular identity and nationalized foreign policy. The rediscovery of Turkey's regional interests and affinities from the 'Balkans to Western China' – areas that had been largely absent from Turkish foreign policy debates since the foundation of the Republic – have emphasized the significance of the state's internal evolution in determining its external policy. In her book, Turkey Facing East: Islam, Modernity and Foreign Policy, Ayla Gol critically analyzes Turkey's engagement with modernity in the course of its transformation from the Ottoman structure into a modern nation state in order to understand Turkey's foreign policy towards its eastern neighbours between 1918 and 1921. This is a clear and important departure from studies that tend to examine this transition period in terms of Turkey's engagement with the West.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Islam, Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Balkans, South Caucasus
  • Author: Candice Moore
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The use of the concept of agency in relation to Africa's foreign relations has, up to now, been very limited. This has often related to the actions of individual pivotal states, such as South Africa or Libya. Indeed, there has not yet been an in depth examination of African agency in international relations, making this volume a welcome addition. Admittedly, this is an enormous subject, one that has grown in significance and relevance given the deepened involvement of actors such as China on the continent since the end of the last century. Questions started to be asked about how African states could structure their engagement with an actor so obviously superior in economic and political power. However, this is not the first time that African agency has been addressed, as these questions were previously inspired by the post-colonial experience and the analysis of enduring Great Power involvement in African affairs, during and after the Cold War.
  • Topic: International Relations, Politics
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Libya
  • Author: Atilla Yayla
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The anti-government protests in Turkey emerged as a legitimate and even necessary reaction against police brutality to evolved into violent revolts targeting Prime Minister ErdoÄŸan. Since the initial protests, commentators sought to make sense of the phenomenon with reference to the Gezi youth. A closer examination, however, would reveal the Leftist-Kemalist aura of the protests that came under the tutelage of Taksim Solidarity, an umbrella organization of left-wing associations, and the Republican People's Party. Meanwhile, the general public kept its distance from the violent demonstrations. Not only AK Party supporters but also many liberals and secular-minded democrats found the developments alarming. While the protests marks a step forward for Turkey's once-apathetic opposition groups, their failure prevented a revival of authoritarianism.
  • Topic: Development, Environment, Government
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Tahir Abbas
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This essay interprets the Gezi Park protests that began as a local resistance to government plans to level a public park but quickly escalated into a national outburst against government policies. How did the local events receive endorsements from different communities with otherwise ideological and cultural conflicts? This paper argues that political disenfranchisement intersected with society's aspirations with regard to dichotomies between conservatism and secularism, localisation and globalisation, and nationalism and majoritarianism.
  • Topic: Globalization, Government, Islam, Culture
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Markar Esayan
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: On August 5th, 2013, an Istanbul court reached its verdict in the Ergenekon coup plot trial, handing down various prison sentences to 247 defendants, including the former Chief of Military Staff and several high-ranking members of the military's command. Although the Supreme Court of Appeals has yet to make a final decision on the 6-year legal battle, the Ergenekon trial has already become part of the country's history as a sign that anti-democratic forces, many of whom date back to the final years of the Ottoman Empire, no longer have free reign. Notwithstanding its limited scope and other shortcomings, the court's decision marks but a humble beginning for Turkey's acknowledgement of the dark chapters in its history, as well as a challenging struggle to replace the laws of rulers with the rule of law.
  • Topic: Government, Law
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Paul Kubicek
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This brief commentary assesses the progress made by Turkey under the Justice and Development Party (the AK Party) toward European Union (EU) membership and democratization. While it acknowledges positive steps, it notes that the goals of EU accession and democratic consolidation remain elusive. One consideration is that the expectations or “goalposts” for both have moved so that, relative to the objectives of those supporting democratic freedoms and Europeanization, progress in Turkey has still been rather modest. While the democratization package of September 2013 offers some hope for democratization, it remains difficult to see substantial progress in terms of joining the EU.
  • Topic: Development
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey
  • Author: Nursin Atesoglu Guney
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The Arab Spring gave rise to a variety of transitions in the Middle East. Although initial developments in Tunisia and Egypt created optimism, tragic events in Egypt, Syria, Tunisia and elsewhere revived fears about a return to authoritarian governments, failed states and civil war. With no foreseeable change in the UN Security Council with regard to Syria, the country's neighbors, including Turkey, face the risk of instability. Although a recent agreement between the US and Russia marked a major step toward destrying the regime's chemical stockpile, it fails to address the conflict itself. As such, spillover effects continue to threaten Syria's neighbors. This paper highlights the critical nature of the situation and the international community's role in finding a solution.
  • Topic: War, Communications
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: A. Kadir Yildirim
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Egypt's democratization efforts require domestic and international considerations: Domestically, the country must focus on the economy at the expense of the military's political role: While military involvement in politics is crucial to democratization, improvements in this area represents an outcome, not the cause, of the process. Discussions should concentrate on protecting lower- and middle classes, generate prosperity and create common ground between democracy and class interests. At the international level, Egypt requires countries to support democratization efforts and condemn extra-democratic actions. Meanwhile, the prominence of Islamists causes concerns for Western governments with regard to the Peace Treaty and Israel's security.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Islam
  • Political Geography: Israel, Egypt
  • Author: Ahmet Uysal
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Turkey is achieved a viable combination of Islam, democracy and development. After prolonged periods of political instability and interruptions in democratic rule, the Islamic-leaning AK Party government overcame the hurdles preventing it from reaching power in the early 2000s. It achieved a significant degree of democratization and economic growth without oil or foreign aid and repeatedly won elections ever since. As such, the party's success offers important lessons for Islamists in Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco. The lessons of the Turkish experience are especially relevant in dealing with the opposition and democratization, as well as achieving stability and growth.
  • Topic: Development
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia
  • Author: Raymond Taras
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Do perceptions of Muslim communities differ among receiving European societies? Are attitudes towards Euro-Turks more critical than other groups? Do Euro-Turks feel marginalized and recognize social distance from the majority? This paper presents data from cross-national research projects to assess the social distance between national majority and Muslim minorities, in particular Euro-Turks. It also considers the extent to which religion, ethnicity, and culture help shape Islamophobia and anti-Turkish attitudes. Social distance is not treated as a proxy variable for discrimination or exclusion, but it serves as an indicator of the possible marginalization of Euro-Turks. Further, increasing social distance between majority and minority Muslim groups may also serve as a reliable indicator of a Europe in crisis, confronting its multiple conflicting identities.
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Vahap COSKUN
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Turkey's 1982 Constitution does not reflect the values of modern constitutionalism. Originally, the Constitution maintained a state-centered, authoritarian character and failed to meet society's expectations. Pro-reform parties sought to replace the Constitution to address various societal demands. The AK Party also identified the drafting of a new Constitution as a primary objective and attempted thirteen amendments. There were two main motivations behind the amendments: Turkey's EU membership bid and frequent constitutional crises. In this sense, the amendments promoted individual rights and liberties in Turkey. The Constitution today is a legal text that underwent major changes over the years to establish more effective safeguarding mechanisms for individual rights and liberties. Turkey's need for a new constitution, however, remains alive.
  • Topic: Reform
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Erdal Tanas Karagol
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: During the 1990s, political uncertainties in Turkey had negative effects that left the economy vulnerable to public and foreign debt due to high inflation, high budget deficit and high current account deficit. Coalition governments failed to address these problems. Following its rise to power in 2002, the AK Party developed a new perspective for the economy, politics and foreign policy collectively referred as the New Turkey. The government emphasized fiscal discipline, structural transformation and privatization. During this period, Turkey rapidly recovered from the negative effects of the 2001 financial crisis and reached a steady growth rate. The country also survived the 2008 global crisis with minimum damage. The government seeks to meet its targets for the centennial of the Republic's establishment.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Muge Aknur
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The remarkable transformation of Turkish civil-military relations since the AK Party's rise to power has not led to total democratization in this area. Although EU reforms reduced the military's formal and informal powers and trials about contemporary and historic coup cases might indicate that the military has been subordinated to civilian authority, achieving democratic civil-military relations would require a balance of power between civilians and the military: While the military must relinquish its role as the country's guardians, civilians must work to regain the trust of military officers that they lost through the Ergenekon and Balyoz cases. Perhaps then Turkish civil-military relations can reach a democratic level, promoting democratic consolidation in the country.
  • Topic: Development
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Zafer Celik, Bekir S. Gul
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The AK Party has been a leading reform actor with particular emphasis on education. AK Party governments implemented educational reforms to increase access to education, improve the quality of education and democratize the education system. Some challenges, however, persisted: Turkey still lags one year behind the OECD average PISA 2009 indicators. This article focuses on the educational policies of the AK Party governments during the last decade. The AK Party's education reforms and policies will be examined through the lenses of access, quality, governance, finance, and democratization of education. The current problems and challenges of Turkey's education system will also be discussed.
  • Topic: Education, Government
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Ali Murat Yel, Alparslan Nas
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This paper discusses the conflict between the AK Party government and the Gezi activism with reference to hegemony, power-resistance dichotomy, local/metanarratives and the carnivalesque. The AK Party's 11-year rule revolutionized center-periphery relations in Turkey. The party pioneered the democratization process until the 2011 elections but took an authoritarian turn afterwards –which gave rise to the revolts. However, the protests mobilized a heterogeneous group, some of whom maintained militarist and partiarchal metanarratives while others took a libertarian stance. This paper highlights the fragmentation of discourses under the “Gezi Spirit” as well as among AK Party supporters.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Y. Emre Gurbuz
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: In the last two decades, Kyrgyzstan has searched for stability while swinging on a pendulum between democratic reforms and suppression of democracy. Political changes in Kyrgyzstan started with the liberal democratic promises of President Akayev in 1990 and President Bakiyev in 2005, but they both ended with disillusionment. The state's capacity had to be reestablished in the post-Soviet period, which was sought to be institutionalized by authoritarian measures. The failure of the authoritarian path proves that the people of Kyrgyzstan are more open to a parliamentary democracy, where the multiplicity of interests in society can be represented. Stability, however, does not only rest upon the representation of different groups' interests but also on increasing economic resources to redistribute wealth across society.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Kazakhstan
  • Author: Mustafa Kibaroglu
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Interest in Turkey and its foreign and security policies has grown significantly in the political and scholarly circles in the world, especially since the Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi – AKP) came to power with the November 2002 elections. The AKP's electoral success continued in the subsequent elections in 2007 and 2011 with an increasing percentage of votes, which was unprecedented in the history of the Turkish Republic. One particular reason why Turkey attracted much attention in the world was because, in its first years in power, the AKP was easily categorized, both in the media and in academia, mainly in the West, as an “Islamic” party with a hidden agenda that aimed at drifting Turkey away from its mainstream foreign and security policies that have long been anchored in the Western alliance, thereby turning Turkey's face toward the Middle East and the Islamic world beyond it.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Development, Islam
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Gaza
  • Author: Yaprak Gursoy
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: TURKEY'S EUROPEAN FUTURE tackles the question of how the United States (US) has influenced relations between the European Union (EU) and Turkey, and especially the decisions of the EU on Turkey. Except for a few notable scholarly articles, US-EU-Turkey relations have not been investigated in depth. In this well-written and well-organized book, Tocci addresses this gap in the literature by thoroughly examining in what ways, mechanisms, and in which direction the United States has had an impact on the decisions of the EU regarding Turkey. The book focuses mostly on the 1990s and 2000s, however the main findings provide considerable insight for the earlier periods, as well as for the future.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: America, Turkey
  • 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