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  • 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: 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: 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: 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: Muzaffer Senel
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: THE CONTINUITIES, changes, ruptures, and transformation of Egyptian foreign policy have been analyzed from different angles. The changes in Egyptian foreign policy, in line with the Arab Spring and its transformative forces, were important for analysts, practitioners, and scholars working on both foreign policy and International Relations theory. Since the end of the Cold War, academia has become more receptive to the issues of the Middle East. However, in the last decade most work on the Middle East have revolved around a limited number of themes: ethnic/religious-based violence, the Arab/Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the Iranian nuclear issue, and problems related to Israel. Despite the prolific amount of literature on the foreign policies of Arab Middle Eastern countries, many of these works lack a theoretical analysis of the geostrategic positioning of these countries within the dynamics of international political power. Geostrategic positioning helps measure the possible weight of a country within the existing interna-tional and regional system, which leads to the analysis of what role a country can play in international politics. Mehmet Özkan's book is a timely addition to this literature with its in-depth analytical historical analysis and theoretical angle.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Egypt
  • Author: Richard Falk
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The end of the Cold War marked the end of adversary patterns of alignment in the Middle East, and the ebbing dichotomy between the U.S. and USSR led to vast uncertainty. In response, then-President Turgut Özal stated, as early as 1991, that Turkey should seek an active foreign policy. It was not, until the AK Party came to power a decade later, however, that Ankara began to seriously question Turkey's acquiescence in Washington's strategic unipolarity. Ahmet Davutoglu's appointment as Foreign Minister emphasized Turkey's independence and activism, causing unease in Washington. Nevertheless, the U.S. has been generally flexible toward a more independent Turkish foreign policy, under the condition that it does not threaten vital U.S. interests.
  • Topic: Cold War
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East
  • Author: James M. Dorsey
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Surveying today's Middle Eastern and North African landscape offers few straws of hope. Iran's reemergence producing a potential catalyst for a focus on core domestic political, economic and social issues could be one of those few straws. Whether Iran wittingly or unwittingly plays that role, the Middle East and North Africa are only likely to break their internecine cycle of violence and despair when the alternative becomes too costly. A resolution of the nuclear issue offers Iran far more than the ultimate lifting of crippling international sanctions. It would also allow Iran to capitalize on geostrategic gains it has made despite its international isolation. What worries opponents of the nuclear deal like Israel and Saudi Arabia most is the potential transformation of Iran from a game spoiler into a constructive player.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Saudi Arabia, North Africa
  • Author: Emre Ersen
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Critical geopolitics, which is a relatively new field of study for scholars of international relations, seeks to understand and analyze how politics is imagined spatially. To this end, it makes a distinction between three types of geopolitical reasoning: formal, practical, and popular geopolitics. Ahmet Davutoğlu is a very significant figure in terms of exploring the close relationship between formal and practical geopolitics in the context of Turkey due to his dual identities as an international relations professor and a foreign minister. Employing a critical geopolitical approach, this paper aims to discuss Davutoğlu's geopolitical ideas toward the Middle East by analyzing his writings and speeches to reveal the main images and narratives that shape his geopolitical understanding of this region.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Annika Rabo
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The Emergence of Minorities in the Middle East. The Politics of Community in French Mandate Syria Ethnic and religious minorities – and concomitant majorities – do not just exist sui generis. They have to be constructed or invented. It is not self-evident who is included in which category and who is excluded. It is only once these categories are accepted and used by people that they appear as natural and even eternal. This basic argument in White's book is not new or startling for readers familiar with today's mainstream research on ethnicity and social classifications. None the less, it is an argument well worth reiterating, not least because of its contemporary relevance for politics in the post-Ottoman empire in general and in Syria in particular. White does this by investigating the actual emergence of concepts such a 'minorities' and 'majority' during the French mandate in Syria.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Mustafa Yetim, Bilal Hamade
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: As the Arab Spring unfolds, a new power configuration is emerging in the Middle East. Turkey is at the center of the new setting, with a fully engaged leadership role that was adopted by the ruling AK Party. In the Levant area, Ankara's influence is even greater due to Turkey's full support of the Syrian opposition against the Syrian Baath regime. In this context, it becomes clear that the increasingly involved Turkish role in the region has direct and indirect effects on the stability of countries in the Levant, one of which is Lebanon.
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Gul Berna Ozcan
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Sovereignty After Empire: Comparing the Middle East and Central Asia The demise of empires left a powerful and perplexing legacy for successor states in the Middle East and Central Asia. Sally Cummings and Raymond Hinnebusch set the scene for this fascinating collection of essays in the introduction, where they address the limits of the Westphalian state system and frame the sovereignty question in relation to the imported character of the state in former colonies. Empires were amorphous, whether as contiguous landforms or maritime empires. In contrast to modern nation-states with clearly demarcated boundaries as prerequisites for legitimacy, empires could devolve variable autonomies from the center without breaking up. Empires may adapt to nationalism and local challenges, but the nation-states that emerge are fragile. What is especially interesting about this volume is that the authors seek to explore continuities, ruptures and divergences. In stark contrast to those who suggest that the legacy of imperialism is no longer relevant, these essays focus on the understanding that comes from analyses of the imperial and colonial past.
  • Topic: Economics, Sovereignty
  • Political Geography: Central Asia, Middle East, Soviet Union
  • Author: Ömer Aslan
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Fathers and Sons: The Rise and Fall of Political Dynasty in the Middle East A decade after 9/11, the Arab revolts gave a second impetus to scholarly interest in the Middle East. A plethora of books and other academic and popular pieces have been published in the last few years. McMillan's book, Fathers and Sons, gives the reader a fine, bird's eye view account of the Arab world's journey in particular and the Muslim world in general from the time of the Prophet. McMillan's work is a historical narrative of how and why the Arab world inherited a system of dynastic succession that is blatantly un-Islamic and how that path culminated in the Arab revolts. The book, more popular than academic, is unbiased in its perspective towards Muslims/Arabs and is especially easy to read and follow. McMillan starts his narrative with the method of succession from one Guided Caliph to another. The convening of shura to decide the Caliph in the early period of “Rightly Guided Caliphs” contrasts starkly with the later period, when the method of consultation is abandoned for patrimonial rule. The consequence was that “the caliphate would no longer be a community of the faithful but a kingdom like any other” (p. 23). McMillan traces the history of militaries as the backbone of regimes in the modern Arab world to the period of Umayyad rule as well. It was “army officers wedding themselves to their rulers” that created the authoritarian stability in the region after the 1960s. The author reminds us that “this welding of a loyal army to an elite ruling family [during Muawiya's rule during the Umayyad] became the bedrock of a political model” (p. 26).
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Ertan Aydin
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Turkey's presidential election in August 2014 introduced the direct election of the president, ushering in a new era of Turkish democracy. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's election to the Turkish presidency signals the legitimization of the AK Party's emocratic reforms over the previous twelve years. Turkish citizens' widespread participation in the election indicates a non-partisan acceptance of Turkey's democratic system, and its departure from the bureaucratic and military influence under the Kemalist system. Even the opposition parties have recognized this shift, adapting their political agendas and election strategies to appeal to the center. These developments have implications for the political future of Turkey, the Middle East, and the international community.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Environment
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Malik Mufti
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: During the first years of its tenure in office, as the AK Party focused on consolidating its position domestically, Turkey's reengagement with the Arab world after decades of alienation took a largely unproblematic form. Inevitably, however, as Turkish activism deepened, conflicts of interest emerged both with other aspirants to regional influence such as Iran and Israel, and then - especially after the outbreak of the 2011 uprisings - with many Arab regimes as well. The future character of Turkey's engagement with its Arab neighbors will depend on its ability to combine an adherence to a conception of community based on Islam rather than ethnic nationalism, with a commitment to democratization both at home and regionally.
  • Topic: Environment, Government
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Murat Yeşi̇ltaş
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This article examines the critiques directed at Turkish foreign policy during the AK Party administration. There are three basic critiques leveled at the foreign policy that has been followed by the AK Party: Islamist ideology, geopolitical codes, and lack of capacity in foreign policy. These criticisms will be examined through a multi-layered approach, whereby they will be contextualized in terms of global fragmentation (macro level), regional disorder and fragmentation (meso level), and restoration in domestic politics and the opponents within Turkey towards these policies (micro level). A look at the challenges that Turkish foreign policy faces today and the search for a new foreign policy model will follow.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Joerg Baudner
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This article aims to explain the evolution of Turkish foreign policy through the search for a foreign policy role concept. It will argue that the AK Party government has already adopted two different foreign policy role concepts. Thus, the changes in Turkish foreign policy can best be characterized as the adoption of a foreign policy role with many traits of civilian power (2002-2005), subsequent limited change (2005-2010) and the adoption of a regional power role (from 2010 on).
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Cold War, Government
  • Political Geography: America, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Jinan Bastaki
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: How has the Syrian regime, being the 'odd man out' in the Middle East, survived for so many years under the Assads? Given its survival, what makes the current uprising, now nearing its third year, different? And did the Assads always act on ideological grounds? These are the central questions that scholar and foreign policy analyst Bente Scheller tries to answer in her book, The Wisdom of Syria's Waiting Game: Foreign Policy Under the Assads, by analyzing the Assads' foreign policy and the link to domestic policies and the current revolt.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, War
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: Andrew A. Szarejko
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Some 15 to 20 years from today, it will be illuminating to examine how academic and policy circles read the period from early 2013 to late 2014 in Turkey. There are many competing narratives about the future of the country. One pessimistic reading that is currently popular with many American observers of Turkey goes as follows: the so-called "Turkish model" was all the rage just a couple years ago. Turkey was prospering and democratizing under the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), which was hailed for its successful fusion of Islamic values and democratic governance.
  • Topic: Development, Governance
  • Political Geography: America, Turkey, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Abdulkadir Civan, Savas Genc, Davut Taser, Sinem Atakul
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Turkish foreign policy has changed substantially within the last decade. Even though its relationship with the West still has significance, relations with neighboring countries and other countries in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia have improved. This new foreign policy incorporates Turkey's political and economic aspirations. Its aim is to utilize the country's economic strength in order to reach political goals while simultaneously using political tools to obtain economic benefits. This study analyzes the effects of the recent change in foreign policy on Turkey's international trade. Specifically, we investigate the influence of Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan's foreign visits on international trade by using a standard trade gravity model. Statistical analyses imply that Erdoğan's visits help increase Turkish international trade.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: Jakub Wodka, Sarah Kuzmicz
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This article explores the strategic importance Turkey holds to the European Union and how Ankara could contribute to the EU's achieving the status of a veritable global power. It seeks to understand how the often contradictory threads (democratization vs. creeping authoritarianism) in the recent transformation of Turkish domestic politics affects its European credentials. The main argument of the paper is that it is in the core interest of both parties to align their policies in the neighboring regions, namely the Balkans, Caucasus, and the Middle East, especially in the post Arab Spring era. What hinders the genuine EU-Turkey partnership is often the political and tactical short-sightedness of both parties rather than the factual divergence of strategic interests.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Mohamed Metawe
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: For many decades, the Arab despots would serve the Western interests in the region in return for a Western disregard to democracy policies in their countries. By the outbreak of the Arab uprisings in the Middle East, this implicit agreement between the West and the Arab despots was put in jeopardy. This article defines the challenges faced by the Western interests as a result of these revolts. Moreover, it digs deeper into the American and European reactions to the uprisings. Finally, the article contemplates the reasons behind the western behavior towards these revolts. Against this backdrop, this article argues that the implicit agreement is still possible in spite of the Arab uprising, albeit with a diverse formula.
  • Political Geography: America, Europe, Middle East
  • Author: Oguzhan Goksel
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Since the beginning of the Arab Spring, the so-called 'Turkish model' has become a key ingredient of the discourse of democratization in the Middle East. In this study, first, the assumption of the necessity of a 'model' for the emerging democracies in the Middle East will be discussed. This will be followed by a comparative analysis of the Turkish and Iranian models because of their potential to affect the policies of emerging states in the region. The study will acknowledge the fact that the full application of the model may not be possible, however, I will conclude that the Turkish model is much more applicable to the emerging democracies in Tunisia and Egypt than the Iranian model and it has a lot to offer to those societies in terms of guidance in areas such as the state-religion relations, economic development, and democracy building.
  • Political Geography: Iran, Turkey, Middle East, Tunisia
  • Author: Elizabeth H. Ozdalga
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: STUDIES on late Ottoman society continue to be inviting for historians in many aspects. This period is not only important for historical research into the Ottoman world but also necessary for a better understanding of modern Turkey. This also can be extended to the Islamic world, including many Middle Eastern countries together with the Balkans, North Africa, and the Caucasus regions. Özdalga has made a valuable contribution with this comprehen-sive volume on the intellectual legacy of the period.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Fawaz A. Gerges
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: WITHIN Fawaz Gerges' text, The End of America's Moment?-Obama and the Middle East, the author endeavors to examine President Obama's implementation of inherently stagnant policies towards the highly volatile and rapidly evolving Middle East. Furthermore, Gerges elaborates on the manner in which the globalists and the Israel-first school succeed in shaping public opinion in the United States about the Middle East and how this process perpetually cripples Obama.
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Francis Ghilès
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: In recent years the Arab lands have been reduced to a uniform discourse, which well suited those in America such as Bernard Lewis who tried to convince their political masters that a clash of civilisations between the West and Islam was inevitable. However, over the past twelve months a series of revolts recast the map of the Middle East. When the revolts in Tunisia and Egypt started, many Western commentators failed to understand how young Arabs peacefully managed to overthrow well-entrenched dictators such as Ben Ali and Mubarak. Their initial reactions fitted into a broader collective spirit of Orientalism, which long gave up hope on Arab societies ever joining contemporary trends towards democratization. It was not Islam or poverty that provoked the uprisings – it was the crushing humiliation that had deprived the majority of the Arabs who are under the age of thirty of the right to assert control over their own lives.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: America, Middle East, Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: Nur Köprülü
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This paper argues that the purpose of democratization in Jordanian politics is not only a political co-optation policy to cope with the negative effects of the country's economic recession, but also to ensure the survival of the Hashemite monarchy. The process of democratization in the region has been closely tied with the notions of inclusiveness and exclusiveness. This is due to 'incomplete' national identity building formation in most parts of the Middle East. For that particular purpose, the main objective of this paper is not to re-assert the uniqueness of politics in the Arab world, but rather to engage in how politics of regime survival in the case of Jordan shape the process of democratization in the post – 1989 era. Thus this paper will examine the period following the normalization of relations with Israel in 1994, the Palestinian question, the repercussions of current social upheavals in the Arab world, and how these specific circumstances affect Jordan's democratic opening.
  • Topic: Democratization
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Jordan
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: As the spring issue of Insight Turkey goes to print the Middle East nears another great crisis or even a war. The Syrian quagmire may be the current harbinger of full-out war in the region. It has been a year since the uprisings started. The Syrian regime met the peaceful demonstrations of its people with violent and bloody repression. The Arab spring, it seems at the moment, got stuck in Syria where President Bashar Assad confronted the demands of his people for change with a violent crackdown. The well-known "mukhabarat state" of Syria did not bow to "people power," at least for the time being.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Leila Hilal
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The Arab revolts have resulted in deposed heads of state in Yemen, Libya, Egypt and Tunisia. Of these countries the latter two—Egypt and Tunisia—saw mass street protestors quickly topple entrenched autocrats without significant violence or foreign intervention. One year on, Egypt is still ruled by elements of the Mubarak regime with vested interests in the former order. It is also racked by political battles and economic troubles that are threatening its transition. Tunisia, on the other hand, is moving steadily closer toward a potential democratic consolidation. What explains the differences? This commentary discusses the prior institutional characteristics of the two countries. It then examines three areas of early transitional choices that contributed to Tunisia's progress and undermined Egypt's. In identifying lessons learned it makes the case that oppositional movements should avoid constitutional and institutional vacuums, establish broadly representative civilian-led transitional planning mechanisms, and follow appropriately-timed, transparent electoral sequencing.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Libya, Yemen, Egypt, Tunisia
  • Author: Ali Balcı, Tuncay Kardaş
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The present study seeks to answer the following questions: How was it possible that a state such as Turkey, which had until then pursued a low-profile policy in the Middle East, has able to forge a bold strategic alliance with the state of Israel in the 1990s? Conversely then, why was the unparalleled and positive nature of relations in the 1990s replaced by a hostile and toxic nature in the first decade of the 2000s? How can this difference in the relations between the 1990s and 2000s be explained? To answer such questions, this article uses the Copenhagen School's theory of securitization. This approach not only helps to illustrate the characteristics of different periods in Turkish-Israeli relations, it also helps to highlight the specificity of the politics of civil-military relations in foreign policy making.
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Kılıç Buğra Kanat
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The debate on the future of the Turkish-American partnership has puzzled scholars in recent years due to its constant fluctuations. In the first year of the Obama administration, the parties tried to heal relations with high level exchanges and a new conceptual framework to define the relationship. However, in 2010 the discord between the US and Turkey on major policy issues, including Iran and relations with Israel, once again strained bilateral relations. With the Arab Spring, the pendulum swung once again. Since the eruption of the people's movement in different parts of the Middle East, Turkey and the US have acted in coordination, and taken similar positions in debates in international forums. The Obama administration announced a new Asia-Pacific strategy, which will entail the concentration of its diplomatic, military, and economic resources to build partnerships and curb emerging threats in this region. This new doctrine mayhave a major impact on US relations with Turkey by opening up new opportunities for cooperation and new necessities to deepen the partnership.
  • Political Geography: America, Iran, Turkey, Middle East, Asia, Arabia
  • Author: Çiğdem Üstün
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The debate on the future of the Turkish-American partnership has puzzled scholars in recent years due to its constant fluctuations. In the first year of the Obama administration, the parties tried to heal relations with high level exchanges and a new conceptual framework to define the relationship. However, in 2010 the discord between the US and Turkey on major policy issues, including Iran and relations with Israel, once again strained bilateral relations. With the Arab Spring, the pendulum swung once again. Since the eruption of the people's movement in different parts of the Middle East, Turkey and the US have acted in coordination, and taken similar positions in debates in international forums. The Obama administration announced a new Asia- Pacific strategy, which will entail the concentration of its diplomatic, military, and economic resources to build partnerships and curb emerging threats in this region. This new doctrine may have a major impact on US relations with Turkey by opening up new opportunities for cooperation and new necessities to deepen the partnership.
  • Topic: Security, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Turkey, Middle East, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: İhsan Dağı
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Another hot summer in the Middle East... Tens of thousands of Syrians continue to flee the violence inflicted upon them by Bashar Assad's regime by seeking refuge in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon. Now desperate, the regime is using its airplanes to punish the opposition in Aleppo and other cities of Syria, and is threatening to use its chemical weapons.
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Ziya Öniş
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Turkey redefined its geographical security environment over the last decade by deepening its engagement with neighboring regions, especially with the Middle East. The Arab spring, however, challenged not only the authoritarian regimes in the region but also Turkish foreign policy strategy. This strategy was based on cooperation with the existing regimes and did not prioritize the democracy promotion dimension of the issue. The upheavals in the Arab world, therefore, created a dilemma between ethics and self-interest in Turkish foreign policy. Amid the flux of geopolitical shifts in one of the world's most unstable regions, Turkish foreign policy-making elites are attempting to reformulate their strategies to overcome this inherent dilemma. The central argument of the present paper is that Turkey could make a bigger and more constructive impact in the region by trying to take a more detached stand and through controlled activism. Thus, Turkey could take action through the formation of coalitions and in close alignments with the United States and Europe rather than basing its policies on a self-attributed unilateral pro-activism.
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Züleyha Çolak
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Controversies over the realities of life in the harem have long been in need of a treatment that challenges the stereotypically narrow perception of the concept and provides the opportunity to see the harem's multi-layered structure from a critical perspective. This collection of readings on the harem as a cultural and social institution provides such an approach. As stated by the editor, the emphasis of the book is “on the concept/institution/image of the harem as shaped and represented within the societies of the Middle East and North Africa, while . . . [contributing writers] also attend to its representational and political uses by visitors to and observers of these societies.”
  • Political Geography: Africa, Middle East
  • Author: Mohammed Ayoob
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This essay is an attempt to revisit Samuel Huntington's controversial thesis about a clash of civilizations. Though the author has been an early critique of Huntington, he finds substantial evidence that corroborates Huntington's central thesis when he analyzes the American policy toward the Middle East through the prism of the clash of civilizations paradigm. He suggests that the pattern of double standards that are witnessed in American foreign policy toward the Middle East is an integral part of a world where supposedly immutable differences based on civilizations form the primary source of conflict. In order to support his argument the author draws on examples from several cases, such as the American policies toward the Israel-Palestine issue, America's position on Iran's nuclear enrichment program, American reaction to the Israeli raid on the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara, as well as Turkey's longstanding candidacy for membership in the European Union. In all, he finds startling double standards that fit Huntington's paradigm, for as he pointed out double standards are an integral part of a mindset that sees conflict in terms of clashing civilizations.
  • Political Geography: America, Europe, Iran, Turkey, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Halim Rane
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The political and economic success of Turkey's Justice and Development Party (AKP) has generated extensive discussion about the extent to which Turkey provides a model for other Muslim, especially Arab, countries. The notion of a Turkish model has received intense focus since the uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region began in 2010. Amid the excitement, more cautious voices have highlighted fundamental differences in historical and political experiences and relations with Islam between Turkey and the Arab countries. Considering these factors, this article contends that rather than Turkey's AKP, a more accurate comparison and potentially viable model for the emerging Arab democracies can be found among the Islamic-oriented political parties of South East Asia, which advocate an approach to Islam based on the maqasid, or higher objectives. This article examines the appeal of the maqasid approach in respect to its utility for maintaining Islamic legitimacy and transitioning from ideology-oriented to policy-oriented parties and thereby responding to the needs and aspirations of broad constituencies. This article discusses the function of the maqasid for Islamic political parties in the MENA region as it undergoes political liberalization in the aftermath of the Arab uprisings.
  • Topic: Disaster Relief, Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Arabia, North Africa, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Ahmet T. Kuru
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: One may argue three law-like generalizations in political science: “no bourgeois, no democracy,” “democracies do not go to war with each other,” and “natural resources are a curse.” Although each of these highly contested arguments is important, the last one has the broadest impact—the negative effects of oil, natural gas, and mineral production go beyond authoritarianism and have economic, military, and societal consequences. Recently, some important publications have challenged the “resource curse” argument, creating doubts about these negative effects. In this regard, Michael Ross's book is an extremely timely work. It not only responds to these critiques but also provides a consistent set of explanations about oil and its effects on authoritarianism, patriarchy, inter-state and civil wars, and economic underdevelopment. Ross has already written path-breaking articles on these issues and this magnum opus brings together his previous contributions with updated data, revised arguments, and fresh perspectives. Unlike his earlier publications, Ross's analysis focuses on oil and natural gas, sometimes referring to both as only “oil,” and consistently leaves mineral production aside. His data show how the importance of oil will persist, if not increase, in the near future: “the global market for oil and other liquid fuels will rise from 86.1 million barrels a day in 2007 to 110 million barrel a day in 2035; the market for natural gas will rise from 108 to 156 trillion cubic feet” (p. 251).
  • Topic: Civil War, Development, Economics, Oil
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Sadik Unay
  • Publication Date: 02-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The regional geographical entity known as the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) has been at the epicenter of global power struggles over the course of the last centuries with an ever-increasing intensity. While the region has been a popular subject in the literature of political science and international relations due to the sheer volume of conflicts raging within the parameters of its borders, writings on international/ comparative political economy focused on alternate regions such as East Asia characterized by a sustainable economic growth potential. This study aims to make a critical contribution to the political economy literature by conducting a theoretically and historically informed analysis on the transformation dynamics in the MENA region. To this end, the multi-faceted legacy of colonialism; the role of oil as a strategic resource; structural changes in the world economy; and divergent politicoeconomic reform trajectories in the wake of economic globalization will be evaluated.
  • Topic: International Relations, Oil
  • Political Geography: Middle East, East Asia, North Africa
  • Author: Asef Bayat
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: There has been strong concern about the direction of the current revolts in the Middle East. The fear has been that the revolts may result in the Iranian-style Islamic revolutions in the Arab countries. This commentary questions the empirical validity of such claims, showing that the Arab revolts differ considerably from the Islamic revolution in ideology and trajectory. It suggests that we are witnessing the coming of a post-Islamist Middle East, in which the prevailing popular movements assume a postnational, post-ideological, civil, and democratic character. It is, therefore, argued that we are entering a new era in the region where Islamism—undermined by a crisis of legitimacy for ignoring and violating people's democratic rights—is giving way to a different kind of religious polity, which takes democracy seriously while wishing to promote pious sensibilities in society.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Nader Hashemi
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The democratic uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East have been widely celebrated but in the West they have generated concern and apprehension. Most of this concern involves the future role of religion in the politics of the Arab world. In this essay, I make two broad observations. First, concern in the West about the rise of mainstream Islamist parties is partly based not on the illiberal orientation of these groups but the fact that they are politically independent actors who challenge Western geo-strategic interests in the region. Second, the role of religion in government has never been democratically negotiated en masse in the Arab world. To assume that this issue has been resolved and a broad consensus exists is to project a Western understanding of religion-state relations on the Arab-Islamic world. Doing so is both erroneous and analytically distorted. The battles over the role of religion in politics have yet to begin in the Arab world.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, North Africa
  • Author: Kemal Kirisci
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: A string of uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt followed by those in other countries have rekindled the issue of Turkey constituting a model for reform and democratization in the Arab world, a point raised by many Western and Arab commentators. Independent of this debate, what is lacking in the literature is an analysis of how come there is a “demand” for the Turkish model. This article develops the concept of a “demonstrative effect” and argues that it is this “effect” that makes the Turkish model of interest to the Middle East and that this “effect” is a function of three developments: the rise of the “trading state”, the diffusion of Turkey's democratization experience as a “work in progress”, and the positive image of Turkey's “new” foreign policy. The concluding part of the article discusses several challenges Turkey has to meet so that its “demonstrative effect” can have a positive impact.
  • Topic: Cold War
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Asia, Latin America, Hiroshima
  • Author: Mohammed Ayoob
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: It is unlikely that the Egyptian revolution will have a major impact on the political and strategic landscape in the Middle East in the short and medium terms. Egypt, the Arab state with the greatest capacity to act regionally, will be tied down for a considerable period of time in getting its house in order and sorting out the relationship between the civilian and military components of the new political order. This means that the shift in the center of political gravity in the region from the Arab heartland comprising Egypt and the Fertile Crescent to what was once considered the non-Arab periphery – Turkey and Iran – which was becoming clearly discernible before the recent upheavals in the Arab world will continue. The shift in the strategic and political balance in the Middle East in favor of Turkey and Iran is the result of a combination of factors, some domestic, some regional and some global.
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: Mesut Ozcan
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Turkey's Middle East policy has witnessed revolutionary changes since 1999. The changes in the attitude of Turkey towards the region can be easily grasped by examining its policy towards Iraq. Today Ankara is an active player in the region using non-military means of diplomacy, such as economic tools and international conferences. This paper analyzes the changes in Turkish foreign policy towards Iraq through a framework of processes, means and outcomes. The article covers approximately the last ten years and looks at three turning points that triggered change. These turning points are the capture of the PKK leader Öcalan in 1999, Turkey's refusal to allow the transfer of US soldiers to Iraq in March 2003, and the Turkish responses to the PKK attack on the Aktütün military post on the Turkish-Iraqi border in October 2008. The article contends that as a result of the transformations in Turkey's foreign policy, it has become an indispensable actor in Middle Eastern politics.
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Secil Pacaci Elitok, Thomas Straubhaar
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This article focuses on Turkey's process of transition from a country of emigration to a country of immigration and transit. The paper is organized in the following way: After a brief introduction, the second part of the paper will analyze the pattern of emigration from Turkey and immigration to Turkey (from the EU and Middle East) in its historical context. In the third part, theoretical expectations and empirical considerations with respect to the potential for migration from Turkey within the context of possible EU membership are outlined. In this section, a critique of the available literature estimating the amount of potential migration from Turkey and projections on the possible future migration obstacles for Turkey- if it is not successful in its accession bid for the EU membership- are presented as well. The fourth and final part of the paper analyzes the challenges and opportunities for Turkey, as it waits at the EU's gates, in terms of migration and concludes with a call for a necessary change in Turkey's policy to improve the management of its migration policies.
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Bezen Balamir Coskun
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The Lebanese economist and historian Corm has written a timely book contributing to our understanding of a Middle East which is marked by complexities and conflicts. By putting the region's long history into perspective, Corm aims to help reader go beyond the stereotypes that the media and many Western and Middle Eastern policymakers seem to use to legitimatize the violence that has taken over the region for over two centuries.
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: There is no better instrument than the ballot box to decide “who is to govern” if we care about popular legitimacy. No one can question the mandate given by the people through a free and fair election to a political party, irrespective of its ideology, identity and program.
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Dietrich Jung
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This essay addresses four questions that the “Arab spring” has raised with respect to academic scholarship and policy advice. Why did scholars fail to predict the recent developments? Should we throw the work on Middle Eastern authoritarianism in the garbage bin of academic misinterpretations? In which ways can we support the move toward democracy in the region? Is there a “new Middle East” in the making? In critically examining the scholarly debate about the resilience of Arab authoritarianism, it rejects demands requesting both the predictive power of academic analyses and their direct applicability in foreign policy-making. The continuing interpretation and re-interpretation of the relationship between Islam and politics have absorbed our analytical capacities at the expense of a closer inspection of societal change. In putting the recent events into their international and regional context, the essay tries to give a tentative answer to the question whether we are witnessing a new Middle East in the making.
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Pavel K. Baev
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The wave of uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa has not only affected Russia's interests but also opens some new opportunities for strengthening Russian influence. Nevertheless, the prevalent attitude in Moscow towards these dissimilar but inter-connected crises is negative, which is caused primarily by the nature of its own corrupt quasi- democratic regime haunted by the specter of revolution. The stalled NATO intervention in Libya has re- focused the attention of the Russian leadership on the issue of sovereignty, which determines the decision to disallow any UN sanctions against Syria. Russia's position has evolved in synch with the course taken by China, and Moscow is interested in strengthening this counter- revolutionary proto-alliance by building up ties with conservative Arab regimes, including Saudi Arabia, and also by upgrading its strategic partnership with Turkey. Harvesting unexpected dividends from the turmoil in the Arab world,Russia cannot ignore the risks of a sudden explosion of a revolutionary energy – and neither can it effectively hedge against such a risk.
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Middle East, Arabia, Moscow, Saudi Arabia, North Africa
  • Author: Ufuk Ulutas
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Syria became the latest Middle Eastern country to join the chain of protests sweeping across the Middle East. The protests have since spread to several other cities with varying frequency and numbers, and the violent handling of the protests by the Syrian regime has created a protest movement, which has brought forth an array of demands from political reform to the fall of the regime. Opposition in different forms has always existed in Syria and among the Syrian diaspora. However, legal restrictions on social and political activities and the long-lasting atmosphere of fear, perpetrated by the Ba'ath Party and pervasive intelligence services, have so far limited the opposition's organizational capabilities. Despite difficulties and restrictions, the Syrian opposition is in the making. This paper presents a brief analysis of the opposition in Syria, surveys the opposition's fight for survival under the Ba'ath regime, and assesses its current strength and weaknesses.
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Tobias Schumacher
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Throughout the first seven months of the Arab Spring, starting with the self-immolation of Mohammed Bouazizi in the Tunisian town of Sidi Bouzid on December 17, 2010, the EU clearly revealed itself as both an actor and spectator by resorting to both activism and passivism in a seemingly erratic fashion. Against this background and based on the EU's recently adopted Partnership for Democracy and Shared Prosperity with the Southern Mediterranean, this article aims at understanding this dualism more precisely and shedding some light on the EU's rather anachronistic foreign policy behavior in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) in recent months. The article identifies five dichotomies, all of which contribute to the situation in which the EU continues to be torn between being a relevant political actor in the MENA region and a simple spectator that continues to be overwhelmed by local and regional political developments.
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, North Africa