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  • 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: 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: 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