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  • Author: Buddhika Jayamaha
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: CTC Sentinel
  • Institution: The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point
  • Abstract: The rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has created an area where Turkish and Kurdish interests overlap: both parties are thoroughly alarmed at ISIL\'s expansion. However, delicate and sensitive cooperation against ISIL has to take place in the broader context of the complicated and evolving Kurdish-Turkish relationship. While Turkey develops its response to the ISIL threat and the Syrian crisis, it is also managing Kurdish relations as part of its effort to redefine the Turkish state and Turkish national identity. On their side, the Kurdish leaders — especially the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq — are compelled to deal with a complex and sometimes competing array of Kurdish organizational alliances and interests that cross international borders, while trying to deepen their relations with Ankara. Despite the complicated nature of the situation, there are reasons to be hopeful.
  • Topic: Islam
  • 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: 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: 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: Richard Weitz
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: Until a few years ago, the relationship between Washington, DC, and Ankara, Turkey, was perennially troubled and occasionally terrible. Turks strongly opposed the U.S. 2003 invasion of Iraq and have subsequently complained that the Pentagon was allowing Iraqi Kurds too much autonomy, leading to deteriorating security along the Iraq-Turkey border. Disagreements over how to respond to Iran's nuclear program, U.S. suspicions regarding Turkey's outreach efforts to Iran and Syria, and differences over Armenia, Palestinians, and the Black Sea further strained ties and contributed to further anti Americanism in Turkey. Now Turkey is seen as responding to its local challenges by moving closer to the West, leading to the advent of a “Golden Era” in Turkish U.S. relations. Barack Obama has called the U.S.-Turkish relationship a “model partnership” and Turkey “a critical ally.” Explanations abound as to why U.S.-Turkey ties have improved during the last few years. The U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq removed a source of tension and gave Turkey a greater incentive to cooperate with Washington to influence developments in Iraq. Furthermore, the Arab Awakening led both countries to partner in support of the positive agenda of promoting democracy and security in the Middle East. Americans and Turks both want to see democratic secular governments in the region rather than religiously sanctioned authoritarian ones. Setbacks in Turkey's reconciliation efforts with Syria, Iran, and other countries led Ankara to realize that having good relations with the United States helps it achieve core goals in the Middle East and beyond. Even though Turkey's role as a provider of security and stability in the region is weakened as a result of the recent developments in Syria and the ensuing negative consequences in its relations to other countries, Turkey has the capacity to recover and resume its position. Partnering with the United States is not always ideal, but recent setbacks have persuaded Turkey's leaders that they need to backstop their new economic strength and cultural attractiveness with the kind of hard power that is most readily available to the United States. For a partnership between Turkey and the United States to endure, however, Turkey must adopt more of a collective transatlantic perspective, crack down harder on terrorist activities, and resolve a domestic democratic deficit. At the same time, Europeans should show more flexibility meeting Turkey's security concerns regarding the European Union, while the United States should adopt a more proactive policy toward resolving potential sources of tensions between Ankara and Washington that could significantly worsen at any time.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Ethnic Conflict, Islam, Power Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Turkey, Middle East
  • 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: 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: Ali Murat Yel
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: THE NAQSHBANDIYYA is perhaps one of the widest-spread Islamic religious brotherhoods due to its active involvement in political affairs. Its 'strength' comes from the fact it could trace the sheiks of the order as far back as to the Prophet of Islam through his companion Abu Bakr. The silsila (the chain of transmission) of the order also contains some very important figures in Islamic history, like Salman al-Farisi and Bayazid al-Bistami. Despite the importance of the order and its worldwide expansion, the published works on the subject could fill only a small shelf. The order also has a great number of followers in Turkey, including some prominent political figures. Since Shah Bahauddin Naqshband, the founder of the order, the succeeding sheiks of the Naqshbandiyya tarikat (religious order) have currently been handed to Sheikh Nazim al-Kibrisi al-Haqqani, a Turkish Cypriot. The Sheikh has been given the task of expanding the order to the West, and as a result of arduous efforts he has been able to establish some centers in various European and American cities, with the biggest one being in London. Author Tayfun Atay studied this center for his Ph.D. thesis submitted to London University.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Britain, America, Europe, Turkey, London
  • Author: Robert D. Springborg
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The Turkish model deemed most relevant to 2011-12 post-Mubarak Egypt was the Islamist-led transformation of the polity and economy that occurred following the rise to power of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the 2002 general election. As it transpired, this version of the Turkish model lasted but one year before another took its place. That model was the political project of the Turkish military that seized power in September 1980. This thirty-one year old Turkish model of a constitutionally empowered executive body, controlled by the military appears to have trumped the contemporary, Islamist one in Egypt. But the Turkish military coup of 1980 unwittingly and unintentionally laid the groundwork for the transition that ultimately swept it from power and its leaders into jail. The pertinent question then is will Egypt's civilian political and economic actors be similarly and sufficiently astute to exploit the opportunities they inevitably will have even under military rule? Egyptian political forces will inevitably mount serious challenges as they did in Turkey. In Egypt, however, the domestic and regional political and economic contexts are so different from those in Turkey that the outcome of the struggle for power between civilians and the military are likely to deviate substantially from this Turkish model.
  • Topic: Economics, Islam
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Egypt
  • Author: Aysegul Cimen
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Principles of Islamic International Criminal Law: A Comparative Search As one of the major components of the Islamic state, Islamic law has drawn considerable attention from different scholars both in the East and West. Particularly, comparative studies on the historical evolution of Islamic law and its application in modern legal systems are some of the major topics in the last two decades. Peters' Crime and Punishment in Islamic Law: Theory and Practice from Sixteenth to Twenty-First Century, Millers' Legislating Authority: Sin to Crime in the Ottoman Empire and Turkey, Hallaq's Shari'a: Theory, Practice, Transformations, and Naim's Islam and the Secular State: Negotiating the Future of Shari'a are some of the prominent books in the field.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Law, Islam, Law
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Ödül Celep
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The current peace process regarding Turkey's Kurdish question could pave the way for the normalization of politics and democratization in Turkey if the existing opportunities are not missed. The major actors that represent the Kurdish left in Turkey, the PKK and the HDP (formerly BDP), are all equally significant parts of the peace process. The HDP in particular has the potential to turn into a constructive actor for Turkey's democratization in the near future. This article argues that the Kurdish left of the democratic, parliamentary stage, lately the HDP, could contribute to Turkey's democratization if it can fulfill the libertarian left policy space in Turkish politics, which has long been abandoned by all existing political parties.
  • Topic: Development, Islam, Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: The Turkish parliament's vote to authorize the deployment of military forces in Syria and Iraq provided a legal and official framework for such action It may appear to be a positive step in degrading and destroying the putative Islamic State (IS), however, the parliament in its vote used the broader term "terrorist organizations," thus the landscape for Turkey, Syria-Iraq, and regional states and interests remains exceptionally complex Though there is nearly universal and implacable opposition to IS among all actors in Syria and Iraq, Turkey's future role-depending on steps taken-could aggravate tensions not only with Arab Gulf states and Kurdish elements in Syria and Iraq, but Iran, Russia, and the Iraqi government Turkey's desire to create a buffer zone on the Syrian side of its common border remains one of the most sensitive issues Amid reports of increased IS pressure on Kobani, Kurdish PKK has insinuated Turkey will be to blame-not IS-for creating conditions for the refugee crisis, and threatens to resume opposition activity in Turkey. The Turkish parliament's vote Thursday to authorize use of its army and military facilities in the fight against the so-called Islamic State (IS) may appear at first look to be a positive step for the broader coalition. The measures-to be determined-are in addition to any financial, diplomatic, humanitarian, and support activities for the anti-IS coalition. However, parliament's vote did not entail Turkey's officially joining the coalition. After the recent deal-details yet to be revealed-to bring home over 40 hostages IS had taken from Turkey's consulate in Mosul, Iraq, in June 2014, pressure increased for Turkey to take military steps in the anti-IS fight. A factor increasing the possibility of military action is Turkish special operations forces' guarding the tomb of Suleyman Shah, a Turkish enclave in Syria reported to be increasingly surrounded by IS. Though there is almost universal animus toward IS in the region, there is also nearly uniform resistance to Turkey's perceived unilateral military involvement in Syria and Iraq, outside the framework of the anti-IS coalition. Turkey's next moves may cause more conflict than benefit in the anti-IS fight. Indeed, the political landscape for Turkey's moves at home and abroad remains extraordinarily complex.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Islam, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Turkey, Middle East, Syria
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: As King Abdullah remains out of sight, worries persist over Saudi Arabia's ability to handle its many domestic and foreign issues The Sunni-Shi'a divide is now seen largely in terms of competition for influence between Saudi Arabia and Iran But it is not just the Sunni-Shi'a tension which impacts the region as Saudi Arabia and Turkey also compete for primacy in the Arab Middle East; the three-way competition has been a key factor in the chronic conflicts in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen Common antipathy toward the self-declared Islamic State is the only glue that holds together the US-led coalition at this time: there's no consensus on how to defeat it, what to put in its place, and the role of Iran-issues made more complicated by questions about Saudi Arabia's internal decision process.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Islam, Power Politics, Counterinsurgency, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Turkey, Middle East, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Syria
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: The self-declared Islamic State (IS)'s strategy of exploiting and exacerbating divisions among its opponents ranks as one of its greatest weapons, and one of the coalition's greatest weaknesses Turkey's airstrikes against the Kurdistan Workers' Party in southeast Turkey are the latest example-and perhaps most damaging in the near-term-of opponents of IS fighting each other instead of the group IS was sustained during its weakest period (2008-2010) in part by exploiting real tensions between various groups-Sunni vs Shi'a, Sunni vs Sunni, Sunni vs Kurd, etc-that prevented an "everybody vs IS" opposition that remains the only way to defeat the group IS will continue to create/exacerbate/leverage the differences between the US and Turkey, Saudi Arabia/UAE and Qatar, the Kurds and various parties, so much so that focus is more on tactically keeping the coalition together and less on strategically strangling IS.
  • Topic: Islam, Terrorism, Armed Struggle, Insurgency, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Arab Countries, Kurdistan
  • Author: Burcu Gültekin Punsmann
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Turkey's actions in the South Caucasus face serious limitations as long as it has no direct influence over the dynamics of conflict settlement. Turkey has the potential to support transformation and reform within the societies of the South Caucasus through soft power. The current state of Turkey's relations with Armenia will keep on seriously curtailing Turkey's outreach in the South Caucasus. Azerbaijan is a stakeholder in Turkish-Armenian relations and Turkey, because of its inability to proceed further with its bilateral agenda with Armenia, has become a stakeholder in the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Azerbaijan's leverage on Turkey appears to be more and more influential. The importance of the notion of Turkishness in national politics is an important factor in assessing the strength of pro-Azeri feeling. The Kurdish problem is today a major political challenge. It is the most powerful dynamic underpinning the questioning and progressive redefinition of national identity.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Ethnic Conflict, Islam
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan
  • Author: Özge Zihnioğlu
  • Publication Date: 01-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Global Political Trends Center
  • Abstract: The generally accepted idea that gender parity in education will automatically lead to women's empowerment is also inherent in Untied Nation's Millennium Development Goal 3. This working paper questions this necessary link between years of schooling and women's empowerment without considering other factors. For this purpose, this paper comparatively examines progress achieved in girls' years of schooling in different regions of the world and in Turkey. This paper then discusses cases where gender parity in education did not entail women's empowerment and argues that policy makers should pay attention to the content of education and socio‐cultural context for education to bring women's empowerment.
  • Topic: Development, Education, Gender Issues, Human Rights, Islam
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Negotiations underway since late 2012 between Turkey's government and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) are stalling. A ceasefire announced on 23 March 2013 remains precarious, as maximalist rhetoric gains renewed traction on both sides. While the PKK should be doing more to persuade Ankara that it wants a compromise peace, the government has a critical responsibility to fully address the longstanding democratic grievances of Turkey's Kurds. One reason it frequently gives for its hesitation is fear of a nationalist backlash. In fact, the peace process has already demonstrated how willing mainstream Turks would be to accept steps towards democratisation. A much bigger risk for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), as it heads into a two-year cycle of local, presidential and parliamentary elections, would be if the three-decade-old conflict plunges into a new cycle of violence.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Ethnic Conflict, Islam, Peace Studies, Terrorism, Treaties and Agreements, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Central Asia, Turkey, Middle East, Kurdistan
  • Author: Marc Pierini
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has witnessed economic success and launched major reforms, in particular writing a new constitution, negotiating with the Kurdistan Workers' Party, passing four judicial reform packages, and installing an ombudsman. In sharp contrast, the AKP's exclusive reliance on its election victories for legitimacy and increasingly authoritarian practices in the fields of freedom of cultural expression and coexistence of different lifestyles are at odds with its stated objective of establishing an advanced democracy. Popular discontent with these practices and unending restrictions on media freedom resulted in major protests in May and June 2013.
  • Topic: Democratization, Ethnic Conflict, Human Rights, Islam, Governance, Reform
  • Political Geography: Central Asia, Turkey, Kurdistan
  • Author: Eyüp Ersoy, Mehmet Yegin
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Strategic Research Organization (USAK)
  • Abstract: Unlike other studies on Turkey-U.S. relations, this report examines the key actors influential on U.S. policy and their perspectives about Turkey, theoretically discusses the regional aspects in Turkey-U.S. relations, and finally emphasizes the economic and social dimensions of the bilateral relations.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, International Trade and Finance, Islam, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Turkey, India
  • Author: Erik Jones
  • Publication Date: 04-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Populists argue that Islamic immigrants are fundamentally different from Europeans. As evidence, they point to notions of religious and cultural identity. Such arguments have popular resonance. As more mainstream politicians pick up on these themes, they begin to take on an air of common sense. Nevertheless, they are mistaken. Europe has a long track record of reconciling competing identities. This has happened by focusing on patterns of interaction (solidarity) rather than obvious indicators of distinctiveness. Using the examples of the Netherlands and Turkey, this article illustrates the wide spectrum of European approaches to the challenge of getting different groups to share the same geographic space.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Netherlands
  • 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: Mehmet Karakaş
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: Sakarya University
  • Abstract: The construction of identity is one of the determinant factors in constructing a valid individual and social world, for identities are constructed both individually and socially. Identities through the demarcation of political boundaries the internalization of the essential dissimilarity of the other is created and the theoretical underpinning of actual practices is formulated. In addition, it always requires a politicized society. The construction processes of identity in Turkish society have always functioned as a dynamic of political change. In fact, policy formed around identity politics has always been an essential determining factor on political, and in general, on the social structure from Ottoman to modern times. At turning points in the history of societies, changes in the issue of identity also occur. The developments that took place under the partiality for Westernization and in the post-1980 neo-liberal process exhibit variations in the identity construction of the Turkish community. In this study, the politics and sociology of identity will be discussed in relation to the formulations of identity from the time of Ottoman Turkey to the modern Turkish Republic.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Evanthia Balla
  • Publication Date: 04-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: The South Caucasus, situated as it is at the crossroads of Eurasia's major energy and transport corridors, continues to play a vital role in the world's security affairs. After the end of the cold war the South Caucasus emerged as a key region in the geopolitical contest among regional and global powers. The South Caucasus states of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia are constantly performing a balancing act in their relations with the U.S., Russia, Turkey and Iran. Armenia has developed strong political and economic ties with Iran in order to counter the Turkish-Azerbaijani axis. Azerbaijan seeks to reinforce its links with the West, especially the U.S., as its main extraregional source of diplomatic and economic support, while it remains cautious towards both Russian and Iranian ambitions in the region. Especially after the 2008 war with Russia and the loss of its provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Georgia has reinforced its links to Western powers and structures while strengthening its ties with Turkey. Both Turkey and Iran are trying to increase their influence in the region, while promoting their national interests in the international arena.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Economics, Islam, Power Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Talip Küçükcan, Müjge Küçükkeleş
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: As a staunch ally of NATO whose actions were easy to predict, Turkey did not attract much attention as a foreign policy actor until a decade ago. The increasing activism of Turkish foreign policy and the greater initiative taken by Turkish elites have raised interest in Europe. After overcoming the first wave of bewilderment and irritation at Turkey's independent foreign policy initiatives, Europeans have started to develop a more nuanced approach towards the specifics of Turkish foreign policy. Currently, debates over Turkey are not confined to EU accession discussion alone. Instead, they consider the implications of Turkey's more assertive foreign policy as well.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, NATO, Islam
  • Political Geography: Europe, Central Asia, Turkey
  • Author: André Bank, Roy Karadag
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: In 2006/2007 Turkey became a regional power in the Middle East, a status it has continued to maintain in the context of the Arab Spring. To understand why Turkey only became a regional power under the Muslim AKP government and why this happened at the specific point in time that it did, the paper highlights the self-reinforcing dynamics between Turkey's domestic political-economic transformation in the first decade of this century and the advantageous regional developments in the Middle East at the same time. It concludes that this specific linkage – the “Ankara Moment” – and its regional resonance in the neighboring Middle East carries more transformative potential than the “Washington Consensus” or the “Beijing Consensus” so prominently discussed in current Global South politics.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Islam, Regime Change, Governance
  • Political Geography: Central Asia, Turkey, Middle East, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: As Turkey's biggest Kurdish- majority city and province, Diyarbakır is critical to any examination of the country's Kurdish problem and of the insurgent PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party). The armed conflict has deteriorated in the past year and a half to its worst level in over a decade, with increased political friction and violence leading to the deaths of at least 870 people since June 2011. While as many Kurds live in western Turkey, particularly in Istanbul, as in the south east, grievances that underlie support within Kurdish communities for the PKK's armed struggle are more clearly on display in predominantly Kurdish areas like Diyarbakır: perceived and real discrimination in the local government and economy, alienation from central authorities, anger at mass arrests of political rep- resentatives and frustration at the bans on the use of Kurdish in education and public life. Yet Diyarbakır still offers hope for those who want to live together, if Ankara acts firmly to address these grievances and ensure equality and justice for all.
  • Topic: Civil War, Communism, Development, Ethnic Conflict, Islam, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Frank Lin
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Global Political Trends Center
  • Abstract: The 2012 American presidential election features two candidates, incumbent President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney, with contrasting foreign policy visions for the United States, particularly with regards to the Middle East. How could these differences between the two candidates affect bilateral relations between the United States and Turkey, which—aside from Israel—is generally seen by the United States as its most stalwart ally in the Middle East? This paper will examine the recent history of bilateral relations between Turkey and the United States, from the George W. Bush administration to the Obama administration, as well as current issues surrounding relations between the two countries. It will also explore how the predicted policies of each candidate could impact the future course of bilateral relations between Turkey and the United States.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Islam, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Turkey, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Bulent Aliriza, Bülent Aras
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The partnership between the United States and Turkey, which traces its origins to the Cold War, has gone through constant adjustment since the beginning of the post–Cold War era.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, NATO, Diplomacy, Islam, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Central Asia, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Mustafa Kutlay, Osman Bahadir Dinçer
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Strategic Research Organization (USAK)
  • Abstract: The aim of this study is to assess Turkey's capacity as a regional power in the Middle East. Within this context, emphasis has been placed on the structural components of Turkey's growing regional influence.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Islam, Political Economy, Power Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Strategic Research Organization (USAK)
  • Abstract: Türkiye'de kritik enerji altyapi unsurlari (KEAU) güvenligini mercek altina yatirarak mevcut durumu tespit etmek, bu konuda farkindalik yaratmak ve sorunlar ile çözüm önerilerini kamuoyunun ve yetkili birimlerin dikkatine sunmak amaciyla bir çalisma yapilmistir. Nitekim, "Kritik Enerji Altyapi Güvenligi Projesi" adli bu çalismanin tüm boyutlarini ve detayli sonuçlarini içeren bir rapor hazirlanmistir.
  • Topic: Development, Energy Policy, Islam, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: Pamela Irving Jackson
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Britain, China, Europe, Turkey, Belgium, Netherlands
  • Author: Sebastiano Sali
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Review of: Islamism, democracy and liberalism in Turkey: the case of the AKP, by William Hale and Ergun Özbudun, Routledge, 2010
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Stefano Maria Torelli
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: More than a year after the start of the Tunisian and Egyptian revolts, the question of how political Islam will return to regional politics is still open. This article explores the differences between the AKP's Turkish model and the Tunisian al-Nahda movement. The Tunisian and the Turkish case studies are examined and compared on three levels. First of all the historical and structural contexts of the two countries and the relationship between the state and Islam are taken into account. Secondly the two models of political Islam that have developed in Tunisia and Turkey are analyzed. Finally, the two different views of the social, political and economic life proposed by al-Nahda in Tunisia and by the AKP in Turkey are compared. By examining the structural differences between these two contexts, and consequently by looking at the two distinctive ways of understanding Islam in public life, the article will also demonstrate how and why the “Turkish model”, as represented by the AKP, cannot be applied to Tunisia, although the al-Nahda has itself embarked on a process of “de-radicalization.”
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia
  • Author: Ergün Yildirim
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This article examines the trajectory of Islamism as a modern phenomenon. It demonstrates that, having evolved under the influence of myriad political, intellectual and historical developments of the past two hundred years, the concept is still surrounded by various debates, movements, acts of violence, ideologies, policies and positions. Islamism also continues to be a significant element in Turkey's political and intellectual life as well. The article then engages several critical questions. Has Islamism reached its end? Is a new type of Islamism emerging? Is post-Islamism on the horizon. In response, the article argues that Islamism's diversification–as opposed to its end–leads the movement to survive as pluralities that result from structural changes stemming from global and plural modernities' interaction with societies. In line with social and political organizations' pursuit of violence, poverty, challenge, reconciliation and alliance, Islamism too is being plurally reconstructed.
  • Topic: Islam, Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Ali Bulaç
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This article examines Islamism in its historical trajectory as well as its current standing and likely evolution. After pointing out to the problems stemming from the lack of an agreed-upon definition, the article presents a definition that constitutes the basis of analysis. It identifies three generations of Islamists and evaluates them by using three criteria: the framework of reference, political themetendency, and leadership profile. The article presents a self-criticism of the second generation Islamists, of which the author is also a member, and identifies areas in which the third generation Islamists have faced a serious test. The paper then turns to discuss the experience of the AK Party in Turkey, focusing on the debate on whether it is an Islamist movement. Next, the article seeks to drive an analytical distinction between Islamism and theology, before concluding the analysis with a critical engagement of an ongoing debate on whether Islamism is dead.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Feride Aslı Ergül
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Women have been both the subjects and objects of Turkish modernization for a long time. They have always been at the forefront of burning questions in Turkey, either with the decades-old debate of wearing headscarves in public institutions, or, lately, with Erdoğan's agenda-setting remarks that women need to give birth to at least three children or abortion will be constrained. However, studies about their position in society or their role in modernization have not gone far beyond superficial repetition. Dedeoglu and Elveren, to a large extent, fill this academic gap in Turkey through editing this book. It consists of thirteen valuable chapters dealing with different aspects of gender issues that are at the junction of tradition and modernity. To this end, the book mainly aims at understanding the impact of neoliberal social policies, political Islam, and EU accession on gender in Turkey. Women stuck between formal equality on paper and social realities in practice are examined using different data sets and topics, from female labor ratios to payment policies, and from social security reform to the individual pension system. For all the diversity of topics, the authors' comprehensive analysis about the reasons for the secondary position of women in society and the possible outcomes of eager but not-yet mature governmental reforms makes this study a reference book not only for readers who want to learn more about gender, society and the neoliberal economy in Turkey, but also for decision makers who want to be aware of the margins of socio-economic dynamics in Turkey.
  • Topic: Government, Islam
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Turkey is the newest country to intervene in Somalia and its involvement has produced some positive results. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's courageous visit to Mogadishu in August 2011 at the height of the famine and his decision to open an embassy gave fresh impetus to efforts to establish lasting peace. Widespread Somali gratitude for Turkish humanitarian endeavours and the country's status as a Muslim and democratic state established Turkey as a welcome partner. Ankara has signalled it is in for the long haul. However, it must tread prudently, eschew unilateralism and learn lessons to avoid another failed international intervention. Over twenty years, many states and entities have tried to bring relief and secure peace in Somalia, often leaving behind a situation messier than that which they found. Ankara must appreciate it alone cannot solve the country's many challenges, but must secure the support and cooperation of both the Somali people and international community. Trying to go solo could backfire, hamper ongoing efforts and lose the immense good-will it has accumulated.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Foreign Policy, Islam, Peace Studies, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Africa, Central Asia, Turkey, Somalia
  • Author: Lenka Peťková
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Global Political Trends Center
  • Abstract: European Union (EU) has been reluctant to start visa liberalization talks with Turkey until mid–2012 despite the fact that citizens of all other candidate countries have enjoyed visa-free travel to Schengen area since 2009. The Turkish diplomats had mastered to negotiate roadmap to visa-free travel in an exchange for the initial of the readmission agreement, implementation of which is considered key in securing EU's eastern borders. The issues of migration and visa policy are covered in the negotiating chapter Justice, Freedom and Security, which has been blocked by the Republic of Cyprus. Demonstrating that the said topics represent joint interest of Turkey and the EU, the chapter was added to the positive agenda launched this May with the aim to keep Turkey's accession process alive. Despite the fact that visa liberalization and readmission agreement will both be negotiated outside of Turkey's accession framework, reforms adopted in these areas are likely to ease Turkey's alignment with the provisions of the relevant chapter of the acquis communautaire. Visa liberalization and readmission agreement are thus important factors influencing Turkey's protracted journey to the EU.
  • Topic: Islam, Migration, Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, Famine
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey
  • Author: Gözde Yilmaz
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Kolleg-Forschergruppe "The Transformative Power of Europe"
  • Abstract: Considering the recent developments in the EU member states, such as French dismantling of Roma camps, minority protection within the EU has increasingly become questionable. Although the EU often neglects the track record of member states' records in minority rights, minority protection has increasingly received EU's attention in the accession process of Central and Eastern European Countries (CEECs). Minority discontent as a potential threat to the stability of Europe in the aftermath of the Cold War has triggered the EU to focus on minority rights. However, the improvement of minority rights in candidate countries remains limited, especially considering the implementation of minority rules adopted in the pre-accession process.
  • Topic: Ethnic Conflict, Human Rights, Islam, Minorities
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey
  • Author: Özdem Sanberk
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Strategic Research Organization (USAK)
  • Abstract: 2011 was undoubtedly a year that witnessed the beginning of grand transformations which will continue in the years ahead. The popular movements under the name of the Arab Spring started in Tunisia and spread quickly to the rest of the region, sparking the process of political transformation. In another part of the world, the economic crisis which began in Greece and then engulfed the whole eurozone took the European Union to a difficult test regarding its future. Both events, one lying to the south of Turkey and the other to its west, interact directly with our country and therefore its zone of interest. Ankara inevitably stands in the epicenter of these two transformations of which the effects will certainly continue for a long period. Consequently, rising as a stable focus of power with its growing economy and its expanding democracy, Turkey has tried to respond to historically important developments throughout the year. In light of these realities and developments, this study will focus on the performance of Turkish foreign policy with regard to global and regional transformations which took place during 2011.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Democratization, Development, Diplomacy, Islam
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: Ömer Taşpınar
  • Publication Date: 02-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Turkey is becoming more independent and self-confident. Yet, the current analysis on Turkey in most American circles tirelessly refers to the tension between secularism and Islam or Eastern versus Western proclivities. Such focus often comes at the expense of the most powerful force driving Turkish foreign policy: nationalism and self-interest. Turkish-American relations are witnessing a paradigm shift that can be best defined as the rise of Turkish Gaullism. A Gaullist Turkey may in the long run decide to no longer pursue an elusive EU membership. It may even question its military alliance with the United States. Burdened by a sense that it never gets the respect it deserves, Turkey may increasingly act on its own in search of full independence, full sovereignty, strategic leverage and, most importantly, Turkish glory and grandeur.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Islam, Nationalism, Sovereignty
  • Political Geography: America, Turkey
  • Author: Michelangelo Guida
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The distressing photo on the cover effectively represents the content of this book. The photo depicts a junior high school student amidst male and female police officers who tear up her headscarf at the entrance of a school in 2001. We do not see the girl's face, but we can imagine her shame and fury for the act and the injustice of the ban. Author of the book under review, Merve Kavakci Islam was an activist for the Muslim women's right to wear the headscarf during her term with the Virtue Party. When elected to Ankara's Parliament in 1999, she was prevented from swearing into office, first, by an astonishing media campaign and, then, by the opposition of the leading party in the assembly. Later, she was stripped of her parliamentary immunity and of her Turkish citizenship by the Constitutional Court, which also closed her party for alleged threats to the state. Those were the aftermaths of the 28 February Process previous to the advent of the Justice and Development Party (JDP), a period when the secularist wing was attempting to reinstate the most severe form of laicism in the country.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Noémi Michel
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The book under review regroups selected contributions from an international conference held in Turkey in September 2006 that was jointly organized by the Association of Muslim Social Scientists (UK) and the Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (Turkey). Reflecting the mission of this conference, the book is concerned with the challenges of security and democracy in relation to Islamic discourses and Muslim communities. In the Introduction, the editor, Wenda Krause, convincingly highlights the importance of these issues, especially after 9/11 and 7/7. She states that “both security and democracy are becoming ever less attainable in today's climate of increased division and cleavages along ideological lines and Islamophobia – an acute problem for citizenship in humanity” and calls for the need of variously angled analyses and critical solutions. (p. xv) The twelve contributions of this volume, which are classified in five sections, therefore offer multiple points of entry to this main problem through case studies, historical accounts, policy analyses, as well as reflections drawing upon Islamic jurisprudence and intellectual history.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Ina Merdjanova
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: In his book, Ion Grumeza ambitiously sets about “to fill a gap with authoritative material on how the process of Balkanization came about, to separate fact from fiction and trace the patterns of ethnic and cultural life that originated fifteen centuries ago.” (p. ix) Furthermore, the book “traces the creation of the present Balkan nations and examines their influence on Eastern Europe.” (p.xiii) With this impressive aim in mind, the author has studied some hundred historical books on the Balkans, or at least this is what we find in his bibliography.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey
  • Author: Gökhan Bacik
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The MHP won 13 percent of the vote in the June 2011 elections, which guaranteed it 52 seats in parliament. Ever since the 1960s, the MHP has operated with a vague party identity that amalgamated different, even contradictory, elements such as Islam, folk nationalism, secularism, militarism, Kemalism, statism, and even Ottomanism. However, the serious issues that are challenging Turkish politics today, such as civilian-military relations, the Ergenekon trial, Islam in the public sphere, the Kurdish question, the crisis of the presidential election, or the 2010 referendum, have made a nebulous discourse operationally impossible. This paper argues that the recent political polarization between the AK Party and the CHP put an end to the MHP's strategy and discourse of traditional obscurantism, causing in these last elections this party's unimpressive electoral performance.
  • Topic: Islam, Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Karol Kujawa
  • Publication Date: 08-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: For several months, we have witnessed rapid change in the countries of North Africa. Researchers and politicians have raised questions about the future of Arab countries once the revolution has run its course. Will the new authorities attempt to build a theocratic state or will they follow the example of Turkey and implement democratic reforms? The latter choice is becoming increasingly popular in the Arab world. This article will address the key questions that come up in connection with Turkey and Arab countries, including: the source of Turkey's popularity in the Arab world, what do they have in common, what divides them and, finally, whether Turkey could become a model for Arab countries.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Economics, Islam
  • Political Geography: Africa, Turkey, Asia, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Turkey is launching initiative after ambitious initiative aimed at stabilising the Middle East. Building on the successes of its normalisation with Syria and Iraq, it is facilitating efforts to reduce conflicts, expanding visafree travel, ramping up trade, integrating infrastructure, forging strategic relationships and engaging in multilateral regional platforms. For some, this new activism is evidence that Turkey is turning from its traditional allies in Europe and the United States. In fact, its increased role in the Middle East is a complement to and even dependent on its ties to the West.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Islam, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: ilman Lanz
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This text discusses the case of Talip, son of Turkish immigrants to Germany and a recent convert to Islam. Specifically, the text addresses Talip's reasons for a (re)conversion and the details of his embrace of Islam as the religion of his ancestors. The argument is made that processes of conversion cannot be captured through the conceptualization of different stages or phases except in retrospect. In showing this impossibility, the text further argues that every conversion needs to attach itself or revolve around a specific event that is taken as cathartic for making the move towards the new faith. Attempts that delineate commonalities in processes of conversion and that then speak of phases or stages are able to illuminate the social dimension of this phenomenon. The focus on events, proposed here, is able to much better highlight the idiosyncratic, contingent and personal dimensions of the same phenomenon.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Germany
  • Author: Sevgi Çilingir
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This article attempts to analyze various aspects of ethnic and religious identity configurations among the Turkish Sunni Muslims in Britain and to explore how such social processes influence their socio-political integration. It tries to situate the Turkish community in the context of British Muslim identity politics. Findings in this article are based on in-depth interviews on perceptions and attitudes the Turkish Sunni Muslims have and their implications in the planning of collective activities, especially in the field of education. This study reveals that although the current level of integration among the Turkish Sunni Muslims in Britain is less than expected, neither living in a non-Muslim country nor claiming to have a British identity are perceived as incompatible with Turkish and Islamic values. This paper concludes that educating Turkish youths in ethnic and religious values is a priority, as it is seen as a means to protect against assimilation, while allowing for successful integration.
  • Topic: Education, Islam, Politics
  • Political Geography: Britain, Turkey