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  • Author: Hakki Tas
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The Gladio Scandal in Europe and, more recently, Turkey's Ergenekon trials highlight the importance of hidden power networks behind the façade of parliamentary democracy. Dubbed as “deep state” in the Turkish context, the phenomenon suffers from a scarcity of scholarly analyses. This paper demonstrates the lack of academic interest in this complex issue in Europe, and Turkey in particular. After reviewing the central currents in the academic literature on the Turkish deep state, it offers an analysis of the Ergenekon affair in continuity with Turkey's recent past.
  • Topic: Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey
  • Author: Berdal Aral
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This paper examines the position of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) during the Arab revolutions of 2010-2013. In the early 1990s, the UNSC devised the doctrine of 'humanitarian intervention' which was premised on the view that systematic and comprehensive human rights violations within a state could pose a “threat to international peace and security.” Nevertheless, the Security Council consistently failed to act during the course of Arab uprisings due to a number of structural and procedural problems, including the primacy of national interests, permanent members' disagreement about the meaning of 'collective security,' and the isolated nature of decision-making whereby the substance of major resolutions is negotiated behind closed doors.
  • Topic: Security, Human Rights, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Libya, Arabia
  • Author: Umut Azak
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Beyond Turkey's Borders: Long-distance Kemalism, State Politics and the Turkish Diaspora Beyond Turkey's Borders is based on Banu Şenay's PhD dissertation, which is an ethnographic study of Kemalism among migrant Turks in Australia. Şenay conducted her fieldwork in Sydney in 2007 and 2008 among Turkish migrants who have settled there since the late 1960s. She draws her material largely from formal and informal interviews with first- and second-generation migrants, as well as Turkish and Australian state officials. She also performs content analysis of relevant community papers' archives and contemporary visual and textual materials, such as political speeches, cartoons, internet blogs, etc., produced, shared or followed by the migrant actors of “trans-Kemalism.”
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Australia
  • Author: Michael McGaha
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This little memoir, first published in Italian in 1987, is an account of a life well lived. A proud Sephardi Jew, Victor Eskenazi (1906-1987) was fortunate to have been born and raised in Istanbul at a time when that city was still home to an extraordinarily diverse mix of ethnic and religious groups. In the book's introduction, Eskenazi's son John defines his father as Ottoman “because of his inbred cosmopolitanism, his wide vision of the world, his insatiable intellectual curiosity, his instinctive understanding and respect of other peoples, cultures, and behaviours, and when required also a determination and assertiveness that is so prevalent in the Ottoman personality and in the history of the Empire” (pp. 10-11). Although Eskenazi's formal education ended with high school, just growing up in such a city was in itself a liberal education. By the time he finished high school, he was fluent and literate in Greek, Ladino, French, Ottoman Turkish, German, and English. A bright and sensitive child, Victor clearly reveled in the rich variety of sights, sounds, and smells his native city offered him in such profusion.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Germany, Italy, Vienna
  • 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: Sinisa Malesevic
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Nationalism and National Identities There is a strong tendency among public commentators and many scholars to view nationalism as a phenomenon of yesteryears. Hence the 19th and beginning of 20th centuries are usually identified as the heyday of nationalist movements, whereas much of the 20th and the beginning of this century are analysed through the prism of apparently more universalist ideologies: liberalism, socialism, conservatism, religious fundamentalism, anarchism, fascism or racism. The past two decades are in particular viewed as being characterised by the strong forms of universalist creeds: the world-wide proliferation of the neo-liberal doctrines and practices; the ever increasing globalisation of the economy, politics and culture; the intensive expansion of cosmopolitanism, individualism and transnational identities; and conspicuous religious revivals. However, despite all these major organisational and ideological transformations that have taken place nationalism did not vanish. On the contrary, nationalist doctrines and practices have demonstrated resilience and ability to adapt to different political and economic conditions and to co-exist with very different belief systems. Hence, nationalist discourses were crucial for the justification of the communist rule in Romania of the 20th century and in Stroessner's right wing dictatorship in Paraguay just as they were in the democratic USA and France. This has not changed dramatically in this century as the strong nationalist sentiments underpin such diverse political orders as Islamist Iran, communist North Korea, and liberal Denmark. Nationalism remains a potent source of popular legitimacy.
  • Topic: Nationalism, Politics
  • Political Geography: North Korea, Romania
  • Author: Ates Altinordu
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Multiple Modernities and Postsecular Societies Multiple Modernities and Postsecular Societies brings together the two recently much discussed concepts in its title and explores them through a number of case studies. The introduction by Massimo Rosati and Kristina Stoeckl, the volume's editors, provides a useful recapitulation of these two ideas and draws attention to their potential links. The framework of multiple modernities, as developed by Shmuel Eisenstadt and further articulated by a number of his colleagues and students, contains many advantages over its intellectual alternatives. While it allows the comparative analysis of the modern features of different world societies, it has a much less rigid structure than classical modernization theory. The latter assumed that all societies would follow more or less the same (Western) trajectory of modernization and eventually converge in their cultural and institutional features. The multiple modernities model avoids the ideological underpinnings of its precursor by positing that each society selectively appropriates and interprets the cultural program and institutional patterns of modernity in line with its preexisting cultural characteristics. Thus, societal patterns that diverge from their Western counterparts are not automatically labeled non-modern. Finally, the decoupling of modernity from Westernization and the attribution of reflectivity and creativity to non-Western cultures provides an important alternative against simplistic versions of civilizational analysis in the Huntingtonian mold.
  • Topic: Development
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Karen Leonard
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Finding Mecca in America: How Islam is Becoming an American Religion Near the end of this interesting book, the author characterizes his final chapter as “a series of interpretive judgments about the venture of Islam in its American habitat (p.205),” and I find this true of the book as a whole. It began as a doctoral dissertation, and Bilici defines himself a cultural sociologist who takes an agonistic (combative, contesting) approach, an approach that “pays attention to the margins more than the mainstreams, to lived experience more than to floating abstractions (p.21).” Yet, lengthy discussions of philosophy and social theory punctuate the chapters, enabling readers to debate the stated balance. Bilici also characterizes his work as ethnography, and while he draws on his work in Detroit, Michigan, as part of a team project and his internship with the Council of American-Islamic Relations, CAIR, in Washington, DC, the ethnographic material is limited, providing illustrations for various points Bilici wants to make rather than systematic evidence for them. He argues that his topics have escaped attention (or been taken for granted) or are postdiasporic, meaning they have not yet fully appeared above the horizon (p.19), such as Abrahamic discourse and Muslim comedy. He writes that “what should be prized is not the sea of data but the wisdom of elucidation (p.23),” and this personal interpretation is certainly worth reading.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: America, Washington
  • Author: Nurullah Ardiç
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Secularism and Religion-Making Recent scholarship in the sociology of religion has produced fresh perspectives on the understanding of religion and its inter-relationships with society. Largely influenced by post-structuralist social theory, these new perspectives call for a re-evaluation of existing theoretical and methodological approaches as well as empirical analyses, as reflected in the oft-used terms to describe their projects, including “rethinking,” “imagining” religion and its “invention” and “manufacturing” a là “invention of tradition”. The term “religion-making” is one such concept that questions the traditional ways of studying religion (and its constitutive other, secularism). It refers to the reification by political and intellectual actors (with different motivations) of a religion (its beliefs and practices/rituals) based on certain taken-for-granted (binary) concepts, such as the religious/secular divide, within the discursive field of world religions. The collection of articles edited by Markus Dressler and Arvind-Pal Mandair brings together eleven theoretically-informed and empirically-focused studies on religion-making in different socio-historical contexts. It fits nicely, and contributes to, the above-mentioned recent trends in the sociology of religion and secularism. A strong trend within this scholarship is a critique of the “secular critique” of the Enlightenment-inspired secularization theory, which also implies a critical re-evaluation of the (secularist) notion of a clear-cut distinction between the religious and the secular. This is also a common theme among the articles brought together in this edited volume: each study questions from a post-structuralist angle (but focusing on a different aspect of) the assumption of the 'boundedness' of “religion” and “secularism” and their opposition to one another. The theoretical aim of the volume, according to the editors, is to problematize this dichotomous assumption and demonstrate instead the codependency of “secular” and “religious” discourses. Its empirical aim is to “examine the consequences of the colonial and postcolonial adoption of Western-style objectifications of religion and … the secular, by non-Western elites” (p. 3), but it also contains cases of Western actors. Moreover, the editors' lengthy Introduction contains a useful discussion on the philosophical foundations (from Kant to Heidegger, from Hume to Hegel) and current manifestations (in Taylor, Habermas etc.) of the epistemological hegemony of the religious/secular dichotomy and of the “universalization” of the concept of religion out of Western Christianity. The analyses contained in the volume address the processes of religion-making at three different levels. First, “religion-making from above” refers to the discursive strategy of reifying religion(s) from powerful positions rendering them an instrument of governmentality. This is often undertaken by nation-states in their efforts to reframe existing religious traditions in a docile manner. As the editors note, this strategy is also applied by individual political actors, intellectuals and NGOs, as exemplified by the famous American think-tank RAND Corporation's call for “rebuilding Islam” in a manner that would not constitute a threat to American interests worldwide. The same advice was reiterated in 2004 by Daniel Pipes, a member of the Zionist lobby in the US who was close to the Bush administration, who argued that the ultimate goal of “the war on terror” was “religion-building,” implying the neocon elites' desire to “civilize Islam” (p. 22). These examples show not only the fact that the notion of religion-making from above is extremely relevant to current global geo-politics but also a paradigmatic symptom of the secular-liberal hegemony over religion in Western imagination: all religious traditions are encouraged and/or forced to “fit in” the existing socio-political structures in the form of “protestantization” –i.e. becoming an a-political, “modernized”/secularized and docile religion with no agenda for change in the status quo. Therefore, this hegemonic secular discourse does not so much aim to cleanse the public sphere and politics from religion as to make the latter fit in with the existing system and, if possible, function as a source of legitimization for hegemonic powers.
  • Topic: Islam, Politics
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Selim Erbagci
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Breakout Nations: In Pursuit of the Next Economic Miracles In the last decade, the world has witnessed an unprecedented development of many countries. The speed of this process has not only caused surprise but also has generated questions: How did these countries manage such significant improvements? Why have some other countries failed to reach a similar level of success during the same period? How long could this rapid development last? Ruchir Sharma answers these issues, explaining the common reason for rapid development during the last decade and also the country-specific internal dynamics behind the rapid development of countries such as China, India, Brazil, Turkey, Russia, Mexico, and South Korea. Finally, He also identifies the potential breakout nations for the next decade.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Turkey, India, Brazil, Mexico
  • Author: Hsiao-Wen Cheng
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The Everlasting Empire: The Political Culture of Ancient China and Its Imperial Legacy While dynasties rose and fell in the geographical area now called “China,” in this book Yuri Pines treats the Chinese empire since the Qin dynasty as a whole and inquires into its longevity. This inquiry is justified by Pines' in-depth discussion on several continuous characteristics of Chinese imperial system and political culture: the persistent belief in the “Great Unity” and in absolute monarchism; the theoretical omnipotent monarchs and the practical “checks and balances” of the imperial bureaucrats; the literati class as the locus of both political and moral/cultural authority; and the exclusion of commoners from actual political processes. Focusing on the intellectual aspect, Pines draws connection between pre-Qin thought and political ideology of later times, effectively synthesizes scholarship on post-Qin developments, and shows numerous insights into the intrinsic tensions within Chinese political history.
  • Topic: Development
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Ibrahim Dalmis
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Generally speaking, two traditions – right-wing politics and the Left – have dominated Turkish politics over the years. This study aims to analyze historic election results in order to determine roughly how much popular support each political movement enjoys in the country. Starting from transition to multi-party system in Turkey, one can see the emergence of several ideologies, groups and political parties that appeal to various social classes. Although military interventions caused a rupture in the democratization of the country, there has been a lively political environment with dynamic party politics and elections. During the span of Turkish democracy, a number parties were established and closed. This article examines the trajectory of elections and party perfomances with a special emphasis on ideology and electoral base of the parties.
  • Topic: Environment
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: E. Fuat Keyman
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: One of the fiercest electoral battles fought in the Turkish political history, the March 30, 2014 local elections yielded results akin to an outcome of a general election. The AK Party's victory in the ballot box has serious implications for Turkish politics and society in general. This paper will thus discuss and explain the implications of the elections for the AK Party' metamorphosis into a dominant party. The paper will also shed light on how the AK Party's consolidation of its power has led to the emegence of a "New Turkey." Last, the article will point to the increased polarization in Turkish society, an externality of the AK Party's dominant party status and the New Turkey.
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Osman Can
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The December 17th process was started allegedly by a political move by the Gülen movement, which, until recently, had been seen as a religious organization. As the government and the parliament – institutions of democratic representation – countered this move through the use of their constitutional powers, the debate has turned into a totalistic and ontological struggle. However, very few people argue that the problems are actually not independent of the constitutional system of the Turkish Republic, but rather unavoidable consequences of the existing system. If we consider the political steps and strategies pursued by the Gülen movement, we see that we are faced with the most familiar game in Turkish political history, namely the shaping of politics through the use of state institutions.
  • Topic: History
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Bayram Balci
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Just after the end of the Soviet Union and the emergence of three independent states in the South Caucasus Turkey started to manifest a real interest for this region. Energy issue, which is the key issue in this Turkish policy since the beginning, is expected to remain the key priority for Turkey because of its growing economy. Ankara tries to have a balanced relations with the three South Caucasian countries, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia, but for multiple reasons, Turkey's policy in the South Caucasus is still determined by its relations with Azerbaijan who is the best ally and economic partner for Ankara.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Soviet Union, Georgia
  • Author: Ranj Alaaldin
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Iraq held parliamentary elections in April, the country's first vote since the withdrawal of U.S. troops in December 2011. Although turnout was impressive and a democratic culture has settled in Iraq, outstanding challenges, including terrorism, sectarian divisions and regional conflict, are unlikely to be rectified by the elections. The status quo will continue and Iraq, at best, can only attempt to contain domestic and regional problems.
  • Political Geography: Iraq
  • Author: Randa Slim
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Hezbollah's longstanding ties with the House of Assad lie at the core of its domestic and regional policies. Losing Assad would undermine Hezbollah's regional strategic posture and embolden its domestic opponents to challenge its military status. Hezbollah is thus fighting in Syria to protect its status in Lebanon and its regional standing as much as to protect Iranian interests in the region. Public rhetoric from both Iran and Hezbollah leave little doubt about their unwavering commitment to the Assad regime. Will Iran and Hezbollah continue to fight for Assad's political survival irrespective of the consequences for regional stability? While they argue that political dialogue and negotiations are the only way forward in Syria, both Iran and Hezbollah have been circumspect about what a political solution in Syria should entail.
  • Political Geography: Iran, 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: Taha Ozhan
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Like all long political years, the year 2014 did not begin on January 1st; rather, 2014 politically began at the end of May with the Taksim events. Nevertheless, the year may end on an optimistic note. It could be said that, unless the date of the upcoming general elections change, the long political year of 2014 will extend to June 2015. Had the government been overthrown by the police-judiciary coup in December 17th., Turkey would have been sentenced to a neo-tutelage regime for many years to come. The first phase of the tripartite elections race in Turkey ended with Erdogan's victory. The upcoming presidential elections in August 2014 will be the second phase. The March 30 elections clearly demonstrated that the AK Party will continue to play an important part in Turkey's political scene for years to come.
  • Topic: Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Turkey, India
  • Author: Ali Carkoglu
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: ABSTRACT The March 2014 local elections in Turkey did not drastically alter electoral balances in Turkey. The AK Party maintained its predominant position, despite loosing some electoral support. The opposition gained some support but not enough to challenge the incumbent party's tenure. Despite apparent gains for the CHP, it appears that the most significant vote increase was obtained by the nationalist MHP. Yet, both opposition parties remain far from imposing a credible challenge to the AK Party in future elections. These results are likely to lure PM Erdoğan into running for president. Such a decision is likely to further polarize the country and result in negative electoral campaigns for the presidential elections.
  • Political Geography: Turkey