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  • Author: Alexandros Petersen
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Russia's new president, Dmitry Medvedev, should be expected to broadly continue his predecessor Vladimir Putin's foreign policy toward Turkey and the broader Black Sea region. Analysts who cast Medvedev as a mere Putin puppet, or those who anticipate a gradual increase in power for the new man in the Kremlin miss the crucial question about decision-making in Russia: how much influence will the siloviki – current and former security service officers – wield to implement policies based largely on mistrust and calculation? Russia's policies in the Black Sea region are unlikely to change much in substance, although Medvedev may adopt a more subtle, effective style in seeing them through. Their exclusionary nature - a product of the silovik worldview - should be expected to continue. Therefore, despite recent significant improvements in Turkey's relations with Russia, over time Turkey may find itself in an uncomfortable middle ground between its Western allies and its new-found friends in Moscow.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Turkey
  • Author: Barin Kayaoglu
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The Cyprus tragedy of the past and the Iraq predicament of our times bear striking similarities. Cyprus of the 1960s and 1970s is not too far from Iraq in 2008. The main thrust of this article is that Cyprus presents a useful case study for contemporary decision-makers in the United States, Turkey, and Iraq. Just like the Cyprus question, which has caused nearly irreparable damage to the relations between Turkey, Greece, and the United States, policies that are not carefully crafted by Washington, Ankara, Erbil, and Baghdad could lead to a very problematic future for the Middle East. In a nutshell, this article offers a cautionary analysis by drawing on the experiences of the Cyprus tragedy for the purpose of avoiding a similar one in Iraq.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Joshua Walker
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The recent closure case brought against the ruling Justice and Development Party is a direct assault on Turkey's democracy. For this reason, America should not lose the opportunity to swiftly and unequivocally repudiate the establishment's attempts to re-assert control over Turkish politics by undemocratic means. The lack of a concrete resolution on the part of the U.S. in regard to the case has already resulted in a credibility gap. Given America's emphasis on and interest in Turkey's democracy and attendant reform process, a simple re-affirmation of its commitment to citizen's choices in free and fair elections would send a powerful message to a country that is on edge. Instead, Turkey is left with 'friends' who lack credibility and resolve at the worst possible moment. If the ruling party and its leadership are banned from political life, not only will Turkey lose its credibility in the Middle East as the only indigenous Muslim-majority democracy, the United States will also lose credibility in the world theatre for failing to support democracy in Turkey.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Government, Islam, Politics, United Nations
  • Political Geography: America, Turkey
  • Author: Sevgi Akarçesme
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This article analyzes relations between Turkey and the European Union (EU) in the aftermath of the closure case against the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party).The indictment targeting the governing party, which is widely considered to amount to a judicial coup, has received belated but strong criticism from EU officials in charge of relations with Turkey. Although the pace of reforms did decelerate in the period following the vigorous efforts of the early 2000s, the EU continues to serve as a catalyst for Turkish democracy. In this article, the possible impact of the indictment and the closure case on Turkish-EU relations and Turkish democracy at large is evaluated on the basis of the reactions it has elicited from both domestic and foreign actors. Despite the lack of genuine liberal democracy in Turkey, especially on the part its political parties, the EU anchor could still serve as a driving force for democratization if managed successfully.
  • Topic: Democratization
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Yusuf Şevki Hakyemez
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This article discusses the limits of the freedom of political parties in Turkey. The political party bans constitute one of the most important problems threatening the freedom of political parties in Turkey. The restrictions on the political parties come to the fore in two different forms: dissolution after the military coups and closure by means of legislation. In the current context of the case opened against the AK Party, it may be possible and advisable to apply an amendment, bringing Turkish jurisprudence in such matters in line with the standards of the European community. It is concluded that the Constitutional Court should interpret cases of the dissolution of political parties in the context of the principles of "secularism" and the "unitary state" in such a way as to take into account the requirements of the principle of "the rule of law" and to allow different political alignments to express themselves in a "human rights respecting" and "democratic" country.
  • Topic: Democratization, Government, Human Rights, Politics, Law
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Turkey as a U.S. Security Partner by Stephen Larrabee / 146 Ömer Taşpnar Turkey and the European Union: Prospects for a Difficult Encounter Edited by Ezra LaGro, Knud Erik Jorgensen / 149 Natia Ejoshvili The Importance of Being European: Turkey, the EU and the Middle East Edited by Nimrod Goren and Amikan Nachmani / 151 Christopher Brewin Between Islam and the State: The Politics of Engagement by Berna Turam / 153 Tuba Kancı The Kemalists: Islamic Revival and the Fate of Secular Turkey by Muammer Kaylan / 156 Michael M. Gunter The Politics of Turkish Democracy: İsmet İnönü and the Formation of the Multi-Party System, 1938-1950 by John M. Vanderlippe / 158 Paul Kubicek The Ottoman Empire, the Balkans and the Greek Lands: Toward a Social and Economic History Edited by Elias Kolovos, Phokion Kotzageorgis, Sophia Laiou and Marinos Sariyyannis / 160 Fatma Sel Turhan
  • Topic: Security, Islam
  • Political Geography: United States, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Tarik Oğuzlu
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This article argues that Turkey's approach towards the Kurds of northern Iraq provides analysts with an opportunity to demonstrate that the traditional frontiers between foreign and domestic policy realms have gradually become blurred. The main contention is that the way of defining Turkey's foreign and security policy interests vis-à-vis northern Iraq has been increasingly informed by domestic concerns to re-construct Turkey's national identity at home. In this context, two alternatives discourses vie for influence. The first is the so-called liberal-integrationist approach, advocated mainly by pro-European liberals, the AKP leadership, and the Kurdish elites who are currently doing politics under the roof of the Democratic Society Party within Parliament. The second is the so-called realist-exclusivist approach supported by the traditional security elites in Turkey as well as the main opposition party in the Parliament, namely the Republican People's Party.
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Turkey
  • Author: Robert Olson
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This article examines the challenges of Kurdish nationalism within Turkey and of Kurdish nationalist movements emanating from Iraq during the period between the 22 July 2007 elections and the crises of March 2008. In particular the article discusses the following developments: First, the domestic political scene, particularly the consequences of the 22 July elections and the surprisingly strong wins of AKP deputies in the southeast and east of Turkey versus the relatively poor showing of the DTP; second, the efforts of the Turkish Armed Forces and businessmen's associations to ameliorate economic grievances in the southeast; and third, the increase in PKK terror activities and the TAF's subsequent air and land attacks on northern Iraq. The conclusion addresses the implications of the ongoing U.S. occupation of Iraq for Turkish-Kurdish relations, and discusses the trade-offs of different instruments utilized by Turkey to resolve the Kurdish problem.
  • Political Geography: United States, Turkey
  • Author: Ertan Efegil
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: In a sharp break from the past, Turkey's AK Party government now openly accepts the existence of a domestic Kurdish problem, and views it moreover as being mutually interrelated with the rise of separatism among Iraqi Kurds and the problem of PKK terrorism. Turkey now has official contacts with the Iraqi Kurds and is working to find a lasting solution to the Kurdish problem by implementing socio-economic and cultural measures in addition to the military one. While the Iraqi Kurds, the American administration and Turkey are beginning to reconcile their differences concerning the Kurdish issue, Turkey faces internal division; certain parties such as the General Staff, the National Movement Party and the Democratic Society Party continue to push for radical measures. Today, there seems to be little opportunity to find common understanding. But as existing conditions deteriorate and pressure mounts both within the domestic sphere and from the international community, it grows increasingly important for Turkey to find a lasting solution to the Kurdish issue.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Turkey
  • Author: Rabia Karakaya Polat
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The Kurdish question has been a source of domestic conflict since the inception of the Turkish Republic. It has been one of the mostly securitized issues in domestic politics. Despite the continuation of the securitizing agenda, and years of denial by the state, in the mid-1990s alternative discourses on the cultural rights of the Kurds started to emerge. The AK Party government departed from previous attitudes by repeatedly emphasizing the Kurds\' right to express their culture and identity. This article analyzes the developments regarding the Kurdish issue during the AK Party government and asks whether they can be seen as a desecuritization process. The article argues that although there are significant signs of desecuritization, Turkey continues to swing between forces, agendas, and actors of securitization and desecuritization when it comes to the Kurdish issue.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Hayrettin Özler, Ergün Yildirim
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: As the AK Party government struggles to keep the 'EU dream' alive, and as Kemalist ideocrats work to keep back the AKP's dominion, lingering Turkish disputes about Islam and democracy resolve into new forms and disputing parties change their positions. More and more, the conservative Islamists of the past have taken on liberal, democratic, or pan-European stances, while some liberal democrats of the past have taken on a conservative, even reactionary discourse. Thanks again to the EU membership prospect, the relation between Islam and democracy is being transformed to the extent that the debate now focuses on the question of whether Islam and its societal dynamics are hindering or facilitating the formation of a democratic structure in accordance with EU standards. Nevertheless, the Islam “vs.” democracy debate has not yet been superseded, and the dispute seems far from being resolved. We suggest that there are now three intellectual groups with a stake in the discussion.
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Ahmet T. Kuru
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The Prosecutor of the High Court of Appeals opened a closure case against the ruling AK Party by presenting it as the center of anti-secular reactionism in Turkey. The indictment largely reflected four myths embraced by the Turkish establishment: 1) Secularism is a way of life and a constitutional principle; 2) Secularism does not allow religion's impact on social life; 3) Islam, unlike Christianity, is incompatible with secularism; therefore, secularism in Turkey should be restrictive; and 4) Turkey cannot be compared with the US, which is not a secular state, but is similar to France, which is secular. The Turkish Constitutional Court has justified restrictive policies on the basis of these myths. The court should no longer be bounded by its misleading past opinions. It can play an historical leading role with its future decisions by providing new, myth-free perspectives on secularism in Turkey.
  • Political Geography: United States, Turkey, France
  • Author: Ali Bardakoğlu
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This article aims to show how exchanges between religion and secularism, Islam and democracy and cross-cultural relations over many years have shaped Turks' perception of Islam and their position towards freedom of religion and co-existence of different faith communities. Muslims are generally attributed a monolithic identity marked by intolerance despite the fact that they have considerable diversity in their understanding of Islam and its practice. The Turkish case challenges such essentialist views by demonstrating that despite some isolated events, Turkey succeeds in managing religious diversity because the perception of Islam has developed in connection with a variety of current and historical events. The perception that emerged in the course of Turkish cultural and political history provides strong grounds for peaceful co-existence within the shared social order. Turkey's achievement in establishing a political culture and a perception of Islam that facilitates religious pluralism can be attributed to factors as such democracy and secularism and Turkey's efforts to join the European Union.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey
  • Author: Kerem Karaosmanoğlu
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Minorities have always been the subject of academic, journalistic and popular research in Turkey. The general trend of most of these analyses is to conceive of minorities as part of a wider international political structure, be it the international system, imperialism or an anti-national conspiracy against ethnic Turks. Within such pictures, a member of a minority group can hardly be recognized as an individual self with a sense of subjectivity. Thus, what is missing in most minority research in Turkey is an analysis of the self. This article argues that cultural studies can provide resources and inspiration for a new research paradigm for the study of minorities in Turkey through its use of qualitative anthropological methods such as participant observation, in-depth interviews and focus groups. Only then can the minority self have a chance to say something of his/her own, breaking the shield of silence and the stigma of conspiracy discourse.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Graham Fuller’s latest book on Turkey provides a critical account of Turkey’s foreign policy in the post September 11 period and an insightful analysis of its structural features and domestic linkages. In fact, the challenges that Turkey faces in the post-Cold War era has been a focus of academic and strategic thinking in a series of recent studies.1The magnitude and the content of these studies reveal Turkey’s increasing role and significance in the post-Cold War era, not only in the regional context but also from the perspective of U.S. foreign policy priorities. All of these studies have concentrated on resolving the puzzle of Turkey’s new foreign policy identity and defining its new role in regional and global terms. Some accentuate the traditional Western orientation inherent in the logic of Turkey’s Kemalist Republic, while others try to establish a link between Turkey’s search for a new strategic role and the country’s post-1980 transformation. The latter point to the ways in which Turkey has initiated a new form of political pluralism, prioritizing identity issues in domestic and foreign pol-icy considerations. In both perspectives the changing nature and form of Turkey-U.S. relations occupy a crucial part of the analysis. The resolution of this puzzle becomes even more urgent in the post-September 11 era when U.S. security concerns require more assertive policies, particularly in the Middle East. Some go so far as to argue that there is an urgent need to redefine Turkey-U.S. relations if Turkey is to be relevant in the 21st century.2However, there is also a growing acknowledgement that Turkey has been slipping from the U.S. orbit and following a relatively independent foreign policy. F. S. Larrabee, for example, states that “in the future, Turkey is likely to be an increasingly less-predictable and more difficult ally.... [and] the United States will need to get used to dealing with a more in-dependent-minded and assertive Turkey–one whose interests do not always coincide with U.S. interests, especially in the Middle East.”
  • Political Geography: United States, Turkey, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The closure case against the ruling AK Party pending before the constitutional court occupied the center stage of Turkish politics throughout the summer. After months of speculation on the fate of the party, the court finally reached a verdict in late July, deciding not to close down the AK Party, and averting what had otherwise promised to be an unprecedented level of political uncertainty, social and economic turmoil, and potential chaos. With the closure case now behind it, the AK Party is expected to be more restrained, and to act responsibly – as it did during the proceedings of the case – while building up its democratic and secular credentials through a reform policy in keeping with the EU accession process. For some time, the ruling AK Party had been under pressure for neglecting, if not abandoning, the EU membership process. In response to critics the government may refocus its energy on the issues that have stalled Turkey's accession.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Russia, Turkey, Georgia
  • Author: Mark R. Parris
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: American and Turkish leaders typically describe ties between the U.S. and Turkey as based on “common values and interests.” Yet given that the Bush administration's relationship with Turkey has been marked by dysfunction and crisis, is that still true? A tendency to see Turkey as a function of Washington's big idea of the moment, insensitivity to a broadening perception in Turkey of U.S. disregard for Turkish interests, inaction in the face of PKK terror, weak leadership on energy security, and schizophrenia toward Turkey's internal politics have left U.S.–Turkish relations worse than when George W. Bush came to office. If U.S. and Turkish interests remain largely convergent at the strategic level, a more independent Turkish diplomacy will likely be part of the Bush legacy. As for “common values,” there is reason to hope that the real damage done to mutual perceptions is reversible.
  • Political Geography: America, Washington, Turkey
  • Author: Michael A. Reynolds
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Increasing numbers of Turks have come to recognize that their country's traditionally hesitant and circumspect foreign policy no longer serves its interests, and is incommensurate with Turkey's regional weight. Accordingly, the governing Justice and Development Party has attempted to shed that tradition by seeking to engage Turkey's neighbors proactively in recent years. In the Caucasus, Ankara has taken steps that may lead to the normalization of relations with Yerevan and the breaking of the stalemate over Nagorno-Karabakh. The Russo-Georgian War of 2008, however, demonstrates that Turkish diplomacy faces a severe test for which it may not be prepared. The war revealed that old institutional practices continue to constrain Turkey's diplomacy; moreover, the war restored Russia to the position of spoiler in the Caucasus. The return of Russia may mean that Turkey's new diplomacy will be too little, too late.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Caucasus
  • Author: Saltanat Berdikeeva
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Georgia's military gamble in South Ossetia in August 2008 opened a Pandora's Box of misfortunes. Tbilisi is now faced with the loss of its breakaway republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, meanwhile creating a potential opportunity for Russia to assume a much-coveted control over the energy transit routes passing through Georgia. While the conflict has further spoiled the relations between the West and Russia, setting in motion stiffer competition between the two to secure the energy sources of Central Asia and Azerbaijan, the pragmatic calculations of the players involved in the Eurasian energy game may eventually change the tone of the game. With unresolved issues surrounding doubts over the sufficiency of energy supplies and the availability of means to deliver them from Central Asia and the Caucasus to Europe, Russia's preeminent position as a supplier of energy to the West will be maintained.
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Central Asia
  • Author: Ziya Öniş
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The prospects for Turkey's ambitions for full EU membership do not appear to be very bright in the current conjuncture. The “grand coalition for special partnership” appears to be firmly entrenched. With key chapters for negotiation already suspended what is likely to happen is that the government in power is likely to pursue a loose Europeanization agenda of gradual reforms falling considerably short of deep commitment for full-membership. The paper investigates the underlying reasons for the decline of enthusiasm for EU membership following the golden age of Europeanization and reforms during the early years of the AK Party government. The article also points to domestic and external developments which may help to reverse the current stalemate and, hence, ends with an optimistic note concerning the future of Turkey-EU relations.
  • Topic: Development
  • Political Geography: Turkey