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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
  • Author: Kıvanç Ulusoy
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The paper analyzes Turkey's democratization efforts between 2004 and 2008. In addition to the challenges that the EU accession process brings to the Turkish political structure, an assessment of the current impasse of Turkey's democratization along the EU accession process is made with respect to the detailed analysis of two major issues: the Cyprus issue and civil-military relations. With an eye to studying the EU's impact on the domestic politics of accession countries with special reference to Turkey, the paper concentrates on the current government's performance over the past three years in EU accession negotiations, showing how this immediate experience reveals the main problematical issues of Turkey-EU relations under these two headings. The concluding remarks focus on two crucial problems of the post-2004 period in Turkey: the sustainability of the reform process and the importance of the time factor in evaluating the EU's leverage on democratization.
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Cyprus
  • Author: Ahmet Arabaci
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This study investigates the relationship between the announcement of Turkey's EU candidacy status at the EU's Helsinki Summit in 1999, and the development and transformation of Turkish civil society organizations (CSOs). It is argued that theories of historical institutionalism and rational choice institutionalism provides a useful framework for explaining the changes that took place in the number and institutional structures of Turkish CSOs. Historical institutionalism helps explain how the EU's affirmation of Turkey's EU candidacy has served as a critical juncture for the evolution of path dependency for Turkish CSOs. The economic reforms and democratization driven by Turkey's accession process are given special attention in this respect. Rational choice institutionalism will be employed to explain structural transformations within Turkish CSOs, and their considerable dependence on the funds provided by the EU.
  • Topic: Development
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Vamık Volkan
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Massive traumas at the hands of “enemies” affect both individuals and societies for decades. For the Cypriot Turks, their massive trauma started in 1963-1964 when they were forced to live in subhuman conditions in enclaves geographically limited to three percent of the island for eleven years. What happened during the summer of 1974 obviously traumatized the Cypriot Greeks too on a massive scale. Psychoanalysts who have studied the trans-generational transmission of massive social trauma inform us that if the impact of such trauma is denied or repressed, it will still manifest itself in various ways in new generations. The “therapeutic” way of dealing with previous generations' massive social traumas is not to deny or repress what happened to the ancestors, but to be aware of the history. There could be no solution on the island without understanding and addressing traumas of both communities.
  • Political Geography: Cyprus
  • Author: Ergün Olgun, Dirk Rochtus
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Bi-ethnic Belgium has skillfully developed cooperation and concertation arrangements which meet even the EU's rigid "one voice" requirement, taking into consideration the continuing increase in the powers and functions of its regions and communities. Belgium consequently offers a huge box of tools, particularly to bi-ethnic or multi ethnic partnership states. Probably the most distinguishing differences between Cyprus and Belgium are the chronic conflictual relationship between the two ex-partner peoples of Cyprus, and the absence there of a common vision of co-existence and equal power-sharing. If the two sides in Cyprus could be incentivized enough to sincerely opt for equal partnership, the Belgian multi-tier governance experience, despite some significant differences between the two lands, could still offer some practical lessons from which eager parties in Cyprus could benefit.
  • Political Geography: Belgium, Cyprus
  • Author: Mahmood Monshipouri, Banafsheh Keynoush
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Conflicting dynamics and power calculations within the Bush administration have given rise to contradictory signals coming from Washington regarding how best to deal with the Iranian puzzle. The situation indicates a lack of strategic coherence that could tip the balance toward a military showdown with Iran. If anything, the 2001 and 2003 wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, which have essentially altered the balance of power to Iran's advantage, represent a total disregard for the ensuing negative consequences for the region. Under such circumstances, the absence of serious, direct talks with Iran have the potential to lead to greater momentum for war. In this paper, we set out to examine the internal and regional consequences of a U.S. attack on Iran, while asserting that the benefits of cooperation outweigh the costs of military confrontation. Negotiating with Iran is the only reasonable solution to the crisis confronting these two powers, and U.S.-Iran rapprochement can have a stabilizing impact on the entire region. Conversely, the implications of confrontation will be horrendously costly and profound.
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iran
  • Author: Leonard Stone
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Within the context of political narratives, this paper surveys the major contours of research on the Republic of Turkey. It looks at research spaces and research directions, or trajectories and at particular contentious spaces – e.g. the concept of national interest. The article further highlights the difference between realist accounts and multidisciplinary models of understanding and interpretation, the interconnectivity of academia and bureaucracy and then proceeds to reconfigure (remap) the Middle East within a Greater Eurasia. Throughout there is an emphasis on shifting context(s). Turkey's own relations with the Middle East are referenced, as are a number of selected research obstacles. The conclusion focuses on key markers in socio-political research into the Republic.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Melissa Maxey
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Turkey and the United States are close historic allies. Turkish-American relations have, of course, not been perfect. Two main issues have caused small problems throughout the duration of the partnership. Yet the relationship did begin to change under the administration of American President George W. Bush. The United States must shift its policy toward Turkey to stop the downward direction of relations. It must respond to Turkish internal and external pressures. To succeed it needs to work towards resolutions of current and past problems and allow Turkey to fully develop its own leadership role and position as a prominent member of the Europe and the Middle East.
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Europe, Turkey
  • Author: Daniel Fata
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: What follows is the text of the testimony by Daniel Fata, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Europe and NATO on March 15, 2007.
  • Topic: NATO
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Angel Rabasa, Cheryl Benar, Lowell H. Schwartz, Peter Sickle
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Radical and dogmatic interpretations of Islam have gained ground in recent years in many Muslim societies. Aside from a willingness to resort to violence to compel fellow Muslims to conform to their religious and political views, radicals enjoy two critical advantages over moderate and liberal Muslims. The first is money. Saudi funding for the export of the Wahhabi version of Islam over the last three decades has had the effect, whether intended or not, of promoting the growth of religious extremism throughout the Muslim world. The radicals' second advantage is organization. Radical groups have developed extensive networks over the years, which are themselves embedded in a dense net of international relationships. In this report we describe, first, how network building was actually done during the Cold War—how the United States identified and supported partners and how it attempted to avoid endangering them. Second, we analyze the similarities and the differences between the Cold War environment and today's struggle with radical Islamism and how these similarities and differences affect U.S. efforts to build networks today. Third, we examine current U.S. strategies and programs of engagement with the Muslim world. Finally, informed by the efforts of the Cold War and previous RAND work on the ideological tendencies in the Muslim world, we develop a "road map" for the construction of moderate Muslim networks and institutions. A key finding of this report—which one of our reviewers notes is particularly important—is that the U.S. government and its allies need, but thus far have failed, to develop clear criteria for partnerships with authentic moderates. The net result, already visible, is the discouragement of truly moderate Muslims.
  • Topic: International Relations, Cold War, Islam
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: International Crisis Group
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The International Crisis Group is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organization, with over 130 staff members on five continents, working through field-based analysis and high-level advocacy to prevent and resolve deadly conflict.
  • Political Geography: Iraq
  • Author: Ole Frahm
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Northern Iraq has seen ethnic mobilization and violent political conflict since the creation of the current state system in the interwar period. Throughout this period, Iraq's Kurds have rejected attempts of various governments to assimilate and absorb them into their pan-Arab ideologies. The underlying fear on behalf of Turkey's government is that an independent Kurdistan would have an osmotic effect and automatically strengthen irredentist and pan-Kurdish segments and sentiments among Turkish Kurds and in a worst case scenario lead to a renewed intra-state conflict between separatists and the state on the scale of the early 1990s.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Turkey
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Syrian diplomacy, crowned last November by the re-establishment of bilateral relations and in January by the first state visit of an Iraqi president to Syria in nearly 30 years, seeks to promote Damascus's strategic interests amidst Iraq's continuing violence. Syria initially favored the "managed chaos" that characterized Iraq in the several months following the U.S. invasion because it kept U.S. troops "pinned down" and therefore unlikely to invade Syria. However, the past year's dramatic escalation in sectarian violence, coupled with fears of Iraq's potential disintegration, has impelled Syria to seek greater stability in Iraq. In particular, Damascus has signaled its displeasure with Iraqi Kurdish autonomy, which has emboldened Syria's Kurdish population, estimated at 1.7 million.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Syria
  • Author: Rebecca Bryant
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: More than three years after the opening of the ceasefire line that divides Cyprus, the island is closer than ever to rupture. When the Green Line first opened in April 2003, there was an initial period of euphoria, as Cypriots flooded in both directions to visit homes and neighbors left unwillingly behind almost three decades before. But a year later, when a UN plan to reunite the island came to referendum, new divisions emerged. While Turkish Cypriots voted in favor of the plan, their Greek Cypriot compatriots rejected it in overwhelming numbers. Visits stalled, and today social relations are mired in an increasingly divisive politics.
  • Topic: Politics, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Cyprus
  • Author: Seckin Baris Gulmez
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This work will discuss the views of the current main opposition party in Turkey on Cyprus problem focusing on the three main areas of criticisms raised by the party officials. Accordingly, in comparison with the policies adopted by its predecessors, the article will try to find an answer to the question whether the Cyprus policy of today's CHP constitute a change from or continuation of those of the CHP in the past.
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Melkulangara Kumaran Bhadrakumar
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The 85-year-old Turkish state finds itself at a crossroads. But the implications of Erdoğan's final choice go far beyond Turkey's borders. Turkey's standing as a regional powerhouse, its strategic location as a bridge between Europe and the Middle East, its historical and cultural heritage in the Muslim world – all these are bound to come into play in the coming months. The crucial importance of what is unfolding in Turkey lies in that, to quote former Israeli foreign minister Shlomo Ben-Ami in a recent article, "Engaging political Islam will need to be the central part of any successful strategy for the Middle East. Instead of sticking to doomsday prophecies of categorical perspectives that prevent an understanding of the complex fabric of Islamic movements, the West needs to keep the pressure on the incumbent regimes to stop circumventing political reform."
  • Topic: Islam, Reform
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Selcuk Colakoglu
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This paper aims at investigating the security environment of the Black Sea region. It firstly reviews regional organizations and their security agendas. The Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) is the most organized and largest regional organization in the region. Non-regional organization, namely NATO and the EU, both of which pursue their respective security agendas in the Black Sea region will be dealt with afterwards. NATO has its own policy of penetration toward the Black Sea region. The EU is the dominant economic and political organization which also aims to enlarge in the Black Sea region. Finally, the security environment of the Black Sea region will be examined in view of the BSEC, NATO and EU.
  • Topic: Security, NATO
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Fuat Canan
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This paper focuses on examining what sort of costs and benefits are involved in Turkey's accession process into the European Union (EU) by addressing related discussions in Turkey and aims at reflecting a general Turkish costbenefit motivation perspective. From European perspective, Turkey-EU debates are to a large extent based on costs of Turkish accession, whereas in Turkey, EU-Turkey discourse is to a large extent dominated by benefits of accession. Secondly, as can be observed from public opinion polls held in Turkey, Turkish people do not really know how the EU would affect their lives. They lack a cost-benefit analysis of EU accession even in its simplest form and are not well informed about possible consequences of accession. A more open debate would be helpful in addressing the real costs and benefits of EU membership.
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey
  • Author: Mitat Çelikpala
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: As a regional power, Turkey is increasingly being faced with unwanted situations because of its geo-strategic gateway status both on the East-West and North-South directions, and the spillover effects of the instability emanating from its neighbors. Therefore, it is imperative for Turkey, regarded as a model country in the region, to develop certain solution oriented policies in order to resolve the surrounding instability. Otherwise, not only the regional power status of Turkey will be void, but also its spheres of influence will be lost to other regional and global power contenders.
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: U. Sercan Gidisoglu
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Today, we can mainly make reference to two different main projections of future for the EU: (a) the position defended by France and Germany, which presupposes that there should be 'not a geographically very big but politically and economically strong social Europe', and the projection of the UK and Sweden, which aims to construct a bigger and liberal Europe driven by intergovernmental procedures. According to these two different projects, the attitudes of those four countries vis-à-vis enlargement certainly differ and shape two contrasting camps. The first camp, Franco-Germanique alliance, insists that the Union should first solve its major problems such as the Constitution, budgetary issues (percentage of annual contributions, le chèque britannique, CAP) and institutional reforms before proceeding to any further enlargement. The second camp that is more liberal and pro-enlargement is represented by the UK and Sweden. These two countries put emphasis on the overall positive contributions of the enlargement, especially regarding economic issues and stability problems, and underline the negative consequences that a possible slow down or break in the enlargement process might engender for the Union.
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, France, Germany, Sweden
  • Author: Borut Grgic
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The last year was all but easy in the Turkish-EU relationship with the membership negotiations reaching a gridlock last year. Turkish-EU dialogue took a nosedive after the failure in the EU Constitutional process and subsequently as Europeans began looking for external scapegoats for what in truth was an internal failure.
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey
  • Author: Zeynep Karacor, Abdulkadir Develi
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Energy is considered to be a prime agent in the generation of wealth and significant factor in economic development. The importance of energy is recognized almost universally. And the historical data attest to a strong relationship between the availability of energy and economic activity. Therefore it is believed that if a country reaches to energy before others it can find more opportunities to develop than others. Especially in recent years natural gas has an important place among the other energy sources because of the economic and environmental dimensions. In other words, energy is a unique commodity; it plays an essential role for economic development, human dignity and the environment. All of these reasons have been explained to find an answer to why active participation of citizens, transparent structure and democratic control is necessary.
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Nepal
  • Author: Svitlana Khyeda
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This article focuses on the comparative analysis of major regulatory restrictions on foreign investment in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, countries that are representative of the Muslim Middle East: the Egyptian legal system has served as a pattern for many of the Middle Eastern countries, Shari'a is the primary source of law in Saudi Arabia as in some other Middle Eastern countries and Turkey is a Muslim secular state which adopted more modern version of the civil code system.
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: Mehmet Ogutcu
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Turkey, Iran's next door neighbor, long-standing historic rival and the largest military/economic power in the region, remains the only country, which can genuinely engage or confront Iran in the region (Middle East, Caspian basin, and Central Asia). This holds particularly true at a time when speculations have intensified about a possible U.S./Israeli air strike or more targeted sanctions against Iran due to the nuclear standoff with the West.
  • Political Geography: Iran, Turkey
  • Author: Jan Dirk Kemming, Ozlem Sandikci
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Despite the significance of politics and public diplomacy for nation brands, there is little research on the topic. The study seeks to contribute to the literature by investigating Turkey's European Union (EU) accession, which seems endangered by negative public opinion in other EU member states, as a case to understand how nation brand images can influence a given course of action in international politics. Specifically, through an exploratory qualitative research, the content of Turkey's nation brand image, its antecedents, and potential consequences within the political context of the country's accession negotiation are explored. The findings suggest that Turkey, at the moment, does not appear to be a well-run nation brand. Not only do the poor results indicate room for improvement, but also the management of Turkey in all relevant nation brand dimensions does not seem promising with regard to a successful EU application process. Furthermore, the analysis point to a truly complicated positioning dilemma for Turkey's nation brand and the challenge of accomplishing an integrated nation brand management.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Bobo Lo
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: President Vladimir Putin's visit to China in March 2006 was in many respects a spectacular success. The Russian delegation was the largest and most diverse in post-Soviet times. The number of agreements, 29, represented a record in the history of the relationship. And the atmosphere was the most positive of any of Putin's overseas trips. Surveying the landscape of the relationship, there seems nothing not to like. The 4,300 km common border has finally been demarcated in its entirety; Moscow and Beijing agree on practically every regional and international issue of consequence – Chechnya, Taiwan, Iraq, Iran. Official trade has multiplied nearly six-fold during Putin's presidency; and the first ever Sino-Russian joint military exercises took place in August 2005.
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Iraq, Iran, Taiwan, Beijing, Soviet Union, Chechnya, Moscow
  • Author: Igor Torbakov
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Ukraine's Orange Revolution, its leaders contend, was primarily pro-European, not anti-Russian. But most commentators both in the West and in Russia look at the 2004 dramatic events in Kyiv differently: they tend to characterize them as a clear manifestation of Ukraine's strategic, if not civilizational, choice. Within this paradigm, opting for a "European path" would mean undermining what the Kremlin perceives as its vital national interests.
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Angela Stent
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Russia has found an innovative way to ring in the New Year with its European partners: threatening to cut off energy supplies. At the beginning of 2006, it was gas exports through Ukraine; in January 2007, it was oil supplies through Belarus. Although President Lukashenko backed down and oil again flowed to Europe, the actions of pipeline monopoly Transneft –and President Putin's failure to inform Germany about the impending cutoff– presented German Chancellor Angela Merkel with an unwelcome start to Germany's EU presidency.
  • Topic: Oil
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Germany, Berlin
  • Author: Naoise MacSweeney
  • Publication Date: 07-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Dramatic, controversial, and fiercely fought, the Turkish elections of 2007 marked a pivotal point in the administration of the ruling AK Party, and, it has been suggested, for Turkey as a whole. The presidential race in particular triggered a storm of academic and media discussion, and stimulated large-scale popular responses such as mass demonstrations in several urban centres. Amid such high-level interest, relatively little attention has been paid to the perspectives of small, rural communities on the issue. Although they represent an important section of the electorate, the views of such communities are rarely researched in detail, and are not always shaped by religious and cultural issues as is often assumed. Interviews carried out over the election period suggest that the rural electorate hold much more complex views concerning presidential politics than has been widely supposed, and point to a more nuanced interpretation of 'political Islam' than is usually implied by the term.
  • Topic: Islam, Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Joshua W. Walker
  • Publication Date: 07-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Turkey stands at the threshold of all major trends within its neighborhood and is actively seeking to harness the assets that its geography and historical experiences afford it. As a staunch ally of the United States which has traditionally privileged its "strategic partnership," Turkey's global role has shifted from being a Western geo-strategic military deterrent to an exemplary model of a Muslim-majority, secular, and democratic nation. This article offers an introduction to Turkey's new foreign policy doctrine known as "strategic depth" and then seeks to examine its implications for Turkey's emerging role in Europe, the Middle East, Russia, and Central Asia. In the following sections, this article will outline how Turkey is beginning to realize its full potential as a versatile multiregional and increasingly powerful international actor.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Central Asia, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Tarik Oguzlu
  • Publication Date: 07-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This article argues that Turkey's relations with the Western international community, namely the European Union and the United States, have been going through difficult times over the last couple of years mainly owing to the growing divergences between the security understandings of the parties concerned. Despite the fact that internal factors, such as the ongoing power struggle among domestic actors, have a good deal of explanatory power, the emerging security environment in Turkey's neighborhood, particularly in Iraq, and its impacts on Turkey's internal security have recently become more important in bringing into existence a skeptical Turkish attitude towards the West in general and the westernization process in particular. The changing Western security understanding in the post 9/11 era on the one hand and the growing Western demands that Turkey adopt this understanding should she aspire to become a legitimate part of the West on the other have growingly led the establishment elites in Turkey to challenge the legitimacy of the decades-long westernization/Europeanization process from a security perspective.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: United States, Turkey