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  • 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: 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: 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: Senem Aydin Düzgit
  • Publication Date: 12-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Against expectations, in July 2008, the Constitutional Court in Turkey ruled against banning the AKP. The decision of the Court needs to be interpreted against a background of closely intertwined internal and domestic constraints. While the risk of political and economic crises, lack of a credible political opposition, high public opposition to the closure of the party and prospects of further polarisation in society constitute the main domestic determinants, the implications of a potential ban on the country's relations, primarily with Europe, namely the EU and the Council of Europe, are also major external constraints behind the Court's final decision.
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey
  • Author: Henri J. Barkey
  • Publication Date: 12-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Turkey could not have a more vigorous advocate for its quest for European Union accession than the United States. Successive administrations in Washington have strongly asserted that Turkey is an intrinsic part of Europe, that historically and politically, Ankara has played a critical role in the defence of Europe against the Soviet Union and that now it is an indispensable country in bridging the civilisational divide. In the early 1970s, the United States decided to locate Turkey in Europe, bureaucratically speaking of course. Turkey, which used to be in the Near East bureau in the State Department and elsewhere in the bureaucracy, was transferred to the European divisions of the respective administrative agencies. Hence it is perhaps ironic that after arguing for decades that Turkey is a European country, the United States, through its Iraq invasion, has in one bold stroke managed to push Turkey back into the Middle East. Of course, other events, especially Turkish domestic politics, have also played a role in making this perceptual move possible. Simply stated, as United States security concerns shifted east and away from Europe, it was only natural, though far from intentional, that Washington would take Ankara along with it.
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Sahin Alpay
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Turkey, a candidate state that started negotiating membership in the EU in 2005, has witnessed serious political conflict since April 2007 when the military threatened to intervene once again in the political process. The Chief Prosecutor filed closure cases before the Constitutional Court first against the Democratic Society Party, the first pro-Kurdish party to enter parliament, and then against the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) which won a landslide election victory in the parliamentary elections of July 2007. The Court decided by the slimmest of margins against the closure of AKP, allowing the country to escape narrowly one of its worst political crises. The attempted "judicial coup" can only be explained by the state ideology of and the nature of democracy in Turkey. The political conflicts are related not to a fight over dismantling or protecting secularism, but to the power struggle between old and new elites in the country.
  • Topic: Development
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Soli Ozel
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: In many ways, 2007 was a threshold year for Turkey and Turkish democracy. The country faced the challenge of deciding its political future as well as resolving its foundational identity problems. From the beginning, most political observers knew that the political climate and developments of the year would be shaped by the dual elections, first for the Presidency and then for the Parliament. Indeed, as will be seen below, the political developments of the year were determined by the struggles related to the elections.
  • Political Geography: Turkey