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  • Author: Ulaş Bayraktar
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV)
  • Abstract: This report has been produced in the framework of the Empowering Civil Society for a More Democratic Local Governance Project funded by the scope of Republic of Turkey and European Union supported Partnerships and Networks Grant Program. TESEV is the lead, Şişli Municipality and Association of Union of Citizen Assemblies are the co-applicants, and the Checks and Balances Network is the associate of the project. The transition from the classical management approach to the governance approach, in which private sector and non-governmental organisations take on roles in determining public policies, has been the dominant discourse of politics for more than a quarter century. Instead of a hierarchical and monolithic bureaucratic process, this approach envisions a management triangle that engages other stakeholders. However, these governance principles have not been fully put into practice in Turkey and those that have been implemented have not yielded the expected results. The present study aims to test these statements at the level of local governments and politics. Its purpose is also to open up a discussion based on the findings of interviews and roundtables conducted in ten cities in Turkey and of a comprehensive survey administered to a nationally representative sample of civil society organisations.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Non-Governmental Organization, Governance, Democracy, Urban
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Brandon Friedman, Joshua Krasna, Uzi Rabi, Michael Milshtein, Arik Rudnitzky, Liora Hendelman-Baavur, Joel D. Parker, Cohen Yanarocak, Hay Eytan, Michael Barak, Adam Hoffman
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: This collection of essays, published by Konrad Adenauer Stiftung in collaboration with the Moshe Dayan Center (MDC), focuses on how states and societies absorbed the coronavirus shock as the first wave spread through the Middle East, from February through April 2020. It offers a critical examination of how several different Middle East countries have coped with the crisis. This publication is not intended to be comprehensive or definitive, but rather representative and preliminary. Each of these essays draw on some combination of official government data, traditional local and international media, as well as social media, to provide a provisional picture of the interplay between state and society in the initial response to the crisis.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Health Care Policy, Economy, Crisis Management, Sunni, Jihad, Coronavirus, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Iran, Turkey, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Egypt, Jordan, Gulf Cooperation Council, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Hasan Aydin
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Because of a perceived existential threat to the Turkish state, the teaching of any language other than Turkish in the formal education system has historically been forbidden through targeted legislation, despite the fact that Turkey comprises many minority ethnic groups other than Turks. Guaranteeing the rights of minorities like the Kurds for native tongue education would ensure preserving the distinct identities of minorities and contribute to the resolution of the decades-long Turkish-Kurdish conflict. Potential solutions include establishing programs, hiring more qualified instructors, and encouraging pluralism and diversity in education.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Education, Poverty, Minorities, Income Inequality, Kurds
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Vali Nasr, Valeria Talbot
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: The MED Report 2020, Navigating the Pandemic, provides analyses, policy recommendations and a vast array of data and infographics to stimulate discussion and inspire innovative ideas during the 6th edition of Rome MED Dialogues. Following MED's four traditional thematic sections – shared security; shared prosperity; migration; civil society, culture and media – the Report focuses on a selection of topics that are crucial to the region, highlighting both the challenges and the dynamics taking shape in an area that has been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic. The aim of this publication is to provide a comprehensive understanding of the prospects and policy options for the Middle East and North Africa, where COVID-19 has impacted on a context already marred by socio-economic vulnerabilities and instability.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Migration, Culture, Geopolitics, Media, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Nancy Ezzeddine
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: The recent protests in Iraq and Lebanon are driven by the effects of inadequate governance, which itself is a result of years of corruption, nepotism, and the appropriation of public authority and resources for sectarian purposes and self-enrichment. The governance model of both countries – sectarian quasi-democracy – is increasingly proving to be a long-term dead end. Both countries stare into the abyss of public bankruptcy, crumbling social services, growing poverty levels, and the lingering threat of renewed violence. Yet, the Lebanese and Iraqi political elites are stubbornly refusing to make more than token concessions to the protesters’ demands. The reform protesters seek are ambitious due to the many mechanisms that have entrenched elite capture of public authority and budgets in both countries over the past decades. These include, in particular: (1) the deep institutionalization of consociationalism that prevents more radical reform; (2) the pervasiveness of public/private arrangements that political elites use to dominate socioeconomic interactions to their benefits; and (3) the steady courting by many domestic political parties of foreign alliances that sustain the sectarian status quo. Notwithstanding the roadblocks to reform thrown up by these three mechanisms, this paper argues that today’s mix of political and economic crises offers opportunities bring about change. This is because these crises starkly expose the deep failure and unsustainability of current governance and development mechanisms in Lebanon and Iraq. Faced with resilient, stick systems that feature many veto players, reform is inevitably bound to be a gradual, long-term process that slowly and painfully strengthens and changes political structures. Key ingredients of such a path are the capacity of civil society structures to influence and guide decision making, the extent to which the international community is ready to challenge the status quo via conditions and incentives for genuine reform, and the ability to protestors to keep pressing for and prioritizing domestic agendas despite geopolitical tensions.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Corruption, Reform, Alliance, Political Crisis, Economic Crisis
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Lebanon
  • Author: Itır Akdoğan
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV)
  • Abstract: In this report, we enquire into the issue of gender equality by investigating different sectors at once to offer recommendations for improvement. In this project, which is supported by the Swedish Consulate General in İstanbul, we first examine, in light of data gathered and disseminated by European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE), the percentage of women high-level decision makers in Turkey’s politics, public administration, local government, civil society organizations, social partners, business, media, judiciary and education/science/research. We compare these rates in their historical transformation and with the rates of European Union countries, thus inspecting them in their wider quantitative context. Next, we conduct in-depth interviews with women (if not present, men) high-level decision makers in these areas to carry out a qualitative assessment of women’s participation in Turkey.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Gender Issues, Politics, Women, Inequality
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, European Union
  • Author: Daniel Benaim
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for American Progress - CAP
  • Abstract: One year after military victory over the Islamic State (IS) and a bitter Kurdish defeat in Kirkuk, Iraq, Iraqi Kurdistan is settling into a new moment of hard-won calm. Its two largest parties are poised to form a new regional government, and a newly formed central government in Baghdad presents opportunities for cooperation. Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) leaders have sought to turn the page on bitter disputes with Baghdad and Washington over the Kurds’ referendum on independence.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Transition, Political Crisis
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Kurdistan