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  • Author: I. Aytac Kadioglu
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Turkish Journal of Middle Eastern Studies
  • Institution: Sakarya University (SAU)
  • Abstract: The purpose of this article is to assess international negotiation efforts towards ending the civil war in Syria. Although many peace events have been organised since the beginning of the civil war, the existing literature has paid little attention to the impact of international peace efforts in ending the Syrian war. The article aims to close this gap by assessing major peace efforts between 2011 and 2019; The Arab League Peace Plan, the United Nations peace initiatives, and the Geneva, Vienna and Astana peace talks. It analyses these efforts through official reports and documents published by the UN, US, Republic of Turkey, UN Security Council, and members of peace initiatives. These documents are complemented by newspaper articles showing the official views of the regional and global actors as well as the key agents of the conflict. Therefore, the article reveals the reasons for the failure of these conflict resolution efforts. The Syrian government’s reluctance to end the conflict in a non-violent way, the armed groups’ dream of territorial gains and regional and global powers’ involvement in the conflict prevented the solution of the conflict. It utilises official negotiations and ripeness approaches to investigate the insights and contents of peace efforts. The article argues that the regional and global powers have acted as facilitators instead of mediators in the peace talks. It finds that even though these peace events are viewed as official negotiations, they are only pre-negotiation efforts.
  • Topic: Civil War, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, United Nations, Peace
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Asia, Syria
  • Author: Mustafa Onur Tetik
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Turkish Journal of Middle Eastern Studies
  • Institution: Sakarya University (SAU)
  • Abstract: Following Turkey’s recent military operation in Syria (Operation Peace Spring), “Turks” and “Kurds” have widely been dichotomized by the Western media outlets and political circles. US President Donald Trump even claimed that “Turks” and “Kurds” have been fighting for hundreds of years, and that they are “natural enemies.” However, the complex historical relationship of “Turks” and “Kurds,” as a loosely connected social totality prior to the age of nationalism, refutes such sloppy and feeble contentions. This work presents an identity-driven historical survey of Turkish/Turkmen societies’ and polities’ interrelations with Kurdish collectivities until the emergence of modern nationhood and nationalism. In doing so, this article provides an ideational and narrational context feeding the Turkish government’s contemporary relationship with the Kurds of the Middle East. The major complication in journalistic and academic literature is rooted in the lack or omission of historical background informing current policy choices influenced by how relevant actors historically perceive each other. Today’s incidents and facts such as the “solution process,” “village guard system” or different Kurdish collectivities’ positions between Iran and Turkey are sometimes akin to precedent events in history. This work aims to make a holistic contribution to fill this gap and to provide a succinct historical overview of interrelations.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Nationalism, Regional Cooperation, Nation-State
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Asia, Kurdistan
  • Author: Can Eyup Cekic
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Turkish Journal of Middle Eastern Studies
  • Institution: Sakarya University (SAU)
  • Abstract: This study aims to expose the ways in which leading officials of the Committee of Union and Progress (the CUP) interpreted, internalized, and questioned the conditions of their mission in Arab lands during World War I (WWI). It builds on the memoirs of Falih Rıfkı, aide-de-camp of Commander-in-Chief Cemal Pasha, and Halide Edip, an ardent supporter of the social and educational reforms of the CUP government. Both written after the war, these memoirs reflect not only nostalgia and regret but also the complicated relationship between Turkish officials and Arabs on the eve of their breakup from one another as citizens of the Ottoman State. The study also questions the orthodox argument that the Turkist and anti-Arabic ideology of the CUP government in general and Cemal Pasha’s wartime crusade against Arab nationalists in particular triggered the emergence of Arab nationalism. By contemplating the memoirs of CUP members in Arab lands, this study argues that Falih Rıfkı, Cemal Pasha, and Halide Edip tried to understand the region and its people in order to create a mutual future for Turks and Arabs within the Ottoman Empire.
  • Topic: Nationalism, War, Citizenship, World War I
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Asia, Ottoman Empire
  • Author: Ayfer Erdogan
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Turkish Journal of Middle Eastern Studies
  • Institution: Sakarya University (SAU)
  • Abstract: In 2013, Egypt’s first democratically elected president Mohammed Morsi was overthrown by a military coup. Since then the country has undergone serious setbacks in terms of democracy, individual freedoms, and social justice. Egypt’s failed revolution and the military coup could not be thought independently from the role of external actors - either directly or indirectly involved in this process. Despite their political rhetoric emphasizing democracy promotion and political reforms, both the US and the EU failed to pursue consistent and contributory policies in promoting democratic transition in Egypt out of fear that the electoral victory of Islamist groups would harm their interests in the region. On the other hand, the Gulf Monarchies played a pivotal role in the entrenchment of the military rule by providing financial and political support to the military-backed government as a shield against the democratically elected government in Egypt. This article investigates how the policies adopted by Egypt’s key allies, the European Union, the US and the Gulf Monarchies, impacted the trajectory of Egypt’s political transition in the face of the January 25 revolution and 2013 military coup. The main thesis of the article is that the policies pursued by external actors created a political environment unfavorable for democratic change in Egypt.
  • Topic: Non State Actors, Military Affairs, Authoritarianism, European Union, Transition
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Egypt