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  • Author: Ahmet Yukleyen
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Turkey's membership in the European Union (EU) is contingent on economic, political, and cultural factors. Rather than a geographic area with a particular cultural and religious history, the EU defines "Europe" as a political project that espouses values such as human rights, pluralist democracy, and a liberal economy. However, Turkey's EU accession process highlights the cultural and religious dimension through which "Islam" and "Europe" may be mutually redefined. This article examines how Turkish Muslim immigrants in Europe have become an example of the compatibility of "Islam" and "Europe." It is concluded that opposing Turkey's EU membership based on essentializing arguments of cultural and religious difference is misleading and counterproductive, as it fails to address the shifting boundaries of Europe and of Islam.
  • Topic: Economics, Islam
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey
  • Author: Gonul Tol
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Despite the general tendency within the literature on Islamism to label all Islamist associations as undemocratic due to a shared Islamic ethos, this article suggests that Islamist groups vary in ideology and methods from one another. They can become a counter-hegemonic force that threatens the democratic order or a potential force for democratization of the Islamic community. The role Islamist associations play in society is determined by the role of Islam within the Islamist discourse that is shaped by the social, economic and political structure within which Islamists operate. By comparing the dominant Turkish Islamist movement Milli Gorus in Germany with its Dutch counterpart based on data collected during field research between the years of 2004 and 2007, this article argues that European states ultimately determine the form Islamism takes within the European public space.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany, Netherlands, Dutch
  • Author: İhsan Yılmaz
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Partial and limited opening of authoritarian political systems in Turkey and Egypt created new democratic opportunities for Islamists to participate in public life. It also fostered democratic learning by permitting Islamists to compete for power and popular legitimacy. In the process of democratic opening, Islamists have had to address and represent the interests of a group much larger than their own ideological constituency. They have also had to endure repression and party closures in a semi-democratic political framework. However, the democratic learning process coupled with the establishment's constraints has paved the way for the transformation of Islamists to Muslim democrats. While the process in Turkey is almost complete, in Egypt there are still heated debates on the transformation among the Islamists. This study highlights the importance of the democratic opportunities given to Turkish Islamists and argues that if given similar opportunities, Egyptian Islamism will also transform to a post-Islamist phase.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Egypt
  • Author: Shireen T. Hunter
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Is Islam particularly inimical to modernity, and the two are never to be reconciled? Many westerners and Muslims alike would argue that this is the case. Yet the more pertinent question; is religion in general and modernity incompatible and irreconcilable? There is a basic tension between all religions which rely on revelation as the primary source of knowledge and on God as the source of law and ethics, and modernity which privileges reason as the main source of knowledge and posits the source of law and ethics in human beings. An objective and unbiased reading of Islam shows that it is no more inimical to modernity than any other religion. Rather some of its aspects, including its emphasis on the importance of reason, its injunction that there is no compulsion in faith, and its frequent reference to people and their rights makes a reconciliation between Islam and modernity possible.
  • Topic: Islam, Law
  • Author: Michael Buehler
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Islam and democracy are said to be in a relationship fraught with problems as the former, allegedly, does not allow secular law to be put above divine law or accept the legitimacy of worldly authorities. This relationship is less problematic in Indonesia, a democratic Muslim-majority country, the argument goes, due to the syncretic forms of Islam practiced in the archipelago state that are less dogmatic, and hence more conducive to democratic principles. While this is a valuable point, various factors extraneous to 'moderate Indonesian Islam,' such as a fragmented Islamic authority in civil society, a weakly institutionalized party system as well as dynamics triggered by recent institutional reforms all play a role in the continuing insignificance of political Islam in the country.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Indonesia
  • Author: A. Kadir Yıldırım
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The recent emergence of Muslim democratic parties such as AKP in Turkey and PJD in Morocco draws attention to the perennial question on the moderation of Islamist parties yet again. Economic liberalization and the accompanying socioeconomic transformation underlie the democratic and liberal turn political Islam has taken in the Middle East. The precise nature of liberalization is critical to this moderation. Competitive liberalization, by enabling peripheral groups to benefit from liberalization, conduces to the renewed interest in democracy and a liberal system. Crony liberalization, by reinforcing the archaic rent-seeking relationship between the state and big business and continuing to marginalize the peripheral groups from politics and the economy, sustains the interest of peripheral groups in the reactionary discourse of Islamism. The strength of Muslim democratic parties is a reflection of competitiveness economic reforms introduce in the society and the economy.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Morocco
  • Author: Mohamed Nimer
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Hamas Charter has sparked a lot of controversy, both inside and outside the organization. This paper offers a critical analysis of the original Charter that was issued in 1988. The document attempted to offer an ideology to counter Zionism, but it advocated views that are essentially anti-Jewish, xenophobic and outside the mainstream of the scholarly tradition of Islam. The paper also highlights the contradiction between the search for a just peace and the language of triumphalism and demonization in the Charter. Tracing the political development of Hamas since 1992, the paper presents evidence that current political leaders of Hamas are moving the organization beyond the ideological rhetoric of the early years of the movement. While they have abandoned the outdated Charter, they have not developed a credible perspective on negotiating peace.
  • Topic: Development, Islam
  • Author: Nathan C. Funk
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The arrival of the Obama administration has created opportunities for positive and enduring change in U.S. relations with the Muslim world. Although early attempts to replace confrontation and ideological inflexibility with a more circumspect approach rooted in conciliatory gestures and "enlightened" political realism are encouraging, more substantial shifts in U.S.-Islamic relations will require commitment to a strategy of active peacemaking that moves beyond the standard repertoire of concepts and practices associated with the Cold War's dominant international relations paradigm. Such a strategy would seek to grasp the potential inherent in President Obama's stated commitment to founding relations upon "mutual interest and mutual respect," breaking the present impasse in U.S.-Islamic relations through principles and prescriptions derived from academic studies of peacemaking as well as from a critical re-evaluation of past U.S. policies.
  • Topic: Cold War, Islam
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Leif Stenberg
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: London and New York: Routledge, 2007, pp. 388, 978-0415326070. Leif Stenberg, p. 181Insight Turkey, Vol. 11, No.4, 2009, p. 181
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: New York, London
  • Author: Yücel Bozdağlıoğlu
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Despite its unique geographical and cultural position between East and the West, Turkey, throughout its modern history, has followed a Western-oriented foreign policy. This essay argues that Turkey's Western orientation is closely linked to Turkey's official Western identity created as a result of Turkey's modernization project in the years following the Independence War. The Islamist challenge to this new identity occasionally created a tension between the secular/Kemalist elite and the Islamists in Turkey, which from time to time impinged upon Turkey's foreign policy. The debate on Turkish foreign policy has been an extension of the debate on national identity in the past and still continues to be so. Therefore, in order to better understand the main determinants of Turkey's foreign policy preferences and behaviors, an analysis of Turkish identity is needed.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Islam
  • Political Geography: Turkey