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  • Author: Mücahit Bilici
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Turkish media frequently employ the term "White Turks" to describe the Turkish cultural elite. Although Turks are unfamiliar with American-style racial divides, the terms "black" and "white" are widely used to colorcode inequalities in Turkey. The common tendency to distinguish White Turks from Black Turks on the basis of wealth, however, fails to uncover the historical and cultural dynamics that gave rise to these two groups. This essay not only offers a necessary clarification of this popular heuristic device but also proposes a perspective for understanding the current standoff in Turkish politics between the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP, Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi) and the secular establishment, with their distinct value systems and competing claims to modernity.
  • Topic: Development, Politics
  • Political Geography: America, Turkey
  • Author: Bülent Aras
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Ahmet Davutoğlu was appointed Turkish foreign minister on May 1, 2009. Chief advisor to the Turkish prime minister since 2002, Davutoglu is known as the intellectual architect of Turkish foreign policy under the AK Party. He articulated a novel foreign policy vision and succeeded, to a considerable extent, in changing the rhetoric and practice of Turkish foreign policy. Turkey's new dynamic and multidimensional foreign policy line is visible on the ground, most notably to date in the country's numerous and significant efforts to address chronic problems in neighboring regions. Davutoğlu's duty will now shift from the intellectual design of policies to greater actual involvement in foreign policy as he undertakes his new responsibilities as minister of foreign affairs. The Davutoğlu era in Turkish foreign policy will deepen Turkey's involvement in regional politics, international organizations, and world politics.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Ani Sarkissian
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2008, 413 pp., ISBN 9780804758642.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Ümit Cizre
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The AK Party's chronic 'political insecurity' may have passed a threshold as the ruling party resurfaces as an actor taking advantage of its pro-European Union sentiments to begin a 'grand negotiation' with Turkey's thus-far publicly shunned Kurdish leaders after decades of bloodshed. This new window of opportunity could not have emerged without the explosion of the Ergenekon incident, which has offered a persuasive critique of the closed, dark, intolerant and secret communities friendly with the military bureaucracy and state officials but insidiously devoted to destroying the government. In the post-Ergenekon era, the new democratic opening represents a significant departure from a military solution to the Kurdish issue which has blocked civilian imaginations by declaring the Kurdish identity demands as a security threat to the officially proscribed Turkish identity. The real issue at stake now for the AK Party government is a redefinition of the locus and space where the phenomenon of real political power takes place in Turkey.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Kurdistan
  • Author: Kudret Bülbül, Bekir Berat Özipek, İbrahim Kalın
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This article, based on a book published by SETA, looks at the attitudes of Turkish people towards what is conceived as the West and Western culture. While some polls suggest a deep anti-European and anti-American sentiment in Turkey with a clear opposition to Christianity as the religion of the West, the current survey suggests evidence to the contrary. Survey findings show that there is no anti-Westernism in Turkey based on religion, culture, or civilization. Perception of the West is fragmented and does not lend itself to easy categorizations. There is no animosity towards Christianity. In fact, most participants use a respectful and even venerable language when talking about the Christian religion. While most participants do not feel comfortable with the invasion of Turkish society by Western cultural products, they see no essential conflict between the core values of the two cultures. While the perception of Western religion, culture and civilization is mostly fragmented and reveals considerable diversity, Western politics is uniformly perceived as negative and hostile.
  • Topic: Politics, Religion, Culture
  • Political Geography: America, Europe, Turkey
  • Author: Michael Gunter
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This paper challenges the view that the AKP is "an Islamist party" and "hardly a democratic opening". It puts forward the argument that the AKP's recent election victory represents a triumph over (1) inward-looking, anti-EU, ultra-Turkish nationalism, (2) unwarranted military interference in politics, (3) selfish Kemalist desires to protect their own privileged position, and 4) misguided secular fears of a secret Islamic agenda.
  • Topic: Islam, Nationalism, Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Oktay F. Tanrısever
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This article examines the December 2, 2007 State Duma elections in Russia in terms of their significance and implications for Russian politics. The article argues that the success of the United Russia party in the State Duma elections created the most conducive conditions for Vladimir Putin's handling of the presidential succession problem in 2008. By keeping the State Duma under the control of his 'Party of Power,' Vladimir Putin became able to nominate his close ally Dmitry Medvedev to the Presidency since the election results enabled him to use the State Duma to counterbalance the overwhelming presidential power which will be transferred to Dmitry Medvedev in 2008. The article begins by examining the significance and the actual organization of the December 2, 2007 State Duma elections in Russia. On the basis of the analysis of the election results, the article goes on to discuss the implications of the December 2, 2007 State Duma elections for Russian politics.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • 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: 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
  • 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