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  • Author: Olexiy Haran, Maria Zolkina
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Mass protests in Maidan, the central square of Kyiv, during the bitter cold winter of 2013-2014, known as 'Euromaidan' or 'Revolution of Dignity' were non-violent for more than two months. The demonstrations began when, under Russian pressure, former President Viktor Yanukovych abruptly resisted in signing the long promised Association Agreement with the EU. However, when President Yanukovych, reputed for his corruption and authoritarian style, responded to the peaceful protests by violent repression, Euromaidan quickly moved beyond its initial slogans and demanded the president's resignation. In February 2014, after security forces started to shoot protesters, Ukraine became one of the only countries in the world where a hundred people died “under the EU flags” defending democracy and the European choice. In this context, according to the agreement signed on February 21, 2014, between the opposition and President Yanukovych, the parliament returned to the 2004 constitutional reform and, consequently, combined a parliamentary-presidential form of government. The 2004 constitutional reform had previously been unconstitutionally abolished by President Yanukovych in 2010 and its restoration was among the main demands of the Euromaidan.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Zuri Linetsky
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: At the conclusion of the summer 2014 Gaza War Israel, Hamas, and the P.A. agreed to meet in Cairo, Egypt to discuss a long-term ceasefire. The goal of this summit was to allow for Gaza to rebuild itself, and for political changes associated with June's Unity Government deal between the P.A. and Hamas to take effect. The summit has since been postponed. However, Gaza still requires significant financial and material aid in order to function and provide for its people. This work examines the economic and security benefits to all parties involved of a long-term ceasefire between Israel, and Hamas. An economically open Gaza benefits Israel, the P.A. and Hamas, with few associated costs and creates an opportunity to reinvigorate final status negotiations.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Israel, Gaza, Egypt
  • Author: M. Murat Erdoğan
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This article is a summary of the study “Syrians in Turkey: Social Acceptance and Integration,” which was conducted by the Hacettepe University Migration and Politics Research Center-HUGO in six cities based on interviews with Syrians and locals and analysis of the media and NGOs. Over 1.8 million Syrians arrived in Turkey and accepted under “temporary protection” status between April 2011 and December 2014. The efforts of the Turkish government and society has spent 5-5,5 billion dollars on the crisis. Turkish society has been overwhelmingly accepting of Syrians. However, concerns and objections are increasing as the permanency of Syrians in Turkey becomes more visible. Therefore, it is essential to develop strategies on permanency with the support of Turkish society.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Syria
  • Author: Stephanie J. Nawyn, Nur Banu Kavakli Birdal
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This analysis offers an evaluation of the last three elections of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq. These three elections included the regional parliamentary elections in September 2013, and the local and federal elections held simultaneously in April 2014. The KRG, as a federal region, exists in the north of Iraq where Kurds have managed their own affairs through a regional government since 1992. The KRG elections have very little in common with elections in the rest of Iraq. Compared to the rest of Iraq, the “region” has experienced a very different trajectory during the last two decades. As a postwar region, the KRG strives to solidify a stable democracy in a landlocked region, which suffers from minimal economic capital and weak democratic culture.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Turkey
  • Author: Mauricio Jaramillo Jassir
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Democracy, Islam and Secularism in Turkey, edited by Ahmet Kuru and Alfred Stepan, decribes the so-called “Turkish model” in detail, while trying to avoid unfounded criticism. The book is divided into eight chapters, written mainly by Turkish authors, with the exception of Karen Barney, Stathis Kalyvas, Alfred Stepan and Joost Lagendijk.
  • Topic: Government, Islam
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Atilla Yayla
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The anti-government protests in Turkey emerged as a legitimate and even necessary reaction against police brutality to evolved into violent revolts targeting Prime Minister ErdoÄŸan. Since the initial protests, commentators sought to make sense of the phenomenon with reference to the Gezi youth. A closer examination, however, would reveal the Leftist-Kemalist aura of the protests that came under the tutelage of Taksim Solidarity, an umbrella organization of left-wing associations, and the Republican People's Party. Meanwhile, the general public kept its distance from the violent demonstrations. Not only AK Party supporters but also many liberals and secular-minded democrats found the developments alarming. While the protests marks a step forward for Turkey's once-apathetic opposition groups, their failure prevented a revival of authoritarianism.
  • Topic: Development, Environment, Government
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Tahir Abbas
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This essay interprets the Gezi Park protests that began as a local resistance to government plans to level a public park but quickly escalated into a national outburst against government policies. How did the local events receive endorsements from different communities with otherwise ideological and cultural conflicts? This paper argues that political disenfranchisement intersected with society's aspirations with regard to dichotomies between conservatism and secularism, localisation and globalisation, and nationalism and majoritarianism.
  • Topic: Globalization, Government, Islam, Culture
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Markar Esayan
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: On August 5th, 2013, an Istanbul court reached its verdict in the Ergenekon coup plot trial, handing down various prison sentences to 247 defendants, including the former Chief of Military Staff and several high-ranking members of the military's command. Although the Supreme Court of Appeals has yet to make a final decision on the 6-year legal battle, the Ergenekon trial has already become part of the country's history as a sign that anti-democratic forces, many of whom date back to the final years of the Ottoman Empire, no longer have free reign. Notwithstanding its limited scope and other shortcomings, the court's decision marks but a humble beginning for Turkey's acknowledgement of the dark chapters in its history, as well as a challenging struggle to replace the laws of rulers with the rule of law.
  • Topic: Government, Law
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: A. Kadir Yildirim
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Egypt's democratization efforts require domestic and international considerations: Domestically, the country must focus on the economy at the expense of the military's political role: While military involvement in politics is crucial to democratization, improvements in this area represents an outcome, not the cause, of the process. Discussions should concentrate on protecting lower- and middle classes, generate prosperity and create common ground between democracy and class interests. At the international level, Egypt requires countries to support democratization efforts and condemn extra-democratic actions. Meanwhile, the prominence of Islamists causes concerns for Western governments with regard to the Peace Treaty and Israel's security.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Islam
  • Political Geography: Israel, Egypt
  • Author: Erdal Tanas Karagol
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: During the 1990s, political uncertainties in Turkey had negative effects that left the economy vulnerable to public and foreign debt due to high inflation, high budget deficit and high current account deficit. Coalition governments failed to address these problems. Following its rise to power in 2002, the AK Party developed a new perspective for the economy, politics and foreign policy collectively referred as the New Turkey. The government emphasized fiscal discipline, structural transformation and privatization. During this period, Turkey rapidly recovered from the negative effects of the 2001 financial crisis and reached a steady growth rate. The country also survived the 2008 global crisis with minimum damage. The government seeks to meet its targets for the centennial of the Republic's establishment.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Zafer Celik, Bekir S. Gul
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The AK Party has been a leading reform actor with particular emphasis on education. AK Party governments implemented educational reforms to increase access to education, improve the quality of education and democratize the education system. Some challenges, however, persisted: Turkey still lags one year behind the OECD average PISA 2009 indicators. This article focuses on the educational policies of the AK Party governments during the last decade. The AK Party's education reforms and policies will be examined through the lenses of access, quality, governance, finance, and democratization of education. The current problems and challenges of Turkey's education system will also be discussed.
  • Topic: Education, Government
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Ali Murat Yel, Alparslan Nas
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This paper discusses the conflict between the AK Party government and the Gezi activism with reference to hegemony, power-resistance dichotomy, local/metanarratives and the carnivalesque. The AK Party's 11-year rule revolutionized center-periphery relations in Turkey. The party pioneered the democratization process until the 2011 elections but took an authoritarian turn afterwards –which gave rise to the revolts. However, the protests mobilized a heterogeneous group, some of whom maintained militarist and partiarchal metanarratives while others took a libertarian stance. This paper highlights the fragmentation of discourses under the “Gezi Spirit” as well as among AK Party supporters.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Senem Aydin-Duzgit
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: THE EUROPEAN UNION (EU) faced a stalemate of institutional reform between the signing of the Treaty of Nice in 2001 and the Treaty of Lisbon in 2009. Although the provisions of the Treaty of Nice were far from resolving the institutional troubles of the EU in the aftermath of the Eastern enlargement, the process for wider reform was painstaking and long. This book explains the convoluted process through which the EU managed to achieve the much-needed, but least expected institutional reform following the Nice Treaty. Thus the major puzzle, which the book tackles, is the dynamics under which the political actors changed their positions and preferences to agree on the Treaty of Lisbon provisions for further institutional reform. In other words, why did political actors shift their preferences in the aftermath of the Treaty of Nice? What were the reasons and processes that pushed the EU towards further reform?
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Lisbon
  • Author: Laura R. Olson
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: THE UNITED STATES supposedly is premised on “separation of church and state,” which means the American government should be neutral regarding religion. But is that really true? The author, a law professor and committed secularist, has strong opinions on this matter. Particularly since the 2004 presidential election that returned George W. Bush to the U.S. presidency for a second term, Ledewitz has been concerned that American secularism—both as an individual choice and a stance on the part of government—is under threat. Although the proportion of secular Americans has been growing rapidly in the twenty-first century, the successful marriage of religion and conservative politics in the U.S. might be inhibiting secularism from full acceptance as a valid alternative to religious commitment. After completing two earlier books on secularism in the U.S., Ledewitz reached the rather specific conclusion “that American constitutional law stood in the way of any serious engagement of secularism with religion” (p. xiii, emphasis mine). Thus, he sets forth in Church, State, and the Crisis in American Secularism to accomplish two tasks. First, he aims to detail how and why he feels current interpretation of “church-state separation” by the U.S. Supreme Court is problematic. Second, he endeavors to construct an alternative legal approach that would put religious people on common ground with secularists before the eyes of American law.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: James M. Dorsey
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Surveying today's Middle Eastern and North African landscape offers few straws of hope. Iran's reemergence producing a potential catalyst for a focus on core domestic political, economic and social issues could be one of those few straws. Whether Iran wittingly or unwittingly plays that role, the Middle East and North Africa are only likely to break their internecine cycle of violence and despair when the alternative becomes too costly. A resolution of the nuclear issue offers Iran far more than the ultimate lifting of crippling international sanctions. It would also allow Iran to capitalize on geostrategic gains it has made despite its international isolation. What worries opponents of the nuclear deal like Israel and Saudi Arabia most is the potential transformation of Iran from a game spoiler into a constructive player.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Saudi Arabia, North Africa
  • Author: Hakki Tas
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The Gladio Scandal in Europe and, more recently, Turkey's Ergenekon trials highlight the importance of hidden power networks behind the façade of parliamentary democracy. Dubbed as “deep state” in the Turkish context, the phenomenon suffers from a scarcity of scholarly analyses. This paper demonstrates the lack of academic interest in this complex issue in Europe, and Turkey in particular. After reviewing the central currents in the academic literature on the Turkish deep state, it offers an analysis of the Ergenekon affair in continuity with Turkey's recent past.
  • Topic: Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey
  • Author: Okan Yesilot
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Over the past months, the crisis in Crimea presented the world with a case study on how rapidly national borders may shift in the 21st century. The turmoil in Ukraine began in November 2013 as widespread protests erupted following a last-minute decision by former president Viktor Yanukovych's to suspend talks on a trade pact with the European Union under pressure from the Russian government. The pro-Russian leadership in Crimea organized an impromptu referendum where the vast majority of participants voted in favor of uniting with the Russian Federation. This article provides an analysis of recent developments in Crimea in the context of Russian policy in the region.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine
  • Author: Malik Mufti
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: During the first years of its tenure in office, as the AK Party focused on consolidating its position domestically, Turkey's reengagement with the Arab world after decades of alienation took a largely unproblematic form. Inevitably, however, as Turkish activism deepened, conflicts of interest emerged both with other aspirants to regional influence such as Iran and Israel, and then - especially after the outbreak of the 2011 uprisings - with many Arab regimes as well. The future character of Turkey's engagement with its Arab neighbors will depend on its ability to combine an adherence to a conception of community based on Islam rather than ethnic nationalism, with a commitment to democratization both at home and regionally.
  • Topic: Environment, Government
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Sardar Aziz
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This analysis offers an evaluation of the last three elections of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq. These three elections included the regional parliamentary elections in September 2013, and the local and federal elections held simultaneously in April 2014. The KRG, as a federal region, exists in the north of Iraq where Kurds have managed their own affairs through a regional government since 1992. The KRG elections have very little in common with elections in the rest of Iraq. Compared to the rest of Iraq, the "region" has experienced a very different trajectory during the last two decades. As a postwar region, the KRG strives to solidify a stable democracy in a landlocked region, which suffers from minimal economic capital and weak democratic culture.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Europe
  • Author: Joerg Baudner
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This article aims to explain the evolution of Turkish foreign policy through the search for a foreign policy role concept. It will argue that the AK Party government has already adopted two different foreign policy role concepts. Thus, the changes in Turkish foreign policy can best be characterized as the adoption of a foreign policy role with many traits of civilian power (2002-2005), subsequent limited change (2005-2010) and the adoption of a regional power role (from 2010 on).
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Cold War, Government
  • Political Geography: America, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Nurullah Ardiç
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The main orientation of Turkish foreign policy has recently been described as Europeanization, Middle Easternization, or Islamization. This article offers an alternative reading of its discourse as a civilizational one, arguing that the concept of civilization has increasingly, albeit vaguely, been employed in Turkish foreign policy discourse in three different layers - national, regional and universal. Turkish foreign policy makers often invoke (and occasionally switch between) these different layers of civilization in a flexible manner, which adds dynamism to Turkish policies. Often integrated with the domestic and foreign policies of the AK Party government, this pragmatic discourse has proved useful for its proactive and assertive diplomacy. Based on the discourse analysis method, this article explores how and why the concept of civilization is utilized within this discourse.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey
  • Author: Zuhal Mert Uzuner
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Change is a central concept in Turkish and global politics. It forms the basis of liberal ideology, alongside freedom, democracy, and equality. In this spirit of change, radical liberal thinkers question the state of contemporary international relations with a focus on justice and fairness. Ahmet Davutoğlu appreciates the importance of these liberal considerations, and he claims the global order is in a period of transformation, in which Turkey and the rest of the world will come into new political roles. In order to facilitate the formation of a fair, cooperative world order, Davutoğlu promotes a global consensus based on cosmopolitanism and multilateralism. These ideas for international reform are consistent with radical liberalism. However, he also considers the formation of a new global order according to his conservative and Islamic ideas-a position inconsistent with liberalism. This contradiction demands a better understanding of Davutoğlu's stance in domestic politics and international relations, and a consideration of implications for Turkey's global identity.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Cold War, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey