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  • Author: Muhammed Kürsad Özekin, Hasan Hüseyin Akkaş
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations
  • Institution: Prof. Bulent Aras
  • Abstract: This article pursues two main objectives. First, mainly drawing on empirical evidences rather than journalistic impressions and reports on the Arap Spring, it aims to provide an in-depth analysis of the sets of socio-economic and socio-political factors that have been deeply rooted in the region for more than half a century and which have driven (and continue to drive) a wave of uprisings across the region commonly labelled as the 'Arab Spring'. Thus, this study expects to present a slightly different reading of the Arap Spring by placing the issue into the socio-economic and socio-political context of the recent past. Secondly, by considering a range of factors such as the responses of the regimes, the role of security forces, the ethnic and sectarian makeup of the societies and the politico-institutional feature of states, it explains how the unfolding of events has differed from country to country and why some uprisings have succeeded in toppling regimes and others have not.
  • Political Geography: Arabia
  • Author: Philipp O. Amour
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations
  • Institution: Prof. Bulent Aras
  • Abstract: In December 2010, a revolutionary spark in Tunisia initiated what is now referred to as the Arab Spring. Since then, many countries across the broader Middle East have been swept up in uprisings that have led to fundamental shifts in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen. The same drive for change has also led to minor changes in Jordan, Morocco, and elsewhere.
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Libya, Yemen, Arabia, Egypt, Morocco
  • Author: Ufiem Maurice Ogbonnaya
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations
  • Institution: Prof. Bulent Aras
  • Abstract: The Arab Spring, a pro-democracy uprising which has been sweeping through North Africa and the entire Arab world since 2010, has been described as a cataclysmic revolutionary wave that has seen the over-throw of numerous political regimes in its wake. This has had great impacts on the political developments and democratic governance in the Arab world in particular and the world in general. Though the political, environmental and socio-economic factors and variables that resulted in and sustained the revolutions in the affected states appear similar in nature, they vary from one country to the other. Using the MO Ibrahim Foundation Index, Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index among others on selected indicators, this paper draws a comparative analysis of the key factors and variables that gave rise to the Arab Spring. The paper focuses particularly on the North African countries of Egypt, Libya and Tunisia. Findings show that the inability of governments in these affected states to respond adequately to the growing demands of political inclusion, good governance, job creation and policies of inclusive growth played fundamental roles in awakening the people's consciousness, resulting in the revolutions. This paper recommends the institutionalization of participatory and multiparty democracy and the implementation of people-oriented policies such as job creation and the introduction of poverty reduction programmes among others, as a means of sustaining the success of the revolutions.
  • Political Geography: Africa, Libya, Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: Sean Foley
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations
  • Institution: Prof. Bulent Aras
  • Abstract: What was the intellectual vision that led to the Arab Spring and what are its roots? This article investigates how that vision took shape in the years immediately before the Arab Spring through the work of poets and popular Arab singers like Hamza Namira and Maher Zain. It argues that the vision in art and politics mirrored the desire of many Arabs and Muslims to find new ways to solve the challenges plaguing their societies. The vision also reflected a) how the downturn in the global economy after 2008 combined with major environmental changes to galvanize millions to act in the Arab World b) how social media and new communications tools helped to mobilize dissent and to limit the ability of governments to effectively repress their populations. More than two years after the Arab Spring began in late 2010 the movements it spawned are radically reconstructing societies in the Middle East. They are also undermining some of the basic assumptions of the international system, many of which have been in place since the Peace of Westphalia in 1648.
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Syria, Egypt
  • Author: Paul Kubicek
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations
  • Institution: Prof. Bulent Aras
  • Abstract: The “Turkish model” has been upheld as a positive example for Middle Eastern countries, particularly in light of the Arab Spring. While Turkey is, in many respects, successful—it has a dynamic economy and in recent years has made great strides toward political liberalization— and the current Turkish government has high standing in the Arab world, this paper will argue that the applicability of a “Turkish model” to other settings is limited. In part, this is due to confusion over what the “Turkish model” precisely is or should be. For many years, the “Turkish model” was taken to be Kemalism, or a statist, authoritarian, secular order imposed “from above” with the goals of modernization and Westernization. More recently, the “Turkish model” would mean embracing a more moderate-type of political Islam, exemplified by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). While the AKP has proven to be successful in Turkey, it came to power in conditions very different than those that prevail in the Arab world at present. In particular, the AKP has evolved to reconcile itself to secularism in Turkey and embraced a program of Europeanization through accession talks with the European Union, an option not on the table in Arab states. Finally, a comparison of the political culture of Turkey with that in much of the Arab world reveals significant differences in values and priorities between the two cases.
  • Topic: Democratization
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Moritz Pieper
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations
  • Institution: Prof. Bulent Aras
  • Abstract: Turkey's role in the Iranian nuclear dossier is often portrayed as that of a 'facilitator' and 'mediator' in scholarly analyses. NATO member Turkey was seen as a potential bridge-builder between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the 'Western camp' of negotiators. During prime minister ErdoÄŸan's first legislature, however, Ankara's and Washington's foreign policy outlooks and strategic priorities started to diverge in the course of Turkey's new regional engagement in what has been theorized as a 'Middle-Easternization' of Turkish foreign policy. It is Turkey's location as a geostrategic hub in a politically instable region that informed Turkey's 'Zero problems with neighbors' policy and foreign minister DavutoÄŸlu's advocacy for a 'Strategic Depth' in Turkey's foreign and regional policies. Ankara emphasizes its need to uphold sound relations with its neighbors and publicly stresses an unwillingness to go along with Western pressure on Iran, and insists on the principle of non-interference and Iran's right to use nuclear power for peaceful purposes. All the same, Turkish-Iranian relations are undergoing a deterioration in the wake of the Syrian civil war at the time of writing, with both sides supporting diametrically opposite causes and factions. Turkish-Iranian fundamentally differing conceptions of regional order will also impact upon Turkey's leverage power to defuse the Iranian nuclear crisis. This paper therefore adds a timely contribution to our understanding of a multifaceted and nuanced Turkish foreign policy toward Iran that can be a critical complement to 'Western' diplomatic initiatives in the search for new paradigms for a new Middle East order.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Iran, Washington, Turkey, Middle East, Arabia, Syria
  • Author: Henelito A. Sevilla
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations
  • Institution: Prof. Bulent Aras
  • Abstract: The Arab Spring has brought significant changes to the political landscape in many Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) countries since early 2011. It has also affected the geo strategic and economic interests of powerful emerging Asian states, especially China and other net-energy consuming countries. One immediate result of the Arab Spring is its highly disrupted impact (a ' Black Swan') on the production and supply of crude oil to the economies in Asia due to their high degree of reliance on hydrocarbon from the Middle East. Chinese reactions to Arab Spring have fed tensions between itself and the countries with which it shares the South China Sea, most importantly the Philippines and Vietnam. This paper demonstrates that the black swan effect of the Arab Spring is manifested in the renewal of a geo-strategic competition in the South China Sea as China is re-asserting its historical claims over the control of the area and of its possible hydrocarbon reserves.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: China, Middle East, Arabia, North Africa
  • Author: Vahit Yucesoy
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations
  • Institution: Prof. Bulent Aras
  • Abstract: Well-researched, and well-documented, L'Iran et la Turquie face au Printemps arabe (Iran and Turkey in the face of the Arab Spring), written by authors Mohammad-Reza Djalili and Thierry Kellner, sets out to analyse the Arab Spring from the vantage point of two major non-Arab powers of the Middle East. Given the shortage of academic books on the reaction of these two major powers to the Arab Spring, the authors' book comes at a very pertinent time.
  • Political Geography: Iran, Turkey, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Muhammad Azam, Sagheer Ahmad Khan
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations
  • Institution: Prof. Bulent Aras
  • Abstract: Advanced democracies, including the United States, have been championing democratic promotion around the world. In the past, American policy towards the Arab Middle East, however, had been mainly based on just paying lip-service to democracy sans concrete measures for promoting a democratic culture in the region. The events of 9/11 marked a watershed in the history of US foreign policy towards the region. Facing calls for a democratic Arab World from home and abroad in the wake of 9/11 the US government raised the ante for pushing democracy in the Arab Middle East. The rhetoric and emphasis laid on 'democracy in the Arab World' by the American leadership over the years after 9/11 was unprecedented. This study deals with the visible shift in US foreign policy vis-à-vis democracy in the region, focusing on the six GCC states, namely Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. In addition to American approach and strategy, practical measures taken in the areas of politics, economy, education, media, civil society, and human rights is also furnished. An effort is made to understand and highlight the methods and tools employed by the foreign democracy promoters, both at the levels of state and society. However, a large part of the study appertains to the activities conducted at the grass-roots level. The study is comparative in its nature, based on empirical analysis.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Middle East, Kuwait, Arabia, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman
  • Author: Amir M. Haji-Yousefi
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations
  • Institution: Prof. Bulent Aras
  • Abstract: After the American invasion of Iraq in 2003, it became evident that Iraq's Shia majority would dominate the future government if a free election was going to be held. In 2004, Jordan's King Abdullah, anxiously warned of the prospect of a “Shia crescent” spanning Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. This idea was then picked up by others in the Arab world, especially Egypt's President Mubarak and some elements within the Saudi government, to reaffirm the Iranian ambitions and portray its threats with regard to the Middle East. This article seeks to unearth the main causes of promoting the idea of a revived Shiism by some Arab countries, and argue that it was basically proposed out of the fear that what the American occupation of Iraq unleashed in the region would drastically change the old Arab order in which Sunni governments were dominant. While Iran downplayed the idea and perceived it as a new American conspiracy, it was grabbed by the Bush administration to intensify its pressures on Iran. It also sought to rally support in the Arab world for US Middle East policy in general, and its failed policy toward Iraq in particular. Thus, to answer the above mentioned question, a close attention would be paid to both the Arab and Iranian agenda in the Middle East after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in order to establish which entities benefit most from the perception of a Shia crescent.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Iraq, America, Iran, Middle East, Arabia, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt