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  • 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: Mustafa Kibaroglu
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Interest in Turkey and its foreign and security policies has grown significantly in the political and scholarly circles in the world, especially since the Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi – AKP) came to power with the November 2002 elections. The AKP's electoral success continued in the subsequent elections in 2007 and 2011 with an increasing percentage of votes, which was unprecedented in the history of the Turkish Republic. One particular reason why Turkey attracted much attention in the world was because, in its first years in power, the AKP was easily categorized, both in the media and in academia, mainly in the West, as an “Islamic” party with a hidden agenda that aimed at drifting Turkey away from its mainstream foreign and security policies that have long been anchored in the Western alliance, thereby turning Turkey's face toward the Middle East and the Islamic world beyond it.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Development, Islam
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Gaza
  • Author: Yaprak Gursoy
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: TURKEY'S EUROPEAN FUTURE tackles the question of how the United States (US) has influenced relations between the European Union (EU) and Turkey, and especially the decisions of the EU on Turkey. Except for a few notable scholarly articles, US-EU-Turkey relations have not been investigated in depth. In this well-written and well-organized book, Tocci addresses this gap in the literature by thoroughly examining in what ways, mechanisms, and in which direction the United States has had an impact on the decisions of the EU regarding Turkey. The book focuses mostly on the 1990s and 2000s, however the main findings provide considerable insight for the earlier periods, as well as for the future.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: America, Turkey
  • Author: Ezra Akcan
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: In Istanbul, architectural ideas on how to transform Taksim Square can get you killed. A case in point would be the recent police violence over Gezi Park in Taksim, which began as a public protest against the undemocratic planning of the prime minister's “delirious projects” for Istanbul. Sadly and ironically, the first democratically elected prime minister in Turkey's history, Adnan Menderes, was the target of violence about half a century ago, when he was sentenced to death partially based on the charges against his urban projects in Istanbul. Murat Gül's book The Emergence of Modern Istanbul: Transformation and Modernisation of a City effectively tells a 150-years long story of urban transformation that culminated in the Menderes' execution. While the author devotes his most detailed last chapter, one of his major scholarly contributions and conclusion to the Menderes years, he also provides a much needed and useful synthesis of scholarly works that describe Istanbul's dramatic transformation during the late Ottoman, early Republican, and postwar Democrat Party (Menderes) periods. “Mid-nineteenth century Istanbul was chaotic, overcrowded, poorly sewered, badly administered, prone to catastrophic fires and plagued with ineffective transportation systems. A century later the city was a metropolis with large avenues, postwar modernist architecture and city blocks which had swept away much of its traditional nineteenth century street pattern and altered its urban form.” (p.1)
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Ali Murat Yel
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: THE NAQSHBANDIYYA is perhaps one of the widest-spread Islamic religious brotherhoods due to its active involvement in political affairs. Its 'strength' comes from the fact it could trace the sheiks of the order as far back as to the Prophet of Islam through his companion Abu Bakr. The silsila (the chain of transmission) of the order also contains some very important figures in Islamic history, like Salman al-Farisi and Bayazid al-Bistami. Despite the importance of the order and its worldwide expansion, the published works on the subject could fill only a small shelf. The order also has a great number of followers in Turkey, including some prominent political figures. Since Shah Bahauddin Naqshband, the founder of the order, the succeeding sheiks of the Naqshbandiyya tarikat (religious order) have currently been handed to Sheikh Nazim al-Kibrisi al-Haqqani, a Turkish Cypriot. The Sheikh has been given the task of expanding the order to the West, and as a result of arduous efforts he has been able to establish some centers in various European and American cities, with the biggest one being in London. Author Tayfun Atay studied this center for his Ph.D. thesis submitted to London University.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Britain, America, Europe, Turkey, London
  • Author: Robert D. Springborg
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The Turkish model deemed most relevant to 2011-12 post-Mubarak Egypt was the Islamist-led transformation of the polity and economy that occurred following the rise to power of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the 2002 general election. As it transpired, this version of the Turkish model lasted but one year before another took its place. That model was the political project of the Turkish military that seized power in September 1980. This thirty-one year old Turkish model of a constitutionally empowered executive body, controlled by the military appears to have trumped the contemporary, Islamist one in Egypt. But the Turkish military coup of 1980 unwittingly and unintentionally laid the groundwork for the transition that ultimately swept it from power and its leaders into jail. The pertinent question then is will Egypt's civilian political and economic actors be similarly and sufficiently astute to exploit the opportunities they inevitably will have even under military rule? Egyptian political forces will inevitably mount serious challenges as they did in Turkey. In Egypt, however, the domestic and regional political and economic contexts are so different from those in Turkey that the outcome of the struggle for power between civilians and the military are likely to deviate substantially from this Turkish model.
  • Topic: Economics, Islam
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Egypt
  • Author: Michael M. Gunter
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The Turkish-Kurdish peace process began in early 2013 and stalled soon after. During that period, the Kurds expected the government to release KCK activists, improve Ocalan's prison conditions, allow Kurdish-language education, and lower the 10-percent electoral threshold. In response, the government announced a reform package, which, among others, allowed education in Kurdish in private schools. The government also sought to shut down Ocalan and remove the PKK from the peace process, by reaching out to Massoud Barzani's Kurdistan Regional Government. Still, there is no doubt that a strong and democratic Turkey would improve the Turkish-Kurdish relationship and benefit the lives of Kurdish citizens.
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Franck Düvell
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: States often fall out or collaborate over issues to do with international migration whilst migrants through their very actions shape the interdependence of states. Turkey and the EU also frequently argue over migration issues. Over the years, Turkey's economy grew significantly. It became an attraction and a safe haven to migrants and refugees. In April 2013, a new migration and asylum law came into force that responds to these new challenges. This was followed by the EU-Turkey visa liberalisation and readmission agreements. This contribution sketches some of the issues and notably the wider context to these latest developments.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Migration
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Kilic Bugra Kanat
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The transformation of Turkish foreign policy has become a closely followed subject, fueling important debates on the underlying reasons, resources, actors, outcomes, and nature of the policy progress. This change has also introduced new challenges to those who have adopted generic models to understand and explain Turkish foreign policy. This article will examine and discuss the main causes that have complicated the study of Turkish foreign policy during this period, such as simultaneous changes in the nature and conceptualization of the international system –the end of the unipolar world, the emergence of new power centers - and domestic transformations in Turkey, including active civilian control of military, the emergence of an attentive public opinion in foreign policy.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Turkey