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  • Author: Ursula Wokoeck
  • Publication Date: 02-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Drawing on contemporary archival and manuscript sources, Marc Baer unfolds the most fascinating story of Sultan Mehmed IV. Although his reign was remarkably long (1648-87), he has almost been forgot- ten or depicted dismissively as weak and foolish. Aiming to retrieve that lost history, the book's central theme is conversion – of Muslims to “proper” Islamic practices, of Christians and Jews to Islam, and of space. Thus, the reader encounters the Kadızadeli movement that first rose to prominence in the 1650s. The movement advocated a revivalist pietism, in the sense that it called for the effective prohibition of unlawful innovations.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Asef Bayat
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: There has been strong concern about the direction of the current revolts in the Middle East. The fear has been that the revolts may result in the Iranian-style Islamic revolutions in the Arab countries. This commentary questions the empirical validity of such claims, showing that the Arab revolts differ considerably from the Islamic revolution in ideology and trajectory. It suggests that we are witnessing the coming of a post-Islamist Middle East, in which the prevailing popular movements assume a postnational, post-ideological, civil, and democratic character. It is, therefore, argued that we are entering a new era in the region where Islamism—undermined by a crisis of legitimacy for ignoring and violating people's democratic rights—is giving way to a different kind of religious polity, which takes democracy seriously while wishing to promote pious sensibilities in society.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Savas Alpay Atlamaz
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Since the early 1970s, member states of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) have been pursuing the goal of enhancing economic and commercial cooperation to improve the economic linkages and coordination among themselves and to jointly act against the global challenges facing them. Special attention has been given to trade and considerable efforts have been exerted at various OIC forums to develop ways and means of joint cooperative action to increase trade among the OIC countries. Enhancing intra-OIC trade was also among the priorities of the Ten-Year Programme of Action, which set a target of a level of 20 percent for intra-OIC trade to be achieved during the period covered by the Programme (by 2015). It is with this inspiration that this study presents an analytical overview of the evolution and the current structure of the merchandise trade among the OIC countries. Also, broad policy recommendations are outlined to enhance intra-OIC trade.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Author: Yossef Rapoport
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This brilliant, eloquent and insightful book is not, despite its title, a provocative one. It does not claim that in Islam being a wife is like being a slave. Nor does it support the overly simplistic view of an egalitarian ethical Islamic core corrupted by social hierarchies. Instead, the author brings to the fore a very rich legal discourse, dating from the early centuries of Islam, in which the rights of wives and the rights of slaves are repeatedly compared and analysed in relation to each other. This discourse, the author shows, was central to the way the major Sunni jurists understood what rights and duties are entailed in marriage.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Author: Nukhet Ahu Sandal
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: As the link between religion and international affairs has come under special scrutiny especially since 9/11, there has been an increase in the number of books and articles that investigate the issues of the public sphere from a faith-based perspective. Edited books have especially enjoyed considerable attention since they bring diverse voices in manageable bits. Some have explored theoretical links between international relations and religion, while others have drawn attention to more practical issues on the ground. Thomas Banchoff's Religious Pluralism, falling between these purely theoretical and completely practical projects, is a book worth reading especially given the diverse backgrounds of the 12 scholars it brings together. These contributors draw attention to the multiple roles religious actors have been playing in the international arena. Religious ideas constitute a market with its supply and demand side and the volume explores the actors, obstacles and possibilities in such a market. Especially with the trauma of 9/11 —and one can make the argument that the trauma actually started with the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran— there has been a disproportionate attention given to the violent manifestations of religion. Therefore, the acknowledgement of the constructive role of faith-based initiatives can still be considered a relatively new topic both to the academic and policy worlds. The authors discuss a number of contentious issues that have been subject to heated debates but due to the space limitations that pose a challenge to a thorough review of edited volumes, only a couple of issues are highlighted in this essay.
  • Topic: International Relations, Islam
  • Political Geography: Iran
  • Author: Michelangelo Guida
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The distressing photo on the cover effectively represents the content of this book. The photo depicts a junior high school student amidst male and female police officers who tear up her headscarf at the entrance of a school in 2001. We do not see the girl's face, but we can imagine her shame and fury for the act and the injustice of the ban. Author of the book under review, Merve Kavakci Islam was an activist for the Muslim women's right to wear the headscarf during her term with the Virtue Party. When elected to Ankara's Parliament in 1999, she was prevented from swearing into office, first, by an astonishing media campaign and, then, by the opposition of the leading party in the assembly. Later, she was stripped of her parliamentary immunity and of her Turkish citizenship by the Constitutional Court, which also closed her party for alleged threats to the state. Those were the aftermaths of the 28 February Process previous to the advent of the Justice and Development Party (JDP), a period when the secularist wing was attempting to reinstate the most severe form of laicism in the country.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Irina Vainovski-Mihai
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Leaving aside the academic discourse, the “theoretical and methodological shields that usually ensure a semblance of detachment,” (p.ix) Marnia Lazreg, a professor of sociology at Hunter College and the City University of New York Graduate Center, adds her voice to the ever-expanding bibliography on the veil. Committed to writing this book, as she declaredly has reached a point where she could no longer keep quiet about the issue, (p.2) the author addresses Muslim women who either have taken up the veil or are considering wearing it. In doing this, she finds incumbent to reveal herself personally while recounting her experience as a Muslim woman growing up in colonial Algeria and that of several women she has interviewed over the past fifteen years in the Middle East, North Africa, France, and the United States. In each of her five open letters, Lazreg presents different veiling or reveiling experiences, interprets them and takes issue with their justification, pointing out that the custom of “covering” should be always regarded in its historical, political, and socio-cultural context, as long as “the veil is never innocent,” (p.125) it is both a discourse and a practice. Based on these grounds, in the Introduction, when clarifying certain terms used in the book, Lazreg states that by the expression “Muslim women” she refers to the “the women who have taken up the veil as a way for them to display their religious affiliation” (p.12) and she adds: “The best but cumbersome way to refer to these women would be 'women-who- wear-the-veil-because-they-think-it- is-a religious-obligation-in-Islam.' There is no generic 'Muslim woman,' just as there is no generic 'Christian woman' – only concrete women engaged in concret actions.”
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, France, North Africa
  • Author: Noémi Michel
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The book under review regroups selected contributions from an international conference held in Turkey in September 2006 that was jointly organized by the Association of Muslim Social Scientists (UK) and the Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (Turkey). Reflecting the mission of this conference, the book is concerned with the challenges of security and democracy in relation to Islamic discourses and Muslim communities. In the Introduction, the editor, Wenda Krause, convincingly highlights the importance of these issues, especially after 9/11 and 7/7. She states that “both security and democracy are becoming ever less attainable in today's climate of increased division and cleavages along ideological lines and Islamophobia – an acute problem for citizenship in humanity” and calls for the need of variously angled analyses and critical solutions. (p. xv) The twelve contributions of this volume, which are classified in five sections, therefore offer multiple points of entry to this main problem through case studies, historical accounts, policy analyses, as well as reflections drawing upon Islamic jurisprudence and intellectual history.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Ina Merdjanova
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: In his book, Ion Grumeza ambitiously sets about “to fill a gap with authoritative material on how the process of Balkanization came about, to separate fact from fiction and trace the patterns of ethnic and cultural life that originated fifteen centuries ago.” (p. ix) Furthermore, the book “traces the creation of the present Balkan nations and examines their influence on Eastern Europe.” (p.xiii) With this impressive aim in mind, the author has studied some hundred historical books on the Balkans, or at least this is what we find in his bibliography.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey
  • Author: Gökhan Bacik
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The MHP won 13 percent of the vote in the June 2011 elections, which guaranteed it 52 seats in parliament. Ever since the 1960s, the MHP has operated with a vague party identity that amalgamated different, even contradictory, elements such as Islam, folk nationalism, secularism, militarism, Kemalism, statism, and even Ottomanism. However, the serious issues that are challenging Turkish politics today, such as civilian-military relations, the Ergenekon trial, Islam in the public sphere, the Kurdish question, the crisis of the presidential election, or the 2010 referendum, have made a nebulous discourse operationally impossible. This paper argues that the recent political polarization between the AK Party and the CHP put an end to the MHP's strategy and discourse of traditional obscurantism, causing in these last elections this party's unimpressive electoral performance.
  • Topic: Islam, Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey