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  • Author: Feride Aslı Ergül
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Women have been both the subjects and objects of Turkish modernization for a long time. They have always been at the forefront of burning questions in Turkey, either with the decades-old debate of wearing headscarves in public institutions, or, lately, with Erdoğan's agenda-setting remarks that women need to give birth to at least three children or abortion will be constrained. However, studies about their position in society or their role in modernization have not gone far beyond superficial repetition. Dedeoglu and Elveren, to a large extent, fill this academic gap in Turkey through editing this book. It consists of thirteen valuable chapters dealing with different aspects of gender issues that are at the junction of tradition and modernity. To this end, the book mainly aims at understanding the impact of neoliberal social policies, political Islam, and EU accession on gender in Turkey. Women stuck between formal equality on paper and social realities in practice are examined using different data sets and topics, from female labor ratios to payment policies, and from social security reform to the individual pension system. For all the diversity of topics, the authors' comprehensive analysis about the reasons for the secondary position of women in society and the possible outcomes of eager but not-yet mature governmental reforms makes this study a reference book not only for readers who want to learn more about gender, society and the neoliberal economy in Turkey, but also for decision makers who want to be aware of the margins of socio-economic dynamics in Turkey.
  • Topic: Government, Islam
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Ümit Cizre
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The article analyzes the new roadmap for Turkey after the summer 2011 elections as not a “resumption” of unfinished business from the last nine years, but from the perspective of the ability of Turkey's ruling party, the AK Party, as well as the opposition forces and actors to “transform” some anachronistic features of the dominant politics as well as deal with troubling new trends in society. The AK Party governments made progress in many areas by pushing forward a series of far-reaching reforms which have genuinely changed Turkish politics. However, Turkey under AK Party rule includes a society which has failed to shed its extreme hostility toward different ideas, identities and values. Moreover, current opposition parties and movements in Turkey continue to be weak in imagination, vision, capacity and leadership, which have led to rigidities and even deeper political divisions. More importantly, the new government will have to create new possibilities out of its past failures and turn paradoxes, contradictions and ambiguities in politics and society, in the country and in the region, into positive achievements.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Ufuk Ulutaş
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Since the early 2000s, Turkish foreign policy has experienced a fundamental transformation. Turkey's regional and global position, its relations with the countries in surrounding regions, and its long-lasting disputes with its neighbors were reshaped through the adoption of the "zero-problem with-neighbors" policy. In line with this policy, Turkey has taken a pro-active stance and followed a multi-dimensional foreign policy approach to establish itself, first, as a conciliatory partner for peace with its neighbors, and second, as an agent of mediation between its clashing neighboring countries. 2009 was a year of foreign policy initiatives towards Syria, Armenia, and Iraq, including the Kurdish Regional Government. And it marked the beginning of more positive and constructive relations between Turkey and the United States. Turkey gained substantial ground in becoming a regional hub for energy by undersigning two critical energy deals. Yet, two major issues remain as challenges for Turkish foreign policy: a) the EU accession process, and b) the Cyprus dispute.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Turkey, Armenia, Syria
  • Author: Emrullah Uslu
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This article analyzes Turkey's domestic political developments in 2009, by situating them against the results and implications of the 2007 national elections. It examines major issues on Turkey's agenda: the redefinition of civilian-military relations, the Kurdish question, the issue of conservative social networks and the Ergenekon investigation. The article argues that while the governing Justice and Development Party previously pursued a survival strategy based on alliances with liberal reformists and the EU to curtail the power of the military, in the wake of the 2007 elections it opted to explore issues of common ground with the military. The developments in 2009, which was a year of harvesting the fruits of this new strategy, show that this strategy worked in regards to the Kurdish question, but it has failed on the issue of conservative social networks, as the military and the government remained embroiled in an undeclared confrontation on this issue.
  • Topic: Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Yaşar Yakış
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This edited volume brings together 23 articles by various authors who examine different aspects of European democratisation under four headings: Concepts, Practices, Changes and Contexts. In the first section, “Concepts,” contributors tackle different definition of democracy, drawing on discussions in classical literature and examining contemporary challenges to democratization in the global age. In the opening article, “Representative Democracy: Rosanvallon on the French Experience,” Frank R. Ankersmit claims that representative democracy has advantages over direct democracy, as the laws governing the former provide foundational bases for a political order. In the following article, “Direct Democracy, Ancient and Modern,” Mogens H. Hansen looks at direct democracy more closely. The author points out that direct democracy existed only in Ancient Greece and that several centuries after the Hellenic era, scholars introduced the concept of representative democracy and institutions but no serious debate took place regarding the democratic character of these institutions. Hansen discusses the prospects of revitalizing the institution of direct democracy through the use of modern tools. In her article, entitled “Neither Ancient nor Modern: Rousseau's Theory of Democracy,” Gabriella Silvestrini discusses Rousseau's perception of democracy and concludes that it had very little relevance to majority rule. In “Representative Government or Republic? Sieyes on Good Government,” Christine Faure focuses on controversial thinker Abbe Sieyesm, and argues that, in his time, he suggested an elected king who would resemble the modern institution of the President of the Republic.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Greece, Tripoli
  • Author: Emiliano Alessandri
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The recent reform of the Turkish constitution makes Turkey a more democratic country according to European Union standards. This does not mean, however, that Turkey is automatically closer to its goal of EU membership as a result of the September 12 referendum. Dynamics surrounding the latest reforms confirmed that, over the years, Turkey's democratization and Europeanization processes have become less and less the product of a deliberate effort coherently pursued by Turkish elites than the uncertain outcome of what is primarily a struggle for power involving actors representing different segments of the Turkish state and society. A democratic Turkey as a full member of the EU remains a possibility in the medium-to-long term but one that seems to increasingly depend on a combination of favorable developments — a renewed interest in the EU in Turkey and vice versa, a constructive engagement between the government and opposition parties on the future reform agenda, as well as a sustainable solution to the Kurdish issue — which at the moment look far from likely.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey
  • Author: Tanju Tosun
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The CHP constitutes a crucial place in Turkish political life. From its establishment to its closure after the military intervention of September 12, 1980, the CHP occasionally became a partner of coalition governments and came to power alone. The party was reopened and became more powerful after merging with the SHP in the 1990s. After the resignation of Baykal from party chairmanship in May 2010, whether new party chair would be able to extend the party base and become electorally successful has been started to be discussed. The new party chair Kılıçdaroğlu has a differentiated view of society, politics, democracy and freedom compared to Baykal. But then, the main problem is whether this difference would be able to turn the CHP into an alternative political power against the AK Party.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Vahap Coşkun
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Turkey is moving toward achieving an ever-greater level of democracy by removing the remnants of restrictive and paternalistic administrative structures. The judiciary in Turkey has been one of the most influential instruments of state power in maintaining these structures. In the wake of the recently passed constitutional amendments, the question of whether the current government is trying to create a docile judiciary for its political purposes has been widely circulated. However, such questioning misses one of the most crucial motivators of the much needed reform package, i.e., the undemocratic record of the Turkish judiciary. The Turkish judiciary has traditionally considered itself as one of the guardians of the Turkish republic alongside the military. It has consistently delivered undemocratic decisions in the name of protecting the state. This article focuses on many examples of restrictive and paternalistic judiciary decisions in order to highlight the judiciary's undemocratic role in the Turkish political system.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Vahram Ter-Matevosyan
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This article aims to explore one of the critical and relatively understudied dimensions of Turkish politics: the complex characteristics of interactions between the Armenian community (mainly Gregorian Orthodox Christians) and the incumbent government of the Justice and Development Party. Two interrelated questions are raised below: Why did the relationship between the AK Party and the Armenian community become an important topic to discuss? What repercussions did the assassination of Hrant Dink in 2007 have on relations between the Turkish government and the Armenian community? The answers to these questions can help us better understand why a majority party with Islamic roots produced more reliable bonds for the Christian minority than previous governments with their more secular backgrounds and political agendas. I argue that the Armenian community in Turkey is in a constant quest for a secure socio-political climate where it can safely preserve its cultural, ethnic and religious identity. Hence, the political agenda of the AK Party essentially matched the Armenian community's aspirations for large-scale reforms, which paved the way for a period of vigilant collaboration that remained in effect until the assassination of Hrant Dink.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Armenia
  • Author: Emmanuel Karagiannis
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This book examines the role of clans in Central Asia from the 19th century up to 2004. Most studies of regime transition focus on formal institutions. However, Collins claims that modern clans, defined as networks of individuals linked through kinship and fictive kin identities (p. 17), function as informal political actors which has initiated or undermined political change in Central Asia. Moreover, clan membership frequently determines career prospects, especially in the public sector, influences social status, and functions as a defense mechanism against outside competitors. To begin with, the author does a very good job of providing a theoretical framework to understand clan politics (p. 24-53). From her point of view, understanding clans requires the comprehension of both rational and cultural elements. In addition, she adequately explains why and how clans survived during the Soviet period, despite efforts to eradicate them and impose new national identities among Central Asia's indigenous population (pp. 62-134).
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Central Asia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan