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  • Author: Stefan Ihrig
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Within a larger trend of critically rewriting the history of the early Turkish Republic, the history of the Jews in 20th century Turkey has received a lot of attention lately. In Turkey, there is now a growing body of literature somewhat dominated by the work of Rıfat N. Bali. And in Germany as well, there have been some interesting additions to the existing research. Many focus on the Haymatloz topic, i.e. the German emigrants who worked in Turkish universities and other institutions in the time of the Third Reich.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Germany
  • Author: Ihsan Dagi
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Turkey's political transformation is continuing with new waves of democratization. The latest move is an initiative proposed by the AK Party's parliamentary group to amend the constitution. With proposals to amend 27 articles, the reform package, currently being considered in the Turkish parliament, is one of the most comprehensive amendments to the current constitution. Amending some articles of the constitution may be a fresh beginning for a new round of democratic reforms, which is needed to speed up the EU accession process on the one hand, and to consolidate democratization on the other.
  • Topic: Government, Reform
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Semih İdiz
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Turkey and Armenia signed two protocols on October 10, 2009 at Zurich University in Switzerland, with a view to opening a new chapter in bilateral ties, as well as improving the troubled relations between Turks and Armenians in general. But the signing ceremony in Zurich had started inauspiciously. The problem turned out to be the seemingly intractable issue of Nagorno-Karabakh, which cast its shadow over the process at the outset. After Karabakh, the second key issue that emerged was a ruling by the Constitutional Court of Armenia, which said that the protocols in question could not stop the government of Armenia from pursuing its duty of trying to get international recognition for the genocide allegedly perpetrated by Ottoman Turks against Armenians. These two topics effectively blocked the process enshrined in the protocols. But how could these problems not be foreseen? What were the two governments expecting in this respect when signing the protocols?
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Armenia, Switzerland
  • Author: Menderes Çınar
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Turkey under the pro-Islamic Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has represented an opportunity to go beyond the Orientalist modernization framework and produce “value” by countering the culturalist arguments that foreclose the possibilities of democratization in modernizing Muslim countries. The secular opposition, however, has reproduced the logic of the February 28 process and has therefore immobilized and forced the AKP into a struggle to survive, both as a political party and as the elected government of the country. It is this power struggle that has come to epitomize the democratization debate and the democratization process in Turkey. In this context of an impoverished democratization debate, it remains to be seen whether and to what extent the AKP can accomplish the task of revitalizing the constitutive capacities of politics in Turkey.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Islam
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Ödül Celep
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Turkey's current government's 'democratic opening' project has led to a series of political discussions regarding the cause and resolve of the Kurdish issue. One major consequence of this debate has been the polarization of opinion between conservatives, represented by the ruling Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, AKP) and nationalists, represented by the Nationalist Action Party (Milliyetçi Hareket Partisi, MHP). This study elaborates on the major reasons for MHP's opposition to AKP on the 'democratic opening.' In doing so, the study examines the historical, ideological distinctions between the two parties and their perception of ethnic and linguistic differences in Turkish society. AKP comes from a political tradition that has been relatively more accommodating towards such differences. On the contrary, MHP has roots in an ethno-nationalist and mono-culturalist ideology, which can be observed in its denial of the identity component of the Kurdish issue.
  • Topic: Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Talha Köse
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The AKP government has undertaken a series of steps to understand and respond to Alevi identity-based claims. Popularly known as the “Alevi opening” process, the initiative is the first systematic effort to deal with the identity-based discontents of the Alevis. This step is also part of the broader policy of “democratic opening,” which intends to address the burning problems of various identity groups (the Kurds, Alevis, religious minorities and the Roma people) in Turkey. This study provides an analytic background for understanding the governing AKP's “Alevi opening”, which was launched in the summer of 2007. More specifically, the issues that are discussed are the Alevi claims, the obstacles to the fulfillment of these issues, and the methods and the processes of the ongoing “Alevi opening”. In order to provide a holistic analysis, the political, legal, psychological as well as cultural dynamics of the Alevi issue are emphasized here. At the end, a set of policy recommendations are formulated that are consistent with the analytic perspective.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Taha Ozhan, Ozhan Ete
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The Kurdish question in Turkey has a long history which was viewed within the framework of nation building, integration and underdevelopment until it was perceived as a security issue with the emergence of the PKK in the 1980s. During the 1990s, dominated by the security perspective, the scope of the question was reduced to terrorist acts alone under a state of emergency rule. A number of changes transformed the nature of question, such as the Kurdish political movement since the 1990s, forced migration, the capture of PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan in 1999 and the emergence of autonomous Kurdish government in northern Iraq. A permanent settlement of the Kurdish question must be based on developing new and alternative strategies vis-a-vis existing policies. In this context, a comprehensive package of measures should include not only security measures, but more importantly democratic reforms and economic investments.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Turkey
  • Author: Ramazan Kılınç
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: His article asks why Turkey recently adopted the emerging international norm of inter-civilizational dialogue as one of its foreign policy priorities. In addressing this question, we turn first to an assessment of the limitations of normative and realist arguments, then suggest that the Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) considerations of domestic political survival were necessary factors in the adoption of intercivilizational dialogue, even though in and of themselves, they were not sufficient. The AK Party government, circumscribed by the secularist establishment, strategically adopted the norm of inter-civilizational dialogue to create a legitimate space for its survival in Turkey's domestic political sphere. This conclusion stems from the theoretical finding that in those states in which political power is not concentrated in the government, the domestic political considerations of the government gain priority in foreign policymaking.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: William Hale
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Barack Obama's inauguration as America's new president has been welcomed as opening a 'new era' in Turkey's relations with the United States. May 2009 also saw the appointment of a new foreign minister in Ankara, in the person of Professor Ahmet Davutoğlu. This article examines how these new directions are playing out in the Middle East, one of the world's most turbulent regions which also has crucial economic and strategic importance for Turkey. It focuses on Turkey's relations with four regional states – Iraq, Israel/ Palestine, Syria and Iran. The article closes by assessing whether Turkey has been able to achieve the government's ambition of 'zero problems' with its neighbors, and the degree to which it has been able to develop a new role as conciliator and go-between in addressing the region's bitter conflicts.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Ümit Cizre
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The AK Party's chronic 'political insecurity' may have passed a threshold as the ruling party resurfaces as an actor taking advantage of its pro-European Union sentiments to begin a 'grand negotiation' with Turkey's thus-far publicly shunned Kurdish leaders after decades of bloodshed. This new window of opportunity could not have emerged without the explosion of the Ergenekon incident, which has offered a persuasive critique of the closed, dark, intolerant and secret communities friendly with the military bureaucracy and state officials but insidiously devoted to destroying the government. In the post-Ergenekon era, the new democratic opening represents a significant departure from a military solution to the Kurdish issue which has blocked civilian imaginations by declaring the Kurdish identity demands as a security threat to the officially proscribed Turkish identity. The real issue at stake now for the AK Party government is a redefinition of the locus and space where the phenomenon of real political power takes place in Turkey.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Kurdistan