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  • Author: Cengiz Çandar
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This commentary reflects on the Turkish government's recent 'opening' to address the Kurdish problem and the domestic, regional and international conditions that created a conducive environment for this initiative. It maintains that although the Turkish leadership has grasped the new dynamics of the regional and domestic developments and changed its conventional perception of the problem, the initiative is constrained by the fact that it is motivated by a concern to remove the violent aspect of the Kurdish question, i.e., terminating the Kurdish insurgency once and for all. It also suggests that despite the optimism generated by the opening to solve the Kurdish problem, the achievement of its ultimate objective is far more complex than seen at the first glance. The commentary places a special attention on the dilemmas encountered by the Democratic Society Party as it seeks to represent the demands of its predominantly Kurdish constituency.
  • Topic: Government, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Joshua Walker
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The recent closure case brought against the ruling Justice and Development Party is a direct assault on Turkey's democracy. For this reason, America should not lose the opportunity to swiftly and unequivocally repudiate the establishment's attempts to re-assert control over Turkish politics by undemocratic means. The lack of a concrete resolution on the part of the U.S. in regard to the case has already resulted in a credibility gap. Given America's emphasis on and interest in Turkey's democracy and attendant reform process, a simple re-affirmation of its commitment to citizen's choices in free and fair elections would send a powerful message to a country that is on edge. Instead, Turkey is left with 'friends' who lack credibility and resolve at the worst possible moment. If the ruling party and its leadership are banned from political life, not only will Turkey lose its credibility in the Middle East as the only indigenous Muslim-majority democracy, the United States will also lose credibility in the world theatre for failing to support democracy in Turkey.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Government, Islam, Politics, United Nations
  • Political Geography: America, Turkey
  • Author: Yusuf Şevki Hakyemez
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This article discusses the limits of the freedom of political parties in Turkey. The political party bans constitute one of the most important problems threatening the freedom of political parties in Turkey. The restrictions on the political parties come to the fore in two different forms: dissolution after the military coups and closure by means of legislation. In the current context of the case opened against the AK Party, it may be possible and advisable to apply an amendment, bringing Turkish jurisprudence in such matters in line with the standards of the European community. It is concluded that the Constitutional Court should interpret cases of the dissolution of political parties in the context of the principles of "secularism" and the "unitary state" in such a way as to take into account the requirements of the principle of "the rule of law" and to allow different political alignments to express themselves in a "human rights respecting" and "democratic" country.
  • Topic: Democratization, Government, Human Rights, Politics, Law
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Ertan Efegil
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: In a sharp break from the past, Turkey's AK Party government now openly accepts the existence of a domestic Kurdish problem, and views it moreover as being mutually interrelated with the rise of separatism among Iraqi Kurds and the problem of PKK terrorism. Turkey now has official contacts with the Iraqi Kurds and is working to find a lasting solution to the Kurdish problem by implementing socio-economic and cultural measures in addition to the military one. While the Iraqi Kurds, the American administration and Turkey are beginning to reconcile their differences concerning the Kurdish issue, Turkey faces internal division; certain parties such as the General Staff, the National Movement Party and the Democratic Society Party continue to push for radical measures. Today, there seems to be little opportunity to find common understanding. But as existing conditions deteriorate and pressure mounts both within the domestic sphere and from the international community, it grows increasingly important for Turkey to find a lasting solution to the Kurdish issue.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Turkey
  • Author: Rabia Karakaya Polat
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The Kurdish question has been a source of domestic conflict since the inception of the Turkish Republic. It has been one of the mostly securitized issues in domestic politics. Despite the continuation of the securitizing agenda, and years of denial by the state, in the mid-1990s alternative discourses on the cultural rights of the Kurds started to emerge. The AK Party government departed from previous attitudes by repeatedly emphasizing the Kurds\' right to express their culture and identity. This article analyzes the developments regarding the Kurdish issue during the AK Party government and asks whether they can be seen as a desecuritization process. The article argues that although there are significant signs of desecuritization, Turkey continues to swing between forces, agendas, and actors of securitization and desecuritization when it comes to the Kurdish issue.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Turkey