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  • Author: Nursin Atesoglu Guney
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The Arab Spring gave rise to a variety of transitions in the Middle East. Although initial developments in Tunisia and Egypt created optimism, tragic events in Egypt, Syria, Tunisia and elsewhere revived fears about a return to authoritarian governments, failed states and civil war. With no foreseeable change in the UN Security Council with regard to Syria, the country's neighbors, including Turkey, face the risk of instability. Although a recent agreement between the US and Russia marked a major step toward destrying the regime's chemical stockpile, it fails to address the conflict itself. As such, spillover effects continue to threaten Syria's neighbors. This paper highlights the critical nature of the situation and the international community's role in finding a solution.
  • Topic: War, Communications
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Michael McGaha
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This little memoir, first published in Italian in 1987, is an account of a life well lived. A proud Sephardi Jew, Victor Eskenazi (1906-1987) was fortunate to have been born and raised in Istanbul at a time when that city was still home to an extraordinarily diverse mix of ethnic and religious groups. In the book's introduction, Eskenazi's son John defines his father as Ottoman “because of his inbred cosmopolitanism, his wide vision of the world, his insatiable intellectual curiosity, his instinctive understanding and respect of other peoples, cultures, and behaviours, and when required also a determination and assertiveness that is so prevalent in the Ottoman personality and in the history of the Empire” (pp. 10-11). Although Eskenazi's formal education ended with high school, just growing up in such a city was in itself a liberal education. By the time he finished high school, he was fluent and literate in Greek, Ladino, French, Ottoman Turkish, German, and English. A bright and sensitive child, Victor clearly reveled in the rich variety of sights, sounds, and smells his native city offered him in such profusion.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Germany, Italy, Vienna
  • Author: Mahmood Monshipouri, Erich Wieger
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The civil war in Syria continues to devastate social and political structures, precipitating floods of refugees and surging populations of internally displaced people. Syria has degenerated into sectarian- and ethnic-based warring mini-states vying for power as their country faces utter social disorder. It mass-produces a growing cadre of battle hardened foreign and domestic jihadists affiliated with the various al-Qaeda brands. The war weariness of America and the unmanageable chaos in Syria combine to create shifts in regional politics. This article seeks to put into perspective the crucial role that regional mediation can play in nudging along practical solutions. Without regional commitment and coordination among key Middle Eastern powers, namely Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, international diplomatic efforts to restore order and stability in Syria are not likely to succeed.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: America, Iran, Syria
  • Author: Jinan Bastaki
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: How has the Syrian regime, being the 'odd man out' in the Middle East, survived for so many years under the Assads? Given its survival, what makes the current uprising, now nearing its third year, different? And did the Assads always act on ideological grounds? These are the central questions that scholar and foreign policy analyst Bente Scheller tries to answer in her book, The Wisdom of Syria's Waiting Game: Foreign Policy Under the Assads, by analyzing the Assads' foreign policy and the link to domestic policies and the current revolt.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, War
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: Perparim Gutaj
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: PAUL MOJZES is a well-informed and eminent historian of religion with a profound interest in the study of ethno-religion as the rationale for genocide. In this book, Mojzes is set to examine the Balkan genocides and ethnic cleansing during the troublesome twentieth century. He offers his readers an excellent, comprehensive and systematic, narrative of the horrific events that dominated the first and last decades of the previous century. Balkan Genocides develops the argument of how Balkan nations frequently were immersed in genocides and ethnic cleansing, mainly due to the power shifts in the region and the concept of 'cycle of revenge.' The book covers the Balkan Wars (1912-1913), World War I, the Greek-Turkish Wars, World War II, the post- World War II ethnic cleansing and genocides, and the Yugoslav Wars of disintegration during the 1990s.
  • Topic: Genocide, War
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Mohamed Saleh
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This is a well documented book focusing on the Omani Ibadhi religious elite and their role in the socio-cultural, historical and political development of the north- western Indian Ocean basin between the period around the partition of Africa and the Second World War. The book is composed of seven chapters, plus 23 pages of references and notes to sources, and 19 pages of bibliography that help the reader map out the contours of the discussion and aid scholars interested in pursuing the same line of research.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Africa, Arabia
  • Author: William Armstrong
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Early on in this slim account of 1,300 years' of Turkish history, Norman Stone suggests: "If you are Turkish you have to ask what you owe to: (1) the ancient native Turkish tradition; (2) Persia; (3) Byzantium; (4) Islam; (5) what sort of Islam; and (6) conscious westernization." It would be far-fetched to imagine that every modern Turk self-consciously ratiocinate these things and comes up with their own credit-debit account of historical heritage. This book's major strength, however, is to demonstrate the lesser-appreciated continuities-as well as sudden changes-that do make up so much of Turkish history. The Ottoman Empire, Stone tells us, initially saw itself as an inheritor of both the Seljuk Turk and Byzantine Greek traditions. Until the conquest of Constantinople in 1453, for example, the Ottomans had thrived as a cavalry-based nomadic "military empire" in the Seljuk tradition; indeed, the plan of the Topkapı Palace they built soon after the conquest-with its modest, low-rise pavilions and courtyards-deliberately imitates the tented headquarters of a nomadic Turkish chieftain. On the other hand, Mehmet II (the conqueror of Constantinople) spoke fluent Greek and was "in effect set upon retaking the eastern Roman Empire that Justinian had made great in the sixth century." There is also the fact that, at the time of the taking the city, the population of the Ottoman lands was 75 percent Christian.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Russia, Turkey, Persia
  • Author: Mehmet Özkan
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Based on extensive literature and fieldwork research in international relations, intellectual history and political thought, Cemil Aydin has written an exceptionally detailed account of the boundaries and horizons of pan-Islamic and pan-Asian thoughts on world order. Although his research on the intellectual journey of these two main anti-Western movements only covers the period from the early nineteenth century through to World War II, it still has relevance to today as we speak of “the rise of the rest” and/or “the Second World”.
  • Topic: International Relations, Islam, War
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Matthew S. Gordon
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The title of this new volume is perhaps misleading suggesting as it does a discussion of imperial expansion and its impact on conqueror and conquered alike. It is, to be sure, a study of ghaza and its organization by pre-modern Muslim dynasts. Anooshahr prefers the term itself, ghaza, to “holy war” with its thorny, tangled associations (p. 14). His particular interest lies with Mahmud of Ghazna (Ghaznavid dynasty, d.1030), Murad II (Ottoman dynasty, d. 1451) and, especially, Babur Muhammad Zahir al-Din (Timurid dynasty, founder of the Mughal state, d. 1531) all of whom engaged in warfare of the sort.
  • Topic: Islam, War
  • Author: Stefan Ihrig
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: German-Turkish relations in the twentieth century were at times very good and very close, at times cold, semi-colonial, and often difficult, but always complex and never black and white. Even when relations were friendly, as before and during World War One, the German side often tried to dominate the Ottoman Empire in some way which led to resentment among those who became aware of this—most prominently perhaps Atatürk. And at times when interactions between the two peoples seemed to focus prominently on such aspects as education and academia, as during the National Socialism period when a number of German academics found a temporary home in Turkey, some Germany were not happy about this new kind of closeness between the two peoples. A good history of German-Turkish relations still needs to be written, and there is much to disentangle and uncover until then, but this edited volume by Şen and Halm is another step towards a better understanding of this highly entangled history and inserts itself into the ever growing body of literature on the subject.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Germany