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  • Author: Bülent Aras
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: After the collapse of the Soviet Union, a Turkish world from the “Adriatic Sea to the Chinese Wall” became a new topic of discussion in Turkish policy circles. While Turkey tried to develop close political, economic and cultural relations with the newly independent Central Asian Republics, the mid and late 1990s witnessed a steady decline in the relations and failed to produce any concrete results. With its new foreign policy outlook, Turkey is seeking to increase its field of sphere in Central Asia by revitalizing its efforts to reconnect with the sister Turkish states. Security, economic cooperation, energy and civil society initiatives are the new dynamics of the Turkish- Central Asian relations
  • Topic: International Relations, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Central Asia, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Enika Abazi
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Kosovo's independence has revealed shifting strategic landscapes, security concerns and domestic developments in regional and international politics with significant implications for all actors in the region. Russia calculated to restore its lost 'superpower' status and control Serbia's strategic oil industries. Turkey's prompt recognition of independence increased its impact and prevented a stronger Greek-Serb- Russian axis in the region, while strengthening its Western identity. Kosovo's independence will be a test case for keeping peace and stability in the Balkans within the new dynamics of regional and international politics.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Asia, Kosovo, Balkans, Albania
  • Author: Hasan Kösebalaban
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The closure case against AK Party heralds a new era in Turkish politics marked by the increased intervention of the judiciary in politics. Inasmuch as the governing party enjoys support of half of the Turkish electorate, the case has harmed the image of Turkish democracy and consequently risks jeopardizing Turkey's quest for full membership in the EU. The overall reaction of the West to the case indicates that the Western political and intellectual elites avoid the conventional Islamist secularist dichatomy in interpreting Turkish politics. To-level EU bureaucrats have emphasized that closure would seriously jeopardize the process of membership. AK Party needs to accelerate the democratization process by focusing on the rest of the constitutional reforms required for EU membership.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Erdal T. Karagöl
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Since 1960, nineteen Standby arrangements have been signed. With these agreements, significant progress has been made in Turkish economy: inflation has fallen to the lowest level since 1986, the public debtto- GNP ratio has been falling, and interest rates have declined rapidly. IMF's immediate goals concern exchange rate stability and balance of payments, and evaluations of IMF programs tend to concentrate on these two objectives. Yet, whether or not the IMF programs have positive effects on these short-term goals, what ultimately matters is that they induce economic growth and do not concentrate on incomes.
  • Topic: Economics, International Organization, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Mustafa Şentop
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Female students with headscarf are currently prevented to enter the university in Turkey although there is no legal ground for such a ban. The ongoing controversy about the type of clothing for female students at the higher education institutions has become more intensified since the recent constitutional change in February 2008 to lift the de facto headscarf ban. The debate over this question revolves around whether headscarf is a religious attire or a political symbol, whether it should be banned to protect the secular foundations of the state or conversely allowed on the basis of individual freedom of religion as a corollary of secularism. The solution lies in the implementation of constitutional amendments without a further delay.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Education, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Hakki Uygur
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The Iranian nuclear issue has serious implications for regional and international security and as such requires a comprehensive analysis of the Iranian domestic power structure, foreign policy decision making process and nuclear diplomacy. Iran has a complex internal decision making process and the management of nuclear issue makes the situation more complicated. This policy brief argues that the Iranian nuclear issue is as much a regional and international issue as it is part of the domestic power struggle in Iran. It also argues that Turkey should follow the nuclear issue closely and play a constructive role in opposing the proliferation of WMD including nuclear weapons in the Middle East while maintaining good relations with Iran.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: Iran, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Yusuf Yazar, Hasan Hüseyin Erkaya
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Turkey has a growing economy demanding about 7% more energy each year. It's electric power generation capacity (approx. 41,000 MW) must be doubled in the next 10 years to meet the demand. Natural gas has a significant share in electricity production, which should be reduced. Domestic and renewable energies should be employed in meeting the demand. Turkey took major steps toward liberalization of its energy market. Private enterprises are expected to invest in the energy market in a timely manner. Turkey has an “energy corridor” position between the gas and oil producing countries and the importing countries. Turkey's efforts to actualize the use of renewable and domestic sources should be supported.
  • Topic: Development, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Rabia Karakaya Polat
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: In the parliamentary elections of July 22, 2007, AKP (Justice and Development Party) won 47% of the votes, obtaining a very strong mandate to take issue with Turkey's outstanding problems. In the predominantly Kurdish east and southeast region, the AKP doubled its vote from 26% to 53%. The AKP seemed to have persuaded the Kurds thanks to the party's earlier moves to solve the Kurdish problem by granting more rights and freedoms as well as jobs and economic prosperity. Having started the negotiation process with the EU and obtaining such a strong mandate from the Kurdish voters, why did the AKP turn its back to the Kurdish issue? This can be explained with reference to three groups of factors working at the domestic, the EU and international levels.
  • Topic: Political Economy, Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Kurdistan
  • Author: Bülent Aras
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Turkish policymakers exhibit a high degree of selfconfidence and willingness to pursue intensive diplomatic initiatives in the Middle East. Turkey pursues a multidimensional policy line to foster peace and stability in the region, and has already enjoyed some degree of success. Turkish policymakers seek to utilize Turkey's good relations with Syria and Israel to wield an influence on these countries to facilitate Israeli-Syrian negotiations. The increasing level of trust to Turkey's new image of civil-economic power in the Middle East and the U.S. support for Turkey's potential contribution to chronic problems of the region have made Turkey a potential mediator in the decades-long Syrian-Israeli conflict.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Saban Kardas
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The Turkish Constitutional Court's verdict annulling the Parliament's amendments to Articles 10 and 42 of the Constitution disregards popular will, legalizes arbitrary restrictions on the right to equal access to education, and erodes the separation of powers by permitting itself to act outside of the legal order. The emergence of a new precedent of judicial activism is now the biggest threat to the future of Turkish democracy. Turkey cannot afford an unaccountable judiciary exercising substantial powers of governance through judicialization of politics. The Parliament must reassert its authority and reconfigure the Court's competences and composition to bring it into line with liberal-democratic principles as part of a comprehensive constitutional reform.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Democratization, Government
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East