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  • Author: Vahap COSKUN
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Turkey's 1982 Constitution does not reflect the values of modern constitutionalism. Originally, the Constitution maintained a state-centered, authoritarian character and failed to meet society's expectations. Pro-reform parties sought to replace the Constitution to address various societal demands. The AK Party also identified the drafting of a new Constitution as a primary objective and attempted thirteen amendments. There were two main motivations behind the amendments: Turkey's EU membership bid and frequent constitutional crises. In this sense, the amendments promoted individual rights and liberties in Turkey. The Constitution today is a legal text that underwent major changes over the years to establish more effective safeguarding mechanisms for individual rights and liberties. Turkey's need for a new constitution, however, remains alive.
  • Topic: Reform
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: David Ramin Jalilvand
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Revolution and Reform in Russia and Iran: Modernisation and Politics in Revolutionary States In her comparative study, Ghoncheh Tazmini investigates the Russian revolution of 1917 and the 1979 Iranian revolution to identify patterns of continuity and change, including attempts at reform. At first, both revolutions might appear entirely different. In Russia, the Tsarist monarchy was replaced by socialism, whereas in Iran political Islam prevailed. However, Tazmini convincingly shows that both revolutions had related roots: the people's opposition to Western-inspired, autocratically enforced modernization that was endorsed by the Russian Tsars and Iranian Shahs. Moreover, in Vladimir Putin and Mohammad Khatami, she argues, both countries saw reformers with a similar outlook. By adopting beneficial Western practices without 'Westernizing' their countries, Putin and Khatami overcame the “antinomies of the past.” After the introduction, chapters two, three, and four discuss the experiences of modernization in Russia and Iran under the Romanov tsars and Pahlavi shahs. Both Peter the Great (in the 18th century) and Reza Shah (in the 20th century) sought to catch-up with developed European countries. To this end, they embarked on ambitious modernization programs, which were continued by their successors. In this context, Tazmini shows that the Russian and Iranian modernization programs only partially followed the European example. While embracing outward signs of modernity such as modern industries, state-society relations remained traditionally autocratic. Tazmini rightly grasps this as “modernization without modernity” in an attempt of “modernization from above.” Modernization from above is described as a “double helix” of economic modernization on the one hand and authoritarian political stagnation on the other hand. She notes, “Whilst both countries aspired to converge with the West by meeting its material and technological achievements, they ended up diverging by retaining the autocratic foundations of the ancient régimes.”
  • Topic: Islam, Politics, Reform
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iran
  • Author: Metin Atmaca
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Picknick mit den Paschas: Aleppo und die levantinische Handelsfirma Fratelli Poche (1853-1880) Studies on the Europeans who lived in the Ottoman Empire have been mostly conducted through the Ottoman and European state archives. Few works on the social history are based on private papers, such as Beshara Doumani's work, Rediscovering Palestine: Merchants and Peasants in Jabal Nablus, 1700-1900 (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1995). As scholars of the Ottoman social history focus on the ethnic and religious minorities, foreigners, merchants, peasants, and women, such archives have become more precious than ever in order to reconstruct the story of understudied subjects. Ade's book takes its power from this background, as she skillfully uses the private archives of Poche and Marcopoli families, which were discovered in the 1990s. Comprised of two separate folios, the trade firms of both families kept chronologically archived accounting books, daily payments, warehouse books, and deadline records of payments from 1853 until 1921. Apart from family papers, there are memoirs, the archives of European vice-consulates, accounting and trade books, and documents from state archives in Aleppo, Istanbul, Paris and Nantes. After the Ottomans took over Aleppo, the city became a trade terminus for the mercantile coming from the Asia and a maritime link for European merchants. In a few decades time, most European consular representations and trade companies moved their centers from Damascus and Tripoli to Aleppo, which became the third largest urban center in the Ottoman realm after Istanbul and Cairo. Aleppo was not only in the middle of the empire but also a major city in the Arab territories on the cultural boundary of the Turkish and Arab population, which was made up of Kurds, Arabs, Turks, Christians, Jews and Bedouins. The city kept its status as one of the most active trade centers in the Eastern territories of the Ottoman Empire until late 19th century.
  • Topic: Reform
  • Political Geography: Europe, California, Palestine
  • Author: Marcia Hermansen
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: In this original and engaging book, Gunes Murat Tezcur, a political scientist trained at the University of Michigan and currently teaching at Loyola University Chicago, analyzes two interesting cases of contemporary "moderate Islamic" political parties, the Iranian Reform Front and Turkey's Justice and Development (AK) Party .
  • Topic: Reform
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Chicago
  • Author: Nancy Bisaha
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Religions of the Book adds to a growing body of scholarship on Christian perceptions of Muslims and Jews. The collection is somewhat uneven, but several strong The Religions of the Book: Christian Perceptions, 1400-1660 Edited by Matthew Dimmock and Andrew Hadfield New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009, 213 pp., ISBN 9780230020047.
  • Topic: Politics, Reform
  • Political Geography: New York, Poland
  • Author: Ahmet T. Kuru
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Redeploying the State is a book about statehood, which can also be called state strength, capacity, or effectiveness. In order to address this topic, it takes as its subject a comparative study of Egypt and Mexico, particularly in the arenas of privatization and labor disputes. Hishaam Aidi asks why the Egyptian state was much less effective than the Mexican state in economic reforms, especially in regard to Mexico's ability to overcome the labor movement's opposition, despite the fact that Egypt was much more authoritarian and therefore had a more repressed labor movement than Mexico. While explaining this puzzle, Aidi implicitly refutes essentialism, which refers to certain “essences” of Islam, while explaining Muslim socio-political life
  • Topic: Economics, Politics, Reform
  • Political Geography: Egypt, Mexico
  • 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: Serap Yazıcı
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This article deals with debates surrounding the package of constitutional amendments proposed by AK Party deputies. The proposal consists of 27 articles; its general aims are to improve human rights standards, strengthen the rule of law, make the prohibition of political parties more difficult, and increase the democratic legitimacy of the judiciary. With regard to the last objective, the proposal suggests changing the composition and function of the Constitutional Court and the High Council of Judges and Public Prosecutors (HSYK). Among other innovations in the proposal are the introduction of a provision for constitutional complaint and the establishment of an Ombudsman. The article concludes that the proposal, despite certain deficiencies, is on the whole a positive step in the process of democratization. It should not, however, preclude the need for a totally new liberal and democratic constitution.
  • Topic: Reform
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Kıvanç Ulusoy
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This article aims to analyze the process of AKP's democratic opening in an historical and comparative perspective with respect to various other experience of transition to democracy in Southern Europe, Latin America and Eastern Europe. With the current democratic opening, first labeled as “Kurdish opening,” and continuing with a large constitutional reform package, the AKP seems to be engaged in a huge task of deeply transforming the post-1980 regime. Comparing with the experiences in Southern Europe, Latin America and Eastern Europe, the consolidation of a new democratic regime introduced by the democratic opening in Turkey will be a governmental enterprise: a matter of political maneuver to reach a compromise among the various sections of the governing elite with the opposition; a matter of institution building to create channels of mobilization for societal demands; and finally a matter of timing.
  • Topic: Reform
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Eastern Europe, Latin America
  • Author: Ziya Öniş
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: New York: Nova Science Publishers, Inc., 2006, 221 pp., ISBN. 978-1600210709. Ziya ÖniÅŸ, p. 177Insight Turkey, Vol. 11, No.4, 2009, p. 177
  • Topic: Development, Reform
  • Political Geography: New York, Turkey