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  • Author: Nilüfer Karacasulu, Irem Aşkar Karakır
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This paper discusses EU-Turkey relations with a specific reference to regional developments in the Middle East after the Arab Spring. In the last decade, the Turkish government has tried to intensify Turkey's influence in the region. However, increasing activism in Turkey's foreign policy toward the region was not accompanied by a parallel commitment in its relations with the EU. In the meantime, the EU was caught unprepared by the Arab Spring in the middle of the Euro-zone crisis, and now its strategic interests are being threatened by regional instability. Both sides have been faced with the task of adapting their policies to the political transitions in the region. After an analysis of their contemporary regional policies, this article argues that even though their strategies are not totally in line with each other, Turkey follows the same objectives that the EU neighborhood policy has pursued towards the Middle East.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Tahire Erman
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This book is written as part of the series on “Modern Architectures in History.” Yet, it covers much more than architecture and urbanism in modern Turkey. It is a comprehensive study that relates the production of the physical environment to larger forces shaped by the economy (capitalism) and the state. Moreover, it demonstrates how the architectural environment is used by the Turkish state to 'shape' society. The different practices and ideologies from various eras are well articulated; detailed information as well as a large variety of photographs and drawings are provided to present a contextualized summary of modern architecture and urbanism in present-day Turkey. Consequently, I can say that the book is the product of a commitment to excellence both in content and visual presentation.
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Shaimaa Magued
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Muslims in Modern Turkey: Kemalism, Modernism and the Revolt of the Islamic Intellectuals presents a comprehensive overview of contemporary Turkish intellectuals' thoughts on Kemalist ideology. With a selection of six intellectuals, the first chapter gives an overview of the Kemalist ideology and its sociocultural impact on both the private and public spheres in the newly-formed Turkish state. In the second, third and fourth chapters, more details are given about the lives and thoughts of the selected intellectuals, followed by a comparison with their counterparts in the Arab/Muslim world and the old Islamic intellectuals in Turkey. Overall, the book compiles the views of Islamic intellectuals regarding the secularization process in Turkey since the conception of the state; however, the book has weaknesses that prevent the ignition of the reader's curiosity and leaves one wondering what the author intended to contribute to existing literature.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Mauricio Jaramillo Jassir
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Democracy, Islam and Secularism in Turkey, edited by Ahmet Kuru and Alfred Stepan, decribes the so-called “Turkish model” in detail, while trying to avoid unfounded criticism. The book is divided into eight chapters, written mainly by Turkish authors, with the exception of Karen Barney, Stathis Kalyvas, Alfred Stepan and Joost Lagendijk.
  • Topic: Government, Islam
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Anita Sengupta
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The relationship between Islam and foreign policy has become the subject of a number of volumes in recent years as scholars seek to understand the role that political Islam plays in determining foreign policy. This is more often than not accompanied by the assumption that Islam is fundamentally incompatible with modernity. Turkey, with its complex history of modernity and the transition from its Ottoman past, remains an interesting case for the study of the causal relationship between the construction of a modern nation state, secular identity and nationalized foreign policy. The rediscovery of Turkey's regional interests and affinities from the 'Balkans to Western China' – areas that had been largely absent from Turkish foreign policy debates since the foundation of the Republic – have emphasized the significance of the state's internal evolution in determining its external policy. In her book, Turkey Facing East: Islam, Modernity and Foreign Policy, Ayla Gol critically analyzes Turkey's engagement with modernity in the course of its transformation from the Ottoman structure into a modern nation state in order to understand Turkey's foreign policy towards its eastern neighbours between 1918 and 1921. This is a clear and important departure from studies that tend to examine this transition period in terms of Turkey's engagement with the West.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Islam, Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Balkans, South Caucasus
  • Author: Atilla Yayla
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The anti-government protests in Turkey emerged as a legitimate and even necessary reaction against police brutality to evolved into violent revolts targeting Prime Minister ErdoÄŸan. Since the initial protests, commentators sought to make sense of the phenomenon with reference to the Gezi youth. A closer examination, however, would reveal the Leftist-Kemalist aura of the protests that came under the tutelage of Taksim Solidarity, an umbrella organization of left-wing associations, and the Republican People's Party. Meanwhile, the general public kept its distance from the violent demonstrations. Not only AK Party supporters but also many liberals and secular-minded democrats found the developments alarming. While the protests marks a step forward for Turkey's once-apathetic opposition groups, their failure prevented a revival of authoritarianism.
  • Topic: Development, Environment, Government
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Tahir Abbas
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This essay interprets the Gezi Park protests that began as a local resistance to government plans to level a public park but quickly escalated into a national outburst against government policies. How did the local events receive endorsements from different communities with otherwise ideological and cultural conflicts? This paper argues that political disenfranchisement intersected with society's aspirations with regard to dichotomies between conservatism and secularism, localisation and globalisation, and nationalism and majoritarianism.
  • Topic: Globalization, Government, Islam, Culture
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Markar Esayan
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: On August 5th, 2013, an Istanbul court reached its verdict in the Ergenekon coup plot trial, handing down various prison sentences to 247 defendants, including the former Chief of Military Staff and several high-ranking members of the military's command. Although the Supreme Court of Appeals has yet to make a final decision on the 6-year legal battle, the Ergenekon trial has already become part of the country's history as a sign that anti-democratic forces, many of whom date back to the final years of the Ottoman Empire, no longer have free reign. Notwithstanding its limited scope and other shortcomings, the court's decision marks but a humble beginning for Turkey's acknowledgement of the dark chapters in its history, as well as a challenging struggle to replace the laws of rulers with the rule of law.
  • Topic: Government, Law
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Paul Kubicek
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This brief commentary assesses the progress made by Turkey under the Justice and Development Party (the AK Party) toward European Union (EU) membership and democratization. While it acknowledges positive steps, it notes that the goals of EU accession and democratic consolidation remain elusive. One consideration is that the expectations or “goalposts” for both have moved so that, relative to the objectives of those supporting democratic freedoms and Europeanization, progress in Turkey has still been rather modest. While the democratization package of September 2013 offers some hope for democratization, it remains difficult to see substantial progress in terms of joining the EU.
  • Topic: Development
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey
  • 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