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  • Author: Ahmet Uysal
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Turkey is achieved a viable combination of Islam, democracy and development. After prolonged periods of political instability and interruptions in democratic rule, the Islamic-leaning AK Party government overcame the hurdles preventing it from reaching power in the early 2000s. It achieved a significant degree of democratization and economic growth without oil or foreign aid and repeatedly won elections ever since. As such, the party's success offers important lessons for Islamists in Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco. The lessons of the Turkish experience are especially relevant in dealing with the opposition and democratization, as well as achieving stability and growth.
  • Topic: Development
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia
  • 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: Erdal Tanas Karagol
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: During the 1990s, political uncertainties in Turkey had negative effects that left the economy vulnerable to public and foreign debt due to high inflation, high budget deficit and high current account deficit. Coalition governments failed to address these problems. Following its rise to power in 2002, the AK Party developed a new perspective for the economy, politics and foreign policy collectively referred as the New Turkey. The government emphasized fiscal discipline, structural transformation and privatization. During this period, Turkey rapidly recovered from the negative effects of the 2001 financial crisis and reached a steady growth rate. The country also survived the 2008 global crisis with minimum damage. The government seeks to meet its targets for the centennial of the Republic's establishment.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Muge Aknur
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The remarkable transformation of Turkish civil-military relations since the AK Party's rise to power has not led to total democratization in this area. Although EU reforms reduced the military's formal and informal powers and trials about contemporary and historic coup cases might indicate that the military has been subordinated to civilian authority, achieving democratic civil-military relations would require a balance of power between civilians and the military: While the military must relinquish its role as the country's guardians, civilians must work to regain the trust of military officers that they lost through the Ergenekon and Balyoz cases. Perhaps then Turkish civil-military relations can reach a democratic level, promoting democratic consolidation in the country.
  • Topic: Development
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Zafer Celik, Bekir S. Gul
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The AK Party has been a leading reform actor with particular emphasis on education. AK Party governments implemented educational reforms to increase access to education, improve the quality of education and democratize the education system. Some challenges, however, persisted: Turkey still lags one year behind the OECD average PISA 2009 indicators. This article focuses on the educational policies of the AK Party governments during the last decade. The AK Party's education reforms and policies will be examined through the lenses of access, quality, governance, finance, and democratization of education. The current problems and challenges of Turkey's education system will also be discussed.
  • Topic: Education, Government
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Ali Murat Yel, Alparslan Nas
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This paper discusses the conflict between the AK Party government and the Gezi activism with reference to hegemony, power-resistance dichotomy, local/metanarratives and the carnivalesque. The AK Party's 11-year rule revolutionized center-periphery relations in Turkey. The party pioneered the democratization process until the 2011 elections but took an authoritarian turn afterwards –which gave rise to the revolts. However, the protests mobilized a heterogeneous group, some of whom maintained militarist and partiarchal metanarratives while others took a libertarian stance. This paper highlights the fragmentation of discourses under the “Gezi Spirit” as well as among AK Party supporters.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Mustafa Kibaroglu
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Interest in Turkey and its foreign and security policies has grown significantly in the political and scholarly circles in the world, especially since the Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi – AKP) came to power with the November 2002 elections. The AKP's electoral success continued in the subsequent elections in 2007 and 2011 with an increasing percentage of votes, which was unprecedented in the history of the Turkish Republic. One particular reason why Turkey attracted much attention in the world was because, in its first years in power, the AKP was easily categorized, both in the media and in academia, mainly in the West, as an “Islamic” party with a hidden agenda that aimed at drifting Turkey away from its mainstream foreign and security policies that have long been anchored in the Western alliance, thereby turning Turkey's face toward the Middle East and the Islamic world beyond it.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Development, Islam
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Gaza
  • Author: Yaprak Gursoy
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: TURKEY'S EUROPEAN FUTURE tackles the question of how the United States (US) has influenced relations between the European Union (EU) and Turkey, and especially the decisions of the EU on Turkey. Except for a few notable scholarly articles, US-EU-Turkey relations have not been investigated in depth. In this well-written and well-organized book, Tocci addresses this gap in the literature by thoroughly examining in what ways, mechanisms, and in which direction the United States has had an impact on the decisions of the EU regarding Turkey. The book focuses mostly on the 1990s and 2000s, however the main findings provide considerable insight for the earlier periods, as well as for the future.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: America, Turkey
  • Author: Ezra Akcan
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: In Istanbul, architectural ideas on how to transform Taksim Square can get you killed. A case in point would be the recent police violence over Gezi Park in Taksim, which began as a public protest against the undemocratic planning of the prime minister's “delirious projects” for Istanbul. Sadly and ironically, the first democratically elected prime minister in Turkey's history, Adnan Menderes, was the target of violence about half a century ago, when he was sentenced to death partially based on the charges against his urban projects in Istanbul. Murat Gül's book The Emergence of Modern Istanbul: Transformation and Modernisation of a City effectively tells a 150-years long story of urban transformation that culminated in the Menderes' execution. While the author devotes his most detailed last chapter, one of his major scholarly contributions and conclusion to the Menderes years, he also provides a much needed and useful synthesis of scholarly works that describe Istanbul's dramatic transformation during the late Ottoman, early Republican, and postwar Democrat Party (Menderes) periods. “Mid-nineteenth century Istanbul was chaotic, overcrowded, poorly sewered, badly administered, prone to catastrophic fires and plagued with ineffective transportation systems. A century later the city was a metropolis with large avenues, postwar modernist architecture and city blocks which had swept away much of its traditional nineteenth century street pattern and altered its urban form.” (p.1)
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Ali Murat Yel
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: THE NAQSHBANDIYYA is perhaps one of the widest-spread Islamic religious brotherhoods due to its active involvement in political affairs. Its 'strength' comes from the fact it could trace the sheiks of the order as far back as to the Prophet of Islam through his companion Abu Bakr. The silsila (the chain of transmission) of the order also contains some very important figures in Islamic history, like Salman al-Farisi and Bayazid al-Bistami. Despite the importance of the order and its worldwide expansion, the published works on the subject could fill only a small shelf. The order also has a great number of followers in Turkey, including some prominent political figures. Since Shah Bahauddin Naqshband, the founder of the order, the succeeding sheiks of the Naqshbandiyya tarikat (religious order) have currently been handed to Sheikh Nazim al-Kibrisi al-Haqqani, a Turkish Cypriot. The Sheikh has been given the task of expanding the order to the West, and as a result of arduous efforts he has been able to establish some centers in various European and American cities, with the biggest one being in London. Author Tayfun Atay studied this center for his Ph.D. thesis submitted to London University.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Britain, America, Europe, Turkey, London