Independent and cutting-edge analysis on Turkey and its neighborhood

Gender Rights and Freedoms in Turkey and the Arab World: Spring or Winter?, Winter 2013

Gender Rights and Freedoms in Turkey and the Arab World: Spring or Winter?, Winter 2013

  This issue of Turkish Policy Quarterly (TPQ) looks at how dynamics unleashed by the Arab Spring are affecting women’s rights and liberties across the Arab world, and how Turkey relates to these complex trends. Authors seek to illuminate questions such as: Is Turkey a model when it comes to women’s rights and empowerment? Or, is Turkey increasingly importing ideas and practices vis-à-vis women from its con -servative Islamic neighbors? Does more democracy necessarily...

Nigâr Göksel | 05 February 2013

Being a Woman in Turkey and in the Middle East, Winter 2013

Being a Woman in Turkey and in the Middle East, Winter 2013

  In all of the Islamic geography, there is a wide gap between men and women in terms of rights, and society expects women to solely fulfill the traditional roles of a wife and a mother. The initial hopes of the Arab Spring bringing increased women’s rights have been replaced by rightful concerns due to the election of Islamic parties to power. The women, who went to the streets to demand change, have been excluded from the reconstruction process of their countries. However, it is...

Sedef Küçük | 05 February 2013

Turkey and Egypt: Where is the Model?, Winter 2013

Turkey and Egypt: Where is the Model?, Winter 2013

  Turkey has established itself as a secular democracy that is steadily progressing towards achieving equal rights for women. The economic crisis Turkey was in at the beginning of the century has been replaced with an economic miracle by the Islamist government in power for the last decade. The recent transformation of the “Arab Awakening” into an “Islamic Spring” has made Turkey an attractive model for many countries in this region. In this article, the case of...

Moushira Khattab | 05 February 2013

Syrian Women's Two-Pronged Battle, Winter 2013

Syrian Women's Two-Pronged Battle, Winter 2013

  Covering the Syrian uprising for the last two years for CNN, Arwa Damon has personally interacted with Syrian female opposition activists from all social strata, religious backgrounds and beliefs. Damon delves into the role that Syrian women are playing in the revolution. She transmits the stunning remarks of the young female activists who brave heavy surveillances, physical violence, and gunfire since the beginning of the uprisings. Facing all kinds of oppression from both the...

Arwa Damon | 05 February 2013

Reforms and Political Participation of Women in the Kingdom of Bahrain, Winter 2013

Reforms and Political Participation of Women in the Kingdom of Bahrain, Winter 2013

  Over the past four decades, Bahrain has achieved considerable progress in socioeconomic development. With its diverse dimensions, this progress has positively influenced the role of women in society and their ability to effectively contribute to economic and social development in the country. However, women’s participation in public and political sphere is still limited due to various obstacles and cultural stereotypes. In order to cope with these, Bahraini women have to make full...

Bahiya Jawad Aljishi | 05 February 2013

Gender and Development in Turkey, Winter 2013

Gender and Development in Turkey, Winter 2013

  While many significant institutional and legal improvements have been realized in the last two decades in Turkey, women have continued to experience significant setbacks. Turkey’s commendable economic development does not always benefit men and women equally. As a review of a range of indices reveals, Turkey’s ranking in terms of women’s economic opportunity and participation is low. The rise in religious conservatism risks rolling back   women’s rights that...

Selma Acuner | 05 February 2013

For Women of the Arab Spring, Iranian Women Provide a Warning and a Model, Winter 2013

For Women of the Arab Spring, Iranian Women Provide a Warning and a Model, Winter 2013

  In the mass movements that swept the Arab world, there were no specific demands for improving women’s status or gender equality under the law. However, the women who came out into the streets were hoping for and expecting an expansion, not a contraction, of their rights. They should learn and take heed   from the   experience of women in Iran after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, which showed  that the most progressive laws can be set aside and ignored by lawmakers who...

Haleh Esfandiari | 05 February 2013

Beyond the Headscarf: Secularism and Freedom of Religion in Turkey, Winter 2013

Beyond the Headscarf: Secularism and Freedom of Religion in Turkey, Winter 2013

  The continuing stalemate in the headscarf controversy in Turkey stems from a mutual distrust about the way the concepts of secularism, democracy, and religious freedom are understood. Both Kemalist secularism, which defends the headscarf ban for the sake of protecting the secular regime, and liberal secularism, which opposes the ban for the sake of protecting the freedom of religion of Sunni Muslims, are short of offering a truly secular perspective that can come to terms with patriarchy...

Umut Azak | 05 February 2013

Women and Modernity: Turkey’s Conundrums, Winter 2013

Women and Modernity: Turkey’s Conundrums, Winter 2013

  Turkey has made exceptional gains in the last decade; however, these are overshadowed by the country’s low rankings in global gender indexes. One reason behind this fact is the exclusion of headscarved women from the public sphere. As development in Turkey is commonly measured by the degree of  Western resemblance, headscarved women are marked as a “problem” and correspondingly subjected to different treatment, avowedly based on the concept of modernity. As long as...

Fatma Benli | 05 February 2013

Women as Drivers of Change in the Arab World, Winter 2013

Women as Drivers of Change in the Arab World, Winter 2013

  Well before the Arab Spring, agents of change in the Arab world were slowly, but successfully removing cultural constraints on gender equality through education, entrepreneurship and political empowerment, thereby linking economic strategy with broader plans for societal progress. As a result, gains made by and for Arab women in the last 15 years had significantly narrowed the gender gap in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), with particular improvements in literacy, women’s...

Haifa Fahoum Al Kaylani | 05 February 2013

Queering Conservative Democracy, Winter 2013

Queering Conservative Democracy, Winter 2013

  The Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its official political identity of conservative democracy dominated the first decade of the new millennium in Turkey. Conservative democracy rests on a fusion of a particularistic conservative national identity with the universal principles of liberal democracy. The conservative narratives on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgenders (LGBTs) reveal the limits of this synthesis’ ability to create a deliberative democracy in Turkey, and...

Sinan Birdal | 05 February 2013

The New Constitution of Turkey: A Blessing or a Curse for LGBT Citizens?, Winter 2013

The New Constitution of Turkey: A Blessing or a Curse for LGBT Citizens?, Winter 2013

  Turkey has long been governed by constitutions prepared under the purview of military juntas. Promises of a new “civilian” constitution have given hope to different minority groups long suffering from either no recognition or misrecognition. The lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community has been among the most afflicted minority groups in Turkey due to the lack of legal protection of their rights and liberties. In light of theoretical debates on LGBT equality...

Volkan Yılmaz | 05 February 2013

No Living on Land or in Air: Discourse of Public Morality and Human Rights Violations of Transgender Individuals in Turkey, Winter 2013

No Living on Land or in Air: Discourse of Public Morality and Human Rights Violations of Transgender Individuals in Turkey, Winter 2013

  The basic human rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals living in Turkey are systematically infringed by the state and its institutions, as well as by private individuals. Analysis of a number of cases reveals systematic pursuit of a discourse of “public morality” to justify the human rights violations of LGBT individuals. The Turkish state remains reluctant to take preventive measures against these violations. Furthermore, safeguarding of the...

Sedef Çakmak | 05 February 2013

Turkey and LGBT Rights: A Historical and Global Perspective, Winter 2013

Turkey and LGBT Rights: A Historical and Global Perspective, Winter 2013

  During the last decade, LGBT rights has transformed into an international issue, making it more urgent for Ankara to address issues of its own LGBT community. When placed in the domestic context, the LGBT struggle has followed the path of other communities demanding freedoms. However, on the international front, the issue becomes much more complex. Further, if checked in a historical context, the promotion of LGBT rights by international organizations and the U.S. State Department can be...

Louis Fishman | 05 February 2013

Women’s Liberties and Gender Equality in Tunisia: The Asthma of the Arab Spring?, Winter 2013

Women’s Liberties and Gender Equality in Tunisia: The Asthma of the Arab Spring?, Winter 2013

  It has been two years since the popular uprising in Tunisia started with the hope of freedom, dignity, and democracy. This country that inspired other Arab countries for the “spring” blossom is still waiting to reach its real summer, of a solid democracy, a new constitution, and a fairly elected government that will stabilize the political turmoil. The role of women, alongside other actors of civil society, in the transition period had been crucial. Therefore, in order to...

Pelin Gönül Şahin | 05 February 2013

Digitization in Jordan's Post Arab Spring Reform Struggle, Winter 2013

Digitization in Jordan's Post Arab Spring Reform Struggle, Winter 2013

  The Jordanian government has made pledges in the past to implement political, economic, and media reforms. Although some of these reforms have taken a step backwards, digitization and enhanced access to information and news has contributed to political and social activism in society. Jordanians have created communities and contributed to “digital and social activism,” making an impact through active public participation. Due to Jordan’s geographical location and weak...

Rana F. Sweis & Dina Baslan | 05 February 2013

Women and the Welfare State Regime of Turkey, Winter 2013

Women and the Welfare State Regime of Turkey, Winter 2013

  Turkey’s dramatically low female Labor Force Participation (LFP) rate of 30 percent is a salient challenge, particularly considering the increase of female LFP rates at both the EU and OECD level. However, women’s LFP is a complex issue as it ensues from a combination of economic, cultural, and social factors. Considering the interplay between the labor market and social policies, this article examines Turkey’s welfare state, focusing on the country’s family...

Tuğba Bozçağa | 05 February 2013

Do Gender Quotas in Politics Work? The Case of the 2011 Polish Parliamentary Elections, Winter 2013

Do Gender Quotas in Politics Work? The Case of the 2011 Polish Parliamentary Elections, Winter 2013

  Women’s participation in Polish politics has never achieved a critical mass. Therefore a broad social movement of female activists launched an extraordinary campaign, resulting in changes in the electoral law. Gender quotas were introduced to the Polish electoral system in 2011, before parliamentary elections the same year. Nevertheless, female candidates still faced multiple barriers limiting their chances for electoral success and the percentage of women elected to Parliament...

Malgorzata Druciarek & Aleksandra Nizynska | 05 February 2013

From the Desk of the Editor Over the last couple of years, Turkey has weathered multiples storms in close succession: two general elections that took place in a polarized political climate, an escalation of the Turkey-PKK conflict, a crisis with Russia, the 2016 failed coup attempt followed by state of emergency measures, and the continued threat of terrorist attacks. The aftermath of the constitutional referendum in April...
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