Independent and cutting-edge analysis on Turkey and its neighborhood

Turkey's Democratic Challenge, Winter 2015

Turkey's Democratic Challenge, Winter 2015

This issue of Turkish Policy Quarterly (TPQ) focuses on the democratic challenges Turkey faces on a wide range of policy issues, from the Kurdish peace process to the governance of the Internet, and from social policies to the implementation of rights for the disabled. As the general elections scheduled for June 2015 draw near, we also take up highly topical dimensions such as party financing, election monitoring, and the dynamics of political activism in various segments of society. Our authors...

Nigâr Göksel | 05 February 2015

A New Era in Turkey-EU Relations, Winter 2015

A New Era in Turkey-EU Relations, Winter 2015

New leaderships in Ankara and Brussels have the opportunity to pave the way for the strengthening and deepening of Turkey-EU relations, the resurgence of Turkey’s EU accession process, and the opportunity to cooperate on regional matters that are of strategic importance to both. The author emphasizes the significant transformation Turkey has undergone in regards to its democratic and human rights record and points to the three pillars of Turkey’s new EU Strategy – determination...

Volkan Bozkır | 05 February 2015

The Middle East, the Kurdish Peace Process in Turkey, and Radical Democracy, Winter 2015

The Middle East, the Kurdish Peace Process in Turkey, and Radical Democracy, Winter 2015

The resolution of the Kurdish Problem is part and parcel of Turkey’s democratization and vice versa. Despite claims made by the AKP government that the process is close to resolution, there have been limited concrete and practical gains. According to the author, the Peace Process requires a historical understanding of the key dynamics of the conflict, the opportunity for dialogue, and a transparent negotiation process. The author presents democratic autonomy as an idea that goes beyond the...

Selahattin Demirtaş | 05 February 2015

Urban Transformation and Otherization, Winter 2015

Urban Transformation and Otherization, Winter 2015

Since coming to power in 2002, the AKP government has enacted a series of urban transformation projects that have significantly altered the urban landscape of cities across Turkey. In this article, the author takes up the latest item on the government’s agenda – the 2012 Draft Law on the Regeneration of Areas under Disaster Risk – which would empower the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization with a capacity to appropriate all property it deems “risky,” and build...

Gürsel Tekin | 05 February 2015

Plugged Out? Turkey’s Internet Politics and Business, Winter 2015

Plugged Out? Turkey’s Internet Politics and Business, Winter 2015

Turkey needs to accelerate its integration into the Internet economy. The state of new media in Turkey is caricaturized as a battle of politics and culture/ideology, waged between the leadership and supporters of the AK Party and a nebulous mass of politically aligned or non-aligned groups. While this portrayal represents a very real and persistent problem with the freedoms of expression and information in Turkey, online censorship is only the beginning of Turkey’s challenges in adjusting...

Ebru İlhan | 05 February 2015

Those Who Laugh Together, Belong Together: Online Satire in Turkey, Winter 2015

Those Who Laugh Together, Belong Together: Online Satire in Turkey, Winter 2015

Since the mass participation in the Gezi Park protests of 2013, youth activism in Turkey has not translated into party politics, nor has another similar wave of protests followed. However, the line of criticism directed against the government and its leaders during the protests is still present, and is particularly visible online. Besides more serious political criticism found online, certain satire websites, Facebook groups, and some so-called benign Twitter trolls have developed a critical,...

Ahu Yiğit | 05 February 2015

Civic Engagement in Turkey’s Democracy: The Case of “Oy ve Ötesi,” Winter 2015

Civic Engagement in Turkey’s Democracy: The Case of “Oy ve Ötesi,” Winter 2015

To date in Turkey’s young democracy, core pillars of the democratic process have largely been left to the mercy of political parties and state institutions, while the participation of civil society and the population at large, other than through voting, has been limited in comparison. This lack of involvement is particularly paradoxical given the diverse and complex nature of Turkey’s demographics, requiring a strong web of institutions for a stable democratic system. Grassroots...

Sercan Çelebi | 05 February 2015

Civil Society in Turkey’s Shrinking Political Space, Winter 2015

Civil Society in Turkey’s Shrinking Political Space, Winter 2015

Since 2007, there has been a tangible shrinking of the political space for those who do not support the AKP government in Turkey, which in turn, has had a negative impact on traditional grassroots organizing. The author identifies the May 2013 Gezi Park protests as a complex turning point in this sense. The protests revealed widespread popular discontent towards the government, as well as how far the AKP was willing to go to suppress dissent. According to the author, the post-Gezi experience has...

Sezen Yalçın | 05 February 2015

Political Party and Campaign Financing In Turkey, Winter 2015

Political Party and Campaign Financing In Turkey, Winter 2015

Political finance remains a relatively under-studied but problematic subject in Turkey. How political parties are financed determines to a large extent whether they can sustain a democratic culture within themselves, as well as contribute to the consolidation of democracy and a system of checks and balances. This article discusses seven areas of reform needed to bring about a more transparent and accountable political financing system in Turkey: fair competition, accessibility, ethics, diverse...

Seda Kırdar | 05 February 2015

The Menderes Metaphor, Winter 2015

The Menderes Metaphor, Winter 2015

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has frequently compared himself with Adnan Menderes, most recently after his August 10th presidential victory. This article examines the validity of this comparison, its popularity among academic historians, and its role in facilitating Erdoğan’s success. It considers how the coup that toppled Menderes in 1960 helps explain both Erdoğan’s authoritarianism and his popularity. The author characterizes Turkish politics from 1960 to the present as a series of...

Nicholas Danforth | 05 February 2015

A New Momentum: Gender Justice in the Women’s Movement, Winter 2015

A New Momentum: Gender Justice in the Women’s Movement, Winter 2015

Underlining the detrimental effects of classical egalitarian feminism in the development of women’s rights in Turkey, this article suggests bringing about a new perspective to the issue of women’s rights on the basis of an equality/difference dichotomy. Employing the term “gender justice,” the article provides a conceptual framework for the development of a supra-equality approach in which equality is inherent. This framework centers on justice, in opposition to the...

E. Sare Aydın Yılmaz | 05 February 2015

Turkey’s Kurdish Peace Process and the Third Eye

Turkey’s Kurdish Peace Process and the Third Eye

Turkey’s Kurdish question has witnessed novel developments since the commencement of meetings between government officials and the PKK in late 2012 designed to settle the long-running conflict. Rapidly changing regional patterns of alliances, as well as domestic constraints, have led to a gradual internationalization of the process. Although the Turkish government firmly rejects the idea of introducing a “third eye” to the process, the widening gap between Turkey and its...

Egemen B. Bezci | 05 February 2015

Armenia and Turkey: From Normalization to Reconciliation, Winter 2015

Armenia and Turkey: From Normalization to Reconciliation, Winter 2015

For Turkey and Armenia, normalization and reconciliation can be seen as two sides of the same coin. A critical and achievable breakthrough would be the opening of the international border and the establishment of full diplomatic relations between the two countries. However, meaningful progress at the inter-state level does not seem probable in the immediate future given the heighted political sensitivities around the historic commemorations of this year. Nonetheless, the authors argue that...

Fiona Hill, Kemal Kirişci, & Andrew Moffatt | 05 February 2015

Freedom of Religion and Non-Muslim Minorities in Turkey, Winter 2015

Freedom of Religion and Non-Muslim Minorities in Turkey, Winter 2015

Freedom of religion has been a delicate issue since the founding of the Turkish Republic despite the principle of secularism stated in its constitution. After decades marked by assaults towards non-Muslims in Turkey and confiscation of their properties, several reform packages were adopted by the Turkish government in order better to secure their religious freedoms. This essay focuses on the motives behind and the limitations of the transformation of religious freedoms in Turkey over the last...

Anna Maria Beylunioğlu | 05 February 2015

Turkey's Changing Social Policy Landscape, Winter 2015

Turkey's Changing Social Policy Landscape, Winter 2015

This article reviews aspects of the Turkish social policy regime within the context of its transformation during the 2000s and discusses its strengths and weaknesses in providing adequate and equitable welfare. The article underlines the multifaceted nature and plural tendencies of this transformation, while demonstrating that spending across social policy programs is not sufficiently supporting the disadvantaged population. In the contemporary policy environment new dualisms based on...

Emre Üçkardeşler | 05 February 2015

Disability Rights in Turkey: Time for Change, Winter 2015

Disability Rights in Turkey: Time for Change, Winter 2015

Nearly 13 percent of Turkey’s population is disabled, and yet there are still leaps and bounds to be made with regard to equality, accessibility, and employment opportunities for the disabled community. From the perspective of his involvement in providing disability services in Turkey as well as around the globe, the author argues that Turkish businesses and the government need to see the value added in employing members of the disabled community, many of which have untapped skill sets....

Mehmet Evsen | 05 February 2015

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