Independent and cutting-edge analysis on Turkey and its neighborhood

From the Desk of the Editor

From the Desk of the Editor

Since the founding of the Turkish Republic, competing conceptions of Turkish identity have existed. Among many examples, the role of Islam has been contested, Kurdish and Turkish nationalisms have clashed, and various identity-based movements have ebbed and flowed, shaping political cleavages. National identity contestation has also spilled over into Turkey’s relationship with its Western allies, its patronage of the Muslim world, and the conceptualization of its role in the Turkic...

Süreya Martha Köprülü | 21 March 2018

The Syrian Conflict and The Crisis of Islamist Nationalism in Turkey

The Syrian Conflict and The Crisis of Islamist Nationalism in Turkey

Turkey’s position vis-à-vis the Syrian conflict has been, from the outset, replete with the AKP’s ideological vision pertaining to Turkish society and the Middle East. The AKP conceived the Syrian war as a springboard for the realization and consolidation of its new Islamist conception of nationalism. Thus, its involvement in this war has also directly reflected on domestic political and ideological struggles, and, as a result, the Syrian War has been a testing ground for the...

Cenk Saraçoğlu | 21 March 2018

The Revival of Ottomanism in Turkish Foreign Policy: “The World is Greater than Five”

The Revival of Ottomanism in Turkish Foreign Policy: “The World is Greater than Five”

Turkey under the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government since 2002 has been subjected to radical changes in both its domestic politics and its external relations. The impact of religious identity and values have become more visible in Turkish politics as a party with Islamic sensibilities came to power. During its early years, the AKP continued the pro-Western foreign policy direction of  the previous governments. However, as the party solidified its power, a more assertive and...

Umut Uzer | 21 March 2018

Educating Turkey’s Students For Their Future, Not Our Past

Educating Turkey’s Students For Their Future, Not Our Past

How should countries engage their citizens to understand and shape the changing world? This is the age of acceleration of human experience through the compound impact of disruptive forces on every aspect of our lives. It is also a time of political contestation. The priority of the wider international community is to reconcile the needs and interests of individuals, communities, and nations within an equitable framework based on open borders, free markets, and sustainability. This article sets...

Andreas Schleicher | 21 March 2018

Headed East: Turkey’s Education System

Headed East: Turkey’s Education System

A focus on the minds of future generations is a cornerstone for every ideological movement. Small wonder then, that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government have taken a strong interest in the field of education in Turkey. Erdogˆan and the government have introduced substantial reforms as part of a broader project to Islamize education in the country, of which religious brotherhoods and communities also play an important role. But the results are...

Svante E. Cornell | 21 March 2018

Secularism and Atheism in the Turkish Public Sphere

Secularism and Atheism in the Turkish Public Sphere

As a relatively new actor in Turkish civil society, the Atheism Association has been active since 2014 as the first legally recognized organization of atheism in Turkey and in all majority-Muslim countries. This piece is an investigation of how this public assertion of atheism is put into practice in the context of rising religious conservatism. The recent atheist activism and advocacy for human rights of those who do not adhere to any theistic religion aim at pushing the limits of the freedom...

Umut Azak | 21 March 2018

Dutch-Turkish Identity: A Very Dutch Affair

Dutch-Turkish Identity: A Very Dutch Affair

Dutch Turks attracted international attention in March 2017 when hundreds protested the expulsion of a Turkish cabinet minister from the Netherlands – epitomizing the scale to which Turkey and European Union countries could play off tensions within diaspora communities. The dominant discourse in the Netherlands surrounding discussions of identities and political preferences of Dutch Turks has focused on the “long arm of Ankara” and Dutch Turks acting under its influence....

Yörük Bahçeli | 21 March 2018

Shaping Peace Processes: A Comparison Between Turkey and Colombia

Shaping Peace Processes: A Comparison Between Turkey and Colombia

Despite having different trajectories and internal dynamics, the Colombia/FARC and the Turkey/PKK cases offer an interesting comparative lens through which to analyze the critical factors of any successful peace process. While the Colombian government and the FARC reached a groundbreaking peace agreement in 2016, terminating the country’s 52-year internal conflict, the peace process between the Turkish state and the PKK collapsed in 2015, initiating a new cycle in the long-running...

Mehmet Özkan | 21 March 2018

Gender Politics and GONGOs in Turkey

Gender Politics and GONGOs in Turkey

The ruling party in Turkey has been increasing its conservative tone in issues related to women. The party supports “government-organized NGOs” (GONGOs) to construct and disseminate its conservative discourse. KADEM is one such GONGO that carries out this task. It works on the construction of an anti-feminist discourse that calls for the replacement of the concept of “gender equality” with “gender justice.” Feminists in Turkey have been quite successful in...

Çağla Diner | 21 March 2018

How Can Akşener’s İyİ Partİ Contribute to Turkey’s Democracy?

How Can Akşener’s İyİ Partİ Contribute to Turkey’s Democracy?

Since the founding of Meral Akşener’s İyi Parti (Good Party) in October 2017, expectations for Turkey’s newest political bloc have been mounting, particularly that it can reverse Turkey’s march towards an empowered presidential system and return to democratic parliamentarism. This article argues that for the İyi Parti to play a game-changing role and genuinely contribute to Turkey’s democracy, it has to accomplish three missions: (1) leave the radical right, MHP heritage...

Ödül Celep | 21 March 2018

Social Repression in a Democracy: The Case of Tunisia

Social Repression in a Democracy: The Case of Tunisia

Tunisia’s remarkable democratization process in the wake of the Jasmine Revolution has not been followed by an improvement of civil liberties: Tunisia is still home to harsh repression on particular social behaviors, namely homosexuality and actions or speeches deemed insulting to religion. This article seeks to account for the apparent contradiction between the Tunisian newly free political environment and the socially repressive measures that persist in the country by arguing that the...

Guillaume Allusson | 21 March 2018

From the Desk of the Editor Since the founding of the Turkish Republic, competing conceptions of Turkish identity have existed. Among many examples, the role of Islam has been contested, Kurdish and Turkish nationalisms have clashed, and various identity-based movements have ebbed and flowed, shaping political cleavages. National identity contestation has also spilled over into Turkey’s relationship with its Western...
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