Fall 2015 Volume 17 No. 4

Fall 2015 Volume 17 No. 4


Insight Turkey Volume 17 No 4, 2015




Civil-Military Relations in the Arab-Majority World: The Impacts on Democratization and Political Violence


Insight Turkey, Vol. 17 / No. 4 / 2015, pp. 11-18

How did unbalanced civil-military relations affect democratization and political violence trends in the Middle East and North Africa? This article analyses why the “Arab Spring” failed to develop democratic control of armed state institutions. It outlines the strategic repercussions of such failure on the rising trends of political violence in the region, committed by both state and non-state actors. The article draws lessons from empirical, comparative and historical experiences and concludes with policy implications.
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The Refugee Crisis and Islamophobia


Insight Turkey, Vol. 17 / No. 4 / 2015, pp. 19-26

In the face of Europe's biggest refugee crisis since WWII, many right wing and centrist politicians are using Islamophobia as a way to leverage policy-making in the West, to the detriment of human rights. The refugee crisis is just that -not an attempt by Muslims to ‘take over’ or ‘take down’ the West, but a crisis of people -of all religious and ethnic backgrounds- to flee from terror. At the same time, it reflects a crisis within Europe, which fights with itself how to define Europe in terms of openness and closeness to refugees knocking at the doors of Europe.
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Islamophobia in Europe: The Radical Right and the Mainstream


Insight Turkey, Vol. 17 / No. 4 / 2015, pp. 27-37

The surge of Islamophobia in Europe has been linked with the growing popularity and agenda-setting power of the radical right. However, attributing the rise of Islamophobia to the radical right-wing parties is all too comforting at a time when the dominant, ‘mainstream’ culture has increasingly embraced positions openly hostile and often discriminatory to Islam and Muslim communities. The fight against Islamophobia begins with the realization that Islamophobia is a ‘mainstream’ problem for European societies, which now need more than ever a positive vision for a diverse, inclusive, and open post-crisis Europe.
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The Reasons Behind the AK Party’s November 1st Victory


Insight Turkey, Vol. 17 / No. 4 / 2015, pp. 39-46

In June 2015, Turkey’s governing Justice and Development Party (AK Party) lost its parliamentary majority after thirteen consecutive years in power. When a series of coalition talks proved inconclusive, however, it made a historic comeback in the repeat election by learning from mistakes, promoting dialogue and focusing on everyday issues.
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HDP Torn Between Violence and Politics


Insight Turkey, Vol. 17 / No. 4 / 2015, pp. 47-55

Although the Kurdish political movement has been participating in elections since 1991, never until June 2015 were they able to receive more than 7 percent of the vote. On June 7, the HDP nearly doubled its share of the vote. Although the election results indicated that the Kurdish voters wanted politicians to play a more prominent role within the movement, the PKK ended the two-year ceasefire to dig trenches, set up barricades and target the security forces in residential areas. The sharp decline in the HDP’s popularity suggests that the electorate would like to empower civilian leaders at the expense of violent groups.
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Election Storm in Turkey: What do the Results of June and November 2015 Elections Tell Us?


Insight Turkey, Vol. 17 / No. 4 / 2015, pp. 57-79

This article analyzes the two general elections in 2015 that followed the local and presidential elections a year earlier. These elections illustrate how a predominant party builds its electoral base, loses, and then recovers votes to consolidate its support base. We demonstrate geographical patterns of voting across the country to illustrate how the electoral scene shifted in less than four months. We discuss the power and limitations of performance politics as a force that shapes electoral outcomes in contexts where security concerns override concerns about economic and social policy performance. We argue that lacking or diminished influence of performance politics is inherently harmful for Turkish democracy and given the divided nature of the electorate a consensus building approach to policy reform and constitution writing is more likely to succeed.
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Putting Turkey’s June and November 2015 Election Outcomes in Perspective


Insight Turkey, Vol. 17 / No. 4 / 2015, pp. 91-104

The results of Turkey’s June and November 2015 parliamentary elections are put in perspective in light of economic voting literature and observed historical patterns. Usual and unusual factors that played roles in these elections are identified and their relative importance is assessed. It appears that a higher than usual number of strategic votes cast due to special circumstances were essentially behind the outcomes of both of these elections. The results also show that voters have consolidated in four camps more firmly than ever before and that the AK Party once more came close to a fifty percent vote share, which is the long run potential for conservative parties.
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Identity Dynamics of the June and November 2015 Elections of Turkey: Kurds, Alevis and Conservative Nationalists


Insight Turkey, Vol. 17 / No. 4 / 2015, pp. 105-123

Identity politics was one of the major dynamics in shaping the results of both the June 7 and November 1, 2015 General Elections in Turkey. The parties that were affiliated with Kurdish and Turkish ethno-nationalism, the HDP and the MHP, increased their votes significantly in the June 7 elections. The AK Party was able to pull some of those votes back in November elections. The HDP tried to transform itself from being a regional or ethnic Kurdish party into a national party relevant to all of Turkey. The PKK’s goal of becoming an influential regional actor in the Middle East hindered the HDP’s goal, thus leading to a decline of HDP votes in November elections. CHP remained as the favorite party of Alevi voters by a wide margin despite some challenge from HDP. The AK Party and the MHP competed over conservative right wing voters, while the AK Party and HDP struggled over conservative Kurdish voters. The AK Part was able to regain support of both Kurdish and Turkish conservatives in the November elections.
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The Economic Context of Turkey’s June and November 2015 Elections


Insight Turkey, Vol. 17 / No. 4 / 2015, pp. 125-143

This article argues that the economic context of June 7th and November 1st general elections differed to a great extent. First, while the economy was central in the June elections, its prominence was shadowed in November by rising security concerns. Second, while Turkey’s macroeconomic indicators were pretty unpromising prior to the June elections, increasing growth figures before November, with the help of the AK Party’s presentation of it, revived the public’s optimism about the AK Party’s economic performance. Third, in the June elections, the opposition parties plied the electorate with positive economic messages. The AK Party avoided this trend in June but joined the populist camp after seeing the voters’ positive reactions to economic promises. These three differences between the economic contexts of the June and November elections made the AK Party more appealing to voters in November.
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External Voting: Mapping Motivations of Emigrants and Concerns of Host Countries


Insight Turkey, Vol. 17 / No. 4 / 2015, pp. 145-169

The paper explores the understanding of external voting in the context of the 2014 Turkish presidential election in which migrants from Turkey were enabled to cast votes abroad. This first experience of external voting provided an opportunity for an inquiry into the motivations, expectations and concerns underlying emigrants’ electoral participation. Drawing from original fieldwork investigation in Germany, this exploratory study finds that citizens’ motivation for voting abroad was largely dictated by the symbolic dimension of citizenship, and desire to formally participate in Turkish politics. Also, evidences demonstrate that external voting led to growing concerns about public security as well as allegiance of immigrants in major hosting countries, particularly in Germany. Focusing on the case of Turkey’s external voting experience as a large sending country, this paper aims to provide a contribution to growing empirical research on the understanding of external voting and the effect of migrant electoral participation.
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Turkey under the AK Party Rule: From Dominant Party Politics to Dominant Party System?


Insight Turkey, Vol. 17 / No. 4 / 2015, pp. 171-192

The Justice and Development Party’s (AK Party) more than 13 years rule has ushered in a debate as to whether the AK Party has become a “dominant party” and if so, whether Turkey is experiencing a new type of party system, a dominant-party system. In this article, we first attempt to denote the terms ‘dominant party’ and ‘dominant-party system,’ and to shed light on the distinction between these two terms by drawing on the works of Duverger, Sartori, Pempel, and Greene. This article will then analyse Turkey’s experience under the AK Party to determine whether the AK Party can aptly be categorized as a “dominant party,” and Turkey as having a “dominant-party system.” Relying primarily on Greene’s conceptual framework, we contend that it is safe to denote the AK Party as a dominant party and to designate Turkey’s political system as a “dominant party system.”
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The CHP in the June and November 2015 Elections: An Evaluation on Political Impasse


Insight Turkey, Vol. 17 / No. 4 / 2015, pp. 193-208

The electoral will reflected at the ballot box on November 1 confirmed the hegemony of the AK Party in Turkey’s party system and raised numerous questions about the future of its opposition parties. Having attempted an ideological and organizational restructuring, following the election of Kılıçdaroğlu as the chairman, the CHP did not garner enough “voting power” to meet its expectations at the ballot box on November 1, just as it failed to do so for the June 7 elections. CHP’s inability to increase its votes by even half a point with respect to the June 7 elections indicates that the party is facing a significant deadlock and has been unable to increase its votes. CHP’s election results reflect political stalemate despite the efforts of its leader in the last two elections and his statements, which appear to respond to the concerns and demands of the voters. This paper shall focus on the political impasse the CHP faced during the November 1, 2015 elections and the reasons for its continued weak electoral performance.
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The MHP’s Lost Coalition Opportunity: Political Communication, Discourse and Strategies in the June and November 2015 Elections


Insight Turkey, Vol. 17 / No. 4 / 2015, pp. 209-230

The November 2015 snap elections mark a lost opportunity for Turkey to form a coalition government between the AK Party and other potential partners. The failure to form a coalition resulted from many factors. Primary among them, a significant resurgence in PKK terrorism, which led to increasing demands for stability, and the inability of the coalition partners themselves to come to an agreement. The MHP occupied a power position of sorts, following the June 7 elections, in which it won 16 percent of the vote. Its failure to capitalize on this power is due in part to its perception as a “Nay Sayer,” its static position on the Kurdish issue, which it views from a nationalist, security perspective, and its inability to win the hearts and minds of the Turkish constituency through its campaign messages.
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A New Historiography on the Ottoman Arab and Eastern Provinces


Insight Turkey, Vol. 17 / No. 4 / 2015, pp. 231-238

The Arabs of the Ottoman Empire, 1516-1918: A Social and Cultural History
By Bruce Alan Masters
New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013, 271 pages, $31.48, ISBN: 9781107619036.

Ottoman-Iranian Borderlands: Making a Boundary, 1843-1914
By Sabri Ateş
New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013, 366 pages, $99.00, ISBN: 9781107033658.

War and State Formation in Syria: Cemal Pasha’s Governorate During World War I, 1914-1917
By M. Talha Çiçek
New York: Routledge, 2014, 294 pages, $121.40, ISBN: 9780415728188.
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Islam and the Foundations of Political Power
Ali Abdel Razek, Reviewed by Kayhan Ali Hasanoğlu, Insight Turkey, Vol. 17 / No. 4 / 2015, p. 241

Lineages of Revolt Issues of Contemporary Capitalism in the Middle East
Adam Hanieh, Reviewed by Reviewed by Fadi Abdullah Farasin, Insight Turkey, Vol. 17 / No. 4 / 2015, p. 243

Foreigners, Minorities and Integration: The Muslim Immigrant Experience in Britain and Germany
Sarah Hackett, Reviewed by Erdem Dikici, Insight Turkey, Vol. 17 / No. 4 / 2015, p. 246

Foreign Policy, Domestic Politics and International Relations: The Case of Italy
Elisabetta Brighi, Reviewed by Gökçen Yavaş, Insight Turkey, Vol. 17 / No. 4 / 2015, p. 248

State Formation and Identity in the Middle East and North Africa
Kenneth Christie, Mohammad Masad, Reviewed by Hilal Barın, Insight Turkey, Vol. 17 / No. 4 / 2015, p. 251

The Emancipation of Europe’s Muslims: The State’s Role in Minority Integration
Jonathan Laurence, Reviewed by Brian Van Wyck Yegen, Insight Turkey, Vol. 17 / No. 4 / 2015, p. 253

When Greeks and Turks Meet: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Relationship since 1923
Vally Lytra, Reviewed by Nikos Christofis, Insight Turkey, Vol. 17 / No. 4 / 2015, p. 256

NGOization: Complicity, Contradictions and Prospects
Aziz Choudry, Dip Kapoor, Reviewed by Barış Gençer Baykan, Insight Turkey, Vol. 17 / No. 4 / 2015, p. 258

The Rise and Decline of American Religious Freedom
Steven D. Smith, Reviewed by Thomas K. Gugler, Insight Turkey, Vol. 17 / No. 4 / 2015, p. 260