Fall 2016 Volume 18 No. 4

Fall 2016 Volume 18 No. 4


Insight Turkey Volume 18 No 4, 2016




The Transformation of Turkey’s Political System and the Executive Presidency


Insight Turkey, Vol. 18 / No. 4 / 2016, pp. 11-27

This commentary analyzes the question of political transformation in Turkey, which has been a hotly debated issue for more than 40 years. Over the past decades, each proposal to reform the country’s system of government was met with resistance from critics and it was turned into a personal issue by targeting the plan’s supporters rather than the idea itself. After a brief analysis of the previous arguments, this study will focus specifically on the most recent efforts to adopt a presidential system, including the cooperation between the AK Party and MHP at the Parliament and the constitutional referendum, which will be held in 2017.
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Turkey’s Proposed Presidential System: An Assessment of Context and Criticisms


Insight Turkey, Vol. 18 / No. 4 / 2016, pp. 29-40

Debates over presidential, semi-presidential and parliamentary government systems have continued unabated in Turkey for almost 50 years. However, the future of Turkey’s system of government no longer constitutes a ground for theoretical argument, but, rather, is a political reality shaping the agenda of the country. This commentary proposes a historical examination of the debates and also aims to present a clear perspective on the nature of the present ground of debate over the presidential system.
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The Odyssey of the Turkish Constitutional Court into the World of Individual Application


Insight Turkey, Vol. 18 / No. 4 / 2016, pp. 41-52

Since the introduction of the individual application as a constitutional remedy, the Turkish Constitutional Court, which traditionally dealt with constitutional review of laws, constitutional amendments and political party dissolution cases, has embarked on the road towards transforming itself into a more effective rights adjudication body. It should be, however, kept in mind that this remedy is not, in and of itself, a magic panacea that will address Turkey’s ingrained human rights problems.
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The Internationalization of Higher Education in Turkey: Realities, Motivations and Opportunities


Insight Turkey, Vol. 18 / No. 4 / 2016, pp. 53-63

The internationalization of higher education constitutes one of the essential components that countries pursue. As economic growth and qualified higher education are directly related, many countries in the global competitive environment are re-evaluating their higher education systems. After a brief examination of the situation in the world, this commentary focuses specifically in the Turkish case. It argues that Turkey has taken strategic steps in recent years to strengthen the internationalization of its higher education system. In this regard, the paper will deal with the main challenges and future possibilities for the Turkish education system.
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Cornerstones of July 15: Women Who Are More Powerful than Tanks


Insight Turkey, Vol. 18 / No. 4 / 2016, pp. 65-75

Public reaction to the coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016, organized by members of a terrorist organization in the Turkish Army received a wide coverage in the Western media. This coverage however failed to reflect the pulse of the streets and the active presence of women from every segment of society in protests. This commentary argues that the ethnocentric and biased coverage of the events by the Western media, their ignorance and negligence of the heroic struggle of women against the coup attempt is a result of feminist orientalism that portrays Eastern women as oppressed, submissive and incapable of taking their own decision and act upon it.
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Government Systems, Party Politics, and Institutional Engineering in the Round


Insight Turkey, Vol. 18 / No. 4 / 2016, pp. 79-92

Countries often debate the issue of constitutional reform. Typically, such debates focus on whether a country should have a presidential, semi-presidential, or parliamentary system of government. The advantages and disadvantages of each of these systems are now very well-known. However, it is important to move beyond the simple headline debate about the respective pros and cons of each system. This is because the operation of all three systems of government is conditioned by both the party political context in which they operate and the specific powers that are given to actors in the executive and legislative branch of government. This means that when considering constitutional reform, it is important to think about the specific context in which the reform will be introduced and the totality of changes that are being considered.
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Political Parties, the Political System and Turkey


Insight Turkey, Vol. 18 / No. 4 / 2016, pp. 93-108

Even though they are not the sole forms of organization in a democratic system, political parties constitute the most effective bodies of people’s will. A large volume of empirical research has been conducted for a concrete clarification of the cyclical relationship between the types of election system, political party system and political system. This paper aims to examine this relationship by focusing on different states, with a special focus on Turkey. It is argued that the more democratic a political system is, the more democratically political parties will have to function, and that the higher the eagerness of political parties to function democratically, the more the democratic capacity of a political system will expand.
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The Constitutional Amendment Draft: The End of Debates on Change in the Turkish Political System?


Insight Turkey, Vol. 18 / No. 4 / 2016, pp. 109-125

Debate over the government system has occupied Turkey’s political and constitutional agenda for many years. Yet the discussions that have taken place have not, until very recently, progressed beyond the level of popular discourse. In the last quarter of 2016, however, the possibility has emerged of debating the government system in a concrete way through the proposal of a constitutional amendment. This proposal, the product of negotiations between the AK Party and MHP, seems to be elaborated on a design that considers the interplay of presidential systems in relation to legislative, executive, and judiciary powers. In this article, the basic features of the proposed government system are addressed in comparison with various examples from around the world.
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Reconsidering the Presidential System in Turkey


Insight Turkey, Vol. 18 / No. 4 / 2016, pp. 127-141

Debates on the system of government have been on the political agenda in Turkey since the 1960s, gaining momentum in recent years. Disengagement from the parliamentary system began with the election of the 12th President of Turkey by popular vote in 2014. To this end, the ruling AK Party and the MHP submitted a proposal to Parliament on December 10, 2016 to amend the Constitution. This article aims to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of a presidential system for Turkey. As the debate unfolds, examining fully the pros and cons of a presidential system is vitally important.
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Kazakh and Russian History and Its Geopolitical Implications


Insight Turkey, Vol. 18 / No. 4 / 2016, pp. 143-163

In 2015, Kazakhstan celebrated 550 years of Kazakh statehood. The extraordinary interest in these events, both among Kazakh officials and some members of the international community, has a clear political message. It underscores Kazakhstan’s independence from Russia regardless of Kazakhstan’s entering the Eurasian Union in 2015. The celebration also underscores the fact that the borders of present-day Kazakhstan have historical roots and are not just a recent “gift” from Russia. Some Russians living in Kazakhstan, and even some ethnic Kazakhs, protested the 2015 interpretation of Kazakhstan history and the relationship it implies between Kazakhstan and Russia. Ironically, Moscow provided no help for these protestors, and actually helped Astana deal with the Russian Nationalists. The reason was simple: the rise of Russian Nationalism could create problems not just for Astana but also for Moscow.
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The New NATO: Prepared for Russian Hybrid Warfare?


Insight Turkey, Vol. 18 / No. 4 / 2016, pp. 165-180

The Ukrainian crisis altered the security paradigm in Europe by forcing NATO to revise its stance towards Russia, as it employed a wide array of military and non-military tools and tactics called “hybrid warfare.” To counter Russian hybrid warfare in future, the NATO Alliance implemented functional and structural changes known the Readiness Action Plan (RAP) and endorsed the New Strategy on Hybrid Warfare. This paper will study Russian hybrid warfare activities and the preparedness of an Alliance shaped by the RAP and the New Strategy on Hybrid Warfare. It discusses whether this new NATO will be able to deter Russia from resorting to hybrid warfare against a NATO ally. While the Alliance has enhanced its military capabilities to a great extent, the Allies’ ability to achieve consensus on a response is the factor most likely to deter and dissuade Russia from engaging in hybrid warfare.
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Iran’s Ballistic Missile Program: A New Case for Engaging Iran?


Insight Turkey, Vol. 18 / No. 4 / 2016, pp. 181-205

Much like Iran’s nuclear program, scholars and policy makers are largely puzzled to understand Iran’s intentions in developing its ballistic missile program. The aim of this study is to understand Iran’s objectives in developing its ballistic missiles arsenal. To fulfill this objective, the article reviews the entire history of Iran’s ballistic missile program. It hypothesizes that just like its nuclear program, Iran developed its ballistic missiles arsenal as a strategy of deterrence, a response to Iraq’s invasion and Washington’s policy of containment. The second hypothesis held that Iran’s determination to continue developing its ballistic missile program might be an attempt to dissuade its rivals from exercising power in the Middle East.
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A Necessary Void in International Relations: Non-State Actors in the                 Middle East


Insight Turkey, Vol. 18 / No. 4 / 2016, pp. 209-216

Out of Nowhere: The Kurds of Syria in Peace and War
By Michael Gunter
United Kingdom: C. Hurst & Co. (Publishers) Ltd., 2014, 176 pages, $29.97, ISBN: 9781849044356

Hezbollah and Hamas: A Comparative Study
By Joshua L. Gleis and Benedetta Berti
Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012, 264 pages, $53.00, ISBN: 9781421406145

Inside the Brotherhood
By Hazem Kandil
United Kingdom: Polity Press, 2015, 240 pages, $20.45, ISBN: 9780745682914

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The State of Savagery: ISIS in Syria
UFUK ULUTAŞ, Reviewed by Serra Can, Insight Turkey, Vol. 18 / No. 4 / 2016, p. 219

The Struggle for Influence in the Middle East: The Arab Uprisings and Foreign Assistance
F. BICCHI, B. CHALLAND and S. HEYDEMANN, Reviewed by Furkan Halit Yolcu, Insight Turkey, Vol. 18 / No. 4 / 2016, p. 221

The Two-state Solution: The UN Partition Resolution of Mandatory Palestine – Analysis and Sources
RUTH GAVISON, Reviewed by Radka Havlová, Insight Turkey, Vol. 18 / No. 4 / 2016, p. 225

An Intellectual History of Turkish Nationalism: Between Turkish Ethnicity and Islamic Identity
UMUT UZER, Reviewed by Brian Van Wyck, Insight Turkey, Vol. 18 / No. 4 / 2016, p. 228

The Circassian Diaspora in Turkey: A Political History
ZEYNEL ABİDİN BESLENEY, Reviewed by F. Tutku Aydın, Insight Turkey, Vol. 18 / No. 4 / 2016, p. 231

Everyday Lived Islam in Europe
N. M. DESSING, ET AL., Reviewed by Erdem Dikici, Insight Turkey, Vol. 18 / No. 4 / 2016, p. 233

Global South to the Rescue: Emerging Humanitarian Superpowers and Globalizing Rescue Industries
PAUL AMAR, Reviewed by Şirin Duygulu, Insight Turkey, Vol. 18 / No. 4 / 2016, p. 236

Social Unrest and American Military Bases in Turkey and Germany Since 1945
AMY AUSTIN HOLMES, Reviewed by Ömer Aslan, Insight Turkey, Vol. 18 / No. 4 / 2016, p. 238

Conflict and Peace in Central Eurasia: Towards Explanations and Understandings
BABAK REZVANI, Reviewed by Joanna Rak, Insight Turkey, Vol. 18 / No. 4 / 2016, p. 241

China’s Foreign Policy
STUART HARRIS, Reviewed by Cemre Pekcan, Insight Turkey, Vol. 18 / No. 4 / 2016, p. 243