Insight Turkey Volume 16 No 2


Spring 2014 Volume 16 No 2

 

 

Insight Turkey Volume 16 No 2, 2014

 

COMMENTARIES

A Quick Glance at the History of Elections in Turkey

İBRAHİM DALMIŞ


Insight Turkey, Vol. 16 / No. 2 / 2014, pp. 7-17

ABSTRACT Generally speaking, two traditions – right-wing politics and the Left – have dominated Turkish politics over the years. This study aims to analyze historic election results in order to determine roughly how much popular support each political movement enjoys in the country. Starting from transition to multi-party system in Turkey, one can see the emergence of several ideologies, groups and political parties that appeal to various social classes. Although military interventions caused a rupture in the democratization of the country, there has been a lively political environment with dynamic party politics and elections. During the span of Turkish democracy, a number parties were established and closed. This article examines the trajectory of elections and party perfomances with a special emphasis on ideology and electoral base of the parties.  [Read more]

 

The AK Party: Dominant Party, New Turkey and Polarization

E. FUAT KEYMAN

Insight Turkey, Vol. 16 / No. 2 / 2014, pp. 19-31

ABSTRACT One of the fiercest electoral battles fought in the Turkish political history, the March 30, 2014 local elections yielded results akin to an outcome of a general election. The AK Party’s victory in the ballot box has serious implications for Turkish politics and society in general. This paper will thus discuss and explain the implications of the elections for the AK Party’ metamorphosis into a dominant party. The paper will also shed light on how the AK Party’s consolidation of its power has led to the emegence of a “New Turkey.” Last, the article will point to the increased polarization in Turkish society, an externality of the AK Party’s dominant party status and the New Turkey.

 

The Structural Causes of Political Crisis in Turkey

OSMAN CAN

Insight Turkey, Vol. 16 / No. 2 / 2014, pp. 33-41

ABSTRACT The December 17th process was started allegedly by a political move by the Gülen movement, which, until recently, had been seen as a religious organization. As the government and the parliament – institutions of democratic representation – countered this move through the use of their constitutional powers, the debate has turned into a totalistic and ontological struggle. However, very few people argue that the problems are actually not independent of the constitutional system of the Turkish Republic, but rather unavoidable consequences of the existing system. If we consider the political steps and strategies pursued by the Gülen movement, we see that we are faced with the most familiar game in Turkish political history, namely the shaping of politics through the use of state institutions.

 

Strengths and Constraints of Turkish Policy in the South Caucasus

BAYRAM BALCI

Insight Turkey, Vol. 16 / No. 2 / 2014, pp. 43-52

ABSTRACT Just after the end of the Soviet Union and the emergence of three independent states in the South Caucasus Turkey started to manifest a real interest for this region. Energy issue, which is the key issue in this Turkish policy since the beginning, is expected to remain the key priority for Turkey because of its growing economy. Ankara tries to have a balanced relations with the three South Caucasian countries, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia, but for multiple reasons, Turkey’s policy in the South Caucasus is still determined by its relations with Azerbaijan who is the best ally and economic partner for Ankara.

 

Elections in Iraq: What Does the Future Hold?

RANJ ALAALDIN

Insight Turkey, Vol. 16 / No. 2 / 2014, pp. 53-60

ABSTRACT Iraq held parliamentary elections in April, the country’s first vote since the withdrawal of U.S. troops in December 2011. Although turnout was impressive and a democratic culture has settled in Iraq, outstanding challenges, including terrorism, sectarian divisions and regional conflict, are unlikely to be rectified by the elections. The status quo will continue and Iraq, at best, can only attempt to contain domestic and regional problems.

 

Hezbollah and Syria: From Regime Proxy to Regime Savior

RANDA SLIM

Insight Turkey, Vol. 16 / No. 2 / 2014, pp. 61-68

ABSTRACT Hezbollah’s longstanding ties with the House of Assad lie at the core of its domestic and regional policies. Losing Assad would undermine Hezbollah’s regional strategic posture and embolden its domestic opponents to challenge its military status. Hezbollah is thus fighting in Syria to protect its status in Lebanon and its regional standing as much as to protect Iranian interests in the region. Public rhetoric from both Iran and Hezbollah leave little doubt about their unwavering commitment to the Assad regime. Will Iran and Hezbollah continue to fight for Assad’s political survival irrespective of the consequences for regional stability? While they argue that political dialogue and negotiations are the only way forward in Syria, both Iran and Hezbollah have been circumspect about what a political solution in Syria should entail.

 

The Impact of the “New” Zero Problems Policy and the Arab Spring on the Relations between Turkey and Lebanese Factions

MUSTAFA YETİM and BILAL HAMADE

Insight Turkey, Vol. 16 / No. 2 / 2014, pp. 69-77

ABSTRACT As the Arab Spring unfolds, a new power configuration is emerging in the Middle East. Turkey is at the center of the new setting, with a fully engaged leadership role that was adopted by the ruling AK Party. In the Levant area, Ankara’s influence is even greater due to Turkey’s full support of the Syrian opposition against the Syrian Baath regime. In this context, it becomes clear that the increasingly involved Turkish role in the region has direct and indirect effects on the stability of countries in the Levant, one of which is Lebanon.

 

  

ARTICLES

The Longest Year of Turkish Politics: 2014

TAHA ÖZHAN

Insight Turkey, Vol. 16 / No. 2 / 2014, pp. 79-98

ABSTRACT Like all long political years, the year 2014 did not begin on January 1st; rather, 2014 politically began at the end of May with the Taksim events. Nevertheless, the year may end on an optimistic note. It could be said that, unless the date of the upcoming general elections change, the long political year of 2014 will extend to June 2015. Had the government been overthrown by the police-judiciary coup in December 17th., Turkey would have been sentenced to a neo-tutelage regime for many years to come. The first phase of the tripartite elections race in Turkey ended with Erdoğan’s victory. The upcoming presidential elections in August 2014 will be the second phase. The March 30 elections clearly demonstrated that the AK Party will continue to play an important part in Turkey’s political scene for years to come.

 

One Down, Two More to Go: Electoral Trends in the Aftermath of the March 2014 Municipality Elections

ALİ ÇARKOĞLU

Insight Turkey, Vol. 16 / No. 2 / 2014, pp. 99-109

ABSTRACT The March 2014 local elections in Turkey did not drastically alter electoral balances in Turkey. The AK Party maintained its predominant position, despite loosing some electoral support. The opposition gained some support but not enough to challenge the incumbent party’s tenure. Despite apparent gains for the CHP, it appears that the most significant vote increase was obtained by the nationalist MHP. Yet, both opposition parties remain far from imposing a credible challenge to the AK Party in future elections. These results are likely to lure PM Erdoğan into running for president. Such a decision is likely to further polarize the country and result in negative electoral campaigns for the presidential elections.

 

The 2014 Local Elections in Turkey: A Victory for Identity Politics

HATEM ETE

Insight Turkey, Vol. 16 / No. 2 / 2014, pp. 111-128

ABSTRACT The context of and the meaning conferred upon the local elections led it to be fought in a referandum-like atmosphere. Prior to the March 30 local elections, various scenarios put forward both for the governing AK Party and the opposition parties, which largely remained unfulfilled on the elections day. As the local elections is over, a sound analysis of the election’s context, results, and possible implications is warranted. Despite the rapid and dramatic transformation that Turkey has undergone over the last decade, particularly since 2007, no such dramatic shift in the voters’ behaviors has occurred. This article argues that this is because of the dominance of the identity-politics, over all other issues, that shaped the content and context of the elections. It further claims insofar as this dominance continues to prevail over other concerns in the elections, no major change should be expected in the voters’ inclinations and behaviors.

 

The Republican People’s Party and the 2014 Local Elections in Turkey

MUSTAFA ALTUNOĞLU

Insight Turkey, Vol. 16 / No. 2 / 2014, pp. 129-147

ABSTRACT Ahead of the 2014 local elections, the main opposition, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), developed an aggressive outreach campaign to add new voters to its ranks as the disappearance of its former rivals, the Democratic Left Party (DSP), left the CHP with a monopoly over the Left and the Gülen Movement broke with the ruling AK Party just months before the elections. The election results, however, reaffirmed that the main opposition party remained largely unpopular outside major metropolitan areas, including İstanbul, Ankara and İzmir. On election day, the CHP received less than 5 percent in most of the Southeast and Eastern Anatolia, as its efforts to associate with democracy and freedom proved futile against the backdrop of controversial alliances with extra-parliamentary forces.

 

Syria: The Hope and Challenges of Mediation

MAHMOOD MONSHIPOURI and ERICH WIEGER

Insight Turkey, Vol. 16 / No. 2 / 2014, pp. 149-165

ABSTRACT The civil war in Syria continues to devastate social and political structures, precipitating floods of refugees and surging populations of internally displaced people. Syria has degenerated into sectarian- and ethnic-based warring mini-states vying for power as their country faces utter social disorder. It mass-produces a growing cadre of battle hardened foreign and domestic jihadists affiliated with the various al-Qaeda brands. The war weariness of America and the unmanageable chaos in Syria combine to create shifts in regional politics. This article seeks to put into perspective the crucial role that regional mediation can play in nudging along practical solutions. Without regional commitment and coordination among key Middle Eastern powers, namely Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, international diplomatic efforts to restore order and stability in Syria are not likely to succeed.

 

The Crimean Crisis in the Context of New Russian Geopolitics

OKAN YEŞİLOT

Insight Turkey, Vol. 16 / No. 2 / 2014, pp. 167-181

ABSTRACT Over the past months, the crisis in Crimea presented the world with a case study on how rapidly national borders may shift in the 21st century. The turmoil in Ukraine began in November 2013 as widespread protests erupted following a last-minute decision by former president Viktor Yanukovych’s to suspend talks on a trade pact with the European Union under pressure from the Russian government. The pro-Russian leadership in Crimea organized an impromptu referendum where the vast majority of participants voted in favor of uniting with the Russian Federation. This article provides an analysis of recent developments in Crimea in the context of Russian policy in the region.

 

Japan and Turkey: The Contours and Current Status of an Economic Partnership/Free Trade Agreement

SCOTT MORRISON

Insight Turkey, Vol. 16 / No. 2 / 2014, pp. 183-195

ABSTRACT As the third largest economy in the world, Japan cannot be overlooked in any analysis of Asia’s importance in international geopolitics and the global political economy. The ties between Japan and Turkey – whether diplomatic, political, economic or societal – span the breadth of Asia. Those ties have become more numerous and consequential in monetary terms over the last half-decade. Although the relationship has not been a top priority for either country, awareness of the potential for mutual gain as a result of more trade and investment has a history of at least three decades. This article surveys the current economic and trade relationship between Turkey and Japan, paying particular attention to recent notable Japanese investments in Turkey and the preliminary positioning of trade representatives in advance of a proposed Free Trade/Economic Partnership Agreement.

 

 

BOOK REVIEWS

 

Orhan Pamuk, Secularism and Blasphemy: The Politics of the Turkish Nove
ERDAĞ GÖKNAR, Reviewed by Michael McGaha, Insight Turkey, Vol. 16 / No. 2 / 2014, p. 197

Ottoman Izmir: The Rise of a Cosmopolitan Port, 1840-1880
SIBEL ZANDI-SAYEK, Reviewed by Eleni Bastéa, Insight Turkey, Vol. 16 / No. 2 / 2014, p. 199

Sovereignty After Empire: Comparing the Middle East and Central Asia
SALLY CUMMINGS and RAYMOND HINNEBUSCH, Reviewed by Gül Berna Özcan, Insight Turkey, Vol. 16 / No. 2 / 2014, p. 201

Fathers and Sons: The Rise and Fall of Political Dynasty in the Middle East
M.E. MCMILLAN, Reviewed by Ömer Aslan, Insight Turkey, Vol. 16 / No. 2 / 2014, p. 204

Revolution and Reform in Russia and Iran: Modernisation and Politics in Revolutionary States
GHONCHEH TAZMINI, Reviewed by David Ramin Jalilvand, Insight Turkey, Vol. 16 / No. 2 / 2014, p. 206

Muslim Minorities and Citizenship: Authority, Communities and Islamic Law
SEAN OLIVE-DEE, Reviewed by Anne Sofie Roald, Insight Turkey, Vol. 16 / No. 2 / 2014, p. 209

Dynamics of Energy Governance in Europe and Russia
CAROLINE KUZMENKO, ANDREI V. BELYI, ANDREAS GOLDTHAU and MICHAEL F. KEATING, Reviewed by Sreemati Ganguli, Insight Turkey, Vol. 16 / No. 2 / 2014, p. 211

Picknick mit den Paschas: Aleppo und die levantinische Handelsfirma Fratelli Poche (1853-1880)
MAFALDA ADE, Reviewed by Metin Atmaca, Insight Turkey, Vol. 16 / No. 2 / 2014, p. 213

The Story of Islamic Philosophy
SALMAN H. BASHIER, Reviewed by Sajjad H. Rizvi, Insight Turkey, Vol. 16 / No. 2 / 2014, p. 215

Principles of Islamic International Criminal Law: A Comparative Search
FARHAD MALEKIAN, Reviewed by Ayşegül ÇimEN, Insight Turkey, Vol. 16 / No. 2 / 2014, p. 217

Filistin Politikamız: Camp David’den Mavi Marmara’ya
ERKAN ERTOSUN, Reviewed by Salim Çevik, Insight Turkey, Vol. 16 / No. 2 / 2014, p. 219