Summer 2015 Volume 17 No. 3

Summer 2015 Volume 17 No. 3


Insight Turkey Volume 17 No 3, 2015




Obama’s Missed Opportunity to Pivot Away from the Middle East


Insight Turkey, Vol. 17 / No. 3 / 2015, pp. 11-23

Washington’s Middle East policy is a shambles. The region’s turmoil fundamentally stems from the George W. Bush Administration’s disastrous decision to invade Iraq in March 2003. In the wake of that debacle, President Barack Obama’s policy has been contradictory and ambivalent. President Obama rightly concluded that the United States needs to extricate itself from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars started by his predecessor, and avoid a third war in Syria. Although his instinct is to wind down the American military role in the region, he has given in to pressure from the U.S. foreign policy establishment to re-engage. Consequently the United States has probably lost its best chance to extract itself from the Middle East’s intractable conflicts.
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Palestine After the Arab Spring


Insight Turkey, Vol. 17 / No. 3 / 2015, pp. 23-35

Many expected the Arab uprisings to strengthen official and popular Arab support for Palestinian self-determination, and, for a time, they did. Since then, internal strife, the return in several Arab states of the ancien regime, and an intensified regional Cold War have left the Palestinians isolated and vulnerable. But historical precedent as well as existing tendencies counsel against despair.
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Groundhog Day and the Repetitive Failure of Western Counterterrorism Policy in the Middle East


Insight Turkey, Vol. 17 / No. 3 / 2015, pp. 35-45

This commentary discusses the ways in which Western counterterrorism policy in the Middle East resembles the Hollywood Film, Groundhog Day, in that it appears to be caught in a repeating loop of mistakes and self-fulfilling prophesies. Some of the reasons why Western states are unable to break free of this destructive cycle are analyzed, and it is concluded that a new language and paradigm –a new discourse– about the Middle East is necessary before alternative, more progressive policies can be adopted.
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The Iranian Nuclear Deal: Long-Term Implications for the Middle East


Insight Turkey, Vol. 17 / No. 3 / 2015, pp. 45-53

The Iran nuclear deal has the potential to become a game changer in the Middle East by providing the opportunity for rapprochement between Iran, the preeminent power in the Gulf, and the United States, the preeminent global power, thus reducing the strategic importance of both Saudi Arabia and Israel. Israel’s virulent opposition to the deal has also demonstrated that it has become a strategic liability for the United States.
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The “Arab Spring’s” Effect on Kurdish Political Fortunes


Insight Turkey, Vol. 17 / No. 3 / 2015, pp. 53-64

The Arab Spring offered Kurdish political actors in the region significant opportunities to advance their goals. Particularly in Syria and Iraq, Kurdish parties took advantage of the weakening of central governments there. The Kurdish political movement in Turkey, along with its sister movement in Syria, has likewise used the struggle against the “Islamic State” to gain a lot of international sympathy and even support. At the same time, instability in the region has brought increased immediacy to the very real threats faced by Kurdish political actors, whether from hostile central governments or groups such as ISIL.
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The New Middle East, ISIL and the 6th Revolt Against the West


Insight Turkey, Vol. 17 / No. 3 / 2015, pp. 65-85

This paper aims to provide an analysis of the ‘new’ in ‘the new Middle East.’ We argue that what is ‘new’ is the revolt against the West currently underway in the contemporary Middle East, challenging the dominant values of Western statehood and personhood. The paper identifies the novelty in the politics of radical antagonism, apocalyptic geopolitical imagination, the re-birth of extra-territorial subjectivities and the politics of resistance, which together shatter the existing political logos. Two particular empirical cases animate our discussion; namely the Arab Spring and the ISIL. By providing such groundwork, the paper also hopes to point to new avenues for further research that would go beyond the confines of narrow, ethnocentric accounts of ‘the new the Middle East.’
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The Demise of the Authoritarian Bargain in the Arab Middle East


Insight Turkey, Vol. 17 / No. 3 / 2015, pp. 85-109

This paper conceives of the Arab Spring as a leap forward that has relegated the established order to the status of a ‘walking dead.’ The ‘old’ Middle East is dead in so far as that the Arab elites hold no bargaining chip with which to consolidate a stable domestic rule. Hence they are walking dead or zombies, as they have no sense of purpose, will or chances regaining livelihood. This is because, firstly, the repressive character of Arab states has no sympathy to gain from their impoverished and powerless masses. Secondly, such oppressive practices are coincident with the IMF’s austerity programs, which constitute the greatest obstacle to Arab economies’ serving their key purpose: social cohesion. Unfortunately these two arguments are insufficient to support the belief that a bright new day has dawned for the regional people, the ‘old’ Middle East is one of the proverbial ‘walking dead’.
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Is an “Islamic Political Economy” in the Making across the Middle East and North Africa?: A Path-Dependent Institutional Change Analysis


Insight Turkey, Vol. 17 / No. 3 / 2015, pp. 109-139

The Arab Uprisings and their transformational impact across MENA have generated immense debate about the future of the region’s countries during a period of reorganizational crisis in the international political economy. At this stage of the unfolding region-wide transition in the MENA, this paper performs a two-step theoreticopractical examination of the processes between and after the Uprisings. A discussion will ensue on the prospective changes these nations will face in terms of the potential trajectories of systemic change between the embedded path-dependencies of the established regimes and the patterns of change demanded by the subversive Islamic factions.
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Nuclear Deterrence, Missile Systems and the Security of Turkey in the “New” Middle East


Insight Turkey, Vol. 17 / No. 3 / 2015, pp. 141-162

This article explores Turkey’s changing regional security and Ankara’s pursuit of a missile defense shield. We assess three options available to Turkey’s strategic policy makers. The first avenue is maintenance of the status quo and continued integration into NATO’s ballistic missile defense systems. The second is a break away from NATO systems, to pursue an indigenous system, based on Chinese technology, but developed as part of the T-LORAMIDS program, under full Turkish control. The third involves the development of military dimensions to its nascent civilian nuclear program, in order to provide a strong deterrent in this problematic region. The article wraps up its finding by coming to the conclusion that Turkey is attempting to maximize its security position by pursuing a multilayered combination of the three options above.
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Law, Ethics, and Justice in the Emerging International Order: A Study of Turkish Diplomacy under the AK Party Government (2002-2014)


Insight Turkey, Vol. 17 / No. 3 / 2015, pp. 165-193

This paper draws on the ‘moral’ dimensions of Turkey’s ‘new’ foreign policy as it became manifest after the AK Party rose to power in 2002. This article first discusses ‘ethics’ and ‘justice’ in the context of international politics and states’ foreign policy. Based on the findings regarding these key issues, I argue that, in the course of 2002-2014, Turkish behavioral posture within the prevailing international order was strongly colored by ethical concerns and the search for a more just and peaceful international order.
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Broadening the Nongovernmental Humanitarian Mission: The IHH and Mediation


Insight Turkey, Vol. 17 / No. 3 / 2015, pp. 193-216

The IHH delivers relief aid to 140 countries worldwide. Quite recently, as a novel humanitarian practice, the IHH has begun acting as a mediator in intra-state conflicts and even accumulated considerable experience in it. In the Bangsamoro peace process, for instance, the IHH was invited to play a mediator role as part of the internationally crewed Third Party Monitoring Team. Similarly, the IHH has been called upon to play mediatory roles in resolving kidnapping incidents in Syria and Pakistan, and has done so by negotiating with armed groups for the release of kidnapped and captive civilians. This paper, therefore, aims to explore the dynamics of and the motivations behind the IHH’s extension of its international humanitarian mission beyond providing relief and to examine the place of such civilian mediator role in the broader humanitarian turn in Turkey’s contemporary foreign policy.
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Secularism, Modern State, and Homo Religiosus Societies


Insıght Turkey Volume 17 No 3, 2015

 Religion and the State in Russia and China: Suppression, Survival, and Revival
By Christopher Marsh
London: Continuum, 2011, 288 pages, $130.00, ISBN 9781441102294

Globalization and Islamism: Beyond Fundamentalism
By Nevzat Soğuk
Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2011, 200 pages, $79.00, ISBN 9780742557505

Crescent and Dove: Peace and Conflict Resolution in Islam
Edited by Qamar-ul Huda
Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace Press, 2010, 336 pages, $24.95, ISBN 9781601270603

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Ottoman Imperial Diplomacy: A Political, Social and Cultural History
DOĞAN GÜRPINAR, Reviewed by Jibreel Delgado, Insight Turkey, Vol. 17 / No. 3 / 2015, p. 229

A Question of Genocide: Armenians and Turks at the End of the Ottoman Empire
RONALD GRIGOR SUNY, FATMA MÜGE GÖÇEK, NORMAN M. NAIMARK, Reviewed by Reviewed by Ahmet Gençtürk, Insight Turkey, Vol. 17 / No. 3 / 2015, p. 231

Divided Nations and European Integration
TRISTAN JAMES MABRY, JOHN MCGARRY, MARGARET MOORE, BRENDAN O’LEARY, Reviewed by Chris Moreh, Insight Turkey, Vol. 17 / No. 3 / 2015, p. 234

Extremism in America
GEORGE MICHAEL, Reviewed by Caroline Lancaster, Insight Turkey, Vol. 17 / No. 3 / 2015, p. 236

Islam in Europe: Public Spaces and Civic Networks
SPYROS A. SOFOS and ROZA TSAGAROUSIANOU, Reviewed by Atsuko Ichijo, Insight Turkey, Vol. 17 / No. 3 / 2015, p. 238

Latin America’s Turbulent Transitions: The Future of Twenty-First Century Socialism
ROGER BURBACH, MICHAEL FOX and FEDERICO FUENTES, Reviewed by Oya Yegen, Insight Turkey, Vol. 17 / No. 3 / 2015, p. 240

Politics of Modern Muslim Subjectivities: Islam, Youth, and Social Activism in the Middle East
DIETRICH YUNG, MARIE JUUL PETERSEN and SARA LEI SPARRE, Reviewed by Amr Osman, Insight Turkey, Vol. 17 / No. 3 / 2015, p. 243

Democracy Disrupted: The Politics of Global Protest
IVAN KRASTEV, Reviewed by Boris Popivanov, Insight Turkey, Vol. 17 / No. 3 / 2015, p. 245

Political Islam in the Age of Democratization
KAMRAN BOKHARI and FARID SENZAI, Reviewed by Ravza Altuntaş-Çakır, Insight Turkey, Vol. 17 / No. 3 / 2015, p. 247

Saudi Arabia and Iran: Soft Power Rivalry in the Middle East
SIMON MABON, Reviewed by Bayram Sinkaya, Insight Turkey, Vol. 17 / No. 3 / 2015, p. 250