Winter 2017 Volume 19 No. 1

Winter 2017 Volume 19 No. 1


Insight Turkey Volume 18 No 4, 2016




Turkish Foreign Policy in a Time of Perpetual Turmoil


Insight Turkey, Vol. 19 / No. 1 / 2017, pp. 11-16

2016 was a difficult year for the world; however, Turkey
demonstrated her strength and resilience politically, economically, and security-wise. This commentary focuses on the future policies and challenges that Turkey may face in 2017. These policies include the open door policy towards the Syrian refugees and consolidation of the basic foreign policy tenets of Turkey. It is argued that in the face of these challenges, Turkey must always remember that upholding our common values and the spirit of cooperation is central to bringing peace, hope and prosperity to humankind.
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Turkey and Russia: The Importance of Energy Ties


Insight Turkey, Vol. 19 / No. 1 / 2017, pp. 17-32

Turkey and Russia maintain close energy ties in spite of difficulties in other areas of their relationship. This compartmentalization of ties was tested following the downing of a Russian jet by Turkish Armed Forces. However, the Turkish Stream had been suspended prior to this incident by Ankara, in part because of disagreements over gas pricing. Reconciliation between Ankara and Moscow led to a reactivation of the Turkish Stream. Given their mutual dependency the energy relationship between Turkey and Russia will likely remain fairly immune to possible future downturns in ties.
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An Overview of Turkish Foreign Policy in the Balkans: 1990-2016


Insight Turkey, Vol. 19 / No. 1 / 2017, pp. 33-42

The reforming of Turkish foreign policy in the Balkans was a process that started at the end of the Cold War and with the disintegration of Yugoslavia. Turkey started reinventing its role in the geopolitical scene by standing strong to its national interests, opening up to new relations, strengthening old ones and taking a more secure place in the international arena. 25 years after, Turkey has not only earned the position of a strong player in the Balkans but has also become a regional regulator and mediator. Some suspiciously see it as a “neo-Ottoman” approach.
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After Aleppo: The Long Game in Syria


Insight Turkey, Vol. 19 / No. 1 / 2017, pp. 3-52

In the aftermath of the victory by pro-Syrian government forces in Aleppo in December 2016, many see an opportunity for a political resolution to the Syrian civil war. Although Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for the time being seems to have secured his position in power, there remains much work to be done in order to bring Syria back to life again after the deep level of disruption and destruction. No less work is needed to create a vision for the future of Syria that will appeal to a critical mass of Syrian opposition elements and pro-Syrian government constituencies. This essay details how far Syria has to travel in terms of becoming a functioning state again as well as potential options for a workable and sustainable political system into the future.
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A New Turkish Foreign Policy: Towards Proactive “Moral Realism”


Insight Turkey, Vol. 19 / No. 1 / 2017, pp. 55-69

In a time when our globalizing world is confronted by a deepening global turmoil, political instability and multiplying security threats have set in motion a global tectonic shift. Turkey is not immune from these challenges; on the contrary, with its pivotal state/regional leadership position, its foreign policy choices will shape the effectiveness of any international effort for enduring peace and stability in the region. While Turkey’s proactive mode of operation since 2002 has remained, its vision, identity, and strategy have gained new characteristics. Over the last two years we have witnessed not only a reset, but the emergence of a new Turkish foreign policy whose proactive nature and main principles are shaped by what I call ‘moral realism,’ that combines hard power-based military assertiveness and humanitarian norms in addition to new capacity- and strategy-based parameters.
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Turkey’s Choice


Insight Turkey, Vol. 19 / No. 1 / 2017, pp. 71-87

This article argues that recent upheavals in Turkey’s domestic and regional dynamics – the transition to a more crisis- ridden foreign policy around 2011 and the breakdown of the “Kurdish Opening” in 2014-2015 – arose not from any fundamental change in strategic vision, but primarily from external developments such as the collapse of central authority in Syria and Iraq. These developments emboldened the PKK and its offshoots to adopt a more intransigent attitude, and prompted Turkey to add a hard power component to its previously soft powerdriven effort to expand its regional sphere of influence. With events unfolding rapidly, however, Turkey’s leadership now confronts some urgent decisions with implications both for its long-standing strategic vision and for the future character of the Turkish state.
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Determinants of Turkish-American Relations and Prospects for the Future


Insight Turkey, Vol. 19 / No. 1 / 2017, pp. 89-115

This article analyzes the fluctuating course of the Turkey-U.S. relationship with a special focus on Barack Hussein Obama’s presidency.
When Obama held office, he aimed at reinventingU.S.’ image and shifting center of gravity from the Middle East to Asia-Pacific. These led U.S. to develop its relations with its allies in the region to provide the course of politics go along with the American geostrategic goals. Obama suggested a “model partnership” concept to draw a line between his Administration’s and that of his predecessorGeorge W. Bush. Differences of opinion, however, meant the concept did not go beyond being a surface change. Ultimately, two problems remained unsolved; the FETÖ leader’s ongoing residence in U.S. and American support for YPG/PYD in Syria.
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Assessing Turkey’s Foreign Policy Choices towards the European Union


Insight Turkey, Vol. 19 / No. 1 / 2017, pp. 117-134

Turkey adopted a new strategy for its European Union accession process in 2014, in an attempt to revitalize its relations with the EU. Turkish foreign policy towards the European Union has remained consistent with full membership as its main goal. However, since 2013, there have been significant challenges for the realization of that foreign policy objective, with the altering geopolitical  environment and the changing preferences in the European Union. Turkey’s own foreign policy choices towards the EU were impacted by the loss of both EU’s credibility in its enlargement policy and its attractiveness as an economic magnet. This paper analyzes the role of the EU specific external factors on Turkish foreign policy, and assesses the reformulation of Turkey’s relations with the European Union after 2014. The main conclusion of the paper is that Turkey’s foreign policy towards the EU has altered and a new pattern of cooperation is emerging between these two players.
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Energy in Turkey and Russia’s Roller-Coaster Relationship


Insight Turkey, Vol. 19 / No. 1 / 2017, pp. 135-155

Energy relations between Turkey and Russia provide an excellent example of how energy and politics interrelate in countries with a historically up-and-down relationship. Having started in the 1960s, the two countries’ energy relations gained a new dimension after 1991 with the intensification of pipeline politics. In the 2000s, energy relations gained impetus owing to the leadership of Erdoğan and Putin, and reached an apex with the establishment of a cooperation council in 2010. Since 2011, Turkey’s demands for gas price reduction and volume increase have dominated the agenda of the countries’ energy talks. While Turkish-Russian relations have  remained on shaky ground lately, the signing of the Turkish Stream agreement in 2016 might be perceived as a positive step for closer energy relations.
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Islamist Views on Foreign Policy: Examples of Turkish Pan-Islamism in the
Writings of Sezai Karakoç and Necmettin Erbakan


Insight Turkey, Vol. 19 / No. 1 / 2017, pp. 157-183

In the case of Turkey, competing foreign policy perspectives have always represented a central issue in the ideological clash between Kemalism and Islamism, revolving around the definition of Turkey’s identity and its future in the international arena. This paper analyzes the foreign policy writings of two dissimilar figures of Turkey’s political Islam, namely Necmettin Erbakan and Sezai Karakoç, both considered central for the development of the Islamist ideology in Turkey. This study explores their texts and detects similitudes revealing their common connection with Turkey’s expression of the Pan-Islamist trend that reemerged during the Cold War. The analysis of these two authors concludes by pointing out the nationalist element characterizing Turkish Islamism –and Turkish Pan-Islamism– in comparison with analogous non-Turkish expressions of this ideology.
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Notes on the Role of the Armed Forces in Reparation Processes in Colombia


Insight Turkey, Vol. 19 / No. 1 / 2017, pp. 185-206

In this article, we present and reflect on the role of the Armed Forces in the reparation of the victims of the Colombian conflict. The article recognizes that reparation is a very important part of a comprehensive process involving truth, justice, compensation, forgiveness, reconciliation and non-repetition. The development of this article is a theoretical-reflective component of the triad: Truth, Justice and Reparation; it further develops the concept of reparation, and presents some international experiences in order to examine the elements that constitute successful reparation processes. Then, it reflects on and analyzes reparation in Colombia, and envisions some scenarios in which the Military Forces of Colombia could help to strengthen this process. Finally, it provides a series of reflections on the contributions and responsibilities of the Armed Forces in regard to the victims of the armed conflict in Colombia..
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Still Awaited: A Truly Objective History of the Making of the Modern Middle East


Insight Turkey, Vol. 19 / No. 1 / 2017, pp. 209-218

The Fall of the Ottomans, The Great War in the Middle East
By Eugene Rogan
Basic Books, 2015, 512 pages, $20.75, ISBN: 9780465023073

The Ottoman Endgame, War, Revolution and the Making of the Modern Middle East, 1908-1923
By Sean McMeekin
Penguin Books, 2016, 570 pages. $35.00, ISBN: 9781594205323

Lawrence in Arabia, War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East
By Scott Anderson
Signal, 2014, 577 pages, $22.00, ISBN: 9781782392026

The Poisoned Well, Empire and Its Legacy in the Middle East
By Roger Hardy
Oxford University Press, 2017, 380 pages, $27.95, ISBN: 9780190623203

The Enemy at the Gate, Habsburgs, Ottomans and the Battle for Europe
By Andrew Wheatcroft
Basic Books, 2008, 337 pages, $24.00, ISBN: 9780465020812

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Understanding Transatlantic Relations: Whither the West?
SERENA SIMONI, Reviewed by Assef Salloom, Insight Turkey, Vol. 19 / No. 1 / 2017, p. 221

Living in the Ottoman Realm: Empire and Identity, 13th to 20th Centuries
CHRISTINE ISOM-VERHAAREN and KENT F. SCHULL, Reviewed by Klara Volaric, Insight Turkey, Vol. 19 / No. 1 / 2016, p. 223

Islamist Thinkers in the Late Ottoman Empire and Early Turkish Republic
AHMET ŞEYHUN, Reviewed by mehmet karabela, Insight Turkey, Vol. 19 / No. 1 / 2017, p. 225

A Concise History of Bosnia
CATHIE CARMICHAEL, Reviewed by Hamza Preljević, Insight Turkey, Vol. 19 / No. 1 / 2017, p. 228

Religion in Today’s World: Global Issues, Sociological Perspectives
MELISSA M. WILCOX, Reviewed by Ayşe Dilara Arslan, Insight Turkey, Vol. 19 / No. 1 / 2017, p. 231

ISIS: A History
FAWAZ A. GERGES, Reviewed by Peter Admirand, Insight Turkey, Vol. 19 / No. 1 / 2017, p. 233

Obama’s Foreign Policy: Ending the War on Terror
MICHELLE BENTLEY and JACK HOLLAND, Reviewed by Özge Taylan, Insight Turkey, Vol. 19 / No. 1 / 2017, p. 235

A Tale of Four Augusts: Obama’s Syria Policy
KILIÇ BUĞRA KANAT, Reviewed by Rıfat Önceli, Insight Turkey, Vol. 19 / No. 1 / 2017, p. 238

Ruling Russia: Authoritarianism from the Revolution to Putin
WILLIAM ZIMMERMAN, Reviewed by Javadbay Khalilzada, Insight Turkey, Vol. 19 / No. 1 / 2017, p. 240

Will Africa Feed China?
DEBORAH BRAUTIGAM, Reviewed by Enock Ndawana, Insight Turkey, Vol. 19 / No. 1 / 2017, p. 242