Obama's Message in Egypt

Painters, gardeners, designers, administrative faculty and students have been working feverishly. A new “cover look” is being prepared for the University of Cairo. Today, everything is expected to look better, brighter, happier. 

Obama's Message in Egypt
Where is Turkey in NATO's Transformation into a U S

Where is Turkey in NATO's Transformation into a U.S.-EU Alliance?

Turkey's relations with NATO in parallel to signs that the United States and the European Union have embarked on a process of greater transatlantic integration demands closer attention


One often gets this question from academics and experts: What will be the framework of international relations in the 21st century? Will it be determined by "hard instruments" such as energy, security and population?

Today is President Barack Obama's third day in the White House. I have no idea what he will be doing today or if he has figured out the layout of his home and office for the next four years; but I know that his task of meeting expectations is already weighing heavily on his shoulders.

This policy brief aims to discuss the limits of the freedom of political parties in Turkey. The political party bans consitute one of the most important problems threatening the freedom of political parties in Turkey. The restrictions on the political parties come to the fore in two different forms: dissolution after the military coups and closure by means of legislation. In the current context of the case opened against the AK Party, it may be possible and advisable to apply an amendment, bringing Turkish jurisprudence in such matters in line with the standards of the European community.

Turkey in the United Nations Security Council

Turkey’s new seat in the UNSC marks a historic achievement for Turkish foreign policy since 1961. Turkish diplomatic corps around the world and political leaders have lobbied towards this end since 2003.

Turkey in the United Nations Security Council

Turkey’s rapid transition from a buffer state position to a pro-active and multi-dimensional diplomatic activism has led to ambiguities on the aim, intention and realism of the recent Turkish foreign policy.

2007 was no ordinary year for Turkey. Turkish democracy went through major trials. Turkish society became more confident in the exercise of its democratic rights. The Turkish economy continued to grow. Turkey became more active in regional politics. Stability and prosperity shifted the focus from narrow ideological debates to a larger vision for Turkey in the 21st century. But are any of these a guarantee for more progress in Turkey? To put it more bluntly, are the events of 2007 a temporary change of climate, or do they point to a deep-seated change in Turkish politics and society?

With the appointment of Yusuf Ziya Özcan as the new president of Turkey’s Higher Education Board (YÖK), there is renewed hope for the future of the Turkish university system. For too long Turkish universities have performed way below acceptable international standards. Nor have they catered to the increasing needs of Turkish society. Instead of improving the standards of higher education in Turkey, YÖK has acted like an academic police controlling everything in the universities.

Public Perception of the Kurdish Question” is based on a Turkey-wide survey conducted by the Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA) and Pollmark. The main objective of this large-scale survey was to map public perceptions of the Kurdish question and the government’s intensively debated Democratization Initiative or in other words, Kurdish Initiative. This report presents the main findings of the survey.

There is no doubt that the presence of Muslims in many European countries has changed the demographic and religious landscape of the West.

Less than one week ahead of the US presidential election, Turkish-US relations and Turkey's role in its neighboring regions were the subject of a one-day conference organized by the SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research and the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.

BBC covered the story as a "landmark visit to Armenia." CNN called it "football diplomacy." French President Nicolas Sarkozy applauded the visit as "courageous and historic."

Awareness of the importance of civil society institutions increased among Turks in Europe after the mid 1980’s. Membership volume of Turkish civil organizations, their areas of activities and relations with other institutions suggest that Turks internalized values of civil society and are increasingly getting integrated in the Dutch society. Interests of Turks in civil society organizations and civil values as well as focus of their political preferences are an indication of social integration. The primary focus of Turks in the Netherlands is political questions in this country rather than Turkey. They are interested in issues such as political participation and representation in their host country since they want to lead a harmonious life with the society in this country.The current study indicates that Holland is at the heart of the activities of Turkish civil organizations. Majority of the organizations in the sample carry out their activities in Holland either on local or national level. This trend is an indication for the efforts and willingness of Turks who would like to integrate in the larger society. Research results also show that Turks don’t want to live in cultural ghettos isolated from rest of the society with walls of discrimination but they want to lead a social life in harmony with the Dutch society far from conflicts but without losing their own identity.

Turks in Germany are no longer transitory gastarbeiter (guest worker) people but de facto settlers in Germany, despite the dominant official political discourse that constantly reiterates that Germany is not a country of immigration. The parameters of this political discourse are based on an ethnocentric interpretation of citizenship and nationhood in Germany, which emphasizes volknation, a cultural nation, and leads to the political exclusion of ethnic minorities.

There is a growing Muslim population in the very heart of Europe, where states are largely secular. Secularized European social life, political culture and the public sphere are all facing an enormous challenge of accommodating a relatively religious Muslim citizens coming from different Muslim countries. Despite settling in Europe and getting socialized here, many Muslims attach great importance to their sacred and religious values, trying to express their demands and identities in the public sphere.

Many observers fail to see the unique position of Turkey concerning state, society and religion mainly because they concentrate on recent reports in the mass media which usually focus on tensions and fears. Therefore analysis on these issues only touches the surface and fails to grasp the persistent multidimensional modern Turkey. Turkey occupies a unique place among modern nation states. Not only from a geopolitical point of view, but also from cultural and religious points of view. Turkey lies at the crossroads between Eastern and Western interests. The political and cultural identity of modern Turkey emerged under the influence of domestic and external forces that existed in and around Turkey throughout the centuries. Since modern Turkey was established on the remains of the Ottoman Empire, periods of conflict and cooperation between Turkey and other political entities, such as Europe and the Middle East, have led to the development of the modern Turkish state and influenced its move toward modernization.

Turkey has a unique experience in state formation, in formulating state-religion relations, but some painful periods in its history regarding democratization. The military intervention on Sept. 12, 1980 suspended Turkey's fragile democracy and caused a breakdown in party politics by banning all political parties and sending their leaders to trial. The first election after the military coup in 1983 was a turning point in Turkish political history, and the election results and subsequent government policies under Turgut Ozal's premiership changed the course of Turkish political culture for decades to come. Ozal's center-right liberal-conservative Motherland Party (then called ANAP, now ANAVATAN) launched a liberalization and democratization policy in Turkey, which facilitated the expression of Islam in the public sphere to a greater degree than before. As part of its policy, the government deleted Articles 141, 142 and 163 of the Constitution to lift obstacles to freedom of thought. ANAP also adopted a free market economy through a large-scale privatization movement.

Current developments and recent social and cultural transformations under the forces of globalization indicate that the prophecy of traditional secularization thesis seems to have failed to capture the ongoing influence of religion. Proponents of secularization thesis established an unavoidable and casual connection between the beginning of modernity and the decline of traditional forms of religious life. Generally speaking theorists of secularization process argued that religion would lose its influence on social and political life once the society absorbs the values and institutions of modernization. For B. Wilson for example “secularization relates to the diminution in the social significance of religion”. L. Shiner on the other hand, argued that the culmination of secularization would be religionless society.