World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies

Barcelona, July 19th - 24th 2010


PEACE IN TURKEY? - 2/4: Resistance, Articulation and the Non-Governmental Sector (097) - NOT_DEFINED activity_field_Panel

· NOT_DEFINED date: TUE 20, 11.30 am-1.30pm

· NOT_DEFINED institution: Manchester University (UK)

· NOT_DEFINED organizer: Tim Jacoby

· NOT_DEFINED language: English

· NOT_DEFINED description:
This panel aims to contribute to the considerable debate that remains over the definition, presence and power of the non-governmental sector in the Muslim World. In Turkey, these discussions were particularly sharpened by the catastrophic earthquake, and subsequent public sector failures, of 1999. Particularly focussed upon were the relationship between advocacy, religious and ethnic identity and political reform. Since then, and under the influence of domestic pressures and the EU accession process, discourses on the on non-governmental sector have been partially fused with a growing sense of cultural pluralism. This has been used by a wide range of political and ostensibly non-partisan actors with varying forms of articulation (from collective ritual to parliamentary representation), levels of public prominence (from grass-roots co-operatives to nationwide fora), types of manifesto (from highly immanent conservatism to radical visions of reform) and degrees of success (from those with the ear of the government to those excluded from the public sphere altogether). In recent years, groups representing ethnic minorities, party organisations, economic associations, those focussed on religious orientation and expression, media outlets, cinema and literature and many others have all re-positioned themselves along this spectrum and in light of the considerable changes that have taken place in Turkey.

Chair: Edel Hughes (University of Limerick)

Discussant: David Straw (Leicester University)

Paper presenter: Pascal Kluge (Freie Universität Berlin), "Ideology and Sociology of Entrepreneurs’ Associations in Turkey and the Implications for the Stabilisation Process: The Case of MÜSİAD"
Turkey seems to be caught between many conflicting forces, often touching upon the rival ideologies of Kemalism and political Islam. This phenomenon can be observed also beyond the political arena: MÜSİAD – an entrepreneurs’ organisation that is closely connected to the rise of political Islam in Turkey – is religiously coined and adheres to conservative values. This paper argues that, although ideologically it stands close to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), in the course of time, it appears to have developed a certain independency. However, its prospective influence on Turkey’s stabilisation process seems dependent on the development of some sort of collaboration with competing Kemalist organisations, namely the entrepreneurs’ association TÜSİAD.

Paper presenter: Marc Saurina Lucini (CCHS-CSIC, Madrid), "Polarization in the Turkish Press"
The goal of this talk is to note the statist and inflexible attitudes of some newspapers, specially Hürriyet, and to evaluate the role of the Islamic press in the other pole of the society, focusing on the newspaper Zaman, that perpetuate in its own way some elements of the Kemalist tradition through a process of deconstruction and reconstruction of the social imaginary and the state. Nevertheless, the existing conflict between them disappear partially attending to other identities, like the Kurds or Alevis, unifying their discourse.

Paper presenter: Mehmet Orhan (EHESS/Paris), "Explaining Kurdish Radicalism and Political Violence in Turkey"
This paper suggests that, although State coercion and democratization seem to be key variables in explaining political violence, their influence on violence depend on different local, regional and transnational configurations. In that perspective, intra-Kurdish violence appears to be both the cause and the result of deep ideological, religious/confessional, geographical, and communitarian divisions, both within the Kurdish movements and the population at large. Southeastern Turkey went through violent conflicts between radical leftist Kurdish groups (TEKOSIN, KAWA, KUK, PKK, etc.) from 1974 to 1980.

Paper presenter: Iren Özgur (Oxford University), "Manifestations of Islamist Culture under the Justice and Development Party"
In examining the manifestations of Islamism in Turkish culture, the paper will initially look at Islamist cinema and music. It will address the specific transformations that have occurred in these realms and argue that the everyday experiences of Islamists under the Justice and Development rule are to be held accountable for them. Then, the paper will introduce a humor magazine called Cafcaf and examine its new-found success among the country’s Islamists. In the context of these discussions, the paper will problematize the notion that religiously conservative politics breeds religiously conservative forms of culture.