Congrès Mondial des Études sur le Moyen-Orient et l'Afrique du Nord

Barcelone du 19 au 24 Juillet 2010


PEACE IN TURKEY? - 4/4: Current Prospects and Future Scenarios (146) - NOT_DEFINED activity_field_Panel

· NOT_DEFINED institution: Manchester University (UK)

· NOT_DEFINED organizer: Tim Jacoby

· NOT_DEFINED language: English

· NOT_DEFINED description:

This panel aims to conclude the symposium with a consideration of likely changes in the short to medium term future.
Rising violence levels, a series of scandals implicating the “deep” state, retrogressive reforms to the judicial system and an apparent rise in the military’s presence in south-east Turkey may all be reasons to be pessimistic about the future. On the other hand, the AKP government’s extraordinary popularity, coupled with its less supine approach to staff command, its inclusion of representatives from Turkey’s traditional “out-groups” (notably Kurdish parliamentarians and the overtly religious) and its vigorous reform discourse, could be construed as a basis for greater sanguinity. Prime Minister Erdoğan’s recent announcements regarding a raft of measure for the south-east (predominantly Kurdish-speaking) areas of the country have refocused attention on the government’s relationship with the military on the one hand and on its hitherto more pronounced human rights agenda on the other. Of particular interest has been the implications of the government’s (arguably incoherent) position for the role, training and size of the Turkish security forces (both in terms of their executive “guardian” role and in terms of their deployment domestically), for the future of Ankara’s EU accession programme (and the reciprocal pressures that this brings) and for the prospect of redistributing some of Western Turkey’s comparatively greater wealth.

Chair: Tim Jacoby (Manchester University)

Discussant: Tuncay Kardaş (Sakarya University)

Paper presenters: Sarah Fischer (American University, Washington), "The Kurdish Initiative, Economic (dis)parity and the Prospect of Peace in Turkey"
Local elections in March resulted in victories for the Kurdish Democratic Society Party, which stresses human rights explanations of the conflict over those rooted in economics. This paper utilizes economic data, information on terrorist incidents perpetuated in Turkey, public opinion polls, and interviews conducted from March 2008-May 2010, to further examine the legitimacy of these competing claims and their relationship to the continuously-evolving Kurdish identity.

Paper presenter: Ekrem Eddy Güzeldere (European Stability Initiative Istanbul), "Kurdish Opening – how Far, how Sincere?"
I would like to analyze in this paper the so-called “Kurdish opening” that started in summer 2009 by the AKP government, especially the Interior Minister. Is this the beginning of the end of the Kurdish problem, really tackling the sensitive issues of cultural rights (broadcasting and education) beyond cosmetic changes, the return of refugees from abroad (e.g. Mahmur Camp), a limited amnesty for PKK members and a strengthening of local authorities? Or is it rather a tactical move driven by the search of votes among Kurds and by the desire to improve the relations with Iraq, again with the US and to use this in negotiations with the EU as an asset for democratization.

Paper presenter: David Straw (Leicester University), "The Foundation of Freedom: An Assessment of the Role of Bourgeois Liberal Capitalism in the Future of Human Rights in Turkey"
This paper argues that the long term prospect of human rights protection in Turkey is becoming underpinned by the consolidation of increasingly liberal capitalist organisations. In a discussion of the role of the MÜSIAD and TÜSIAD in the freeing of Turkish society from militarism and statism, a comparative perspective is drawn. This is demonstrated firstly, in some identifiable similarities with the historical emergence of human rights in the West; and secondly, in the prospect of a general resolution to the seemingly irresolvable human rights problems which have barred the prospect of peace in Turkey for so long.

Paper presenter: Ömer Tekdemir (Durham University), "The Effect of the Kurdish-EU Relation on Kurdish Political Identity and Turkey’s Democratization Process: Internal and External Dynamics".
The paper aims to explore the effect of external political dynamics on the processes of political transformation of Kurdish society and on the construction of new Kurdish identity which simultaneously influences Turkey’s democratization process. The external political dynamics is considered to be the Kurdish-EU relations and EU’s ongoing criticism of Turkey on the social, political and cultural rights of the Kurds in Turkey.