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Parting the Veil

shadi hamid

America’s post-September 11 project to promote democracy in the Middle East has proven a spectacular failure. Today,Arab autocrats are as emboldened as ever. Египет, Йордания, Тунис, and others are backsliding on reform. Opposition forces are being crushed. Three of the most democratic polities in the region, Ливан, Ирак, and the Palestinian territories,are being torn apart by violence and sectarian conflict.Not long ago, it seemed an entirely different outcome was in the offing. Asrecently as late 2005, observers were hailing the “Arab spring,” an “autumn forautocrats,” and other seasonal formulations. They had cause for such optimism.On January 31, 2005, the world stood in collective awe as Iraqis braved terroristthreats to cast their ballots for the first time. That February, Egyptian PresidentHosni Mubarak announced multi-candidate presidential elections, another first.And that same month, after former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri wasshadi hamid is director of research at the Project on Middle East Democracyand an associate of the Truman National Security Project.Parting the Veil Now is no time to give up supporting democracy in the Muslim world.But to do so, the United States must embrace Islamist moderates.shadi hamiddemocracyjournal.org 39killed, Lebanon erupted in grief and then anger as nearly one million Lebanesetook to the streets of their war-torn capital, demanding self-determination. Notlong afterward, 50,000 Bahrainis—one-eighth of the country’s population—ralliedfor constitutional reform. The opposition was finally coming alive.But when the Arab spring really did come, the American response provide dample evidence that while Arabs were ready for democracy, the United States most certainly was not. Looking back, the failure of the Bush Administration’s efforts should not have been so surprising. Since the early 1990s, нас. policymakershave had two dueling and ultimately incompatible objectives in the Middle East: promoting Arab democracy on one hand, and curbing the power and appealof Islamist groups on the other. In his second inaugural address, President George W. Bush declared that in supporting Arab democracy, our “vital interests and our deepest beliefs” were now one. The reality was more complicated.When Islamist groups throughout the region began making impressive gains at the ballot box, particularly in Egypt and in the Palestinian territories, the Bush Administration stumbled. With Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza high on the agendaand a deteriorating situation in Iraq, American priorities began to shift. Friendly dictators once again became an invaluable resource for an administration that found itself increasingly embattled both at home and abroad.The reason for this divergence in policy revolves around a critical question:What should the United States do when Islamists come to power through free elections? In a region where Islamist parties represent the only viable oppositionto secular dictatorships, this is the crux of the matter. In the MiddleEastern context, the question of democracy and the question of political Islamare inseparable. Without a well-defined policy of engagement toward politicalIslam, the United States will fall victim to the same pitfalls of the past. In many ways, it already has.

Islamic Movement: Political Freedom & Демокрация

Dr.Yusuf al-Qaradawi

It is the duty of the (Islamic) Movement in the coming phase tostand firm against totalitarian and dictatorial rule, political despotism and usurpation of people’s rights. The Movement should always stand by political freedom, as represented by true,not false, democracy. It should flatly declare it refusal of tyrantsand steer clear of all dictators, even if some tyrant appears to havegood intentions towards it for some gain and for a time that is usually short, as has been shown by experience.The Prophet (SAWS) said, “ When you see my Nation fall victim to fear and does not say to a wrong –doer, “You are wrong”, thenyou may lose hope in them.” So how about a regime that forces people to say to a conceited wrongdoer, “How just, how great you are. O our hero, our savior and our liberator!”The Quran denounces tyrants such as Numrudh, Pharaoh, Haman and others, but it also dispraises those who follow tyrants andobey their orders. This is why Allah dispraises the people of Noahby saying, “ But they follow (m en) whose wealth and childrengive them no increase but only loss.” [Surat Nuh; 21]Allah also says of Ad, people of Hud, “ And followed thecommand of every powerful, obstinate transgressor”. [Surat Hud:59]See also what the Quran says about the people of Pharaoh, “ Butthey followed the command of Pharaoh, and the command ofPharaoh was not rightly guided.[Surat Hud: 97] “Thus he made fools of his people, and they obeyed him: truly they were a people rebellious (against Allah). [Surat Az-Zukhruf: 54]A closer look at the history of the Muslim Nation and the IslamicMovement in modern times should show clearly that the Islamicidea, the Islamic Movement and the Islamic Awakening have never flourished or borne fruit unless in an atmosphere ofdemocracy and freedom, and have withered and become barren only at the times of oppression and tyranny that trod over the willof the peoples which clung to Islam. Such oppressive regimesimposed their secularism, socialism or communism on their peoples by force and coercion, using covert torture and publicexecutions, and employing those devilish tools that tore flesh,shed blood, crushed bone and destroyed the soul.We saw these practices in many Muslim countries, including Turkey, Египет, Сирия, Ирак, (the former) South Yemen, Somaliaand northern African States for varying periods of time, depending on the age or reign of the dictator in each country.On the other hand, we saw the Islamic Movement and the Islamic Awakening bear fruit and flourish at the times of freedom and democracy, and in the wake of the collapse of imperial regimes that ruled peoples with fear and oppression.Therefore, I would not imagine that the Islamic Movement could support anything other than political freedom and democracy.The tyrants allowed every voice to be raised, except the voice ofIslam, and let every trend express itself in the form of a politicalparty or body of some sort, except the Islamic current which is theonly trend that actually speaks for this Nation and expresses it screed, values, essence and very existence.

The Political Revival of Islam: The Case of Egypt

Nazih N. М. Аюби

he Middle East was the cradle of the world’s three great monotheistic religions,and to this day they continue to play a very important role it its affairs.The recent events in Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Afghanistan, and in Libya andPakistan, as well as the less widely publicized events in Turkey, Сирия, Egyptand the Gulf, have stimulated and renewed people’s interest in understandingboth the role of religion and the religious revival in the Middle East.It should be observed here that I speak of religious revival, not only of Islamicrevival, for in addition to Islamic movements we have the Likud bloc(with its important religious component) in power in Israel for the first time inthat state’s three decades of existence, while in Lebanon and in Egypt we canobserve Christian revivalist movements that cannot be regarded entirely ascounterreactions.However, it is the so-called Islamic revival that has drawn people’s attentionmost in the West, owing in part to political and international considerations.

OF ISLAMISTS AND BALLOT BOXES

Vickie Langohr

As Islamist movements have gained strength across the Muslim world, their commitmentto democratic means of achieving and exercising power has been repeatedlyanalyzed. The question of whether resort to violence to achieve its goals is inherentin the Islamist project (that what some Islamists understand as a divine mandate toimplement sharia ultimately sanctions the use of force against dissenters) or contingent(that the violent exclusion of Islamists from the political arena has driven themto arms, best expressed by Franc¸ois Burgat’s contention that any Western politicalparty could be turned into the Armed Islamic Group in weeks if it were subjected tothe same repression Islamists had endured1) looms large in this debate. Where Islamistmovements have not had the opportunity to participate in elections for political office,analysts willing to give these movements the benefit of the democratic doubt arguethat their peaceful participation in the student body and syndicate elections that theyhave been allowed to contest proves their intention to respect the results of nationallevelelections.2 They also point to these groups’ repeated public commitment to playby the rules of the electoral game.3 The fact that the Muslim Brotherhood in Egyptand Jordan and members of the Islah Party in Yemen have successfully competed innot one but a series of parliamentary elections and evinced a tendency to wage theirbattles through parliament and the courts rather than by force suggests to many thatthe question of whether Islamists can ever be democrats has already been settled inthe affirmative.Analysts who are more skeptical of the possibility of a democratic Islamism generallyadvance one of two arguments. The first is procedural: that although some Islamistshave seemingly opted to effect change through the ballot box, they have chosenthis method only because they do not yet have the power to use more forceful ones.In a manner of speaking, this line of thinking accuses Islamists competing in parliamentarypolitics of engaging in political taqiyya, of parroting the rhetoric that democratswant to hear until they obtain sufficient power to abort the democratic politicalprocess and institute a policy of “one-man, one-vote, one-time.”

TRAVELS AMONG EUROPE’S MUSLIM NEIGHBOURS

JOOST LAGENDIJK

JAN MARINUS WIERSMA

“A ring of friends surrounding the Union […], from Morocco to Russia”.This is how, in late 2002, the then President of the European Commission, Romano Prodi, described the key challenge facing Europe following the planned enlargement of 2004. The accession process had built up momentum, and the former communist countries of Central Europe had been stabilised and were transforming themselves into democracies. EU membership was not directly on the agenda for countries beyond the enlargement horizon, however. How could Europe prevent new dividing lines forming at its borders? How could the European Union guarantee stability, security and peace along its perimeter? Those questions were perhaps most pertinent to the EU’s southern neighbours. Since 11 September 2001, in particular, our relations with the Islamic world have been imbued with a sense of urgency. Political developments in our Islamic neighbour countries bordering the Mediterranean could have a tremendous impact on European security. Although the area is nearby, the political distance is great. Amid threatening language about a ‘clash of civilisations’, the EU quickly drew the conclusion that conciliation and cooperation, rather than confrontation, constituted the best strategy for dealing with its southern neighbours.

Beyond Post-Islamism

Ihsan Yilmaz


With the increased international prominence of Turkey and its successful and internationallyrespected AK Party government, the Academia’s attention has focused on the Turkish Islamistexperience. Turkey had already been seen as an almost unique case as far Islam-state-secularismdemocracyrelations were concerned but the recent transformation of Turkish Islamism coupledwith the global turmoil in the post-9/11 world has made the Turkish case much more important.While Turkish Islamists’ recent transformation that has brought about their rise to the power hasbeen applauded at home and abroad, there are relatively very few studies that analyze theirtransformation by taking into account the unique experience of Turkish Islamism starting from the18th & 19th centuries’ Ottoman secularization, Young Ottomans of the 1860s and the Ottomanconstitutionalism and democracy. Moreover, some dynamics that affected the change in theTurkish Islamists’ Islamic normative framework have not been analyzed in detail. Thus, this studyendeavors to analyze the main factors behind the newly emerged tolerant normative framework ofthe AK Party leaders who were formerly Islamists. After showing that there are good historicalreasons arising from the Ottoman experience of secularism and democracy and arguing based on abrief theoretical discussion of the plurality of Islamisms, it argues that the Turkish Islamism hasalways differed from the other Islamist experiences. Therefore, in this study, a detailed evaluationof the Turkish Islamist experience starting from the Young Ottomans is undertaken. Then, thispaper attempts to show that Islamic groups’ physical and discursive interaction has been a crucialfactor in the Turkish Islamism’s transformation. Main premise of this paper is that the Gülenmovement has been the most influential factor that has helped the AK Party leaders to develop amore tolerant normative framework and to eventually jettison their Islamism. It is of coursedifficult to establish casual relationship between two social phenomena but one can underscorecorrelations. As the main hypothesis is that the Gülen movement has been the most influentialfactor in the normative transformation of the former Islamists’ mental frameworks and theirreligio-political worldviews, this paper provides a comparative discourse analysis betweenFethullah Gülen’s and Islamists’ ideas on several issues that have been relevant for both Islamismand newly-emerged post-Islamism. To identify these relevant issues (secularism, pluralism,democracy, rule of law, nationalism, state, Islamism, religiosity, the other, borders and dialogue),the paper provides a brief theoretical discussion of Islamism and post-Islamism that will also helpthe reader to understand the fundamental differences between Islamism and the Gülenian thought.

ISLAMIC MODERNITIES: FETHULLAH GULEN and CONTEMPORARY ISLAM

FAHRI CAKI

The Nurju movement1, being the oldest moderate Islamist movement which is probably peculiar to Modern Turkey, was broken into several groups since Said Nursi, the founder of the movement, passed away in 1960. At the present time, there are more than ten nurcu groups with different agendas and strategies. Despite all their differences, today the Nurju groups seem to acknowledge each other’s identity and try to keep a certain level of solidarity. Theplace of the Fethullah Gulen group within the Nurju movement, however, seems to be a bit shaky.Fethullah Gulen (b.1938) split himself, at least in appearance, from the overall Nurju movement in 1972 and succeeded in establishing his own group with a strong organizational structure in the 1980’s and the 90’s. Due to the development of its broad school network both in Turkey and abroad2, his group attracted attention. Those schools fascinated not only Islamist businessmen and middle classes but also a large number of secularist intellectuals and politicians. Although it originally emerged out of the overall Nurju movement, some believe that the number of the followers of the Fethullah Gulen group is much larger than that of the total of the rest of the nurju groups. Yet, there seems to be enough reason to think that there was a price to pay for this success: alienation from other Islamist groups as well as from the overall Nurju movement of which the Fethullah Gulen group3 itself is supposed to be a part.

Progressive Islamic thought, civil society and the Gulen movement in the national context

Greg Barton

Fethullah Gulen (born 1941), or Hodjaeffendi as he is known affectionately by hundreds of thousands of people in his native Turkey and abroad, is one of the most significant Islamic thinkers and activists to have emerged in the twentieth century. His optimistic and forward-looking thought, with its emphasis on self development of both heart and mind through education, of engaging proactively and positively with the modern world and of reaching out in dialogue and a spirit of cooperation between religious communities, social strata and nations can be read as a contemporary reformulation of the teachings of Jalaluddin Rumi, Yunus Emre, and other classic Sufi teachers (Michel, 2005a, 2005b; Saritoprak, 2003; 2005a; 2005b; Unal and Williams, 2005). More specifically, Gulen can be seen to be carrying on where Said Nursi (1876-1960), another great Anatolian Islamic intellectual, left off: chartinga way for Muslim activists in Turkey and beyond to effectively contribute to the development of modern society that avoids the pitfalls and compromises of party-political activism and replaces the narrowness of Islamist thought with a genuinely inclusive and humanitarian understanding of religion’s role in the modern world (Abu-Rabi, 1995; Markham and Ozdemir, 2005; Vahide, 2005, Yavuz, 2005a).

Will Turkey Have An Islamist President?

Michael Rubin


While the campaigns have not officially begun, election season in Turkey is heating up. This spring, the

Turkish parliament will select a president to replace current president Ahmet Necdet Sezer, whose seven-year

term ends on May 16, 2007. On or before November 4, 2007, Turks will head to the polls to choose a new

parliament. Not only does this year mark the first since 1973—and 1950 before that—in which Turks will

inaugurate a new president and parliament in the same year, but this year’s polls will also impact the future

of Turkey more than perhaps any election in the past half century. If Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo˘gan

wins the presidency and his Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi, also known as

AKP) retains its parliamentary majority, Islamists would control all Turkish offices and be positioned to

erode secularism and redefine state and society.If Erdo˘gan ascends to Çankaya Palace—the

Turkish White House—Turks face the prospect if an Islamist president and a first lady who wears

a Saudi-style headscarf. Such a prospect has fueled speculation about intervention by the Turkish military,

which traditionally serves as the guardian of secularism and the Turkish constitution. In December

2006, for example, Newsweek published an essay entitled “The Coming Coup d’Etat?” predicting

a 50 percent chance of the military seizing control in Turkey this year.1

While concern about the future of Turkish secularism is warranted, alarmism about military
intervention is not. There will be no more military coups in Turkey. Erdog˘ an may be prepared to
spark a constitutional crisis in pursuit of personal ambition and ideological agenda, but Turkey’s
civilian institutions are strong enough to confront the challenge. The greatest danger to Turkish
democracy will not be Turkish military intervention,but rather well-meaning but naïve interference
by U.S. diplomats seeking stability and downplaying the Islamist threat.

While the campaigns have not officially begun, election season in Turkey is heating up. This spring, theTurkish parliament will select a president to replace current president Ahmet Necdet Sezer, whose seven-yearterm ends on May 16, 2007. On or before November 4, 2007, Turks will head to the polls to choose a newparliament. Not only does this year mark the first since 1973—and 1950 before that—in which Turks willinaugurate a new president and parliament in the same year, but this year’s polls will also impact the futureof Turkey more than perhaps any election in the past half century. If Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo˘gan wins the presidency and his Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi, also known asAKP) retains its parliamentary majority, Islamists would control all Turkish offices and be positioned toerode secularism and redefine state and society.If Erdo˘gan ascends to Çankaya Palace—theTurkish White House—Turks face the prospect if an Islamist president and a first lady who wearsa Saudi-style headscarf. Such a prospect has fueled speculation about intervention by the Turkish military,which traditionally serves as the guardian of secularism and the Turkish constitution. In December2006, for example, Newsweek published an essay entitled “The Coming Coup d’Etat?” predictinga 50 percent chance of the military seizing control in Turkey this year.1While concern about the future of Turkish secularism is warranted, alarmism about militaryintervention is not. There will be no more military coups in Turkey. Erdog˘ an may be prepared tospark a constitutional crisis in pursuit of personal ambition and ideological agenda, but Turkey’scivilian institutions are strong enough to confront the challenge. The greatest danger to Turkishdemocracy will not be Turkish military intervention,but rather well-meaning but naïve interferenceby U.S. diplomats seeking stability and downplaying the Islamist threat.

Democracy Protecting Itself from Itself?

Ebru Erdem

Studies on government in Muslim societies and in the Middle East in particular have mostly focused on authoritarianism. They sought to answer why authoritarianism is the most often observed regime type, and why it persists. Recent work has looked at the role of elections and elected bodies under authoritarianism, explaining why they exist and what purposes they serve (Blaydes 2008; Lust-Okar 2006). The goal of this paper is to shift the spotlight onto the judiciary, and to the political role of high courts in Muslim societies with different levels of authoritarianism.Judiciaries and the judicial processes in Muslim societies have not caught much scholarly attention. Much of the work in this area has revolved around Shari’a. Shari’a law, incorporation of the Shari’a into western style judicial systems and legal codes, conflicts between western and Shari’a inspired codes of family law, and especially the impact of the latter on women’s rights are some of the extensively studied topics concerning the judicial processes in these societies. On the other hand, work on judiciary as a political institution in the Muslim world is scarce, notable exceptions being Moustafa (2003) and Hirschl (2004). Judiciaries may take different institutional forms, be based on different legal traditions, or vary in the level of independence they enjoy, but they are still a political institutions.Why study the judiciary in the Muslim World? Is a focus on the judiciary meaningful given the dominance of the executives in countries with authoritarian regimes? The justification for a focus on the judiciary has different dimensions. From a rational choice-institutionalist perspective: if an institution exists, there must be a reason for it, and we think that investigating the raison d’être of the judiciaries will provide interesting insights about political processes and executive strategies. From an institutional-design perspective, the shape that an institution takes2is related to the strategies of the actors negotiating over that institution, and we would like to use the observed variance in judicial institutions and powers across countries and time periods to learn about different aspects of political bargains that scholars have studied in other political realms. From a democratic development perspective, the establishment of the checks and balances is central to a functioning and sustainable democracy, and we would argue that studying the judiciary is central to understanding the prospects towards establishment of rule of law and a credible commitment to democracy (Weingast 1997).

Islamic Movements and the Use of Violence:

Esen Kirdis

.


Despite recent academic and popular focus on violent transnational Islamic terrorist networks,there is a multiplicity of Islamic movements. This multiplicity presents scholars with two puzzles. The first puzzle is understanding why domestic-oriented Islamic movements that were formed as a reaction to the establishment of secular nation-states shifted their activities and targets onto a multi-layered transnational space. The second puzzle is understanding why groups with similar aims and targets adopt different strategies of using violence or nonviolence when they “go transnational.” The two main questions that this paper will address are: Why do Islamic movements go transnational? And, why do they take on different forms when they transnationalize? First, I argue that the transnational level presents a new political venue for Islamic movements which are limited in their claim making at the domestic level. Second, I argue that transnationalization creates uncertainty for groups about their identity and claims at the transnational level. The medium adopted, i.e. use of violence versus non-violence, is dependent on type of transnationalization, the actors encounter at the transnational level, and leadership’s interpretations on where the movement should go next. To answer my questions, I will look at four cases: (1) Turkish Islam, (2) the Muslim Brotherhood, (3) Jemaah Islamiyah, and (4) Tablighi Jamaat

Islamic Movements and Democratization

Aysegul Kozak

Gulseren Isik

In recent years, many sociologists as well as political scientists argued over and offered theories about the factors that promote democracy. Some suggested that a country may more likely to become democratic if it becomes richer, if it redistributes the country’s wealth and income in an egalitarian manner.
To still others, becoming more capitalististic and rapidly converting its peasantry into proletarians is a condition of democratization. Being a former British colony and being a Protestant are also offered as factors that increase the likelihood of being a successful democracy (see Dahl, 1971; Bollen & Jackman 1985; Huntington 1991; Lipset, 1994; Moore, 1966; Muller, 1995).
Up to date, the majority of the studies on the democratization of the Islamic countries have dealt with the issue under the lenses of Islam’s adverse effects on the level of democratization in the Muslim countries. These studies, however, mostly failed to notice the positive drive to democratization brought by the Islamic parties into the existing political system. This paper aims to address this deficiency within the democracy literature.
More specifically, the aim of the paper, via case studies of Turkey and Egypt, is to examine the effect of the inclusion or exclusion of the Islamic parties in the political system of Muslim countries’ transitions to democracy. We argue that, inclusion of the Islamic parties in the democratic system in Turkey increased the state’s legitimacy, diminished civil conflict, and encouraged liberalization of the Turkish political system, the parties and their constituency thus, promoted a drive to successful democratization.
On the other hand, the exclusion of Islamists from the political system in Egypt weakened the state’s legitimacy, intensified the civil conflict, and radicalized the Islamic 4 movement and its constituency. The state gradually became more and more autocratic thus, hindered democratization.

In recent years, many sociologists as well as political scientists argued over andoffered theories about the factors that promote democracy. Some suggested that a countrymay more likely to become democratic if it becomes richer, if it redistributes thecountry’s wealth and income in an egalitarian manner. To still others, becoming morecapitalististic and rapidly converting its peasantry into proletarians is a condition ofdemocratization. Being a former British colony and being a Protestant are also offered asfactors that increase the likelihood of being a successful democracy (see Dahl, 1971;Bollen & Jackman 1985; Huntington 1991; Lipset, 1994; Moore, 1966; Muller, 1995).Up to date, the majority of the studies on the democratization of the Islamic countrieshave dealt with the issue under the lenses of Islam’s adverse effects on the level ofdemocratization in the Muslim countries. These studies, however, mostly failed to noticethe positive drive to democratization brought by the Islamic parties into the existingpolitical system. This paper aims to address this deficiency within the democracyliterature.More specifically, the aim of the paper, via case studies of Turkey and Egypt, is toexamine the effect of the inclusion or exclusion of the Islamic parties in the politicalsystem of Muslim countries’ transitions to democracy. We argue that, inclusion of theIslamic parties in the democratic system in Turkey increased the state’s legitimacy,diminished civil conflict, and encouraged liberalization of the Turkish political system,the parties and their constituency thus, promoted a drive to successful democratization.On the other hand, the exclusion of Islamists from the political system in Egyptweakened the state’s legitimacy, intensified the civil conflict, and radicalized the Islamic4movement and its constituency. The state gradually became more and more autocraticthus, hindered democratization.