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This article analyzes the increased visibility and frequency of public weeping by the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Building on the literature that conceptualizes populism as a particular political style, I argue that crying in public can be understood as a populist performative act of legitimation, serving to dramatize the basic components of the populist discourse. I also contend that the increased frequency of public weeping by Erdoğan relate to two major dilemmas that populists in power encounter. Both dilemmas stem from the growing discrepancy between populist rhetoric and practice, diminishing the credibility of the populist leader. Signaling emotional authenticity, Erdoğan’s tearfulness serves to communicate a message of closeness to the people and sustain the anti-elite rhetoric at a time when his political power and economic wealth increasingly set him apart from the politically and economically marginalized. It also attempts to justify authoritarian practices while sustaining the claim to rule in the name of popular power and mobilize constituents against the opposition.
Intergovernmental organizations like the UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) have become key actors and facilitators between European states and countries of origin or transit, but it is unclear to what extent these organizations are able to influence the domestic policies of host countries. Chapter 7 finds that in Egypt, Morocco, and Turkey there are certain limitations that intergovernmental organizations face in attempting to carry out their agendas or advocate for alternative policies, but there are also areas in which intergovernmental organizations have been successful in either influencing domestic policy or having a host government adopt a certain agenda. While the financial incentives that intergovernmental organizations can offer host states sometimes allows for greater influence, other factors are also critical, including: (1) whether the issue of migration or refugees has gained domestic political salience leading to further red-lines; (2) the pre-existing relationships that intergovernmental or international organizations have in the host state; (3) the security concerns around migration or refugees.
The Turkish government was effectively absent from migration matters during the 1990s and first half of the 2000s. Responsibility for refugees was primarily handled by the UNHCR, and access to basic services for irregular migrants and refugees residing outside their assigned locale was left to international and local civil society organizations. Beginning in 2008 Turkey took steps to reform its migration policy, introducing a new law in 2013. While the EU accession process of the 2000s provided the initial trigger for reform, the continued impetus was driven by an understanding and acceptance of Turkey’s new migratory role among a critical faction of the government, coupled with a response to international shaming at the European level. Yet the implications the reform had for the daily lives of individual migrants and refugees was minimal, and many continue to be largely self-reliant, informally integrating into the Turkish economy. Though the new law moved Turkey closer toward a liberal engagement policy, civil society organizations are weary of the post-2013 move toward securitized, repressive migration policies, partially due to the arrival of millions of Syrians since 2011, the 2016 EU-Turkey deal, and the country’s continued decline into authoritarian governance.
Part of the book's background chapters on the ECtHR's engagement in Turkey's Kurdish conflict, Chapter 2 seeks answers to the following puzzle: How is it that Turkey remains an authoritarian regime despite havig been part of the post-World War II international liberal democratic order? Arguing that the answer lies in the country's political history and sociological reality, it traces Turkey’s post-war tumultuous experience with electoral democracy, constitutionalism, human rights and minority protection against the backdrop of its engagement with international and European institutions, including the European Union and the Council of Europe. It argues that Turkey’s transition to polyarchy in 1950 has never translated into democratisation, which cannot be solely explained by frequent military interventions. Rather, authoritarianism has survived in Turkey due to unique social and political factors, including sustained electoral support for anti-democratic laws and policies, a tradition of a strong state immune to the internal checks of liberal democracy and the absence of a democratic culture.
With its contextualized analysis of the European Court of Human Rights' (ECtHR) engagement in Turkey's Kurdish conflict since the early 1990s, Limits of Supranational Justice makes a much-needed contribution to scholarships on supranational courts and legal mobilization. Based on a socio-legal account of the efforts of Kurdish lawyers in mobilizing the ECtHR on behalf of abducted, executed, tortured and displaced civilians under emergency rule, and a doctrinal legal analysis of the ECtHR's jurisprudence in these cases, this book powerfully demonstrates the Strasbourg court's failure to end gross violations in the Kurdish region. It brings together legal, political, sociological and historical narratives, and highlights the factors enabling the perpetuation of state violence and political repression against the Kurds. The effectiveness of supranational courts can best be assessed in hard cases such as Turkey, and this book demonstrates the need for a reappraisal of current academic and jurisprudential approaches to authoritarian regimes.
Relying on Foucault's concept of pastoral power, the article scrutinizes the role of religious officers who are employed by Turkey's Presidency of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) and serve Turkish Muslim communities in Europe. It investigates how state-led diaspora institutions operate at a micro-level and what they reveal about the state's governmentality outside its territory. In order to parse the pastoral actors' empirically visible agency, the work draws on ethnographic observations of the religious officers' activities in the Diyanet's mosques in Austria. It outlines (i) how Diyanet officers' pastoral practices go beyond the mosques and manifest in a wide range of socio-cultural religious services aimed at reaching diaspora communities, (ii) the relation between Diyanet officers' activities and the Turkish state's extraterritorial practices and discourse aimed to promoting obedience to the authorities and love for the motherland, and (iii) how the interaction between Diyanet officers and the flock shape people's perception of themselves as a community while remapping the boundaries of a Turkish and Muslim belonging in essentialist terms.
While cultural practice in the Ottoman port cities showed a rather liberal blending of various shades of modernity, discourse produced by the middle classes intended to rein in the freedom identity development. In chastising mimicry of the West as well as insufficient mastery of modern etiquette, Turkish and Greek bourgeois picked up upon criticism of port city society by foreign observers. The attribution of class characteristics to nations is also characteristic both of the foreign observers and the local middle class. Attempts to conform to international middle class standards is combined with the need for national distinguishability. Only in rare cases did individuals who did not comply with the conformity the middle class attempt to impose and out themselves as "super-Westernized."
Contextualizing the “unraveling” of the Thalassocentric order in the “Age of Anger” (Pankaj Mishra), I examine the Ottoman elites’ “reverse Orientalism” (Erdal Kaynar), the endemic “economies of violence” (Tolga Esmer), and most especially the process of marginalization of some groups of Europeans that paved the way to deconstructing the Europeanization paradigm all together. I claim that unlike some other world regions, Eastern Mediterranean urban society did not bring forth an outright autochthonous intellectual rejection of the West, as it was too closely intertwined with it. There were other forms of rejections though. This was on the one hand the endemic violence in the countryside that threatened material possessions and the well-being of foreigners. Moreover, intercommunal violence could target foreigners and especially consuls, as became evident in the St. George’s Day riots of 1876. Whereas the success of such violence was limited, European dominance in the Eastern Mediterranean was not so much challenged but deconstructed. My example of such a process is the Ottoman campaign targeting the reputation of European women on moral grounds, which provokes the European-led campaigns against the “white slave trade.” Finally, following the moral erosion of the dream of the port cities pertaining to Europe, I trace the steps of their violent disassociation from the Thalassocentric order and the subsequent steps of bringing them into a nation-state order.
In this book, Claudia Glatz reconsiders the concept of empire and the processes of imperial making and undoing of the Hittite network in Late Bronze Age Anatolia. Using an array of archaeological, iconographic, and textual sources, she offers a fresh account of one of the earliest, well-attested imperialist polities of the ancient Near East. Glatz critically examines the complexity and ever – transforming nature of imperial relationships, and the practices through which Hittite elites and administrators aimed to bind disparate communities and achieve a measure of sovereignty in particular places and landscapes. She also tracks the ambiguities inherent in these practices -- what they did or did not achieve, how they were resisted, and how they were subtly negotiated in different regional and cultural contexts.
What role do nationally celebrated holidays play for groups that are not considered—or do not consider themselves—to be part of the majority nation of a state? What function do holidays specific to minority group cultures serve under regimes that discriminate against those groups? This article explores holidays as a forum for contestation for the national identity proposals promulgated by the state in repressive regimes. We argue that national holidays are meaningful sites of identity contestation for four reasons: the role of holidays in heightening identity salience, the malleability of identity narratives, the relative lack of institutional barriers to acts of celebration, and the significance of refusing to participate in celebrations. We collected the data through interviews and participant observation of the Hui in China and the Kurds in Turkey. We employ ethnographic observation and intertextual analysis to compare these identity narratives. We find that the Hui legitimize their group’s existence by co-opting the traditional Spring Festival, or by outwardly insisting they are not celebrating while still engaging in festivities. In contrast, Turkey’s Kurds resist the government’s co-optation of the spring celebration of Newroz as a Turkish national holiday.
This study makes an important contribution to the literature on labor incorporation in developing areas based on existing historiography and archival material from Turkey. Specifically, we argue that the political incorporation of labor during the early period of state building is strongly influenced by elite preferences over who constitutes the nation. In doing so, we address a neglected dimension by putting the emphasis on ethnoreligious politics: the founders of modern Turkey pushed for a homogenizing program that prioritized Muslim-Turks over other minority groups, eventually paving the way to the state-led incorporation of labor. This is different from the experience of most Latin American countries that the existing literature draws on. Our findings make an important contribution to theoretical debates by highlighting the subtle link between nation-building and the pathways of labor incorporation in developing contexts.
This chapter describes the sample selection, interview methods, characteristics of the sample, and mixed methods of analysis. It begins with a description of violence and migration patterns over time within Syria. This leads to discussion of unique features of Syrian civilians who had become refugees in Jordan and Turkey at the time of fieldwork. After providing additional detail on characteristics of Syrian refugees within Turkey, it describes the interview methods. Then, it discusses who the sampling missed and descriptive statistics of the sample. It ends with discussion of the mixed methods of analysis.
Moving from politics to economics, this chapter investigates the role of Islam in the success of an Islamic-based business association operating in Turkey. MÜSİAD, the Independent Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association, was founded to bring together small- and medium-sized enterprises based in Anatolia who, because of their size and their lack of political connections, struggled to succeed in Turkey’s volatile, statist economy. Since its foundation, MÜSİAD seems to have helped these small businesses grow into “Anatolian Tigers,” apparently outpacing non-member firms. While existing theories of identity-based trade would suppose that MÜSİAD’s success rests in its ability to support a reputation mechanism among member firms or, alternatively, because of its new-found political connections to the AKP or privileged access to Islamic micro-credit, I find little empirical support for these hypotheses. Instead, using data at the firm level, I show that MÜSİAD firms succeed by relying on long-term “quasi-integrative” relationships among members, relationships which mimic the benefits of vertical integration enjoyed by larger firms. More specifically, this quasi-integration serves to protect MÜSİAD members during periods of economic volatility, although it proves to less efficient under more stable conditions, including during the period of AKP rule.
What can explain the rapid rise of Islamic politics in Turkey, a historically secular country? Many observers assume that the success and sustained popularity of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) reflects a religious resurgence in Turkey. But when this presumption is directly tested, evidence indicates that Turkish piety may actually be declining over time. This highlights the importance of statistical tests, leveraging variation across individuals, space, or time: they have the potential to overturn widely held assumptions and reopen key questions about the world around us. In finding no evidence of a religious resurgence in Turkey, an alternative explanation is needed. I introduce my trust-based theory of Islamic mobilization, explaining how references to Islam prime feelings of trust among those with a salient religious group identity, and how this group-based trust operates as an effective substitute for more generalized feelings of interpersonal trust, which are largely absent in Turkey and in many other Muslim countries. I contrast my trust-based theory with existing theories of Islamic-based politics and economics and preview the findings of the book, wherein I dismiss the existing explanations and offer support for mine.
If there is no evidence of a religious resurgence in Turkey, what can explain the rise and sustained success of Islamic-based parties there? To understand the popularity of Islamic parties, like the AKP, a broader view of the Turkish electoral system as warranted: alongside the rise of the AKP came a sharp decline in electoral volatility -- vote swings between parties from election to election -- and in the share of votes that were wasted, cast for parties that failed to secure a seat in a given district. I argue that these two trends are not coincidental but are both based on matters of trust: low levels of interpersonal trust makes it difficult for voters within districts to vote strategically and successfully coordinate their individual votes into meaningful outcomes; but this trust problem is effectively solved within religious voters, to the comparative advantage of Islamic parties. Moreover, the ability of religious voters to coordinate their support for Islamic parties, and to do so consistently, helps to make these parties an attractive target for strategic votes from distrusting, conservative voters, even if they are secular. Analysis of panel data from the Turkish case provides empirical support for both hypotheses.
Observable implications of three existing theories of the Islamic advantage -- grievances, faith, information -- are tested using a variety of data sources. Contrary to the expectations of grievance theory, individuals in the Muslim world appear to be more dissatisfied and less apathetic. Moreover, participation rates are lowest among the most aggrieved, much as they are elsewhere in the world. In contrast to what the faith-based theory expects, participation rates are significantly lower among individuals with the strongest religious beliefs. Further, the popularity of Islamic-based political and economic movements does not appear to follow trends in religiosity in the aggregate, neither across space nor across time. Instead, support for these movements appears to come from both the religious and the secular, in Turkey and across the Muslim world. Finally, there is little evidence that voters in Muslim countries are uninformed, generally, or better informed about Islamic-based parties, in particular. The lack of support for the all three existing theories reopens the puzzle of Islamic-based movements yet again.
In the context of the arrival of Syrians as of 2011 and the subsequent humanitarian assistance received in light of the EU–Turkey deal in 2016, there has been increased control over civil society organizations (CSOs) in Turkey. Through the case study of language education, this paper examines the relationship between the state and CSOs as shaped by the presence of Syrian refugees and how it evolved through the autonomy of state bureaucracy. It demonstrates that increased control led to the proliferation of larger projects, the deterrence of smaller CSOs, and a hierarchy between organizations prioritizing those that are aligned with the state. It argues that this policy is not only the result of the increased lack of trust between state and civil society but also an attempt to channel funds through state institutions to handle an unprecedented number of refugees while externalizing some of its functions. At the same time, this emerging relationship effectively allows the state to avoid making long-term integration policies and facing growing tensions among the public. This study is based on a qualitative study encompassing interviews with state officials as well as stakeholders in different types of CSOs that deliver language education for adults.
In much of the Muslim world, Islamic political and economic movements appear to have a comparative advantage. Relative to similar secular groups, they are better able to mobilize supporters and sustain their cooperation long-term. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Turkey, a historically secular country that has experienced a sharp rise in Islamic-based political and economic activity. Drawing on rich data sources and econometric methods, Avital Livny challenges existing explanations - such as personal faith - for the success of these movements. Instead, Livny shows that the Islamic advantage is rooted in feelings of trust among individuals with a shared, religious group-identity. This group-based trust serves as an effective substitute for more generalized feelings of interpersonal trust, which are largely absent in many Muslim-plurality countries. The book presents a new argument for conceptualizing religion as both a personal belief system and collective identity.
Discontent is seen as a critical driver for the appeal of populism, yet studies have typically focused on cases of populism in opposition. We argue that scholars’ emphasis on populism in opposition led them to overlook the roles of elite messages and partisanship in the adoption of populist attitudes. Drawing on theories of elite-driven public opinion, we contend that populist attitudes do not need to be rooted in discontent. In cases of populism in power, those who are more satisfied politically and economically, and partisans of the ruling party should display higher levels of populist attitudes. We provide observational and experimental survey evidence in this direction from Turkey, where a populist party has long been in power. We also find that the dominant characteristic of support for populism in power is an emphasis on popular sovereignty at the expense of institutions of horizontal accountability.
While earlier chapters have compared urban or rural biases across different countries, in this chapter I make use of a rare confluence of historical conditions in the Turkish case, in which an identical ruler---Turgut Ozal---presided over agricultural price policies under autocratic and democratic institutions. While serving as minister of finance under military rule, Ozal was a fierce critic of costly agricultural support programs that had developed under prior electoral competition between Turkish parties, and successfully removed many of these farm support programs. However, when competing for office following restoration of multiparty elections, Ozal discovered the necessity of winning rural support for electoral success, and subsequently reinstated costly farm subsidies. The Turkish case helps validate the broader expectations of urban or rural bias, within the same country, across differing institions of executive survival, and also demonstrates that the inability of elected leaders to remove costly subsidies was a key factor driving Turkey to default on its sovereign debt.