Insight Turkey
Insight Turkey
Challenging ideas
On Turkish politics and International affairs


Ahmet T. Kuru

Ahmet T. Kuru
Regimes of Ethnicity and Nationhood in Germany, Russia, and Turkey
July 1, 2013
This is a path-breaking book that contributes to the literature on ethnicity and nationalism from various aspects. Conceptually, it develops a typology of three regimes of ethnicity—monoethnic, multiethnic, and antiethnic. The monoethnic regime, unlike the two other types, prioritizes one ethnic group in terms of citizenship and immigration.
The Oil Curse: How Petroleum Wealth Shapes the Development of Nations
October 1, 2012
One may argue three law-like generalizations in political science: “no bourgeois, no democracy,” “democracies do not go to war with each other,” and “natural resources are a curse.” Although each of these highly contested arguments is important, the last one has the broadest impact—the negative effects of oil, natural gas, and mineral production go beyond authoritarianism and have economic, military, and societal consequences.
The Rise and Fall of Military Tutelage in Turkey: Fears of Islamism, Kurdism, and Communism
April 1, 2012
What explains the rise and fall of military tutelage over Turkish democracy? This article argues that the military’s civilian allies, particularly in the judiciary, political parties, and the media, provided it with political power. The reason why these civilians supported the military tutelage over democracy was their ideological fears of ‘Islamic reactionism,’ ‘Kurdish separatism,’ and ‘communism.’ Yet since 2007, the military’s political influence has declined due to the weakening of its ideological allies and the rise of a counter-elite, mainly the alliance of the pro-Islamic conservatives and the liberals. The article reviews the alternative state-centric, culturalist, and institutionalist explanations, while comparing the pre-2007 and post-2007 periods of civil-military relations.
Are Muslims Distinctive? A Look at the Evidence
October 1, 2011
Are Muslims Distinctive? is an exceptionally objective book that examines the highly subjective and controversial issue of Muslim ‘exceptionalism.’ Steven Fish employs numerical (mostly survey) data and statistical methods in analyzing whether and to what extent Muslim-majority societies are distinct from the rest of the world. His references to Indonesia, where he recently resided, enrich the book. Examining numerous socio-political issues, the book reveals thaton some issues Muslimmajority societies are not different from others (e.g., personal piety and the relations between religion and politics), on some others they are better (e.g., socioeconomic inequality and homicide), while on others they are in worse conditions (e.g., terrorism,gender inequality, and democracy).
Redeploying the State: Corporatism, Neoliberalism, and Coalition Politics
July 1, 2010
Redeploying the State is a book about statehood, which can also be called state strength, capacity, or effectiveness. In order to address this topic, it takes as its subject a comparative study of Egypt and Mexico, particularly in the arenas of privatization and labor disputes.
A Research Note on Islam, Democracy, and Secularism
October 1, 2009
This essay examines the validity of the argument that the alleged theological lack of state-religion separation in Islam is the reason for authoritarianism in many Muslim-majority countries. The essay criticizes this argument by showing that a) secularism, in the sense of state-religion separation, is neither a necessary nor sufficient condition for democracy; b) Islam is not an inherently and exceptionally political religion, and c) 20 out of 46 Muslim-majority states are secular. The essay point out that rather than analyzing the so-called essence of Islam as pro-democratic or anti-democratic, it may be more effective to explore the socio-political and economic conditions that have led to democracy or authoritarianism in Muslim-majority countries.
Editor's Note | Fall 2009
October 1, 2009
When analyzing Islam and democracy, pundits and scholars have tended to focus on Arab-majority countries, all of which are authoritarian. This special issue brings a new perspective into the debate by analyzing non-Arab Muslim democracies in addition to Muslim democrats in some Arab countries. Besides empirical analyses, this issue also includes theoretical discussions on diverse political interpretations of Islam and the role of Islamic discourses in a democratic polity.
Secularism in Turkey: Myths and Realities
November 22, 2008
The Prosecutor of the High Court of Appeals opened a closure case against the ruling AK Party by presenting it as the center of anti-secular reactionism in Turkey. The indictment largely reflected four myths embraced by the Turkish establishment: 1) Secularism is a way of life and a constitutional principle; 2) Secularism does not allow religion’s impact on social life; 3) Islam, unlike Christianity, is incompatible with secularism; therefore, secularism in Turkey should be restrictive; and 4) Turkey cannot be compared with the US, which is not a secular state, but is similar to France, which is secular. The Turkish Constitutional Court has justified restrictive policies on the basis of these myths. The court should no longer be bounded by its misleading past opinions. It can play an historical leading role with its future decisions by providing new, myth-free perspectives on secularism in Turkey.

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