Challenging ideas
On Turkish politics and International affairs

Author

Ali Balcı

Sakarya University
Ali Balcı
Turkey and the West: Fault Lines in a Troubled Alliance
July 24, 2018
Turkish-American relations are currently witnessing their deepest crisis. Even in 1975 when the U.S. put an arms embargo on Turkey, Ankara had some supporters in Washington. Then President Gerald Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger opposed the embargo and did their best to convince the Senate and Congress to change the decision. Four decades later, in 2015, relations were tested by a new crisis, but this time Ankara had no friend in Washington. Starting in 2013, the current crisis has not only lasted comparatively long, but has gradually worsened into a possible breakup. What makes this crisis so deep, durable, and progressive in its worsening? Such a puzzle deserves meticulous study. Kemal Kirişci’s book is a timely and highly contribution whose purpose is to explain the recent crisis between Turkey and the U.S.-led order.
When Foreign Policy Matters: The Gülen Movement’s Fight with the AK Party over Iran
January 1, 2015
It is widely accepted that identities are stable and they are one of the main motivations for alliance formations. The recent political rivalry between the AK Party and the Gülen movement, however, provides a rich case for those who claim the contrary. This article is a bold attempt to explain the role of power relations in this political rivalry with a special focus on the AK Party’s relations with Iran. Having discussed why identity and interest are not determining factors in the Gülen movement’s vehement opposition to the AK Party’s relations with Iran, the article argues that it is the power struggle between the party and the movement that largely shapes the latter’s imagination of the current Turkish-Iranian relations.
The Changing Dynamics of Turkey’s Relations with Israel: An Analysis of ‘Securitization’
April 1, 2012
The present study seeks to answer the following questions: How was it possible that a state such as Turkey, which had until then pursued a low-profile policy in the Middle East, has able to forge a bold strategic alliance with the state of Israel in the 1990s? Conversely then, why was the unparalleled and positive nature of relations in the 1990s replaced by a hostile and toxic nature in the first decade of the 2000s? How can this difference in the relations between the 1990s and 2000s be explained? To answer such questions, this article uses the Copenhagen School’s theory of securitization. This approach not only helps to illustrate the characteristics of different periods in Turkish-Israeli relations, it also helps to highlight the specificity of the politics of civil-military relations in foreign policy making.
Geçmişiniz İtinayla Temizlenir (Your History is Carefully Cleaned: Historian as an Autopsy Expert)
April 1, 2010
The volume under review is the collection of many articles written at different times by Cemil Koçak. It consists of three main chapters, “Atatürk and the One-Party Regime,” “İnönü and the OneParty Regime,” and “As the One-Party Regime Changes.” This thematic organization makes the edited volume easy to read. However, since the collection brings together different kinds of writings, such as polemics, conference papers, academic journal articles, and newspaper articles, the book has no the internal cohesion.
The Alliance of Civilizations: The Poverty of the Clash/Alliance Dichotomy?
July 1, 2009
The Alliance of Civilizations (AoC) initiative emerged from debates around the “clash of civilizations.” Based on this I will argue that the “alliance” notion is an integral part of the clash of civilizations thesis. Thereby, clash and alliance together form a mutually constituting “dichotomy,” which I will call “the clash/alliance dichotomy.” In the first part of the article, I will give a brief summary of the emergence and expansion of the “clash of civilizations” myth. The second part seeks to underline important attempts to “de-mythize” the clash of civilizations thesis. Later, I will show how the “dialogue” notion emerged as a response to the clash-based ideas and how it became a complementary part of “the clash/alliance dichotomy”. In the last part, I will focus on the problems of the AoC that stems from the fact that it emerged as a “reactionary entity.”

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