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


Berdal Aral

İstanbul Medeniyet University, Türkiye
Berdal Aral
Israel’s Fateful March: From Settler Colonialism to Genocidal State
December 30, 2023
This article delves into the legal discussions surrounding the crisis unleashed by the military operation launched on October 7, 2023, in Southern Israel by Palestinian forces of the resistance based in Gaza. Israel considered this a “terrorist attack,” asserted the right of self-defense, declared war on Gazans, and started the continuous and indiscriminate bombardment of Gaza. As a result, Gaza has become the new Dresden, in which thousands have been killed and tens of thousands injured. This article is an attempt to answer the following questions to illuminate the legal issues surrounding the current crisis and the broader context of Israel’s legal status as a state and its territorial claims: Was the Palestinian offensive in Southern Israel an instance of terrorism and/or an act of aggression? Which side of the conflict can rightfully claim the right of self-defense? Did Israel commit genocide in Gaza? Do Israel’s statehood and territorial claims rest on firm legal grounds? Is it legally sensible to argue that Israel is a threat to international peace and security?
Web Panel | Recent Developments in the Israili-Palestinian Impasse
June 9, 2022
In this panel, organized by Insight Turkey, where the Israeli-Palestinian issue was discussed academically, the latest developments in the Israeli-Palestinian stalemate were emphasized. Although the importance of the region will inevitably increase in the coming years, it is thought that this panel will contribute to the efforts to examine and comprehend regional problems from a different perspective.
Rethinking the Palestinian Problem and ‘The Right Strategy’ for Palestinian Liberation
September 21, 2021
The Palestinian tragedy is not simply a matter of one nation-state suppressing another nation that has been deprived of its legitimate right to establish its own state. It is also an ‘international problem’ granting that it has regional, international and global dimensions which implicate the hegemonic world system. An emancipatory approach to the Palestinian problem requires that the narrative about the ‘two-state solution’ be abandoned given that it has become a rhetorical shield for international society’s silence in the face of the Israeli fait accomplis in occupied territories. The Arab and the Muslim world, alongside the rest of international society, should no longer view Israel as a ‘normal’ state. Rather, the world ought to consider acting collectively to impose economic, financial, military, political/diplomatic, and cultural embargo against this aggressive, expansionist, and racist state through the United Nations and a host of other international and regional organizations, as was the case vis-à-vis the Apartheid South Africa during the Cold War.
“The World Is Bigger than Five”: A Salutary Manifesto of Turkey’s New International Outlook
December 13, 2019
President Erdoğan has expressed his objection to the current structure of the UN with the motto “the world is bigger than five.” The international systemic root of this objection is the failure of the UN to make adequate contribution to peace and prosperity. Among other reasons behind this call for change are the AK Party’s ideological orientation, Erdoğan’s charisma and his powerful sense of mission to carry the ‘periphery’ into the center as well as Turkey’s ascendancy to a rising power that has prompted it to advocate multipolarity in the international system. This article argues that the motto “the world is bigger than five” has a number of connotations: a strong support for a just and peaceful international order; a plea against permanent membership and the accompanying veto mechanism; a call for reforming the UN to render the UNSC more representative, transparent and accountable; and an outcry against imperialistic interventions.
Law, Ethics, and Justice in the Emerging International Order: A Study of Turkish Diplomacy under the AK Party Government (2002-2014)
July 1, 2015
This paper draws on the ‘moral’ dimensions of Turkey’s ‘new’ foreign policy as it became manifest after the Justice and Development Party rose to power in 2002. This article first discusses ‘ethics’ and ‘justice’ in the context of international politics and states’ foreign policy. It then delves into Turkey’s behavioral posture vis-à-vis a number of key issues and policy areas, such as global economic and social inequality, disarmament, military aggression, the degree of respect for international law and human rights, protection of the environment, self-determination, and attitude towards and within international institutions, first and foremost being the United Nations, to demonstrate how this new outlook has played itself out in the game of international politics. Based on the findings regarding these key issues, I argue that, in the course of 2002-2014, Turkish behavioral posture within the prevailing international order was strongly colored by ethical concerns and the search for a more just and peaceful international order.
Roaring in Libya, Whispering in Others: UN Security Council’s Posture During the ‘Arab Spring’
January 1, 2014
This paper examines the position of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) during the Arab revolutions of 2010-2013. In the early 1990s, the UNSC devised the doctrine of ‘humanitarian intervention’ which was premised on the view that systematic and comprehensive human rights violations within a state could pose a “threat to international peace and security.” Nevertheless, the Security Council consistently failed to act during the course of Arab uprisings due to a number of structural and procedural problems, including the primacy of national interests, permanent members’ disagreement about the meaning of ‘collective security,’ and the isolated nature of decision-making whereby the substance of major resolutions is negotiated behind closed doors.
The Cyprus Issue: The Four Freedoms in a Member State under Siege
October 1, 2011
Nikos Skoutaris has written a timely book on the European Union’s (EU) handling of the legal issues, pertaining in particular to the freedom of movement, in the divided Cyprus after the ‘Republic of Cyprus’ (according to Turkey, ‘the Greek Cypriot Administration’) became a member of the EU in 2004.
Turkey in the UN Security Council: Its Election and Performance
October 1, 2009
Turkey successfully gained provisional membership of the United Nations Security Council by receiving support from 151 states in the UN General Assembly. Turkey is serving in the SC for the period between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010. This historic achievement was the end product of arduous efforts on the part of the Erdoğan government which has braced itself for membership of the Security Council since 2003. Membership no doubt brings Turkey plenty of benefits, like enhancing Turkey’s international political weight and prestige. However, it also poses challenges to the credibility of Turkey’s multi-dimensional and assertive foreign policy with its strong tinge of fairness. Turkey ought now to take principled stances on many key issues relevant to international peace and security even at the cost of disappointing its long list of friends.

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