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


Ergun Özbudun

İstanbul Şehir University
Ergun Özbudun
Spatial Conceptions of the Nation: Modernizing Geographies in Greece and Turkey
April 1, 2013
This volume edited by P. Nikiforos Diamandouros, Thalia Dragonas, and Çağlar Keyder is the third of a very interesting series, product of a trans-disciplinary dialogue among Greek and Turkish scholars on the intertwining histories of their respective nations. As the editors of the present volume put it, “the passage from the multiethnic Ottoman Empire to the contemporary nation-states and the nationalist discourses accompanying the process constituted the epicenter of both previous volumes and continues to dominate the present one.” The first volume edited by Faruk Birtek and Thalia Dragonas is entitled Citizenship and the nation-state in Greece and Turkey (London: Routledge, 2005), and the second, edited by Anna Frangoudaki and Çağlar Keyder is entitled Ways to Modernity in Greece and Turkey: encounters with Europe, 1850-1950 (London: I.B. Tauris, 2007).
Turkey’s Search for a New Constitution
January 1, 2012
The article analyzes the historical roots and the current nature of the constitutional crisis in Turkey. The Constitution of 1982 strongly reflects the authoritarian, statist, and tutelary mentality of its military founders. The Constitution established a number of tutelary institutions designed to check the powers of the elected agencies and to narrow down the space for civilian politics. Consequently, it has been the subject of strong criticisms since its adoption. There is also a general consensus that despite the 17 amendments it has gone through so far, it has not been possible to fully eliminate its authoritarian spirit. The article also deals with the constitutional crises of 2007 and 2008 over the election of the President of the Republic, and the annulment of the constitutional amendment of 2008 by the Constitutional Court. It concludes with an assessment of the constitutional amendments of 2010.
“Democratic Opening,” the Legal Status of Non-Muslim Religious Communities and the Venice Commission
April 1, 2010
This article deals with a recent opinion adopted by the Venice Commission at its meeting onMarch 12-13 concerning the legal status of non-Muslim religious communities in Turkey and the right of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Istanbul to use the title “ecumenical.” On the first issue the Commission points out the difficulties that arise from the lack of legal personality for such communities, especially in matters related to access to courts and property ownership. The Commission urges Turkish authorities to attend to this problem by choosing from the many models of legal personality for religious groups practiced in European countries. On the second point, the Commission observes that the title ecumenical is a spiritual and ecclesiastical matter, and not a legal one. It concludes that unless Turkish authorities actively interfere with the use of such title by the Patriarchate, the simple refusal of the use of this title by Turkish authorities does not amount to a breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Secularism and State Policies towards Religion: The United States, France, and Turkey
January 1, 2010
The relationship between the state and religion, or the question of secularism, has always been one of the most hotly debated issues in Turkish politics, even more so since the rise of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) to power in 2002. Professor Ahmet T. Kuru, currently teaching at San Diego State University in the USA, has recently made a rich contribution to this debate. His book, published by the prestigious Cambridge University Press, is entitled Secularism and State Policies toward Religion: The United States, France, and Turkey (xvii+ 313 pages). As its sub-title indicates, the book is essentially a comparative study of secularism in the United States, France, and Turkey.

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