It was June, 2013. I arrived in Ankara, Turkey, right on time to witness the development of the protests that began at Istanbul’s Gezi Park and spread throughout the country’s urban centers, as well as to experience and participate in the social and political discussion that was taking place at that time. The purpose of my visit included the participation in a conference on Turkish foreign policy and some field research. That gave me the opportunity to speak and exchange views with students of International Relations, academics, experts, and diplomats. Continue reading
Reality now is that Line of Control (LOC) ceasefire violations have continued unabated since the beginning of 2013 and the negativity that resonates from it is that both India and Pakistan blame each other for ceasefire violations underscored by distrust, lack of empathy for each other, and threat and fear of the conflict escalating to an all-out conventional war or even nuclear war. All this finds expression in the negative attitudes and behaviors of India and Pakistan towards each other, which has over a period of time culminated into a negative perception which does not allow de-escalation of the conflict between the two. Media plays its role in forming these perceptions. Perceptions may be right or wrong, but if negatively perceived may prove counter-productive in a conflict situation which culminates into the structural and institutional fallacies of the system as well.
by Haifa Peerzada
The history of Reorganization of the Indian states clearly shows that the Reorganization of the state of Jammu and Kashmir is difficult due to the internal and external exigencies in J&K, which makes it a special case, prevents its reorganization, and history – both recent and past bear testimony to that. Nevertheless its special status under Article 370 of the Constitution of India for its integration into the Indian Union has made things even more complicated. While there is difference in perceptions as far as special status of J&K is concerned, there is national consensus for its fullest integration into the Indian Union.
by Magdy Aziz Tobia
For any follower, Egypt seems to be revolving in a vicious cycle. The same banal scene we have been accustomed to since 1952; security apparati versus theocratic forces. Two years passed in vain. Has democracy failed us or did we fail democracy?
by Nikos Moudouros
Ali Bulaç, a Turkish Islamist intellectual, cited in a characteristic way the traditional perception of the way political Islam faces Cyprus, through his own column in ZAMAN newspaper, by mentioning the following: “The reason why the Turkish intervention in Cyprus caused a huge wave of enthusiasm would be explained to me a little later by an elder uncle from Halepi…the most important of all was that for the first time after 300 years the Muslim world would manage to grab a piece of land, even a small one, from the hands of the Christians”.
According to the above, conquering a small part of land “taken from the hands of the Christians” constituted a matter of honor to the rivalry of these two completely different worlds, as these were formed in the perception of the Turkish political Islam. However, in order to better understand today’s strategy of the Justice and Development Party concerning Cyprus, this strategy should be placed in a right historical context. The de-coding of the policy followed in the northern part of Cyprus, demands an even at least brief de-coding of the AKP’s worldview as this has been affected and formed by the end of the Cold War, the terrorist attacks of September 11th 2001 and the neoliberal restructuring.
By Khaled Nasir*
Mohamed Morsi the leader of the Freedom and Justice Party, and the first democratically elected president of Egypt came into power on June 30th 2012, with the support of the Muslim Brotherhood, a grassroots Islamic movement, and was ousted by a military coup on July 3rd, 2013 after mass protests took place. The Muslim Brotherhood came to power after more than 80 years of underground politics. The Brotherhood, with branches throughout the Middle East has long waged war against Middle Eastern governments through militancy. Although the rise of the Brotherhood was welcomed by a share of the population, mostly members of the Freedom and Justice party and its allies in Egypt; the liberals, Arab leftists, and youth organizations, were dissatisfied as the Brotherhood monopolized state power, and ignored the much needed reforms – reforms that were primary concerns of ordinary Egyptians.
On July 21, the ruling coalition consisting of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and the Komei party collectively won more than 70 seats, making them become a dominant power in both lower and upper houses. However, I was scared of smiles of both Prime Minister Abe and Secretary-General of LDP Ishiba during the interview because one of their main goals is to amend Article 9 of the constitution, and as a result of this election, the ruling coalition succeeded in creating a better environment conducive for their policies to get passed at both houses. Article 9 states, “…the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.” The article is well known in the international community and has kept Japan away from armed conflicts since WWII.
While some surrendered militants have been accommodated and rehabilitated, majority of them still face difficulties on account of basic structural and institutional problems. Disillusioned by this, there is also a fear of getting thrown back to 1990’s. It is also facilitated as a part of a broader goal of long term settlement of the Kashmir Conflict by India and Pakistan. What will finally lead to the success of this rehabilitation policy and reconciliation?
According to claims of Georgian authorities, the country is ready to provide Baku – Kars railroad for the withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghanistan after 2014. Although the railway project is not completed yet, the railroad will be constructed by the time the withdrawal of troops will begin. Experts think that, it is the cheapest and easiest way for the Alliance.
by Jason Iliou
The fluctuating political status quo of Eastern Europe, following the gradual collapse of Yugoslavia, stemming from the uncertainty that sprung from Tito’s death, led to the independence of the union states that comprised the Socialist Federal Republic. One of the successor states, the Republic of Macedonia declared its independence in 1991, and entered the United Nations in 1993 as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia following a naming dispute with Greece, in order to avoid any association with the Greek Macedonia. Regardless, the issue remains since the Republic of Macedonia claims to have a historic connection to Ancient Macedonia, an also significant part of Greek heritage. The Kingdom of Ancient Macedonia territorially involves parts of Serbia, Macedonia, Bulgaria, and Albania, while its largest part belongs to Greece, as this was settled after the Balkan Wars. The UN has unsuccessfully stepped in to mediate the negotiations, while the dispute revolves around the political spectrum serving inter-political and intra-political interests for both sides. The issue has since evolved into a succession of alternative name suggestions putting an emphasis on the legalities of the matter instead of analyzing it deeper from a sociological perspective. The aim of this paper is not to suggest a solution to the dispute, nor to dictate which side is historically or politically correct. On the contrary, this analysis argues that the Macedonian naming dispute is an issue of identity crisis that follows Macedonia from its independence and as such, it should instead be assessed sociologically by examining Macedonian identity controversies from the Yugoslavian era, juxtaposed with national identity issues that followed the dissolution of the former Socialist Republic. The results of this analysis will be compared to those of Bosnia – a socially and demographically similar case study – in order to discover identical patterns to serve a wider theoretical approach on nationalism and ethnic identity, to stress the interplay of the two in affecting national identity within territorially confined spaces.