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Politurco Informs and Inspires by Facts and Analyses – Editorial

Politurco.com is a new online platform which primarily focuses on Turkish politics, Middle East and Muslim world with a high commitment to standards of journalistic and academic ethics and integrity.

On May 2018, we have started publishing articles, research papers, news articles and in-depth research reports on recent political, economic and social developments in Turkey.

The May 5 article on “Snap Elections in Turkey: The Last Exit Before Illegal Legality” which was written by Politurco research team gives an overview of recent developments related to the early elections scheduled for June 24. The government has taken a number of actions, including adoption of a new electoral law in March 2018, that have raised concern about possible electoral fraud and civil unrest. The article details concerns expressed by the Monitoring Committee of the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly and calls on the West not to abandon Turkey.

The article I wrote titled “The roots of anti-Americanism in Turkey,”  discusses the historical and ideological context of this phenomenon and explores the risks it could entail for American-Turkish relations and the world. While anti-Americanism has a long history in Turkey, it has dramatically increased in recent years. Recent factors influencing this increase include accusations of U.S. support for the failed July 2016 coup attempt and the potential creation of a U.S.-backed Kurdish state in the region, as well as possible U.S. economic sanctions as a result of the Reza Zarrab trial in New York.

The entanglement of political and economic crises in Turkey is the focus of “So Much Fuss for So Little Debt…”  written by Professor Elvan Aktas provides an overview of Turkish economic history, noting the links between the country’s political and economic challenges which have led to a cycle of political instability and economic crises. It explores the political and economic decline since the 2011 elections and the concomitant political and social tensions that are both a symptom and a contributing cause of the deterioration. The article laments the dangerous shift in Turkish foreign policy away from the West, which is occurring in the context of a worsening economic situation and business climate in Turkey.

The article on “Political Islamism and the Teachings of the Qur’an” written by Professor Zeki Saritoprak examines the theological underpinnings of political Islam, highlighting why those who use Islamic principles as an ideological basis for their own political gains go against the principles of Islam. Through examples drawn from history as well as current developments, he distinguishes between this type of political Islam and the use of Islamic values to improve public welfare and provide justice. A positive example of the latter can be found in Tunisia, where the moderate principles that some groups began with can serve as a model for a positive political Islamic engagement.

The Final Test For Turkish Democracy,” penned by Dr. Mahmut Akpinar, explores the question of whether the upcoming June 24 elections will herald a return to democracy or will lead to further consolidation of the current authoritarian system. Historically, Turkish democracy has not progressed in a linear fashion; episodes of authoritarian or military rule have prevented the institutionalization of democracy. Since the failed July 2016 coup attempt, the system of checks and balances has disappeared. In the absence of free and equitable elections held in the presence of observers, and with a fragmented opposition, President Erdogan will certainly remain in power.

The article on “Civil Islam and Europe” written by Dr. Arhan Kardas provides a detailed overview of the historical and theoretical background and development of civil Islam, a values and contract-based version of Islam whose principles and objectives originated in Medina. The article discusses the fundamental differences between civil and political Islam, which include divergences in purpose, approach, outlook and goals. It also provides a number of recommendations for the establishment of civil Islam in Europe relating to public and religious discourse, education, and socio-economic policies.

In his article ‘Islamist vs. Islamic: Erdogan’s deep-rooted hatred of the Gülen movement’ Dr. Bulent Kenes discusses how the struggle of political Islamism in Turkey, which built its political projects based upon the exploitation of the feelings of religious people had over time become a hatred of all types of secularism and diverse lifestyles.

In his article titled ‘Islam in The Hands Of a Nero Alla Turco. Will Muslims Wake Up from the Turkish Illusion?’ Hakan Yesilova, the Editor-in-chief Fountain Magazine discusses how religion, namely Islam has been a victim in the hands of political Islamist in Turkey.  

The developments related to the huge refugee movements of recent years is the main focus of the article written by doctoral researcher Sage Chen on “Syrian Refugees and Turkey’s Refugee Policies.” Turkey hosts more refugees than any other country in the world; of the approximately four million refugees in Turkey, three and a half million are from Syria. The article assesses Turkey’s policies towards Syrian refugees from 2011 to 2018, in the context of concurrent national and international political developments. Turkey’s policies regarding the war in Syria have also evolved over the past seven years, with the focus shifting from eliminating Assad to securing Turkey’s borders and stopping a new influx of refugees. Turkey now must face the challenge of instituting policies to foster social and economic integration of Syrian refugees currently in Turkey.

The May 15 article on “Common figures in Turkey and Malaysia or in the Empire of Kleptocracy” written by investigative journalist Kamil Maman discusses the ‘kleptocratic’ regimes ruling Turkey and Malaysia. In the latter, serious corruption allegations have been made against the former Prime Minister, and millions of dollars in cash and assets were confiscated in an anti-corruption operation. The article highlights similarities in the personal profile and political activities of the former Prime Minister and President Erdogan, as well as potential financial ties between the two. It also analyzes the corruption allegations made against Erdogan and his family, as well as the efforts made by the two leaders to maintain power and avoid prosecution.

The article published on May 16, “Does Razak’s future await Erdogan as well?” penned by investigative journalist Ahmet Donmez follows up on this discussion of the similarities between the two leaders and the situation in their respective countries. It details Erdogan’s reaction to the start of the anti-corruption operation in December 2013 against a number of his close associates, in which he not only conspired to hide an estimated one billion dollars in his family’s possession, but also illegally interfered in the justice system, repressed media and instigated the arrest of opposition leaders to thwart his prosecution. Razak used similar means to successfully avoid prosecution from mid-2015 until he lost the elections in April 2018, after which he was subject to renewed investigation. The article argues that this scenario is not likely in Turkey, as Erdogan has effectively captured the state and largely neutralized any possible opposition.

The article “Magnitude of Contemporary Turkish Refugees” of May 11 written by doctoral researcher Ilkhom Khalimzoda takes up the topic of Turkish asylum seekers, whose numbers are dramatically rising in the aftermath of the failed July 2016 coup attempt. The article provides statistics on numbers of applicants and main destination countries. Like other refugees, they face a myriad of social and economic challenges. While the asylum seekers are making effort to integrate themselves into their new countries, they continue to fear for the families they left behind in Turkey.

The article titled ‘Will Turkey’s snap elections recover the future of Economy?’ written by Turkish journalist Harun Odabasi discusses in which economic circumstances Turkey approaches the election reminding that Erdogan Government, having managed to get through every election ever since the year 2002 until today as the leading party, has never been in such a complicated position from the economic point of view.

Dr. Can Bahadir Yuce, a Turkish journalist and poet has penned an article on Bernard Lewis, a prominent historian of the Middle East, who was a towering figure of Middle Eastern studies in Western academia but also a controversial scholar whose essentialist view of the region encouraged and justified the Western intervention. Lewis died on Saturday in Voorhees Township, N.J.

Politurco investigation team has written an exclusive news article on how the members of Gulen Movement, who sat out from the coasts of the Aegean Sea and the Meric River with the hope of freedom, are still suffering for leaving their families behind as well as their goods and homes. The news article tells the heartbreaking stories of the Turkish refugees in Greece who fled from injustice and lawlessness and have been endeavoring to take refuge in other countries in Europe.

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Aydogan Vatandas / Editor-in-Chief
Aydogan Vatandas / Editor-in-Chief
Aydoğan Vatandaş is an investigative journalist from Turkey, specializing in Political Science and International Relations. He is the author of 13 books, many of which have become bestsellers in Turkey. 'Reporting from the Bridge' and 'Hungry for Power: Erdogan's Witch Hunt and The Abuse of State Power' are the first two books published in English in the U.S

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