ANTI-AMERICAN REFLECTIONS OF THE ARAB SPRING IN TURKEY Dr. Ozan –rmeci (U ak University)

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Transcript of ANTI-AMERICAN REFLECTIONS OF THE ARAB SPRING IN TURKEY Dr. Ozan –rmeci (U ak University)

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ANTI-AMERICAN REFLECTIONS OF THE ARAB SPRING IN TURKEY Dr. Ozan rmeci (U ak University) http://www.ozanormeci.com Slide 2 1.Arab Spring: What is it? -The term Arab Spring refers to the revolutionary wave of demonstrations and protests that took place in Arab region during 2011. -The term seems to be inspired from the Prague Spring of 1968, a political liberalization period in communist Czechoslovakia administrated by Slovak politician and Czechoslovakia leader (1968-1969) Alexander Dubcek but failed and ended with the Soviet intervention. -Hofheinz claims that the term was first used in American and Arab media around the year 2005, a time when Syrian tanks were withdrawn from Lebanon due to huge demonstrations, simultaneously with the taking place of local elections in Palestine, Saudi Arabia as well as general elections in Iraq and most importantly the emergence of a kind of awakening of democracy and rebel spirit in Arab region mostly among young people thanks to increasing internet and media freedoms. Slide 3 1.Arab Spring: What is it? -Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati thinks that the Arab Spring was first launched in 2002 by Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz in order to ensure the prevalence of peace in the region. -Arab Spring started effectively on 17 December 2010 in Tunisia after the self-immolation of a young protestor named Mohamed Bouazizi who would later become the symbol martyr of the revolution and huge demonstrations that began against President Zine El Abidine Ben Alis 23 years of iron hand rule. -28 days later, on 14 January 2011, President Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia and Jasmine Revolution towards the end of 2011 succeeded in establishing a multi- party regime in Tunisia despite of the fears of rising Islamism. Slide 4 1.Arab Spring: What is it? -Arab Springs second station was Egypt. Popular demonstrations started in 25 January never stopped and forced President Hosni Mubarak to resign on 11 February. 846 people died because of the clashes between protestors and security forces during the demonstrations. -On 24 May, President Mubarak was ordered to stand trial on charges of premeditated murder of peaceful protestors and -if convicted- could face the death penalty. The military junta, headed by effective head of state Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, announced on 13 February that the constitution would be suspended, both houses of parliament dissolved, and that the military would rule for six months until elections could be held. -Egyptian Revolution of 2011 also resulted in the taking place of multi-party free elections in 28-29 November 2011. However, the dominant majority of Islamists in Egyptian Parliament after the elections was seen as a danger by many authorities. Slide 5 1.Arab Spring: What is it? -Arab Springs third station was Libya. However, Libyan Revolution was different than Tunisia and Egypt examples and it involved first a civil war between pro- regime militia and revolutionary rebels and later NATO air bombarding operations that lasted near 6 months. -Finally, Libyas dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi was killed violently by rebels and revolutionary forces took control over the country. An interim government called National Transitional Council was established under the leadership of former Minister of Justice Mustafa Abdul Jalil and was recognized by more than hundred states in the world. -Libyan people will also face with free elections soon, though there are serious clashes and disunities among revolutionary forces. Slide 6 1.Arab Spring: What is it? -The Arab Springs fourth station could be Syria since there are violent armed clashes between the security forces of Bashar al-Assad and protesters going on for months and more than 5000 people were already death. -In addition to Syria, there were also noticeable civil uprisings in Bahrain and Yemen, some major protests in Algeria, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco and Oman as well as some minor protests in Lebanon, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Western Sahara. -Arab Spring is often portrayed as the late French Revolution of the Arab countries and praised by many observers despite of the fears of problems that could be caused with the rise of political Islam. Slide 7 Arab Spring: Late French Revolution of the Arabs? (At left side, French painter Eugene Delacroixs famous painting La Libert Guidant Le Peuple depicting French Revolution of 1789. At right side, an illustration made by a young artist after the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia.) Slide 8 2. Turkeys Positioning - Starting from former Foreign Minister smail Cems tenure in office (1997-2002), Turkey has begun to establish friendly relations with its neighbors including Greece, Iran, Syria and Iraq. - The process gained speed with Justice and Development Partys come to power and also found an intellectual base when the inventor of zero problems with neighbors policy and former foreign policy advisor of the JDP government Ahmet Davutolu became Turkeys new Foreign Minister in 2009. - According to lgen and many other analysts, zero problems with neighbors policy, which aimed at building strong economic, political and social ties with the countrys immediate neighbors, helped Turkey to climb into the league of influential regional powers. However, with the emergence of the Arab Spring, the policys vulnerabilities came into the sight. Davutolu noticed this but hesitated to accept immediately. Slide 9 2. Turkeys Positioning - The first crisis took place in 2010 on the issue of Irans uranium enrichment program. On May 2010, Turkey, Iran and Brazil brokered a deal that would have had send 1200 kg of low-enriched uranium to Turkey, and then to Russia and France for further enrichment and fuel fabrication. Few days later at UN Security Council, Turkey and Brazils no votes for a resolution (resolution 1929) condemning Irans nuclear aims and uranium enrichment program and bringing sanctions against this country, were not enough and created a picture that caused Turkey to be perceived outside of the Western bloc. - Second crisis came out during 2010 NATO summit in Lisbon. 28 member countries fiercely debated and finally agreed on the adoption of ballistic missile defense and early warning radar system that would be established in Turkish territory as a NATO project. Turkey insisted on not naming Iran and Syria in the final declaration of the meeting as threats that make the ballistic missile defense system inevitable and got what it deserves though it created reactions among its allies. Slide 10 2. Turkeys Positioning - The third crisis happened when the Arab Spring paid a visit to Libya. Turkey was one of the strongest supporters of the rebellious mass movements in Tunisia and Egypt, but hesitated when it took place in a friendly regime in Libya, where Turkey has important number of workers as well as investments. Zero problems policy dictated Turkey to maintain good relations with the old regime. - However, after an initial neutral stance, Turkey soon recognized that its decisiveness was damaging its image and took the side of the rebel forces though Turkish Army did not engage in military activities in Libya. - The same problem took place when the Arab Spring waves began to hit Syrian shores but Prime Minister Erdoan -unlike Libya case- took a decisive position against Assad regime immediately. Turkish Foreign Minister Davutolu recently said, We wanted Assad to be Syrias Gorbachev, but he chose to be Syrias Miloevi. Slide 11 2. Turkeys Positioning - It is a fact that Turkeys Islamist originated government sees Arab Spring as a positive development for its own political force in the region as well as the spreading of democracy. - This approach is clearly visible in Turkish Prime Minister and especially Turkish Foreign Ministers speeches. Former academic, Turkeys Foreign Minister Prof. Ahmet Davutolu uses the term earthquake to define three fundamental changes that took place in the late 20 th and early 21 st centuries. The first earthquake for Davutolu was the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union. The second earthquake came with the 9/11 attacks on America, which ultimately changed the logic of international security. The third and last earthquake as Davutolu sees it happened last year, was the Arab Spring (Davutolu prefers to call it as Arab Awakening) and the euro-zone crisis. According to Davutolu what we are witnessing today in the Middle East is the overthrowing of the abnormal and artificial structures of Cold War divisions in the region. Slide 12 3. Anti-Americanism in Turkey - Anti-Americanism could be defined as a reactive political wave based on the opposition or hostility to the policies of the United States of America, the country that has been labeled for many decades as the superpower of the world. - Former French Minister of Foreign Affairs Hubert Vedrine underlines that opposition to some policies of USA such as the death penalty, the war in Vietnam or in Iraq does not make one anti-American and anti- Americanists are the ones who are blind, prejudiced and systematic critics of USA. - Chiozza on the other hand differentiates anti-American attitudes towards American culture (which is often more dogmatic, radical and based on political Islam in Muslim societies) and anti-American attitudes towards American policies. Slide 13 3. Anti-Americanism in Turkey - Although anti-Americanism never gained the status of a real international ideology, due to reactions against American foreign policy especially starting from the 1960s, anti-Americanism became an influential political trend especially in the third world countries. Newly developing countries were heavily affected by anti-imperialist and anti-American youth movements in the 1960s and 1970s. - Although starting from the 1960s, Turkeys 1968 generation and socialist movement has always been the strongest anti-American actor in Turkish politics, there are other