Thursday, 25 September 2014

ISIS Advances in Syria and Influx of Kurdish Refugees into Turkey

BBC World and BBC News interviews with Ziya Meral on ISIS advances in Syria, Syrian Kurdish refugees fleeing to Turkey.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Interview: Release of Turkish Hostages by ISIS

Ziya Meral is interviewed by Al Jazeera on release of Turkish hostages by ISIS and whether or not this would mean Turkey would now support a US campaign against ISIS.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Interview: Turkish reponse to new US campaign against ISIL

Ziya Meral comments on Turkish responses to ISIL threat and why Turkey is not willing to publicly join a military campaign against ISIL.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

France 24 Interview: Political leadership change in Turkey

Ziya Meral discusses inauguration of President Erdogan and the new political era under Prime Minister Davutoglu.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

What can regional actors deliver on Syria?

Ziya Meral presents what Turkey can do at the "How can a regional accord help the war in Syria?" conference in Copenhagen, organised by DIIS, Danish Institute for International Studies, European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Soma Mine Tragedy in Turkey and Political Implications

Ziya Meral is interviewed by Zainab Badawi on BBC World' World News Today,  16/05/2014

Friday, 2 May 2014

Turkey and Egypt: Misconceptions & Missed Opportunities

Published by The Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy, 05 May 2014

The relationship between Turkey and Egypt has rarely been an easy one. During the British Mandate, the Turkish government found itself clashing with Egyptian authorities over the rights and entitlements of Turks living in Egypt. Then, of course, there was the infamous 1932 incident in which Ataturk humiliated the Egyptian ambassador at an official Turkish state reception by requiring that he remove his fez; the traditional hat had been banned in Turkey as part of Ataturk’s efforts to make Turkey become a “civilized, Western” country.

The 1952 revolution in Egypt brought no positive change to this state of affairs. In one incident, the Turkish ambassador—whose wife was an Egyptian with royal blood who had lost family assets after the Free Officers took control—refused to shake Nasser’s hand at a reception and insulted him publicly. Shortly thereafter, the ambassador was sent back to Turkey, and Turkish – Egyptian relations remained in a poor state for years afterwards. Turkish foreign policy, particularly its engagement with Iraq and its Western orientation, regularly brought both countries into collision as Nasser pursued his ambitious regional projects: Turkey’s support for the British in the Suez Crisis attracted Nasser’s anger, for example, while Nasser’s stances on Cyprus and Syria caused serious concern in Ankara.

Interestingly, it was the Democratic Party government of Adnan Menderes—a religious-conservative Prime Minister who was hanged following a military coup and who serves as a frequent reference point for Erdoğan—that pushed for more Turkish engagement with the countries of the Middle East following decades of Turkish disengagement. Turkey’s feeble attempts to unite and lead the Middle East clashed with the foreign policy efforts of Nasser’s Egypt, and it was only after the 1960 military coup that ousted the Menderes government that Egypt and Turkey began a normalization process.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

IISS Event: Turkey Beyond the Headlines

Dr Mina Toksoz and Ziya Meral discuss the developments in Turkish economy, politics and foreign policy at the IISS in London.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Turkey: Whose Side Are You On?

NOTE: Unpublished Post, it can be used in full by notifying the author.

Last 12 months have been truly draining for all who research and write on Turkey. We not only saw dramatic events and ups and downs that were difficult to decipher and make sense, we saw a toxic and suffocating climate descending on the Turkish public space and conversations on Turkey anywhere in the world.

Often, it felt like tidal waves of strong and clear views carrying masses and with it those whose day time jobs are covering and analysing those events. Polarization has been fierce, and there has been no option for anyone but to fit into a clear camp in clash with others.

In Turkey, one either had to sing praises of PM Erdogan and see him as the Messiah, or had to see him as the new Hitler committing mass crimes. One either had to be supporting a 'revolution' symbolised by urban and self-assuredly 'modern' Turks or 'protection' of the nation and 'national will' of similarly self-assured bearers of 'authentic' Turkishness.

Then came the further fragmentation as AKP-Gulen Movement clash unfolded, now, we had to take one side or the other, either enjoy the tremendously worrying damage caused to the state structures since it was the 'Islamists' clashing with each other, or take the side of AKP or its challengers from within the state.

Chronic troubles of Turkish public space only amplified these clashes; our incapacity to engage in a conversation with different views without intense emotions outbursting and the ultimate result of that being attacks, slurs, relativisation of whoever simply does not agree with us 100%.

Friday, 7 February 2014

BBC Radio 4 program on Gulen movement

Ziya Meral joins a discussion on Gulen movement and its relationship with politics in Turkey.

Listen to the special report "Turkey: The Gulen Movement"

Thursday, 9 January 2014

BBC World interview on Unfolding Crisis in Turkey

Ziya Meral is interviewed by George Alagiah on BBC World about the ongoing corruption scandal in Turkey.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Debate: Corruption Scandal in Turkey, France 24

Ziya Meral joins the Debate program on France 24, discussing on going corruption scandal in Turkey and its significance.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Interview: Corruption Scandal in Turkey

Ziya Meral joins HuffingtonPost Live to discuss the on going corruption scandal in Turkey. 

Friday, 6 September 2013

BBC World discussion on 2020 Olympics

Ziya Meral joins BBC World discussion on whether Istanbul, Tokyo or Madrid should be the host for 2020 Olympics.

Turkey beyond Islamism and Authoritarianism

Cairo Review of Global Affairs, 04 September 2013

As protests spread and grew first in Istanbul, then in other parts of the country, we all struggled to conceptualize what we were witnessing. Many in Turkey opted for clear and neat narratives, which often left out other aspects of the protests and burdened events with legendary meanings ascribed onto them.

A significant portion of commentary on Turkey in international media was by and large repetition of old positions with new 'proofs' found in protests themselves and Turkish government's handling of them. Many saw the fulfillment of long prophesied Turkish lapses on spectrums of Islamism-secularism or democracy-authoritarianism.

The resulting cacophony demonstrated that we were witnessing a new era in Turkey, and our intellectual tool kits were simply insufficient in making sense of it. Intense language of debates in Turkey and angry outbursts of emotions only helped to cloud our vision.

We had faced a similar situation in 2002, when the lenses we used to analyze Turkey hindered us from realizing that emergence of Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Turkey was far from victory of Islamism as we know it, but its end. The AKP was representative of a new paradigm for Islam inspired politics that blended historical romanticism, cultural identity with open markets and global integration. It had emerged from the rubble of collapsed Islamist movements and managed to move beyond their legacy.

Friday, 2 August 2013

Human Face and Cost of Violence

War and violence become abstracted the further we are away from them. All of our exposure boils down to news reports and research updates that try to capture in words, numbers and images a fact that can never be truly conceptualised; brutal destruction of individual human beings.

Amidst all the grandeur geo-political thought exercises, partisan condemnations of who really is the wrong one, victims of this ageless story melt into mere sub-points in an argument.

If numerical citations of how many people died numb us to the deep suffering behind each number uttered, theories and soundbites on why such suffering occurs also distance us from all that is taking place in the world. Human involvement and responsibility disappears as we blame it all on elusive categories, such as politics, religion, power and education.

TS Eliot is right; human beings cannot bear very much reality. All this destruction has a human face and a human cost; both the perpetrators and those who perish are human beings like you and me.

By blaming it on external factors, we are shielded from the knowledge that violence is human, and that you and I too have the potential to destroy. Most subversively, we are protected from facing the deep moral failure in our apathy and lack of action to stop and care for those in need.

Monday, 29 July 2013

The Limits of Erdoğanology

7 July 2013, Today's Zaman

Until the Gezi Park protests broke out, I didn't know there were this many Turkey experts in the world. Thousands of articles were published.

The vast majority of them were pretty much the same, used the same vocabulary, reached almost identical conclusions and had similar punch lines using different anecdotes.

Most articles had two major focal points: Gezi Park and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. As the protests spread across the country and showed tremendously complex and varied patterns even in different parts of İstanbul, all of the protests were reduced to clear and tidy narratives and observations inferred from the limited scope of Gezi Park, if not personal experience with tear gas.  

Much has been said about the protests and their different interpretations, although we still do not have a nationwide study and analysis of all the different types and phases of the protests. Yet very little reflection has been done on how quickly the most talked about issue was Erdoğan, both at home and abroad, and whether this helped or blurred our perception of what was happening.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Turkey: The Great Media Puzzle

Al Jazeera Magazine, July Issue
Al Jazeera Magazine: The Great Media Puzzle, by Ziya Meral

The chronic troubles of Turkish media became visible once more during the initial days of Gezi protests when mainstream television channels chose not to broadcast the developments.

This led to an avalanche of opinion editorials, full of metaphors and personal anecdotes, declaring that there is no freedom of expression and media in Turkey.

Such blanket conclusions seemed to be supported by recent global rankings produced by various groups on freedom of press, in most of which Turkey scored worse than Jordan, Russia, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, Iraq, and Algeria. The catchy phrase “Turkey jails more journalists than Iran, China, Eritrea and Syria” became a common feature.

Combined with the never ending global panic attacks on 'Islamism' in Turkey, a picture of Turkey became dominant in the international media: under an Islamist government that is finally showing its true colors, Turkey has become worse than ever before.

It has been difficult to agree with such problematic and often political conclusions. While on the one hand the facts of what happened in Turkey last few weeks are clear to see, when put in their context it is also clear that both the Turkish democracy and freedom of media are in a much better place than where they were in 1980s, 1990s and even early 2000s.

Sunday, 30 June 2013

New Report: Article 18; An Orphaned Right

A new report by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on International Religious Freedom, authored by Professor Malcolm Evans, Professor Javaid Rehman, Ziya Meral, Dr Nazila Ghanea, Katherine Cash and Dr Sean Oliver-Dee.

To Download the Report, Click on the Cover Picture

Friday, 28 June 2013

European Council on Foreign Relations discussion on Turkey

Recording of discussion on Gezi protests and their fall outs for domestic and foreign policy of Turkey, featuring Ziya Meral and Karabekir Akkoyunlu.