• Abstract Merve Özdemirkıran : The rising role of businessmen in Turkish Foreign policy: case of Turkey’s influence in Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government’s State Building process

    The rising role of businessmen in Turkish Foreign policy: case of Turkey’s influence in Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government’s State Building process

    Despite political taboos in Turkish Foreign Policy towards the formation of a Kurdish state in the Middle East Turkey adopted a particular position when Iraqi Kurds started the Kurdish State building process in 2005 when the new Iraqi Constitution was proclaimed. Since the recognition of the Iraqi Constitution that gave to the Kurds not only political autonomy but also economic independence, Turkey has become the main actor in the State Building process of the Kurdish autonomous region. Businessmen form Turkey, Turks and Kurds, are contributing to the physical infrastructure of this quasi state. Turkey is involved in the KRG’s State Building process through the activities of businessmen who built a bridge between Turkey and the KRG and they have given rise to bilateral political relations. They are building bridges, highways, airports, universities in Iraqi Kurdistan and the Turkish language is gradually becoming the dominant language of the shops’ boards, of the “business” in general. Furthermore, the majority of the food and any other type of product are exported from Turkey. Indeed, Iraq quickly became the fourth economic partner of Turkey: Turkish-Iraqi trade reaches over $ 7 billion and according to the Turkish consulate’s statistics in Erbil, 65% of this trade is concretely with the KRG. The role that these businessmen play in Turkey’s implication in the State formation process of the KRG illustrates the status of the economic interdependence in Turkey’s foreign policy and shows how the state applies itself to economic activity in order to attain its foreign policy objectives. Their activities furnish solid empirical data to further analyze Turkey’s regional policy as a Trading State, to show how the economy and the economic stakeholders are mobilized in the politics of a state vis-à-vis their “new” neighbour with whom security conflicts are not yet resolved. In other words Turkey’s position towards the Kurdish state formation is an explicative example to the use of the soft power as a central tool in Foreign Policy. All these elements confirms that Turkish state uses business activities as a strategic tool of its soft power in the region, but their activities also allow one to explain how the businessmen are able to influence the politics of the state while shielded from an emerging neighbour state, in order to guarantee the survival and the continuation of their business, in other terms, how they impose themselves in the decision-making process of foreign policy. The particular case of Kurdish businessmen from Turkey who were a relatively marginalized group because of their appurtenance to an ethnic minority, gain a new status towards the state. The will of Turkish foreign policy makers to enforce the soft power through the economic activities has a parallel consequence on a particular group of actor. This phenomena needs to be explained in the general context of the Turkey’s position in world politics. This paper aims to show through the case of Turkey’s Kurdish businessmen in KRG how the concept of soft power gains a larger definition, beyond the state’s one, and becomes also a tool for non state actors to enlarge their influence in politics.

    Merve Özdemirkıran works as assistant professor at Bahçesehir University Istanbul and is currently visiting researcher at Center for International Studies and Research of Sciences Po Paris. She obtained her PhD degree from Sciences Po in June 2013 with her PhD thesis “Building a State, breaking taboos. Turkey’s businessmen between the state building process of Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) and Turkish foreign policy” under the supervision of Riva Kastoryano. During her PhD she worked as the assistant of contemporary Turkey research group of the Centre for International Study and Research (CERI/CNRS). Her research interests include non-state and transnational actors’ role in international politics, state building process, foreign policy decision making and the relations between State and non-state actors. She has fieldwork experience in Southeast Turkey and Northern Iraq. From 2010 until 2013, Merve Özdemirkıran taught elective courses at Sciences Po Paris on Middle East, Turkey and American Foreign Policy. She also taught at University Paris 13 on transformation of modern democracies. At Bahçesehir, she teaches Introduction to International Relations and Theories of International Relations.
  • Abstract Yohanan Benhaim : The Hizmet Movement as a softpower tool in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq: between foreign policy and domestic politics

    The Hizmet Movement as a softpower tool in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq:
    between foreign policy and domestic politics

    This presentation is an attempt to understand the articulation and interdependency existing between soft power and domestic politics. Our main hypothesis is that important interdependency links exist between domestic policies implemented on the state’s own territory and the soft power’s policy, especially in a context of strong transnational dynamics. In order to verify this hypothesis, we will study the role played by the Hizmet movement, and more specifically by the Fezalar schools, in the shaping of Turkish foreign policy towards the Autonomous Region of Iraqi Kurdistan. Indeed the evolution of Turkish foreign policy towards Iraqi Kurdistan determines the implantation of the movement. Besides, the Kurdish issue in Turkey is of great importance in understanding the implantation of the Hizmet movement in Kurdish populated areas on the two sides of the border. Beyond the issue of the eventual positive repercussion on Turkish soft power, it seems that the policy of the movement is participating to the increasing transnational dynamics of the region and contributes in this sense to blur the limits between foreign and domestic policies.  
     
    Yohanan Benhaim is currently enrolled in a PhD program at Paris 1 Panthéon – Sorbonne University. He is based at the French Institute of Anatolian Studies (IFEA) in Istanbul which granted him an academic scholarship. His PhD thesis explores the evolution of Turkish foreign policy in Iraqi Kurdistan since the 1990′s to nowadays and its relations with the development in Turkish domestic politics.
  • Adnan Çelik - Violence d'Etat au Kurdistan du Nord et les dimensions socio-anthropologiques des conflits intra-kurdes - 10/3/2015

    Adnan Çelik- EHESS
    Doctorant en anthropologie
    Boursier de courte durée à l'IFEA février-mars 2015

    Mardi 10 mars 2015à 18h
    intervention en turc

    “Violence d'Etat au Kurdistan du Nord et les dimensions socio-anthropologiques des conflits intra-kurdes”

    Cette présentation propose de se concentrer sur l’état de guerre des années 1990 dans les arrondissements de Kulp (Pasûr), Lice (Licê) et de Silvan (Farqîn) du département de Diyarbakır, tout en se démarquant d’une approche à grande échelle jusque-là présente dans les études kurdes. Se basant sur une ethographie de terrain plutôt que sur une approche généraliste de la période de guerre et de ses conséquences, elle adopte une optique qui étudie les années 1990 selon un contexte de relations, tout en considérant la dimension locale et historique. Pour ce faire, elle procède à une analyse profonde de cette période depuis les angles militaires, politiques et sociaux afin de révéler l’évolution des conflits. Elle prétend qu’en situation de guerre qui implique les civils, le fait de revenir sur le local ne servirait pas de détails au contexte général politique mais signifierait au contraire la considération de tout autre paramètre indépendant des liens de cause à effet à établir sur les événements. Cette présentation essaie de démontrer que faire des généralisations sur les années 1990 relève de l’impossible et ce, même pour ces trois arrondissements de Diyarbakır, vu les spécificités géographiques, les activités de guérilla, la quantité et la qualité de l’oppression étatique, l’historiographie des cent dernières années, l’évolution des conflits intra-kurdes et les diverses formes d’organisation de la société civile.

  • C. Scalbert-Yücel - Engagement langue et littérature. Le champ littéraire kurde en Turquie (1980-2000)

    C. Scalbert-Yücel, Engagement, langue et littérature. Le champ littéraire kurde en Turquie (1980-2000), Paris, Petra, 452p. - ISBN 978-2-84743-069-1

    Quels sont les liens entre littérature et politique ? Comment se constitue un milieu littéraire minoritaire ? Peut-il s'autonomiser du politique ? Quelles sont ces relations entre la littérature et les milieux littéraires nationaux ? Ces questionnements sont au cœur de cet ouvrage qui analyse la formation d'un milieu littéraire kurde au tournant du XXIe siècle en Turquie. L'interdiction de la langue kurde a profondément marqué le développement et les répertoires du mouvement national kurde, comme le processus de création littéraire dans cette langue. L'ouvrage propose ainsi un retour sur l'évolution des politiques linguistiques dans le pays qui affecte l'outil de création littéraire, d'abord en exil, en lien organique avec les cercles militants, grandit, intègre l'espace turc et travaille à sa dépolitisation. Analysant les acteurs, les débats et les conflits qui animent ce milieu depuis les années 1980 à 2010, l'ouvrage offre aussi une perspective nouvelle sur le mouvement national kurde d'une part et sur une littérature encore peu connue en Turquie d'autre part.

     

  • J.-F. Pérouse : Vers une hydropolitique kurde transnationale ?

    Jean-François Pérouse, "Vers une hydropolitique kurde transnationale?", Diplomatie. Les grands dossiers 15, juin-juillet 2013, p. 26-29.

  • La formation de la politique étrangère turque. Le cas des espaces kurdes d’Irak et de Syrie

    Chercheur :Yohanan Benhaim
    Doctorant, Université de Paris 1

    L'objectif de cette thèse de doctorat est d'expliquer la manière dont est produite la politique étrangère turque vis-à-vis du Kurdistan d’Irak et des zones kurdes de Syrie. Grâce aux apports croisés des travaux sur les luttes bureaucratiques, la transformation de l’État et les politiques publiques, cette recherche porte principalement sur les interactions entre acteurs étatiques, privés et locaux. Nous tentons ainsi d’expliquer à la fois le changement paradigmatique au sein de la politique étrangère turque et la permanence paradoxale de certains référentiels d’action publique comme le produit de luttes et de négociations entre différentes coalitions d’acteurs aux intérêts divergents.
    Cette recherche vise ainsi à mettre en valeur le caractère non-unitaire de l’État en Turquie tout comme l’importance des échanges entre d’une part, l’intérieur et l’extérieur du champ étatique, et d’autre part, entre les différentes échelles du pouvoir. En interrogeant l’évolution des modes de coproduction de la politique étrangère turque dans les espaces kurdes d’Irak et de Syrie à partir de la première guerre du Golfe jusqu’à nos jours, nous souhaitons mettre en lumière les articulations entre politique étrangère et politique intérieure. Cette recherche vise ainsi à participer à une meilleure compréhension des transformations de l’Etat turc et de ses relations avec ses périphéries kurdes à l’intérieur de ses frontières tout comme chez ses voisins irakien et syrien.

  • Workshop Transformed Nations: State Policies in Kurdish-­Populated Areas of Syria - Iraq - Turkey - Iran. A comparative approach from a transnational perspective 23/01/2015

    Istanbul, January 23rd, 2015
    French Institute for Anatolian Studies (IFEA)

    I. Presentation of the workshop

    In 2013, the French Institute for Anatolian Studies (IFEA, Istanbul), the French Institute for the Near East (IFPO, Erbil) and the University of Exeter, with the help of Aix-­Marseille University, launched a common research program aiming at understanding the redefinition of relations between States and Kurdish-­populated areas in the current regional context characterised by an intensification of transnational dynamics. A first workshop was organized in June 2014 in Erbil. It aimed at analysing local modes of government in Kurdish-­‐populated areas with a special focus on the role of political parties’ practices and ways to control territory. The objective of the second workshop that will be held in Istanbul in January 2015 is to carry on this reflection while addressing the question of the production of State policies in Kurdish-­populated areas in Syria, Iraq, Turkey and Iran. The production of State policy has often been described within a binary framework of analysis opposing the States’ actions and the societies of these regions. On the contrary, this workshop intends to give room for contributions with sociological, anthropological, contemporary history, political geography, political science or public policy approaches taking into account the non-­unitary nature of the State and the multiple interactions between state authorities and local population or elites, and the role of transnational dynamics in the policy-­making process. In doing so, the workshop also aims at distancing itself from any kind of nationalist narrative that could leave in the shadow the decisive importance of national, local and transnational contexts. The predominance of coercive and repressive State policies should not let us overstate the specificity of these regions regarding State policy-­making even if other factors have to be taken into account. The current intensification of relations between the different Kurdish-­populated areas of the region can indeed be considered as an opportunity to question the effect of increasing regional interdependency links on State transformation. The role and power of the State, the level of autonomy of the Kurdish-­populated areas, the different kinds of policy-­making processes and the patterns of conflicts vary across countries of the region. Nevertheless civil wars in Syria and in Iraq and the ambiguities of the Turkish or Iranian regimes on the Kurdish issue in their domestic and foreign policies are putting into question in every country both the evolving nature of State policies and of their sovereignty in this cross-­border space. This workshop will address the following questions:

    • How can we analyse State policies as the outcome of a coproduction process between diverse types of central and local actors?
    • What kind of social mutations can we observe within the state political actors?
    • What are the impacts of transnational dynamics in the making of States policies?

    More specifically, the workshop will gather speakers tackling issues such as:

    • Social and religious policies
    • Educational and linguistic policies
    • Border policies
    • Coercion and repression policies
    • Interaction between States foreign and domestic policies in the Kurdish-populated areas
    • States policies in conflict situations

    II. Practical information

    About the workshop

    This workshop will be held at the French Institute for Anatolian Studies in Istanbul (IFEA), Turkey.
    The IFEA is located in Nur-­i Ziya Sokak, 10 in Beyoğlu. Papers shall be given in English. Participants’ transportation and housing fees will be covered.

    Organizing committee

    • Yohanan Benhaim (IFEA)
    • Arthur Quesnay (Ifpo)

    Scientific committee

    Programme

    Download the programme

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  • Y. Benhaim - Quelle politique kurde pour l’AKP ?

    Yohanan Benhaim, « Quelle politique kurde pour l’AKP ? ». Politique étrangère 2014(2), p39‑50. doi:10.3917/pe.142.0039.
  • Yohanan BENHAIM

    Yohanan BENHAIM

     
    contact:   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
                    +90 (212) 244 17 17 (125)
    Boursier IFEA (AMI) 
    Doctorant en Science Politique

    Thèse de Doctorat 

    "Les transformations de la politique étrangère turque vis-à-vis de la Région autonome du Kurdistan d'Irak, 1991-2012