Turkey’s Transformation and Its Future Influence: A Critical Link (On Turkey)

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He chooses to elevate negative, often inaccurate stories about the United States on a daily basis while downplaying negative coverage of Russia. A recent Center for American Progress survey found that 83 percent of Turks have unfavorable views of the United States.

The Security and Foreign Policy Committee

The lira has lost almost half its value in the last two years, and official inflation is more than 15 percent, the highest level in 14 years. Turkey has had 19 IMF agreements over its history, 34 the last of which ended a decade ago. Indeed, he has boasted that Turkey now contributes to the IMF, rather than borrowing from it. As the source of Washington should candidly convey its displeasure at likely having to bail out Turkey within the next few years, after the government avoided pursuing the necessary economic reforms.

Turkish economy flying high for now

Instead, Turkey has opted for a populist approach aimed at winning elections—all the while knowing that the United States-backed international system would come to its rescue. Nevertheless, should Ankara reach the point of needing an IMF program, the United States should be positively inclined to support that on the condition that Turkey commit to paying the fine that the U.

Department of the Treasury is likely to level on Halkbank—and possibly other Turkish banks—in connection with the Iran sanctions-circumvention case.

Despite taking a harder-line approach to Turkish government policies, it is important for the United States to demonstrate that it wants good relations with Turkish society writ large. To that end, civil society remains a way through which the West can productively engage Turkey at a time when high-level political relations are at a nadir.

Obviously, the more political the Turkish nongovernmental organization, the more problematic it might be for its members to work with U. Support for civil society is also the best remaining avenue to supporting democratization in Turkey. One possibility is a congressionally mandated program to support engagement with Turkish nongovernmental organizations, along the lines of the Near East Regional Democracy program established to work primarily with Iranian nongovernmental organizations.

Turkey’s Great Transformation: An Influence-Multiplier for the Future of Europe and Beyond

Yet, Turkey is not likely to be a reliable partner over the long term, absent renewed democratic progress or, at a minimum, an easing of political, ethnic, and social tension. Yet another way to informally address the current estrangement in bilateral ties is for the U. Such encounters would help both sides understand the policy imperatives that may currently be lost in official miscommunication and public recrimination.

It may be time for American policymakers to start thinking differently about Turkey.

As an aggressive and highly centralized state that is nonetheless important to U. The United States could certainly do more to cajole Turkey onto a more democratic path by investing in civil society and bringing political pressure to bear, but its influence on the fundamental dynamics of Turkish society are likely to remain peripheral.

Introduction and summary

Thus, Washington may have no choice but to accept the new reality. Still, such a change in perspective—from viewing Turkey as a democratic ally to viewing it as an authoritarian state important to U. It would be prudent for the United States and its fully democratic NATO allies to begin insulating their shared security architecture from the potential worst-case scenario.

Michael Werz is a senior fellow at the Center. In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript. Article metrics. Recently, around the world younger activists in popular democracy movements, uprisings, and protests, feeling disengaged by traditional forms of political discourse, have debated their positions on new media, and have used digital media to communicate, organize, and coordinate protest activities. While some media scholars suggest this is an indication that young people are active in creating a public sphere constructed by social media, there is still little real-world evidence that the technological potentials are widely realized.

Describing and analyzing qualitative interview data from a study of Turkish students and a parallel collection of data from US students, we construct an explanation of their communicated understandings of their differences and similarities in opportunities for political actions. Our findings indicate: there are many similar technical capacities; some similar topics are seen as political; and there are different understandings of what is and is not for public discussion among their personal collections of contacts and friends, with varying levels of real-world connections.

This analysis is important in terms of understanding the ways uses of media technologies may be affected by different cultures, political and social conceptualizations and online communication patterns. New media is characterized by digitization, convergence, interactivity and the rise of networks. While social networking sites connect people with each other, they also produce additional outcomes.

New media, through their interactive capacities, have the potential to undermine established practice and open up the possibility for a more pluralistic public sphere. Furthermore, the development of new media extends individual activity into the collective realm, negotiating interactive communication, user-generated content and variety of alternative sociopolitical and cultural practices Wessels, Technological optimism, which aims at democratic renewal, is based upon acknowledging the open and collaborative networking characteristics of social media Loader and Mercea, Internet-created, networked communication channels, available in new media platforms, also offer a diversity of communicators a dynamic and wide range of possibilities, and may create several forums for participation in social and political issues.

No longer are large institutions, organizations, governments and political parties the sole sources of mediated political messages. Bennett explains, activist networks use new digital media to coordinate activities, plan protests, and publicize high-quality information about their causes. Social media thus can become viable alternative spaces, where collective activism is constituted and negotiated; and media are used to influence participation in collective actions, and as a valuable alternative to other engagement structures Velasquez and LaRose, Following this literature, we begin this study by asserting social movements, online political communities, and transnational policy networks constitute new options for political activism.

We also assume that the Internet is an inherently democratic technology, enabling new forms of engagement with previously marginalized communities. In this view, the public sphere is expanded and takes on multiple forms, opening up new places from which to speak Barker, Activism today involves actions in favor of social processes, or actions advocating political change.

It may include street protests, riots, direct action, singing protest songs, organizing strikes, attending town hall meetings or demonstrations, donating money, motivating colleagues to vote, volunteering for a campaign, or writing letters to political institutions. The news reports of youth-initiated waves of citizen-led activism, public disobedience, and protest, show numerous educated, unemployed, alienated young people reacting.

Their common denominators provide an umbrella for diverse, global actions and movements. The US-based Occupy movement, the international and local campaigns of Change. In these contexts, the new media really seemed to provide a redefinition of the public sphere. Young people reach vast audiences and can potentially quickly mobilize many participants through their social networks.

They are also more likely than their older counterparts to interface with civic and political issues in this way. Our focus on youths also makes sense because the transition from late adolescence to early adulthood is a time of significant development of civic and political identities Kahne et al. This study examines, for our selected research participants young adults in Turkey and the US , whether the new form of a public sphere is actually being created and maintained by their particular uses of social media.

This cross-cultural study explores some global elements of social media activism. The countries are somewhat comparable, having distributed governments including executive, judicial, and legislative branches Aschner et al. In Turkey during the anti-government Gezi Park protests in , social media use increased sharply, and the Internet created a platform for horizontal communication, activist organization and political participation.

Kreis argues political topics are common on social media. As globalization increases the similarities in the political and economic fields around the world, major social and economic issues such as social inequality, poverty, discrimination and violence have the same features everywhere, in spite of their own local characteristics. On the other hand, there are fundamental differences between the countries in terms of political system, ideological spectrum, size and global roles. Thus, these differences also construct the motives for the research.

Social media choices and uses: comparing Turkish and American young-adults’ social media activism

In this context, this study aims to examine if and how young people mobilize for activism; how they interpret local and global issues; and how young people use social media to response political issues. Also, we attempt to understand which factors stimulate the young to activism, and whether their motivation is powerful enough to resist the system. For this purpose, we have conducted in-depth interviews with students of Firat University and the University of Minnesota Morris.

Especially, we have suggested young people may have a vital role in creating a new public activism on social media.

This study makes a contribution to the literature by examining activism capacities of young people and their social media usage patterns. The literature on the role of the Internet and social media regarding democratization and digital activism has centered on a dichotomy between optimists and skeptics. Whereas the optimist view argues that the Internet and other forms of electronic communication contributes to a new kind of public sphere and potentially a new kind of democracy Bohman, , and assumes that the Internet might also promote social movements McCaughey and Ayers, , the skeptic view indicates some limitations of Internet-based activities.

Erdoğan’s loss in Istanbul could transform Turkish politics

Accordingly, the Internet is unable to create the necessary trust and strong ties that are required to build a sustainable network of activists. These restrictions make clear that even an extensive digital action repertoire will not, and probably never will, be able to replace traditional forms of activism and face-to-face communication VanLaer and VanAelst, Dahlgren also argues that social media do not automatically result in politics, protest and political participation, but have the potential to foster political struggles and engagement.

Being in a political discussion online is an important step, but would not automatically constitute political participation. Media content-making within political parties and organizations may provide some chances for youth participation, which later enable young people to develop civic competencies for their later citizenship Pfaff, , p Online youth-led activist subcultures and political groups questioning or attempting to alter the status quo have recently claimed legitimacy as creators of vital oppositional spaces for politics and culture, by using new media for making spaces in which a wider diversity of individuals and groups are applying the technologies to help produce creative social relations and forms of democratic political possibility Kahn and Kellner, Some studies of the relationship between digital media and civic and political life focus solely overall levels of internet access Gong et al.

Twenty-first century media users and participants are surrounded by complex ecologies of divides, diversities, networks and communities. This changing landscape has created unprecedented opportunities for expressions and interaction, especially among activists and other political and cultural groups around the world.

The Turkish Example: A Model for Change In the Middle East? | Middle East Policy Council

Social media and the other new media technologies might provide an opportunity for social groups to build their own interests and to create a counter—hegemonic deliberation environment against the dominant media culture, politics, and power Lievrouw, , p As, Cohen et al. If participatory political practices might parallel various social and interest-based online activities in which the youth are heavily engaged, then young people are better able than other age cohorts to share, create, and consume online. Supporting the optimism associated with the possible new diffuse, public sphere formation, Oyeleye champions the revolutionary potential of new media, contending that the recent noteworthy outbreaks of youth protests and uprisings across the world against long-running oppressive governments and against the hegemonic global commercial systems signal specific instances of breaking the silence on the part of youth, which as a social group has long been rendered mute and nondescript by the older society and generally ignored by those maintaining power.

Seeing the broad use of the Internet for creating online civic engagement opportunities, cross-cultural studies about online activism forms have begun. Harlow and Harp examined activists in the United States and Latin America using social networking sites SNS , and found that most respondents said their activism occurs both offline and online, although US respondents were more likely to say their activism took place mostly online because of their widespread social media usage, while respondents in Latin America are less likely to be online activists because of the digital divide.

This exploratory study suggests that SNS can turn online activism into offline activism—a significant contribution to research linking changes in activism to the Internet and SNS.