Publications of Emel Akcali
Geographical Metanarratives in East-Central Europe : Neo-Turanism in Hungary
Two EU-based social scientists investigate the geographical metanarrative of Neo-Turanism as articulated by the recently ascendant far-right party Jobbik (Movement for a Better Hungary), which differs from most European far-right movements but shares some elements of the anti-Western orientation with Eurasianism and Pan-Slavism. The authors trace Neo-Turanism’s origin to a historical ideology (Turanism) that aspires to terminate Hungary’s alliance with the Euro-Atlantic community and instead form a cultural, political, and economic alliance with the Uralo-Altaic peoples (i.e., Turks of Turkey, the Turkic peoples of Central Asia, Tatars, the aboriginal tribes of Siberia, and even Mongols, Manchus, Koreans, and Japanese). After examining the development of Turanism during the 18th to 20th centu-Turanism) in post-communist Hungary. Due attention is paid to the revival within the political platform articulated by Jobbik as well as in the everyday political activities of many of the country’s inhabitants and social groupings in the context of Europeanization and globalization.
Getting real on fluctuating national identities: An insight from Northern Cyprus
The discursive-constructivist accounts of identity have made a significant contribution to our understanding of how national identities change. Unfortunately, they have also turned our attention away from the role that the global economic system plays in the constitution and transformation of collective identities. This article draws attention to the shortcomings of discursive-constructivist approaches by scrutinizing the identity transformations that took place within the Turkish-Cypriot community in Northern Cyprus in the last decade. It suggests that within the context of contemporary globalization and EUropeanization, the (trans-)formation of national identities cannot be fully understood without taking the functioning of the global capitalist system into account.
'Turkey’s Bid for European Union Membership: Between “thick” and “thin” conceptions of Europe
A team of Central Europe-based political geographers examines Turkey's bid for European Union (EU) membership, one of the most controversial issues confronting that country's and EU politics. The authors analyze Eurobarometer public opinion survey data on EU enlargement (and particularly Turkey's EU membership) across the 27 polities of the enlarged EU as well as in Turkey itself. The analysis of the data points to clear regional differences in support for Turkey's EU membership. Moreover, the authors' statistical analysis indicates two major components around which public perceptions of Turkey's EU membership coalesce. The first, identified as a "thick" component, based on the idea that EUrope embodies a specific cultural identity, opposes Turkish membership, whereas a second "thin" component, comprised of institutional-procedural norms, leaves the door open to Turkey. They argue that it is at the complex intersection of these two opposing views that Turkey's bid for EU membership should be located and eventually decided.
The ambivalent role of national monuments in the age of globalisation: The case of Atatürk's mausoleum in Turkey
It is argued that national landmarks play an increasingly ambivalent role in relation to the state project in the age of globalization, since states are less and less interested in architecture for the purpose of nation-building. Despite this phenomenon, daily visits to Anıtkabir, the last resting place of the founder of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, located in Ankara, the capital of Turkey, have recently started to set all time high records. It is usually suspected that such development is due to the recent manipulation of the monument by secular and pro-republican political actors as a site of protest and dissent against globalization and the (trans-)formative policies of the secular nation-state structure of Turkey. Drawing upon the politics of performing memory observed during two field trips to the site and inperson individual interviews conducted with its visitors, I argue that such interpretation would be too simple a way out of the conundrum concerning Anıtkabir’s still privileged role in shaping collective memories in Turkey. I suggest instead that Anıtkabir, as one of the most important landmarks of the Republic of Turkey, continues, aesthetically, to arouse the public imagination in Turkey in the context of the ongoing nation building and re-building process.
“Nature knows no boundaries”- A critical reading of UNDP environmental peacemaking in Cyprus
In 2005, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) set up in Cyprus a peace-building project called Action for Cooperation and Trust (ACT). This project has aimed to create opportunities for bicommunal partnerships on environmental protection as a way to promote intercommunal tolerance. This article discusses critically the efficacy of this project to contribute to the debate on the significance of environmental cooperation in transforming ethno-territorial conflicts. We rely on both survey data and the qualified opinions of Cypriot environmental stakeholders to show that, in the case of Cyprus, successful environmental peacemaking strategies are dependent on widespread environmental awareness, trust in the “third party” (UNDP), and civil society's empowerment, which, however, should complement and not substitute for intervention at a state level. There is also evidence to suggest that the UNDP discourse about “nature knows no boundaries” is most effective when it generates solutions that are perceived to be beneficial to all parties involved, rather than when it uses the environment to discursively construct a common “patriotism” beyond ethnic identities.
Kemalist Eurasianism: An emerging Geopolitical discourse in Turkey
Over the past decade or so, there has been a convergence between the Eurasianist and Kemalist ideologies in Turkey. A number of Kemalist and Socialist intellectual and political actors together with sections of the military have started to articulate Eurasianism (Avrasyacılık in Turkish) as a new geopolitical discourse for Turkey and as an alternative to Turkey's pro-Western foreign policy orientation. In this perspective, Eurasianism stands for a political, economic and cultural alliance with 'Eurasian countries', such as Russia, Iran, and Turkic countries in Central Asia, as well as Pakistan, India and China. This article aims to deepen the analyses carried out thus far on this emerging geopolitical discourse. To this end, it contextualises the emergence of the Eurasianism in Turkey within the wider social, political and historical context of which it forms a part, including the framework of asymmetrical political and economic relations that developed between Turkey and its Western allies in the post-Cold War period.