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Session Overview
Session
RN06_08b_P: Politics in Turbulent Times
Time:
Thursday, 31/Aug/2017:
6:00pm - 7:30pm

Session Chair: Olatz Ribera-Almandoz, Universitat Pompeu Fabra
Location: PC.3.16
PANTEION University of Social & Political Sciences 136 Syggrou Avenue 17671 Athens, Greece Building: C, Level: 3.

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Presentations

'Army and Political Regime in Turkey'

GONENC UYSAL

Independent researcher, Turkey

This paper argues that the organisation of the military is determined by social and economic relations, and political, juridical, and ideological forms in a given historical context. The transformation of the military can be regarded as a response to and as a result of the changes in relations of production, and thus, class relations and pattern(s) of capital accumulation. Therefore, this paper borrows its theoretical and conceptual framework from Marxism in order to examine the transformation of political regime of Turkey beginning in the 2010s by focusing on the neoliberal-Islamist transformation of the Turkish military.

Beginning in the late-2000s, Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi (Justice and Development Party) has begun to restructure the military both in practice and in the institutional framework in accordance with the authoritarian project of neoliberal-Islamism. In the 2010s, particularly beginning with the failed coup attempt in 2016, the JDP broadened its relative autonomy to religionise/Islamize the organisation of military corresponding to the deepening of organic relations with Gulf capital and favouring of mainly the Islamist bourgeoisie. In the meantime, the JDP dissolved the boundary between coercion and consent regarding its position vis-à-vis the subordinate classes where the military continued to play a significant role. Therefore, this paper argues that the neoliberal-Islamist transformation of military has corresponded to the aim to decisively defeat the subordinate classes while recently displaying the elements of fascism.

Keywords: Turkey, military, neoliberalism, Islamism, authoritarianism


From ‘Democratisation’ to ‘Authoritarianism’?: Putting Turkey’s AKP in its Place

Mehmet Erman Erol

Ordu University, Turkey

Turkey has been governed by the political Islamist Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi (AKP - Justice and Development Party) since the 2002 general elections. Conventional approaches to the AKP generally identified the party’s first decade in power with democratisation, social and economic reforms and progress. In recent years, however, the AKP government is considered to have taken an ‘authoritarian turn’ as anti-democratic stance of the government reached inconcealable levels which manifested itself blatantly especially in events like the Gezi Park protests of 2013. As such, the political regime of Turkey is conceptualised as ‘competitive authoritarianism’, ‘illiberal democracy’, and ‘hybrid regime’ by various domestic and international commentators who once supported the AKP. This paper^s argument contrasts sharply with the above-mentioned ‘good AKP goes bad’ stance. The conventional ‘authoritarian turn’ approach is class-blind and touches only to the surface; it is descriptive rather than being analytical and dismiss capitalist social relations of production and the ‘authoritarian character of neoliberalism’ (Bonefeld, 2015; Bruff, 2014) which characterised earlier periods of AKP government as well. The paper rather takes a class-based approach and focuses on state-labour relations. As far as management of labour power is considered, the paper argues that since 2002 the AKP shows a great continuity with the post-1980 military-framed neoliberal authoritarian regime which aimed at ‘putting an end to class-based politics’. In line with this approach, the paper analyses the politics of labour restructuring, the AKP’s trade union policy, and neoliberal reforms in the labour market in general.


State Restructuring in Turbulent Times

IPEK EREN VURAL

Middle East Technical University, Department of Political Science and Public Administration, Turkey

The history of modern democracy in Turkey embodies various forms of authoritarianism. While the evolution of neoliberal authoritarian state dates back to the 1980s, since 2010, there have been a series of new developments, which eventually culminated in the failed coup attempt in July 2016, and the subsequent declaration of a state of emergency. This paper proceeds from the premise that the state restructuring and the political struggles observed during the state of emergency period , which had been already extended twice since July 2016, may indicate a wholesale transformation in the power bloc. Adopting a relational conceptualisation of the state inspired by Poulantzas, the paper proposes to trace this transformation by analysing the internal contradictions across different fractions of the capital in Turkey. To that end, the paper analyses the substance of the executive decrees issued since July 2016, as well as the formal positions adopted by the associations of different capital fractions in Turkey about the use of state power. A comparative assessment of the responses adopted by different capital fractions on issues such as the proposed regime changes, restrictions on rights and freedoms, and the conduct of economic and foreign policies, are then used to highlight the nature of state restructuring.


Understanding the Term within the Context: What Means Financial Literacy Practices in Turkey?

Nurdan Atalay Günes1,2

1Mardin Artuklu University Turkey; 2University of Kent Post-Doc Researcher

The motto of the 21th century is to spend, to consume and to participate social as a consumer. The expected result of this motto is the debt. There are increasing debt levels observed at various levels from state to household and of course to individual. Under this extreme debt, there are strategies emerged as ‘proper ways’ to behave. One of these ‘proper ways’ is a financial literacy. Financial literacy can be summarized as gaining the ‘proper’ financial skills like spending properly, investing and saving. This paper critically examines books written by Özlem Denizmen who is founder of Association of Financial Literacy and Accession in Turkey. She is one of the outstanding figures who regularly do TV shows, write newspaper column, owns website about the issue. Analyzing her discourse about the financial literacy display what is included and what is excluded. Mainly, the practice of learning of financial literacy excludes the political, social and economic contexts in that individuals embedded. Through the analysis of these books, this paper also tries to underline these contexts and to re-conceptualize the idea of financial literacy in contemporary Turkey.



 
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