|Turkey Today: Emerging Ideological Scenario|
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[The following is an edited transcript of a seminar convened at the Institute of Policy Studies, Islamabad, on January 29, 2011. The main speaker was Dr. Gökhan Bacık, Associate Professor of Political Science and International Relations at Zirve University, Gaziantep, Turkey, while Amb. Tanvir Ahmad Khan, Chairman and Director-General of the Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad, presided over the session.]
Opening Remarks (Khalid Rahman, Director General, IPS)
The historical significance of Turkey in regional and international affairs as well as its key role in the affairs of the Muslim World can hardly be overemphasized. This great country has gone through many different, sometimes conflicting, phases of evolution, and there have been attempts by different quarters within Turkey and outside, deliberately or sometimes unintentionally, to delink the country from its past.
The last two decades have particularly witnessed a thorny, yet steady process of socio-ideological mobilization that became rather noticeable after the Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power in 2002. Internal sociopolitical changes and the changes in the system of government, shifts in civil-military relations, the struggle among various streams and schools of thought for dominance in the country, and the rise of ideologues are a few important factors that characterize this mobilization.
No doubt, every new phase in a country’s evolution has a far-reaching impact upon its social and political approaches, both within and outside. It is, therefore, important to discuss and analyze the basis of the current mobilization in Turkey, the forces responsible for initiating this process, the opportunities for and challenges to the current mobilization from within, the threats to it from outside, and, consequently, the emerging social and political dynamics inside Turkey with reference to ideological mobilization and their implications on Turkish domestic and foreign policies.
Today’s roundtable is part of an effort to pursue the course of understanding Turkey from inside. The roundtable has been divided into two parts. In the first part, Dr. Bacik will discuss the social dynamics of the ideological mobilization, followed by a Q&A session. In the second part, Dr. Bacik will throw some light on the political dynamics of the issue at hand, again, followed by a Q&A session. I now request the Chair, Amb. Tanvir Ahmad Khan, to take over the proceedings.
Chair (Amb. Tanvir Ahmad Khan): I will simply begin by requesting Dr. Bacik to make his first presentation.