Dept. of Political Science and Public Administration - Ph.D. / Sc.D.

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  • ItemOpen Access
    Housing experience of forced migrants: a comparison of Sweden and Turkey
    (Bilkent University, 2023-08) Akdemir Kurfalı, Merve
    This dissertation examines the housing experiences of forced migrants and how they are affected by different housing policies through a comparison between Turkey and Sweden. The concept of forced migrants, increasingly utilized in the field, was adopted based on the daily challenges faced by individuals with similar experiences, despite having different legal statuses. Beginning from this point, it addresses the situation of forced migrants amidst multi-layered urban complexity by embracing the super-diversity approach, which allows for the exploration of diverse experiences. The empirical section of the dissertation is built upon semi-structured interviews with three distinct groups: forced migrants, local people, and local experts in Gaziantep, Turkey, and Stockholm, Sweden. Initially, housing studies related to immigration are categorized based on their focus scales, linked to various aspects of the right to housing. Subsequently, legal documents pertaining to asylum and housing policies in Turkey and Sweden are examined, followed by a discussion of the fieldwork findings. The dissertation concludes that forced migrants encounter challenges across all dimensions of the right to housing whereas in Turkey, issues related to accessing affordable housing are prominent, while segregation is a more prevailing concern in Sweden. With a more intrusive housing policy in Sweden, forced migrants engage at an institutional level, while in Turkey, forced immigrants seek solutions within the social sphere. The study asserts that the subject of forced migrants does not exhibit uniform patterns as often depicted in the Global North or the Global South; numerous distinct forms are observable, particularly in the case of Turkey.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Innovation in mixed market economies: the case of METU technopolis in Turkey
    (Bilkent University, 2023-07) Dervişler, Olgu
    This dissertation examines the conditions under which innovation would be possible in a Mixed Market Economy, also known as the Mediterranean Market Economy, (MME) at the sub-national level through covering a case study which was conducted in METU Technopolis of Turkey. The Varieties of Capitalism (VoC) literature identifies two ideal-typical market economies which are Liberal Market Economies (LMEs) and Coordinated Market Economies (CMEs), yet MMEs are regarded as the third category. Due to a lack of strong institutional complementarities and macro-level coordination, this market type is regarded as disadvantageous to have high innovation performance. However, Systems of Innovation (SI) literature suggests that independent of macro-level coordination and institutional complementarities, owing to local and place-specific factors, high innovation performance would still be possible in an MME. In this context, within the framework of this dissertation, seventeen semi-structured interviews were conducted with the firms in METU Technopolis to understand the conditions which would lead to the innovation outcome in an MME. This study demonstrates that in a sub-national innovation system of an MME, both macro-level and sub-national level factors have an impact on the innovation outcome, at various levels. Despite the fact that macro-level institutions have a complementary role in innovation performance when it comes to particular competencies to overcome the coordination problems in the market, firms have difficulties. However, as findings demonstrate, thanks to place-specific factors, local resources, and a high level of interaction with stakeholders at the sub-national level, firms in this ecosystem produce innovation.
  • ItemOpen Access
    A process-oriented approach towards democratic backsliding: evidence from Hungary and Turkey
    (Bilkent University, 2023-07) Işık Canpolat, Ece Adviye
    This thesis explores different factors affecting the democratic backsliding process in today's world, where a cult of personality is established by using populism as the essential tool for achieving their goals. Considering the importance of weakening the checks and balances system, it also sheds light on other factors as the structure of the internal party organization, personalization of politics, and the political culture. Conducting a comparative case study analysis on Turkey and Hungary, this research aims to take a step forward in the democratic backsliding literature. Taking one step forward from the argument that democratic backsliding takes place when the checks and balances system abolishes, the research asks, "what happens after supposing that such governments do not fit the doctrine of separation of powers?" Through examining Turkey and Hungary as examples of hybrid regimes taking steps toward democratic backsliding day by day under AKP’s and Fidesz’s rule, the research seeks an answer to the question of "after diminishing the checks and balances system, what takes place and affects the democratic backsliding process in such examples?"
  • ItemOpen Access
    The role of party strategies in shaping political polarization: a cross-national analysis
    (Bilkent University, 2023-06) Mete Dökücü, Hatice
    The linkage between parties and citizens is accepted as the basis of democratic politics. Existing literature offers empirical evidence that parties are the key agents of driving polarization. However, we are still in the dark about the extent to which citizens see parties affectively and ideologically distinct from each other in response to party strategies. This dissertation examines the role of electoral party strategies in shaping perceived political polarization in established and developing democracies. By drawing a conceptual and empirical distinction between polarization among political elites and the mass public, this study analyses the patterns of both types of polarization and their determinants. Based on data on citizens’ perceptions of party polarization and affective polarization from the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems (CSES), overall findings suggest that clientelist and manipulative electoral strategies facilitate mass affective polarization. Moreover, although existing research on party competition suggests that attitudes toward parties are shaped by partisan attachments or pragmatic considerations, we still have limited knowledge of the consequences of other party strategies, such as populism. This study shows that parties’ populist strategies motivate people to see parties more ideologically distinct from each other. These findings have important implications for debates on democratic legitimacy, party strategies, and public attitudes.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The role of being a minority in the country-of-origin in civic and political integration: migrants from Turkey in the UK
    (Bilkent University, 2023-06) Ay Kesgin, Meryem
    This study examines the civic and political integration of migrants from Turkey in the United Kingdom (UK), comparing the members of the majority group in the country-of-origin (Turkish and Sunni) with the ethnic (Kurdish) and religious (Alevi) minority group members. It is argued that minority groups have more adaptability skills and in-group consciousness developed through uneven interaction with a majority group, and their collective experiences in their country-of-origin migrate with them to the country-of-residence. Therefore, they better adapt to the civic and political life in the country-of-residence compared to migrants who were members of the majority group in the country-of-origin. This novel argument is tested through a new civic and political integration model using individual-level survey data and complemented by in-depth interviews with the migrant organization representative for a better understanding of the mechanism of the civic and political integration process. The empirical findings provide mixed results: It confirms that (ethnic) minorities are more actively involved in politics than the majority. However, there is no difference between migrants with majority and minority backgrounds in terms of civic participation. Furthermore, migrants differ in their perceptions of belongingness to the country-of-residence’s politics. While (ethnic) minorities feel belonged to the political system in the UK more than the majority, (ethnic) minorities believe that minorities are represented in the system. Religious minority status is also significant in the sense of representation; compared to the majority, more religious minorities feel that their community is represented in the system. The qualitative data suggests that the majority had a natural integration process through time, whereas, among the minority, the group consciousness that was already developed in the country-of-origin enabled collective learning and action, and higher adaptability allowed them to access different resources and networks, which eventually facilitate minorities to have higher civic and political integration than the migrants with a majority-origin.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Leaders’ reactions to exogenous political shocks: an analysis of Necmettin Erbakan’s & Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s leadership traits and styles
    (Bilkent University, 2023-02) Ulutürk Cinbiş, Sinem
    Turkey has witnessed a leader-oriented history of politics. Considering the role of leadership characteristics as an explanatory variable, this thesis follows the leadership studies suggesting that personal traits and leadership styles play significant roles in shaping a leader’s policy-making process. Presupposing that the leader matters to adequately comprehend Turkish politics, this thesis focuses on the leadership traits and styles of two significant figures: Necmettin Erbakan (the founding member and leader of several prominent Islamic political parties in Turkey from the 1960s to the 2010s, namely the National Order Party (MNP), the National Salvation Party (MSP), the Welfare Party (RP), mentor of the Virtue and Felicity Parties); and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (chairman of the Justice and Development Party, Prime Minister between 2003 and 2014, and President since August 2014). In analyzing the role of the leadership traits and styles of Erbakan and Erdoğan in their decision-making process, the overarching methodological approach combines the Leadership Trait Analysis (LTA) with an at-a-distance assessment technique and the case study. Using LTA, this thesis discusses whether and in what ways Erbakan’s and Erdoğan’s traits and leadership styles changed in response to the military threats both leaders faced and their parties’ closure cases. Considering valuable and meaningful results delivered by LTA, this thesis empirically expands the literature on Turkish political leaders and contributes theoretically to leadership studies on the role of exogenous shocks in studying politics.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Memory politics in 21st-century trauma site museums in Turkey
    (Bilkent University, 2023-02) Altınok, Berat Uygar
    This research focuses on the memory politics of the Justice and Development Party through the reading of trauma-site museums that focuses on the past’s political violence. Based on the fieldwork conducted in four different trauma-site museums opened between 2010 and 2021, the research argues the specific formation of these memory spaces and the instrumentalization of trauma sites are a case of a populist memory regime. The fieldwork includes Ulucanlar Prison Museum (Ankara), Memory July 15 Museum (İstanbul), July 15 Democracy Museum (Ankara), and Kahramankazan Martyrs of July and Democracy Museum (Ankara). The four museums chosen for this research symbolize different phases of the JDP government’s populist memory regime; the Ulucanlar Prison Museum display’s narrative, which aims to construct a people vs. establishment axiom, while the post-July 15 museums’ narratives aim to establish a people vs. traitors axiom. Overall the research focuses on the constituent role of collective trauma in populist identity politics and how trauma sites are instrumentalized in the mnemonic strategies to construct memory communities.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Gendered social imaginaries in the Turkish humanitarian field: the strategies of Syrian refugee women to reach aid
    (Bilkent University, 2022-12) Zadhy, Aminath Nisha
    This dissertation investigates how Syrian refugee women in Ankara cope with their systematically enforced dependency on humanitarian aid. It uses gendered social imaginary as the theoretical framework. With the initial premise that refugeehood is a gendered experience where gender is a logic of organising humanitarian aid, it demonstrates how actors in the humanitarian field deploy gendered templates at both organisational and interpersonal levels. Paying particular attention to the interactions between humanitarian aid workers and refugee women sheds light on how gendered social imaginaries are drawn from templates emerging from discursive constructions that delineate deservingness categories in the humanitarian field. While female vulnerability predominantly associated with refugee women is a vital template guiding humanitarian enactments, the study exposes how refugee women have to simultaneously contend with contrasting gendered templates that act as barriers to their access to aid, leading them to rationalise specific behaviour in response and deploy specific strategies as they attempt to conform to the role of the ideal humanitarian subject. In the field study, in-depth, semi-structured interviews with 20 refugee women and aid workers were conducted, complemented by participant observation in multiple sites in Ankara where Syrian refugees are concentrated. The data from the field study further illustrated the significance of humanitarian aid practices along the formal-informal axis when examined at three levels – the national, the district and the neighbourhood.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Governing aging in Turkey: municipal active aging discourses and the construction of the desirable older subject
    (Bilkent University, 2022-12) Yazar, Damla
    This thesis examines active aging discourses through the lens of governmentality theory of Foucault. The focus is on how active aging discourses, which primarily promote an autonomous and productive older subject as desirable, are shaped by the broader policy and welfare context in Turkey. In the Western context, active aging functions as a tool of neoliberal governmentality which responsibilize older individuals for managing their own welfare and aging process through specific conducts and self-technologies, mainly reflecting Western middle-class values. This promote the autonomous and productive desirable older subject in response to the negative construction of aging as a demographic ‘crisis’ associated with increasing public expenditures in a neoliberal context of the decreasing roles of the welfare state. In Turkey, neo-conservativism and neo-liberalism articulate each other in a context where the welfare regime historically and still predominantly relies on family; thus, the rationalization of active aging discourses are expected to differ from those in the Western context. Focusing on the municipal discourses on active aging, this thesis looks at how problematizations of aging vary at local level. It considers how municipalities problematize aging and how those problematizations are addressed by active aging discourses. Based on in-depth interviews conducted with 15 people from 11 municipalities across the country, the research finds that population aging in Turkey is problematized in line with the transformation of families and their decreasing caregiving capacity—namely, as a care crisis. Within this framework, various distinctions and commonalities across the regional and socio-economic development level are observed and overall it is found that Turkish municipal active aging discourses promote an autonomous, self-reliant older subject as desirable in order to compensate for the decreasing welfare potential of families.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Analysis of everyday xenophobia: the case of highly educated Turks with immigrant background in Austria and Germany
    (Bilkent University, 2022-11) Tulun, Teoman Ertuğrul
    Xenophobia and racism are contested. They are distinct but overlapping. This study analyses the relationship and interaction between these two concepts and seeks to unpack the true nature of contemporary xenophobia in Western Europe. It attempts to answer two key questions: 1) What constitutes the conceptual bases for these terms? 2) How do people report on their experiences on these concepts? In addressing these questions, the study deconstructs and analyzes the multi-dimensional concept of xenophobia to arrive at a meaningful operational definition; explicates its overlooked normative framework constitutively shaped in the United Nations; investigates the rising effects of immigration phenomenon, violent acts against immigrant groups, and the political discourse on the level of xenophobia; focuses on the related developments in Germany and Austria by narrating the events relevant to explain the rising xenophobia in these countries; and refers to reliable secondary data regarding xenophobic and racist perceptions, behaviors, and incidents gathered through research conducted under the supervision of international organizations and reports submitted by member states to such organizations. The study also seeks answers to these questions through an analysis of interview data conducted with highly educated Turks with immigrant background in Germany and Austria, which is characterized as the group least likely to experience xenophobia and racism. Research findings reveal that the interviewees experience both xenophobia and racism. The interviewees mostly regard racism and xenophobia as identical and declare that they are exposed to verbal violence.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The role of ideas in political party change: the case of the Republican People’s Party in Turkey (1965-1973)
    (Bilkent University, 2022-09) Açıkgöz, Ali
    This dissertation examines the role of ideas as explanatory factors in the phenomenon of party change. Based on historical research on the case of party change in the Republican People’s Party (RPP) between 1965 and 1973, I argue that the specific idea of the “left of center” caused and catalyzed party change in the RPP. Creating a coalition around that idea, a group of actors, the Left of Center Movement, joined the leadership of the RPP in 1966 and gradually took over its rule. Following their ideas, this group changed the policy prescriptions, cadres, organizational composition, and the identity of the RPP. In seven years, the RPP moved from being a “national developmentalist” party and became a “social democratic developmentalist” party, following the “roadmap” of “left of center”. I examine the role of ideas in the party change of the RPP considering differences between actors on “party goals”. In the course of “several external shocks” actors with different ideas on party goals fought over the definition of “left of center” as factions. These factions were gathered around ideas, serving as “coalition magnets”. Ultimately ideational differences explain leadership changes in 1966 and 1972, and two waves of factional exoduses in from the RPP in 1967 and 1972.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Situating islamic existentialism in Turkey: key existentialist concepts in Sezai Karakoç’s works
    (Bilkent University, 2022-09) Çitler, Gözde
    The purpose of this dissertation is to put forward an analytical account that Sezai Karakoç, a conservative Muslim intellectual, author, and one of the founders of the Second New movement in Turkish poetry, created a sui generis characterisation of what this study calls Islamic existentialism in Turkey. An important literary figure of the 20th century, Karakoç utilises the existentialist concepts of death, freedom, authenticity, and isolation while following the Islamic and Sufistic doctrines since he preoccupied himself with the same philosophical questions existentialism asks and attempted to find their answers from a different angle and source, that was Islam. In this study, it is argued that Karakoc professes Islamic existentialism, primarily by stating that it is imperative to (i) overcome the anguish and despair of this life by accepting the reality of death and being willing to move past it to be reunited with Allah as the only Creator; (ii) pursue an authentic life by being a true believer, (iii) achieve the ultimate freedom-seeking for the divine love and by abiding by Islamic principles and rules heralded by the prophets, and (iv) transform the individual’s alienation by attempting to become a soldier of resurrection within Karakoç’s doctrine of the resurrection. While this study does not argue that Karakoç is an existentialist, it does argue that existentialism and its core concepts are resonated in his worldview and thoughts on what a true individual is, how to live an authentic and honest life, how to create the ultimate, Islamic, civilisation, and eventually how to unite with God as a sincere believer. This dissertation aims to contribute to the literature by conceptualising Karakoç’s doctrine of resurrection, encompassing the four concepts of existentialism and the teachings of Islam, which permeated his poems, essays, and worldview as such.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The third-party function of Turkey’s Ombudsman Institution in resolving public disputes
    (Bilkent University, 2022-09) Duran, Hazal
    This study focuses on the third-party function of ombudsman in resolution of public disputes between the citizens and public institutions and the factors undermine and facilitate its third-party function in the Turkish case. Ombudsman institutions have been evaluated in terms of administrative, legal, and human rights functions for years. Although interest in the ombudsman's dispute resolution function has increased recently, there is a lack of empirical studies of understanding this function. This study aims to fill the void by examining the case of Turkey’s Ombudsman Institution. As one of the youngest ombudsman institutions in the world, the Ombudsman Institution of Turkey has been using the friendly-settlement method since 2017 to increase the dispute resolution capacity. This study firstly quantitatively examines the friendly-settlement method based on 1003 cases. Data shows that despite friendly settlement is associated with informal and interactive dispute resolution in general, its use in the Turkish context is heavily dominated by formal and non-interactive methods. In order to understand the reasons creating this divergence, the study uses 24 semi-structured interviews conducted with experts and senior officials of the institution. Following the analysis of interviews, the study shows that authority, flexibility, network, dispute resolution capacity, and the attitude are five major factors determining ombudsman’s third-party function in the Turkish case. The findings also displays that these factors are causing less interaction and informality in relation to bureaucratic legalism in Turkey.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Narrating the prison: master and counternarratives of the 1980 military coup
    (Bilkent University, 2022-09) Şensönmez, Gökhan
    Based on 344 written autobiographical accounts of erstwhile prisoners, this dissertation examines carceral counternarratives in the memory of the 1980 military coup in Turkey. At the outset, I argue that although the junta’s initial narrative reversed with the emergence of an anti-coup wave in the following decades, the dominant conception of prisons as a place of decimating political actors endured. The three counternarratives examined in this study, narrate prison not as a place of decimation, but as a place of strengthening and discovery. According to the militant counternarrative that was employed by the members of radical leftist organizations, the post-coup prisons were valuable in the sense that they tested the discipline of organizations, and eliminated the false revolutionaries. For the gendered counternarrative employed by the women of the Turkish left, women discovered their identities in prisons as the coup brought them together and disrupted the masculine domination of the leftist organizations. Finally, for the religious rebirth counternarrative which was employed by the Ülkücü militants, prisons were evaluated as places to discover Islam and find meaning in their shocking incarceration.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Protest by the people for the government: pro-government mobilization in AKP’s Turkey, 2013-2016
    (Bilkent University, 2022-09) Kahvecioğlu, Şeref Anıl
    This dissertation explores the protest dynamics of government supporters under the authoritarian Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi (AKP) government in Turkey. Analyzing contentious dynamics from January 1, 2013 until December 31, 2016, this thesis examines pro-government mobilization theoretically and empirically. Based on original event data on protests, repression, and pro-government contentious events I collected from two newspapers, Cumhuriyet and Yeni Şafak, with 9083 episodes, this research dissects contentious actions of government supporters and aims to explain why and how such mobilization practice occurred in Turkey. To provide a systematic answer, I offer three elements that generate a conducive environment for pro-government contention: threat, authoritarianism, and framing. On this basis, first, I suggest threat as the main component that drives governments to adopt pro-government contention. In my case, I argue that the AKP appeals to pro-government contention when it feels politically threatened. Second, I show that the mobilizing power of the threat—and its capacity to generate pro-government contention—is dependent on the regime type. Therefore, I argue that political threats could generate pro-government contention as the AKP became gradually more authoritarian, and such contention was absent during its democratic phases. Finally, I suggest that governments build frames of pro-government contention, and not government supporters. I argue that the AKP utilizes various framing tools to create a conducive environment for mobilizing pro-government audiences and such frames are reflected in the street by government supporters.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Strategizing to survive in liminal life: ghost-like agency of Afghan refugees in Turkey
    (Bilkent University, 2022-07) Eminoğlu, Can
    This study focuses on the agency of Afghan refugees in the quest of survival in Turkey. The countries where the refugee regime is ambiguous due to reasons such as complex asylum policies and limitation to Geneva Convention, refugees end up in a challenging situation where they can neither go back, nor incorporate to the host society and nor move further to a third country. In such context, when refugee governance is further based on neoliberal approach, refugees find themselves being left to their own devices to find solutions for their survival through using their agency. With this perspective, this qualitative study aims to understand how the refugee agency is formulated and operationalized by asking: What sort of survival strategies do Afghan refugees develop under complex refugee regime in Turkey? How do the daily lives of Afghans look like in the government-assigned satellite cities? How do Afghan refugees explain vulnerabilities and survival needs? Following making the analysis of the data collected from thirty-five in-depth, semi structured, and face-to-face interviews through the emerged themes, this study first found that following their flight, refugees find themselves in limbo where they are left to their own devices for survival. Second, with the aim of staying alive, refugees turn into ghosts through using their agencies, both by being visible and invisible. This agency however is partial because of the structural reasons. On the one hand, ghostlike nature deepens the already existing vulnerabilities as a result of risk-taking, and on the other, it works into the creation good relationships with the host community members in the satellite city. Whether visible or invisible, the ghost-like agency of Afghans has one ultimate goal: to be able to survive in Turkey.
  • ItemRestricted
    The politics of policy reform in multiple streams: the case of asylum and immigration policy in Turkey
    (Bilkent University, 2021-12) Yıldırım, Deniz
    How did a policy entrepreneur managed to appear, successfully set the (decision) agenda, and drive a path-departing policy reform in asylum and immigration in Turkey in the 2000s? In seeking answers to this question, this study examines the politics of policy reform in asylum and immigration in Turkey from 2008 and 2013 through the analytical lenses of the Multiple Streams Framework (MSF). MSF, as initially conceptualized, puts a particular emphasis on actions compared to institutions in agenda-setting. Given the geographical setting –the United States (the US)– where this framework was born and developed, such an action-focused approach to the policymaking process is not surprising. The conventional wisdom, too, corroborates this argument by pointing to the US, where entrepreneurial efforts are rewarded. However, not all settings share the same politico-administrative conditions with the US. Therefore, a meaningful application of the MSF requires considering institutions. Perceiving policy styles as a master variable embedding formal political institutions and informal rules, including overlooked administrative traditions, this study offers to incorporate policy styles into multiple streams. Arguing that only after considering policy styles can the MSF shed light on the politics of agenda-setting, policy design, policy adoption, and eventually policy reform, this research revisits multiple streams through the prism of policy styles. In this way, it provides answers to the emergence, operations, and successful agenda-setting of a policy entrepreneur in Turkey’s statist policy style, where policy entrepreneurs are not encouraged as much as their counterparts in the US. This study bases on empirical evidence collected through programming and legislative documents and semi-structured interviews with key bureaucrats, experts, and representatives of international and national organizations in asylum and immigration.
  • ItemOpen Access
    “Inside outsiders:” comparing state policies towards citizens of Palestinian and Kurdish descent in Israel and Turkey
    (Bilkent University, 2021-10) Elitsoy, Zeliha Aslı
    Israel and Turkey have been regarded as ethnically divided societies where ethnicity represented a fundamental political cleavage between a national majority and ethnic minority. The formation of Israeli and Turkish nation-states simultaneously led to the “minoritization” of those Palestinians and Kurds who constituted the biggest ethnic and linguistic minority by a wide margin in their respective countries. While Israel never considered assimilating its Palestinian citizens into mainstream Israeli national identity, considering Jewishness as its essential and indispensable element, Turkey engaged in assimilation policies visà- vis its Kurdish citizens, which met with limited success. Although the two countries applied different methods of ethnic diversity management, they have converged in maintaining exclusive state identities, Jewish and Turkish, and excluded their Palestinian and Kurdish minorities from political and economic power. Especially in recent decades, both states have been challenged by their Palestinian and Kurdish minorities seeking equal treatment with the Jewish and Turkish majority. Minority demands share common elements: the recognition of their status as a national minority entitled to collective rights and effective inclusion into the political system. However, awarding full citizenship rights has been questioned on accounts of Jewish sovereignty dilution fears in Israel and Kurdish self-determination and partition in Turkey. Failing to distinguish their citizens from their trans-border ethnic kin groups and viewing them as part of trans-national community threatening Israeli and Turkish sovereignty, Israel’s citizens of Palestinian descent and Turkey’s citizens of Kurdish descent have been turned into “inside outsiders.”
  • ItemOpen Access
    Identity versus morality: conceptions of islam, modernity and politics in the writings of Necip Fazil Kisakürek and Nurettin Topçu
    (Bilkent University, 2021-09) Köseoğlu, Talha
    This dissertation analyzes diverging conceptions of Islam in the writings of Necip Fazıl Kısakürek (1904-1983) and Nurettin Topçu (1909-1975), and ensuing differences in their critiques of Turkish modernization and their views on the relationship between Islam and politics. It proposes an analytical distinction between Islam-as-identity and Islam-as-morality to identify Kısakürek’s and Topçu’s competing conceptions of Islam respectively. Based on grounded theory approach, the dissertation suggests that Kısakürek presents Islam as a total ideology in the form of a system of beliefs and rules that encompasses all aspects of life. His conception Islam informs a vision of an alternative Islamic modernity that includes technological developments owned by Muslims, a form of capitalism run by Muslims, and a totalitarian modern state governed by Muslims. Kısakürek thereby represents Muslimness as an alternative way of being in the world that denotes a distinct political identity. Whereas, Topçu conceives of Islam as a framework for morality through which one connects to the transcendental, i.e. God. He characterizes Muslimness as a way of becoming, rather than a being, through leading a moral life. His conception of Islam-as-morality offers a holistic critique of the notion of modernity that extends to material aspects of modernity including technology and capitalism as well as modern political forms. These differences stemming from Kısakürek’s and Topçu’s conceptions of Islam have informed, on the one hand, dynamics of Turkish politics since their immediate context in early Cold War, and on the other hand, contemporary debates and divisions within Islamic intellectual movement in Turkey.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Trust in context: problematizing trust(ing) in Turkey among rural-to-urban migrant women
    (Bilkent University, 2021-01) Ma, Jermaine Siu Yee
    This dissertation examines trust and problematizes the process(es) and context in the case of rural-to-urban migrant women in contemporary urbanizing Turkey. The influx of rural-to-urban migration since the 1950s has impacted both spatial and social change in the country’s largest cities, including the transformation of gecekondu dwellings into apartment complexes. The changes and challenges that now accompany apartment living—the loss of communal and informal ways of life facilitated by the spatiality of gecekondu—impact women as they navigate social relations. Using the gecekondu habitus as a conceptual tool, this qualitative study takes a contextual, relational and process-oriented approach to trust by asking: How is trust understood and experienced by migrant women? How does this affect everyday life for migrant women and their families? And what does it look like to foster trusting neighborly relations in light of apartment life? As a result of analyzing twenty in-depth semi-structured interviews by focusing on emerging themes this study found first that migrant women understood and experienced trust(ing) as an on-going relational process of negotiating two competing desires—not being harmed and not being alone—entailing a gendered iterative practice through knowing, visiting, sharing, and helping over time. And second, women need their neighbors in order to do the work of social reproduction given their structural disadvantages and the challenges of apartment living. This necessitates the negotiation of neighborly (trust) relations in the formalized spatiality of the apartments with those from different sociocultural groups, including those who have not lived in a gecekondu.