Following the ‘Changing Turkey in a Changing World’ initiative of sharing historical documents with our readers, we are delighted to publish below a confidential correspondence authored by the British ambassador to the Ottoman empire (Sir Gerard Lowther) in 1908 about the latest developments in Anatolia with a special emphasis on the rise of tensions among Kurds, Armenians and Turks in various cities, including, Van, Bitlis, Konya, Kayseri, Adana.

The tensions were particularly linked to the municipal elections in Kayseri which resulted in the election of eight Armenians to two Turks. “This happened by the massing of the Armenian vote, given through the council of the church, for certain particular people, while the Turks, who have 400 votes to 180, spread their votes over a greater number of candidates and, as an absolute majority elects, were largely defeated”.

The report was sent to the British Foreign Secretary of the time, Sir Edward Grey. 

Source:  British National Archives

Document Reference: CAB-37-96-146





Excerpt from Mehmet Ozkan & Serhat Orakci (2015) ‘Viewpoint: Turkey as a “political” actor in Africa – an assessment of Turkish involvement in Somalia’, Journal of Eastern African Studies, 9:2, 343-352, DOI: 10.1080/17531055.2015.1042629

The crisis of food security in Somalia in 2011 prompted an increase in Turkish involvement in Eastern AfricanRJEA_I_09_02_COVER_RJEA_I_09_02 politics. Initially started as a humanitarian response, Ankara’s policy has evolved into a fully fledged Somalia policy with political and social dimensions. This article discusses the role and influence of Turkey in efforts bringing stability to Somalia. It is argued that Turkey’s Somalia policy, as far as it has succeeded in short term, has not only located Turkey as a “political” actor in Africa but also expanded Turkey’s Africa policy into a more complex and multifaceted one. As such, Turkey’s experience in Somalia will have significant implications for its broader African agenda.

Between 2002 and 2014, Turkey increased the number of Turkish embassies on the continent from 12 to 39. Turkey’s official aid for Africa’s regional development surpassed increased from $3.8 million in 2004 to nearly $250 million in 2012.12 The growing presence of Turkish NGOs contributed to these improvements and has paved the way for Turkey’s future commitment to the continent. However, some view Turkey as concerned mostly with its own economy and industries, and many associate Turkey with a selfinterested approach to trade.13 For this reason, many African countries have been suspicious of Ankara’s maneuvers over the past decade.14 However, developments in recent years have signaled a new phase in the Turkish–African relationship, characterized by enhanced collaboration not only in Africa but also in the global arena.15 For example, South Africa and Turkey recently developed a relationship of close cooperation and introduced new dialogue mechanisms.16

The following recent developments further illustrate the depth of Turkish involvement in Africa. Turkey–Africa trade volume increased sixfold, from $3 billion dollars in 2000 to almost $23 billion dollars in 2012.17 The Turkish state organization Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) opened offices in Ethiopia, Sudan, Senegal, Somalia, Kenya, and Tunisia. Turkish Airlines introduced new flights to destinations in Africa, including Accra, Darussalam, Johannesburg, Cape Town, Khartoum, Addis Ababa, Lagos, and Mogadishu. Official Turkish delegations continue to visit Africa, and Turkey has hosted a variety of African delegations. Business unions have visited African countries and established new trade links. The Directorate for Religious Affairs (Diyanet) invites Muslim religious leaders from Africa to Istanbul for consultation every four years, and recently many Turkish universities have launched African research departments. It seems likely that Turkey’s involvement in Somalia will bolster its cooperation with other African countries and institutions…

Turkey has delivered around $500 million in aid to Somalia through its developmental and humanitarian projects.35 About 500 Turks are estimated to be based in Somalia. Turkey has reconstructed the Mogadishu airport, built schools, and constructed a 200-bed hospital in the capital. The Turkish General Directorate of State Hydraulic Works (DSI) has been digging wells, while TIKA renovated the old parliament building and constructed a road between the Mogadishu Airport and the city center. Turkey has also donated garbage trucks for Somalia’s waste management project. The Turkish Red Crescent (KIZILAY) has been supporting a refugee camp for 15,000 people. Some 1600 Somali students of different ages have received scholarships to attend Turkish schools.36

Diyanet is distributing copies of the Quran, sending local Imams to Turkey for training, and repairing ruined Somali mosques. In the capital, the Turkish Ministry of Health in cooperation with TIKA now runs the biggest hospital complex of Somalia, and Turkish health professionals and surgeons visit Mogadishu on rotation to train the Somalis in medical practice. Turkish Airlines (THY) has introduced direct flights from Istanbul to Mogadishu, in an effort to connect Somalia more closely with Turkey and the rest of the world. The Prime Ministry Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) coordinates transportation of construction and humanitarian materials between Istanbul and Mogadishu.

Many Turkish NGOs have been active in the country, especially in central and southern Somalia. Turkish NGOs have circumvented restrictions on foreign organizations by working with local Somalia NGOs to deliver aid and implement their projects in distressed areas, or in some cases coordinated their projects from their headquarters in Turkey. Doctors Worldwide took over operations at a new, advanced hospital in Mogadishu.37 The IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation is in the process of building the biggest orphanage complex on the Horn of Africa. The IHH has taken up the cause of Somali agriculture, and it has built wells and constructed irrigation channels to provide clean drinking water and increase agricultural capacity.38 Yardım Eli is building a 100-bed children’s hospital39 in Mogadishu, while Deniz Feneri runs another 10-bed hospital40 in the capital and is constructing an education center for women. Cansuyu offers projects for orphaned Somalis and is constructing a school.41 The Islamic identity of Turkish NGOs was essential to their ability to deliver humanitarian aid in 2011. On several occasions, Imams affiliated with al-Shabaab have criticized Turks as Western invaders in disguise, and the group has attacked Turkish interests multiple times since 2011.42 However, Turks have only rarely been targeted in violence by other Somali groups.43 Moreover, while al-Shabaab forbids foreign groups entry into its domains under militia control, it did permit Turkish NGOs to provide humanitarian relief through their local Somali partners. This privilege enhanced the status of Turkish NGOs in Somalia and may have indicated improvement in al-Shabaab’s attitude toward Turkey.44 As a result, Turkey was able to coordinate humanitarian projects with greater success than other countries.


  1. See Hasimi, “Turkey’s Humanitarian Diplomacy and Development Cooperation”.
  2. See Farrell, “Understanding Turkish involvement in Somalia”.
  3. See Ozkan, “A Post-2014 Vision for Turkey-Africa Relations”.
  4. Especially development of relations between Turkey and South Africa can be considered as this sort since 2010.
  1. “Güney Afrika vizesi kalkıyor”, Al-Jazeera Turk, 20 September 2011.
  2. See the Turkish Ministry of Economy website for trade figures.

  1. See Abukar Arman, “Erdogan: The Hero of Somalia”, 21 January 2015, Al-Jazeera, http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2015/01/visit-erdogan-somalia-2015121124331818818.html
  1. See Aynte, “Turkey’s Increasing Role in Somalia”.
  2. See Richard Lough, “Turkey tries out soft power in Somalia”, Reuters, http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/03/somalia-turkey-idUSL5E8GP2LP20120603 (accessed 15 December 2012).
  1. See “Somali halkına nitelikli tarım öğretiliyor”, İHH website, 6 June 2014, http://www.ihh.org.tr/tr/main/news/0/somali-halkina-nitelikli-tarim-ogretiliyor/2362 (accessed 6 April 2015).
  1. See “Somali hastanemizin kolonları bağlandı”, 26 February 2013, Yardımeli Derneği, http://www.yardimeli.org.tr/h=18601?somali-hastanemizin-kolonlari-baglandi#.VSOhdNysXQQ (accessed 6 April 2015).
  1. See “Deniz Feneri Somali’de kalıcı işler yapıyor”, Deniz Feneri Derneği, http://www.denizfeneri.org.tr/bagisci/afrika_137/somali_58/ (accessed 6 April 2015).
  1. See “Cansuyu Derneği Somali’ye okul yaptıracak”, 30 July 2012, Haberler.com, http://www.haberler.com/cansuyu-dernegi-somali-ye-okul-yaptiracak-3824336-haberi/ (accessed 6 April 2015).
  1. See Farrell, “Understanding Turkish Involvement in Somalia”.
  2. See “Somali’de bir Türk yaralandı”, Sabah, http://www.sabah.com.tr/Dunya/2012/10/03/somalide-bir-turk-yaralandi (accessed 09 April 2015).
  1. See Orakçı, “Somali’nin geleceği ve 2015 hedefleri”.

logoIPSA 24th World Congress of Political Science: “Politics in a World of Inequality”

Date and Place: 23-26 July 2016 Istanbul

Proposed Panel theme: “Politics of International Migration”

We now know that large-scale mobility of people across international borders is not only a one-time movement from country A to country B. It is a phenomenon that creates different levels of transnational spaces, where not only the people, but also the sending and receiving societies and governments are largely involved and affected. Thus, the panel is looking for those papers that are integrating different perspectives of the wide variety of fields that are interested in the study of migration, such as political science, sociology, economics, and anthropology. We welcome studies on human migration with different indications, and mainly research that focus on comparative findings with significance beyond a single case study; novel methodological techniques; and innovative theoretical contributions on the various dimensions and effects of international migration. We argue that migration molds not only societies, but also has important policy consequences, all of which largely fit the special focus of the 2016 conference Politics in a World of Inequality. Accordingly, we are interested in papers exploring –but not limited to– the following main themes:

  • Policy responses to international migration on different levels, i.e., international, national, local
  • Debates on diversity and citizenship
  • Migration and mobility nexus

Language: English

Chairs: Dr. Deniz Sert & Derya Ozkul

Discussant: Dr. Dogus Simsek

Deadline for paper submission: 7 OCT 2015

You will find all the details about the congress and guidelines for submissions on the conference website https://istanbul2016.ipsa.org/events/congress/istanbul2016/home

Excerpt from Faruk Yalvaç (2014) “Approaches to Turkish Foreign Policy: A Critical Realist Analysis”, Turkish Studies, 15:1, 117-138, DOI: 10.1080/14683849.2014.892238

Umut Uzer argues in his Identity and Turkish Foreign Policy that identities and ideologies as well as national interests are important in determining state behaviour (2011, p.9). Uzer states that the approach which he adopts is Turkish_Studiesan “eclectic” one whose argument falls somewhere between an identity-based constructivist analysis and a realist analysis. However, the argument suffers from trying to combine two diametrically opposed positions, namely, the rationalist epistemology of conventional constructivism (which provides a “framework of prediction for future Turkish behavior” Uzer 2011, p. 184, 186) and the subjectivist ontology of constructivism.

Criticizing Wendt’s model for failing to analyze the actors before interaction, Yucel Bozdaglıoglu (2003) offers another constructivist analysis of TFP that emphasizes the importance of the domestic construction of identities in explaining FP preferences and interests. Bozdaglıoglu stresses that identities are constructed before states interact with each other, explaining different foreign-policy stances by referencing differences in perceptions of Turkish identity among Turkey’s Kemalists, Islamists and Nationalists. He combines his analysis with a liberal–pluralist understanding of society, suggesting that “the state’s identity will emerge as a result of domestic struggles among various groups—each pressing for an identity that would conform to their identity conceptions;” however, he does not elaborate on the nature of these domestic struggles or how they relate to wider social relations. Similar to Uzer’s analysis, a state-centric constructivism is combined with a liberal understanding of the state as the arena where different group conflicts are solved, and foreign policy is explained by the “different cultural backgrounds and identity conceptions” of different groups and institutions (Uzer 2011, p. 7, 27, 25). However identity formation is defined in culturalist terms, without an explanation of how identities are related to concrete social power relations.

One problem that all these constructivist accounts share is that they fail to discuss how identities are translated into state power, nor is it so clear that identity-based foreign policy is based less on geopolitical considerations leading, for instance, to different policies when and if security of a state is at stake. Can Turkey be said to be following a less state-interested policy today due to its changing social identity?… Similar to constructivists, poststructuralists see the world in terms of inter-subjective praxes and human actions and understandings, rather than objective material social relations…

The poststructuralist discourse in TFP analysis focuses on how different foreign policy practices are constructed through different discourses. The emphasis is on the deconstruction of different discursive structures, challenging binary oppositions and demonstrating the instability of meanings attached to the discourses. In one example of a poststructuralist analysis of TFP, Senem Aydın Duzgit, in her analysis of European Union (EU)–Turkish relations, defines foreign policy “as a discursive practice,” (2011) arguing along the lines of Roxanne Doty (1993; Laffey 2000) that foreign-policy actors “produce meanings” through discourse and “actively construct the reality on which foreign policy is based.”(Doty 1993, p.52).

Other scholars have also attempted to use post-structural approaches to understand how the discourses against Turkey’s membership of the EU are constructed (Tekin 2008; see also Yilmaz 2007). In an analysis bringing together post-structural and post-colonial approaches, Bahar Rumelili discusses the construction of “Turkey as a liminal subject” “which eludes the identity categories constituted by discourses on international politics, such as, Western/non-Western, developed/under-developed, democratic/ non-democratic.” (Rumelili 2012, p. 496). Turkey’s liminal status is described as “being in but not of Europe.” This is meant to demonstrate “how social categories constituted by the discourses of international politics are inevitably negotiated, contested and ultimately transversed by actors positioned in liminal spaces.” (Rumelili 2012, p. 500).

Similarly, Lerna Yanık analyses the “discursive formation of exceptionalism” in TFP and “illustrate[s] how historical and geographical features of a country are used discursively to construct an exceptional identity that in turn justifies and rationalizes foreign policy actions.” (2011, p. 82, 87). Despite its radical claims, this form of analysis is based on an acceptance of the traditional domestic/international distinction, replicating this in a discursive analysis. Thus, Yanık notes a contradiction between the discourse on exceptionalism in foreign policy and the domestic Kemalist nation-building project based on the “idea of purity” of a nation. From the emergent perspective of critical realism, this contradiction between domestic and foreign-policy practices can be traced back to the same social relations and processes without being reduced to them and therefore they stop appearing to be contradictory. Therefore, the contradiction can be resolved if the domestic and the international “levels” can be seen to arise from similar social processes and conditions. This, however, would imply a different ontological starting point, that of social relations rather than the discursive practices that are rooted in those relations.

Ali Balcı’s analysis of TFP most closely follows a “poststructuralist line”(2010). As is often the case in post-structural writings that criticize modernist approaches to the state and foreign policy, his analysis is based on a criticism of the internal/external divide. Similar to other poststructuralists such as Walker and Weber, he deconstructs this as a myth whereby the state “imposes specific meanings” on who is inside and who is outside. Foreign policy “does not have an a priori reality, but is a constructed myth;” it is a “strategy” that involves “internal power relations” (p. 87, 88, 89, 91). As with Yucel, Balcı takes the construction of identities as dependent upon different power relations inside; however, what these power relations are and how they are constructed is not clearly analyzed. Despite their different starting points, both Balcı and Yucel possess a liberal–pluralist understanding of the state as an arena of power struggle without relating power relations to a structural context of state–society relations. If foreign policy is a myth, then the circumstances that “produce” this myth need to be understood. Moreover, although Balcı underlines the importance of power relations in the formation of identities, he ignores more concrete social relations such as the relations of property and production out of which these power relations emerge and how they are translated into state policies. Thus, as Joseph might argue, Balcı’s “critique is deconstructive but not ontological,” (2004, p. 150, 158) ignoring how power relations emerge and are formed within a structural context and as an outcome of social processes. In contrast, Balcı’s analysis reduces power to a performative strategy (Ashley 1987, p. 51) or to its exercise. This argument lacks “an adequate notion of social stratification and hierarchy,” and assumes “a flat ontology that remains at the level of the surface play of power relations” (2004, p. 154, 159).


Ashley, Richard K. “Foreign Policy as Political Performance.” International Studies Notes 13 (1987): 51–54.

Balcı, Ali. “1990 Sonrası Turk Dıs¸ Politikası Uzerine Bazı Notlar: Avrupa Birligi ve Kıbrıs Ornegi.” In Turkiye’nin Degisen Dıs Politikası, edited by Cuneyt Yenigun and Ertan Efegil, 87–99. Istanbul: Nobel Yayın Dagıtım, 2010.

Bozdaglıoglu, Yucel. Turkish Foreign Policy and Turkish Identity: A Constructive Approach. New York and London: Routledge, 2003.

Doty, Roxanne L. “Foreign Policy as a Social Construction: A Post-Positivist Analysis of US Counterinsurgency Policy in the Philippines.” International Studies Quarterly 37, no. 3 (1993): 297–320.

Duzgit, Senem A. “Avrupa Birligi-Turkiye Iliskilerine Postyapısalcı Yaklasım: Almanya Orneginde Dıs Politika ve Soylem Analiz.” Uluslararası Iliskiler 8, no. 29 (2011): 49–70.

Joseph, Jonathan. “Foucault and Reality.” Capital and Class 28, no. 1 (2004): 143–165.

Laffey, Mark. “Locating Identity: Performativity, Foreign Policy and State Action.” Review of International Studies 26, no. 3 (2000): 429–444.

Rumelili, Bahar. “Liminal Identities and Processes of Domestication and Subversion in International Relations.” Review of International Studies 38 (2012): 495–508.

Tekin, Beyza Çagatay. “The Construction of Turkey’s Possible EU Membership in French Political Discourse.” Discourse and Society 19, no. 6 (2008): 727–763.

Uzer, Umit. Identity and Turkish Foreign Policy. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.

Yanık, Lerna K. “Constructing Turkish ‘Exceptionalism’: Discourses of Liminality and Hybridity in Post-Cold War Turkish Foreign Policy.” Political Geography 30, no. 2 (2011): 59–114.

Yılmaz, Hakan. “Turkish Identity on the Road to the EU: Basic Elements of French and German Oppositional Discourses.” Journal of Southern Europe and the Balkans 9, no. 3 (2007): 293–305.

Documentary Title: “Voices of the Unheard” by Assoc. Prof. Alper Kaliber

Length: 44 minutes

Language: Turkish with English subtitles

“Europeanisation of Public Debates and Civil Society in Turkey” (EUROCIV), financially supported by the European Commission, was conducted by Assoc. Prof. Alper Kaliber at Istanbul Bilgi University European Union Institute from 1 September 2012 to 31 August 2014. Activists from more than 35 civil society organisations in Istanbul, Ankara and Diyarbakir were interviewed within the scope of this research. This short documentary features selected civil society organisations, which could not make their voices heard due to different reasons, yet which have carried out vital works on the economic, social and cultural aspects of the Kurdish issue.

originally published in the 23rd issue ofG20 and BRICS Updateof the Heinrich Böll Foundation – North America

Dr Sevil Acar is an assistant professor at Istanbul Kemerburgaz University. Her research is on environmental and resource economics, particularly natural capitdrsevilacaral accounting, sustainability indicators, and the resource curse. Her undergraduate, masters and Ph.D. degrees are from Bogazici University, Istanbul Technical University, and Marmara University, respectively. During her Ph.D. studies, she was awarded a scholarship to conduct research at the Centre for Environmental and Resource Economics (CERE, Sweden) involving the analysis of Swedish sustainable savings and carbon convergence across countries, among other things.

In 2009, G20 Leaders committed to “rationalize and phase out over the medium term inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption”. The ongoing G20 agenda and the upcoming G20 summit in Antalya stand as unique opportunities to realize that pledge.  For more background information on the G20’s track record on eliminating fossil fuel subsidies, see the publications by the Global Subsidies Initiative and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), including the report co-authored by Acar, and  “The Fossil Fuel Bailout: G20 subsidies for oil, gas and coal explorationby ODI and Oil Change International (November 2014).

As a developing country, Turkey is facing increased demand for utilization of electricity and primary energy sources. At the same time, it is grappling with the challenges of realizing its emissions abatement needs and ensuring a cost-competitive energy supply. According to UNFCC, Turkey’s total greenhouse gas emissions reached 439.9 million tonnes (Mt) of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-eq) in 2012, which represents an increase of 133.4% above 1990 levels. The current situation of coal subsidies in Turkey, which is summarized below, counters potential abatement efforts.

In order to sustain a  cost-competitive and secure energy supply, Turkey set the following objectives in its Comprehensive Growth Strategy document prepared as part of the G20 Growth Strategy documents in 2014 (p. 16):

  • to increase the ratio of domestic resources in energy production;
  • to diversify the origins of energy supply in terms of countries, regions, and sources;
  • to increase the share of renewables, lignite coal-fired power plants and include the nuclear in energy mix; and
  • to take significant steps to increase energy efficiency.

As importing the majority of its energy supply (more than 75%) imposes a heavy burden on its balance of payments, Turkey has a definite priority to reduce import dependency in energy. Recently, there has been a rapid expansion of coal exploration and coal-fired power generation throughout the country. Although it also has ambitious plans for deployment of renewable energy, these are likely to be compromised by the continued existence of subsidies to coal-fired power generation and coal mining, including the recently introduced regional development package with investment support and loan guarantees. However, debate over subsidy reform is hindered by lack of transparent data about the magnitude and impacts of these subsidies.

A recent report developed by the Global Subsidies Initiative (GSI) and their partners in Turkey (Acar, Kitson and Bridle, 2015) establishes a detailed account of the current level of knowledge around the role of subsidies to coal and identifies particular subsidies for which direct cost estimates are not available. To begin with, the government provides generous support to the hard coal sector via direct transfers from the Treasury. The summary table below displays how these transfers reached a level of around US$300 million in 2013. Besides, consumer subsidies (coal aid to poor families) amounted up to more than US$390 million in the same year. Additionally, the coal sector is supported via the following measures and regulations):

  • In 2012, Turkey introduced the New Investment Incentive Scheme, which is comprised of various instruments to promote different industries. Coal exploration and production as well as investments in coal-fired power plants are categorized as “priority investments” and receive subsidies in the form of Customs Duty Exemptions, Value Added Tax Exemptions, Tax Reductions, Social Security Premium Support (Employer’s Share), Land Allocation and Interest Support, with the terms and rates of support depending on the region .
  • R&D expenditure: The government supports the fossil fuel sector with R&D expenditures. Among various fuels, coal receives the highest level of expenditures for this purpose. The International Energy Agency (IEA) reports that 2.6 million Turkish lira (TL) was spent on coal R&D by the government in 2009. (No data was available after this year.)
  • Rehabilitation Support: As part of the privatization process, the Turkish government funded the rehabilitation of hard coal mines and coal power stations.
  • Government support for exploration: The Strategic Plan 2010-2014 of the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources (MENR, 2010, p. 41) documents its coal, oil and gas exploration budgets as displayed in the table below. The annual budget varied between 35 million and 51 million TL (approximately US$23 million to US$34 million) in the plan period.
  • Government expenditure on coal-fired power stations: Planned budgetary expenditure for new coal power plants was calculated as 28 million TL (~US$15 million) for 2013 and estimated at 31 million TL (~US$14 million) for 2014. These include the new domestic coal thermal plants of 3,500 MW to be completed by the end of 2013 (MENR, 2010).
  • Investment guarantees to coal power plants over 15-20 years of their operational life (e.g., Cayirhan and Iskenderun thermal plants).
  • Guaranteed price and purchase of electricity for certain periods of time are offered by the government to projects including investments in lignite coal-fired power generation.
  • Exemptions from environmental regulation: There are several reported examples of lax environmental regulations or straight-out failure to enforce the existing regulations and standards.

The report further highlights that the quantifiable subsidies to the coal sector result in a per-kWh subsidy of around US$0.01, which increases to US$0.02 per kWh when consumer subsidies are included. A total of US$730 million accrued to the coal sector in the form of subsidies in 2013 (Acar, Kitson and Bridle, 2015, p. 10). Needless to say, this number demonstrates an underestimation of the total subsidy amount since it excludes investment guarantees, the regional incentive scheme measures, price and purchase guarantees, permissive environmental impact assessment (EIA) procedures, etc. When remaining informational barriers are addressed, it will prove easier to show that these subsidies cannot be justified in financial, social or environmental terms.

Subsidies applicable to the coal sector in Turkey


Source: Acar, S., Kitson, L. and Bridle, R. (2015) Subsidies to Coal and Renewable Energy in Turkey. International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)-Global Subsidies Initiative (GSI) Report, p. 11).


* Coal exploration, production and investments in coal-fired power plants are subsidized within the Regional Investment Incentive Scheme, which offers subsidies in the form of Customs Duty Exemption, VAT Exemption, Tax Reduction, Social Security Premium Support (Employer’s Share), Land Allocation and Interest Support.

** The numbers include estimated coal, oil and gas exploration budgets of the MENR from 2010 to 2014 as recorded in the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources Strategic Plan 2010–2014.

*** The numbers represent planned budgetary expenditures for coal power plants for 2010– 2014 as stated in Target 1.2: New domestic coal thermal plants of 3,500 MW will be completed by the end of 2013 (MENR, 2010). The amount of subsidy within these budgets is not known.

Measures by other G20 countries

On the other hand, energy and energy subsidy policies of the other G20 members widely vary. For instance, Germany has committed to increase the share of renewable energy sources to 40-45% in 2025 and 80% in 2050 as well as to enhance energy efficiency. Besides, it aims to lessen its dependence on imports of oil and gas. However, the country still remains the biggest supporter of coal in Europe having spent €3 billion for coal production in 2012. In comparison, the United States focuses more on energy productivity and innovation. In its new policy actions, it pledges to eliminate $4 billion in taxpayer subsidies to the oil, gas and other fuel producers while extending the renewable electricity production tax credit permanently.

China’s growth strategy (2014) anticipated that energy consumption per unit of GDP would decline by more than 3% in 2014 and energy savings would be encouraged. The country intends to “promote the development of the green industry and provide more support to new energy, energy-saving and environmentally friendly technologies and products; actively carry forward pilot projects on the using and trading of emission rights, encourage energy saving and emission reduction” (p. 4). India takes similar steps towards promoting clean and efficient energy by promoting ultra mega solar power projects in different regions. However, the Indian government continues to provide substantive subsidies to the electricity sector and petroleum products, which are hard to estimate as electricity policies and tariff rates vary among states and consumer groups. Finally, South Africa has plans to reform the energy sector via ensuring security of electricity supply to support economic growth and development and the formulation of legislation allowing exploratory drilling for coal seam and shale gas reserves and draft regulations and other legislation for utilization of shale gas.. The country’s growth strategy does not articulate any attempts to depart from fossil fuel dependence apart from increasing the share of gas and renewables in the energy mix.

Concluding remarks

Fossil fuel subsidies have the potential to compromise the environment, disrupt the development of low carbon technologies, and undermine public finances. In 2009, the G20 leaders committed to “rationalize and phase out over the medium term inefficient FFS that encourage wasteful consumption”. The ongoing G20 agenda and the upcoming G20 summit in Antalya stand as unique opportunities to act on this promise, beginning with solid definitions of fossil fuel subsidies; comprehensive data collection; and vigorous peer review of subsidy cuts, including penalties for non-compliance.


Acar, S., Kitson, L. and Bridle, R. 2015. Subsidies to Coal and Renewable Energy in Turkey. International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)-Global Subsidies Initiative (GSI) Report. Available at http://www.iisd.org/gsi/subsidies-coal-and-renewable-energy-turkey

G20. 2009. Leaders Statement of G20 Pittsburgh Summit, September 24-25, Pittsburgh. Available at: https://www.g20.org/official_resources/leadersE28099_statement_pittsburgh_summit

G20. 2014. G20 Growth Strategies 2014 – Country Strategy Reports. Available at https://g20.org/resources/current-presidency/g20-growth-strategy-2014/

Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources (MENR). 2010. Institutional Strategic Plan 2010–2014.

Review of Massimo Rosati / Alessandro Ferrara (2015) The Making of a Post-secular Society: A Durkheimian Approach to Memory, Pluralism and Religion in Turkey, Ashgate, ISBN: 978-1-4724-2312-2, 320.

By Sevket Sefa (PhD candidate at Humboldt University Berlin)

PPCspine22mmIn his last work, most of which was completed right before his unexpected death, Rosati applies a Durkheimian theoretical analysis to the case of Turkey which is in the process of transformation from a Kemalist view of secularism to a post-Kemalist view of the religious and cultural diversity in social and political life (p.119). In this sense, this study using Turkey as an illustrative case, focuses on the practices and rituals that stimulate dynamism of the symbols and transform the central value systems (p.7). In this study, he employs the current theoretical approaches mostly from Durkheimian sociological framework on the formation of the central value systems, de-privatization of the religion, establishment of post-secular sanctuaries, functionality and dynamism of memories and the rituals. While he does not remain in the theoretical analysis of the transformation of the value systems, he elaborates on the laboratory of Turkey which is for him a perfect case study for analyzing the formation of the post-secular and multicultural society due to the ‘conflicts and unusual merging and mixing of traditionally polarized actors’ and their ‘potent symbols’ (p.2). However, a more significant thing that makes him study the Turkish case is the recent reformations in Turkey during the AK Party governments. In this process, plurality and neo-Ottomanism became the central issues that contributed the formation of post-secular society. Thus, the main objective of the book is to shed light on the emergence of the post-secular society through the case of Turkey. In his analysis of the memorial of Hrant Dink, he employs almost all of the instruments that he introduced in the theoretical chapters of the book such as collective memory, ritualization, formation of symbols and the social construction of the victimhood. Here, he does not only show the formation of the post-secular sanctuary; but he also elaborates on its function as constructing the post-secular society. His ethnographic work in the memorial site enriches the content and the quality of the analysis. Stemming from this civil societal movement, Rosati claims: ‘Hrant Dink is a symbol of the post-Kemalist Turkey’ (p.231). He observes the emergence of ‘new standards of morality, new ultimate sacred postulates and a new regulatory hierarchy’ founding the post-Kemalist, post-secular Turkey. Although this is enough to understand Rosati’s important contribution to the study of the formation of post-secular societies, other cases contribute to the main argument in varying degrees due to mainly their dependence on secondary sources and interviews with journalists.

The theoretical part of the study defines the Shils’ center-periphery model, concepts of post-secular, Rappaport’s ‘cybernetics of holy’, sacred space, collective memory, and main theories of Durkheimian studies and tends to systematize all those theoretical insights. This tendency on the one hand makes the study easy to be grasped; on the other hand, it reinforces the risk of freezing such dynamic concepts as the post-secular. Despite the well-established analysis of the term, it might have been limited and somehow sterilized from its current enhancement, for example by the global turn to political conservatism (Braidotti 2008, p.5).

He was able to easily depict the anatomy of the post-secular sanctuary in his analysis of Hrant Dink’s memorial with the great help of his field work. In other cases, especially the transformation of the Atatürk as the old symbol, he might have relied too much on secondary sources, the works of other scholars, the comments of journalists and official documents. This methodological choice might challenge the authenticity of the work and make the other cases less attractive for the readers.

This book advances a great contribution to the discussion of the dichotomy of the secular and religious. It does not only bring a different and critical insight to the debate, it also exemplifies its argument by revealing through the case of Turkey that something is happening out of this classical dichotomy. Thus, he reveals the different organization of central value systems which lets the plurality and coexistence of the secular and the traditional, constituting the central value creating its own collective memories and sanctuaries. Therefore, during the deadlock of Turkey’s accession negotiations with the European Union and the increasing negative perceptions on both sides towards both Europe and Turkey, the release of this book would contribute to the changing visions – on both sides – regarding the pluralities and coexistence of societies, minority and religious freedoms.

Rosati’s well-structured theoretical framework based on the Durkheimian studies merging with the Gramscian approach of ‘cultural hegemony’ and the critical concept of the ‘post-secular’ makes this book very useful and valuable for the further employment of its theoretical approach. Also, his field observations and analysis of Dink’s memorial with many photos from the site strengthen his arguments. Yet, his insufficient contributions to Özyürek’s analysis of the new symbolism of Atatürk or Mattalucci-Yılmaz’s creation of the ancestor (Ata) from a dead person as well as his over-reliance on English sources and the journalists of Today’s Zaman in some chapters, limited discussions of Gezi protests regarding the complexities of the secular/Islamic divide may be regarded as some of the weaknesses of the study.

Overall, Rosati’s book makes an important contribution to the literature on the post-secular studies. In this sense, it could be useful for the students and scholars of theology, humanities and social sciences especially for those who are interested in the post-secular studies, Durkheimian studies, minority, religion, diversity, Turkish and European studies. The charts, graphs and the simple language used in the book while explaining and illustrating theoretical points can also help other interested readers to more easily understand certain key sociological concepts.


Braidotti, Rosi (2008) “In Spite of the Times The Postsecular Turn in Feminism.” Theory, culture & society 25(6): 1-24.


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