Feeds:
Posts
Comments

by Umut Can Adısönmez (Research Associate)

Ali BilgicAli Bilgiç is Assistant Professor at the Department of International Relations, Bilkent University, Ankara. His research interests include critical approaches to security, feminist security studies, social movements, Turkey’s foreign policy, and the European Union’s external relations. He is the author of Rethinking Security in the Age of Migration: Trust and Emancipation in Europe (Routledge, 2013), and Turkey, Power and the West: Gendered International Relations and Foreign Policy (I.B. Tauris, 2016). His articles have appeared in the peer-reviewed journals Security Dialogue, Review of International Studies, International Relations, Eurasia Geography and Economics (co-authored), Journal of Southeast European and Black Sea Studies, Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies and International Migration. He is currently co-investigator in a project entitled ‘Exploring Civil Society Strategies for Democratic Renewal’, funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). In addition, he is an Associate Researcher in a British Academy-funded project entitled ‘Alliances and Trust-building in International Politics’.

Could you please tell us about your background and previous studies?

Since 2011 I have been Assistant Professor at the Department of International Relations, Bilkent University, Ankara. I completed my PhD at the Department of International Politics, Aberystwyth University, in 2010. My PhD thesis engaged with irregular migration to Europe, and focused on how EU policies against irregular migration produce insecurities for both EU citizens and irregular migrants, namely the group that includes potential refugees. Prior to my PhD, I completed a Master’s degree in European Politics at the University of Lund, Sweden. I wrote my MA dissertation on the securitization of migration across three comparative case studies.

What are the deficiencies in Turkish academic literature related to your field?

International Relations (IR) scholarship is relatively recent in Turkey, but it has developed immensely in the last two decades, both qualitatively and quantitatively. Once dominated by diplomatic history, Turkey’s IR scholarship is now producing theoretically-informed analyses with rich empirical cases. Notably, the increase in the number of students from Turkey who obtained their PhDs from North American and European universities has positively affected IR in Turkey.

That said, I cannot claim that theoretical diversity is fully reflected in the scholarship. For example, postcolonial studies did not exist until recently. This is very interesting, given that Turkey has itself been subjected to certain dynamics of colonial relations, although it has never been colonized itself. Another lacking area in Turkey is that of feminist international relations. This is one of the reasons why I have directed my research to this area. It is of utmost importance to maintain disciplinary diversity and pluralism in order to prevent gatekeepers from deciding what constitutes IR knowledge in a manner of ‘feudal lords’. This is also a matter of academic freedom.

Another problem I have observed in certain segments of Turkey’s academic literature is ideologically-loaded arguments. This is partly because of the current domestic political situation that pushes people to take sides; it also pushes different groups to read and pick the part of the work that fits their respective ideological stances. I think we have a long way to go to handle this issue.

Could you recommend any articles or books that were published recently?

One of my favourite recently-published books is Rethinking Gender in Revolutions and Resistance: Lessons from the Arab World, edited by Maha El Said, Lena Meari, and Nicola Pratt. The collection explores how gender and sexuality politics work in revolutionary processes and/or through resistance, the performative role of gender in politics, and how women generate resistance strategies against patriarchy, militarism, violence, and fundamentalism. I particularly enjoy reading this type of work that brings politics down from the clouds and firmly to the ground. International politics produces and is produced by individuals in their daily lives; it shapes our lives, our choices, and our future as members of a global human community. Feminist IR, for me, is the best approach that internalizes this explicitly normative and political idea.

Could you please tell us about your recent work and your future plans in the field?

My research concentrates on interdisciplinary applications of feminist theories. I analyse global West/non-West relations from the perspective of feminist post-colonialism. Stemming from this theoretical perspective, I have been examining Turkey’s relations with the West and non-West for the first time in the literature. This perspective is applied in my second book, Turkey, Power and the West: Gendered International Relations and Foreign Policy (IB Tauris, 2016). In addition, I applied this perspective in scholarly articles on Turkey–Greece relations (International Relations, 2015) and on Euro-Mediterranean security relations after the Arab Spring (Mediterranean Politics, 2015).

The second area of my research is trust-building as a way to construct common security in inter-societal conflicts. In my first book, Rethinking Security in the Age of Migration: Trust and Emancipation in Europe (Routledge, 2013), I developed a theoretical perspective with reference to the ways of trust-learning between irregular migrants from sub-Saharan Africa and local communities in Europe. My work on trust has inspired me to study the role of emotions in politics in general.

I am currently working on global social resistance movements with specific reference to how women and members of LGBTQI claim their political power through these resistance movements. I am particularly interested in how feminist intersectionality can be rethought in the light of the insights of post-Marxist approaches.

I believe that these three areas will continue to dominate my research agenda.

Dr. Deniz Karaoglan got her B.A and M.A degrees from Bilkent University Economics Department in 2007 and 2009 respectively. She got her Ph.d degree from Middle East Technical University in September 2015. She worked as teaching and research assistant in Bilkent University,karaoglan Yasar University, Hacettepe University and Middle East Technical University between 2007 and 2015. Now, she is working as part-time instructor in Middle East Technical University, Economics Department. She is expected to work as post-doctoral research associate in the University of York, UK, beginning from March 2016. Her main interests are health economics, education economics, microeconometrics, labor economics, applied microeconomic theory, time series and international economics. Dr. Karaoglan has publications on female labor force participation and international economics in SSCI journals.

The relationship between health and education has been examined widely in the literature. The association between health and education is simply called  “education gradient of health”. Grossman (1972) is one of the earliest papers that provide formal explanations of the observed differences in health outcomes by education. Recent studies which examine the validity of education gradient of health include Eide and Showalter (2011), Brunello et al. (2015), Kemptner et al. (2011), Fonseca and Zheng (2011), Silles (2009), Cutler and Llearas Muney (2010), Grossman(2008), Conti et al. (2010), Arendt (2005), Llears-Muney (2005) and Adams (2002). All of these studies find positive association between the individual’s health outcome and education level. The possible mechanisms for the positive relationship between health and education can be listed as follows: First, education results in greater access to health care. Second, since educated people have better jobs they work in safer environments, they are provided with better health insurance. Third, education offers better futures, thus, the individuals are more likely to invest in their health to protect that future. Finally, more educated people are better informed, hence, they make use of new health related information first.  (Cutler and Llears Muney, 2010). The relationship between individual’s health outcome and education level is examined widely for developed countries. However, there is less evidence on this issue for developing countries. The aim of this study is to examine the causal relationship between health and education in Turkey which is a middle-income, developing country.

In this study, a descriptive analysis is provided in order to test the validity of the education gradient of health in Turkey for the individuals who are above 25 years of age since approximately at age 25 individuals complete their schooling in Turkey.  By restricting the sample to individuals who are 25 or over it is expected to circumvent the problem of individuals who have not yet completed their education. For the analysis,  the Turkish Health Survey (THS) is pooled for the years 2008, 2010 and 2012 prepared by Turkish Statistical Institute (TURKSTAT).  THS is a rich micro data set which consists of 46,473 observations for the three years for individuals 25 and over. The pooled sample consists of 21,015 observations for men and 25,458 observations for women. Individual’s Self-Assessed Health Status (SAH), smoking, alcohol consumption, obesity and the usage of preventative health care services are used as the health outcomes throughout the analysis.

Figure 1. How do the individuals above 25 feel themselves in Turkey?

karaoglan_1

Figure 2. SAH and Education Level in Turkey

karaoglan_2

Figure 1 reflects that 59.28 per cent of the individuals who are 25 years old or older report that their health statuses are good or very good in Turkey. Figure 2 suggests that in Turkey the prevalence of reporting very good and good health is highest among the individuals who have university or higher degree. It is observed that observe that the frequency of reporting very poor and poor health is highest among the illiterate individuals. The figure clearly reflects the fact that higher levels of education lead to increase in the frequency of reporting very good and good health and they lead to decrease in the occurrence of reporting very poor and poor health. Therefore, the descriptive statistics indicate the positive association between SAH and education level in Turkey.

Smoking is one of the most harmful health behaviors. Regular smokers are in great risk for cardiovascular disease, chronic lung disease and several types of cancer (Stewart et al., 2009; Chalupka and Warner, 2000). In THS data set smoking does not imply tobacco consumption only. It also includes other types of tobacco products such as cigars. An individual is defined as smoker if he/she reports that he/she has been a regular smoker and he/she currently smokes.

Figure 3. Prevalence of Smoking by Education Level in Turkey

karaoglan_3

Figure 3 reveals that probability of being smoker rises with education levels at the bottom education degrees and the prevalence of smoking is the highest among middle school graduates. However, the ratio of smoking decreases if the individual has higher degrees than middle school. It is observed that the ratio of the individuals who report that they are regular smokers decreases to 30.42 per cent among the university graduates. Therefore, it is possible to state that the awareness of dangers of smoking increases with higher education levels.

According the OECD (2014) Health Data set, only 1.4 per cent of adult population in Turkey consumes alcohol. This amount is very low compared to other OECD countries. The low percentage of alcohol consumption in Turkey is most probably due to religious traditions which prohibit alcohol consumption. Similarly, in THS the proportion of daily alcohol drinkers is very low, less than one percent  (0.5 per cent, 0.4 per cent and 0.2 per cent in 2008, 2010 and 2012 respectively). In order to capture the variation in alcohol consumption, the daily and occasional alcohol drinkers are combined and call them as “alcohol drinkers” in our analysis. In other words, an individual is referred as alcohol drinker if the individual states that he/she currently consumes alcohol regularly or occasionally.

Figure 4. Prevalence of Alcohol Consumption by Education Level in Turkey

karaoglan_4

Figure 4 reveals that the occurrence of alcohol consumption   increases as level of education increases and it is highest among the university or higher graduates. This interesting result can be explained by three facts: First, people who have higher degrees are more involved in social networking activities, and they can drink more in these kinds of activities. Second, the people who have higher degrees of education can be more comfortable to state that they are regular or occasional alcohol consumers. Third, as Kenkel (1991) suggests, more educated people may know that some drink is good for health, hence they drink more than the others.

Obesity is an increasing health problem in Turkey. It is important to analyze the determinants of obesity as it is a major source of certain diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and joint problems (Stewart et al., 2009).  OECD (2012) Health Data indicate that 17.2 percent of working age population in Turkey is considered to be obese. BMI is used as a tool for determining if an individual is overweight or obese. An individual is considered as obese if his/her BMI is greater than 30, overweight if his/her BMI is greater than 25 and underweight if his/her BMI is under 18.5 according to World Health Organization (WHO) criteria. The BMI in our study is computed from the self-reported height (in centimeters) and weight (in kilograms) in the THS.  An individual’s BMI is calculated by dividing the self-reported weight of respondent (in kilograms) to the square of the self-reported height in meters.

Figure 5. Prevalence of Obesity by Education Level in Turkeykaraoglan_5

Figure 6 reveals that the prevalence of obesity decreases by education level and it is higher among illiterate and non-graduate individuals. The figure shows that the occurrence of obesity is lowest among the university graduates. Hence, it is possible to say that the awareness of dangers of obesity increases with higher education levels. Of course, one should note that people with lower education levels generally have lower earnings. Therefore, they cannot purchase foods with protein easily, instead they have to buy foods with high glycemic indices such as bread, sugar, patato, etc…These kinds of foods  cause them to gain weight. In addition, those people do not have enough chance to exercise, which can fasten their metabolism.

Cutler and Llears-Muney (2010) claim that people with higher education are more careful about the usage of preventative services. They prove their claim by using the US data set. The same result is expected for Turkey also, since it is widely acceptable that higher educated individuals are making more investments to their health, so take care of themselves more than the others. In this study measuring the blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar as well as having regular controls of prostate (for males) and mammography and smear (for females) are considered as preventative health care services.

Figure 6. The Usage of Preventative Health Care Services by Education Level in Turkey (Blood Pressure, Blood Sugar and Cholesterol)

karaoglan_6

 

Figure 7. The Usage of Preventative Health Care Services by Education Level in Turkey (Prostate (Males), Mammography and Smear (Females))

karaoglan_7

Figure 6 reveals that the prevalence of measuring the blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol is highest among the individuals with lowest degrees of education and it decreases by education level. However, the ratio of using these services increases if the individual has higher than middle school degree. In fact, the investigation of the correlation between the usage of these services and SAH indicates that it is negative, which implies, people who are already ill make use of preventative health care services. It is not surprising that people who have lower levels of education (thus, most probably lower earnings) have worse health conditions. Nevertheless, the increase in usage of these services among higher educated individuals reflects the increase in awareness.

Regarding the other controls, it is observed that the awareness of the importance of having regular mammography and smear controls increases as the education level increases among females. Related to males, it is observed that having prostate control is higher among the males who are illiterate or do not have degree. However, the prevalence of  prostate control increases if the male has university or higher degree. Similar to the other controls, a negative association between having the genital controls and SAH is observed. Therefore, having higher levels of prostate controls among lower educated groups can be attributed to the having health problems. Therefore, in Turkey it is possible to conclude that people prefer to use preventative health care services when they are ill, however higher individuals are more likely to use these services due to higher awareness.

As a conclusion, the frequency of reporting very good and good SAH increases by education level in Turkey. It is also observed that having higher levels of education has preventative effects on reducing the risky behaviors such as smoking and having high levels of BMI. However, it is concluded that alcohol consumption increases by education level in Turkey. Lastly, it is possible to state that the awareness of using the preventative health care services is highest among the individuals who have university or higher degrees.

 

References

Adams, S.J. (2002) “Educational Attainment and Health: Evidence from A Sample of Older Adults.” Education Economics 10 (1): 97-109.

Arendt, J. N. (2005) “Does Education Cause Better Health? A Panel Data Analysis Using School Reforms for Identification.” Economics of Education Review 24(2): 149-160.

Brunello, G., M. Fort, N. Schneeweis and R. Winter-Ebmer (2015). “The Causal Effect of Education on Health: What is the Role of Health Behaviors?.” Health Economics. (Published online DOI: 10.1002/hec.3141)

Chaloupka, F. J., and K. E. Warner “The Economics of Smoking.” Handbook of Health Economics Vol.1. Ed. A.J. Culyer and J.P.Newhouse. Amsterdam: Elsevier. 2000. 1539-1627.

Conti, G., J. Heckman and S. Urzua (2010) “The Education-Health Gradient.” American Economic Review 100 (2): 234-238.

Cutler, D. M. and A. Lleras-Muney  (2010) “Understanding Differences in Health Behaviors by Education”, Journal of Health Economics 29(1):1-28.

Eide, E.R. and M.H. Showalter (2011) “Estimating the Relation between Health and Education: What Do We Know and What Do We Need to Know?” Economics of Education Review 30 (5):778-791.

Fonseca, R. and Y. Zheng. (2011) “The Effect of Education on Health Cross-Country Evidence,” RAND Labor and Population Working Paper WR-864. Santa Monica.

Grossman, M. (1972) “On the Concept of Health Capital and The Demand for Health,” Journal of Political Economy 80 (2): 223-255.

Grossman, M. (2008) “The Relationship between Health and Schooling”, Eastern Economic Journal  34 (3): 281-292.

Kemptner,D., H. Jürges and S. Reinhold (2011) “Changes in Compulsory Schooling and the Causal Effect of Education on Health: Evidence from Germany”, Journal of Health Economics 30 (2): 340-354.

Kenkel, D. S. (1991) “Health Behavior, Health Knowledge, and Schooling,” Journal of Political Economy 99(2): 287-305.

Lleras-Muney, A., (2005) “The Relationship between Education and Adult Mortality in the U.S.” Review of Economic Studies 72 (1): 189-221.

OECD Health Data Set from: http:// stats.oecd.org. (Accessed on December 2015).

Silles, M. A. (2009) “The Causal Effect of Education on Health: Evidence from the United Kingdom,” Economics of Education Review 28 (1):122-128.

Stewart, S. T., D. M. Cutler, and A. B. Rosen (2009) “Forecasting the Effects of Obesity and Smoking on US Life Expectancy.” New England Journal of Medicine 361 (23): 2252-2260.

 

 

 

Spyridon N. Litsas and Aristotle Tziampiris (eds.), The Eastern Mediterranean in Transition: Multipolarity, Politics and Power, Ashgate, Farnham, 2015

Reviewed by Nikos Christofis (Fatih University)

Following the end of the Cold War there was a constant fluctuation in the global status quo that had yet to crystallize. The events of 9/11, which triggered the American decision to invade Iraq and eventually led to the outbreak of the Arab uprisings, together with the most recent terrorist attacks in France and other chains of events such as the militarization and securitization of France and other countries aGeneric series 1146nd the former’s alliance with Russia to fight ISIS, are just some of the most important events representing the global political landscape which is directly linked to the Middle East and the Eastern Mediterranean. It is this geographical region which is addressed in the present study, The Eastern Mediterranean in Transition, compiled by Spyridon Litsas and Aristotle Tziampiris.

As the title of the books states, the entire region is in transition. All the contributions in the volume with the exception of two that deal with more of a theoretical framework take up a specific country of the region, and some of them offer up solutions or suggest ways to diffuse the explosive environments apparent in their case studies. Also, some of the chapters explicitly or implicitly adopt a multipolar approach or acknowledge that such an approach is perhaps the best possible way to sustain peace in the region. As Spyridon Litsas argues in the first chapter of the book, in a multipolar system the outbreak of war is less likely as “multipolarity is a rather hostile environment for the flourishing of total war phenomena” (p. 14).

The following chapter, written by Panayiotis Ifestos, outlines the fundamental trends in international politics that have influenced the transitory stage evident in the post-Cold War era. Through the identification of four main hypotheses, Ifestos argues that, in comparison with the international system of the nineteenth century, the twenty-first century international system will give rise to a much more complex international environment which, if the current system follows a similar path as the one that existed before (a system in which the main actors were vast empires), will be even more pervasive because “a multipolar world in an international system of almost 200 sovereign states and some rising regional powers is inevitably more unpredictable and unstable” (p. 23). Ifestos then goes on to argue that a new status quo is thus likely to emerge in the Eastern Mediterranean.

From chapter three onwards, each contribution deals with a case study. Russian foreign policy in the Eastern Mediterranean since the end of the Cold War is taken up in chapter three, which was written by Pavel Shlykov. The author identifies three distinct periods distinguished by both the presence and activity of Russia in the region: the stage of retreat (the 1990s), the phase of recovery (first decade of the 2000s), and the years of global destabilization after the Arab uprisings. This major contribution to the field brings into the picture Russia’s relations with Egypt, Syria, Turkey, Greece and Israel, and also issues such as energy and military security, which, along with the changing environment of the region, have influenced Russia’s role in the region. Chapters four and six, written by Akis Kalaitzidis and Nikolaos Zahariadis respectively, focus on American influence in the region. Both contributions focus on American foreign policy under the Obama administration give the reader a well-informed picture of US involvement. At the same time they are both critical of the Obama administration in the sense that, as Kalaitzidis very eloquently points out, “[the Obama administration] embraced a middle of the road centrist approach which failed to produce any result leaving most commentators wondering if the US really has a plan” (p. 59). Christina Lin’s chapter examines the rise of China and its willingness to play a greater role in the region. As military tensions in the entire region have increased, especially in the aftermath of the Arab uprisings, China’s role has also been influenced by American interests. Furthermore, Lin offers an interesting account of how China’s active role in a NATO-dominated region poses challenges for traditional regional powers, such as the US and Europe and even NATO itself.

Chapters seven and twelve bring Cyprus into the picture. Ilias Kouskouvelis focuses on “smart” leadership in Cyprus to demonstrate that apart from their size, small states can play an important role in the international system (the qualification “small” being applied to “leadership” and not to the “state,” as the author highlights). He acquaints readers with the theory of small states and their leadership and shows that although they lack hard power, small states may possess “other means through which they can increase their power” (p. 94). In the Cyprus case, through consecutive cases of “smart” leadership (Glafkos Clerides, Tassos Papadopoulos and Dimitris Christofias) this was achieved by the exploitation of Cyprus’ energy resources. As a result, there is space for institutional preparation and hostility management, and at the same time Cyprus has brought into the picture powerful actors such as the US and Russia while also bringing into being alliances and the establishment of cooperative efforts (such as with Israel). The chapter by Constantinos Adamides and Odysseas Christou also deals with Cyprus but applies a Regional Security Complex Theory (RSCT) methodology to energy securitization and how that has led to the emergence of new regional security complexes. The authors present three possible scenarios as the regional balance of power undergoes a transformation: 1. Israel excludes Turkey and Cyprus, 2. Israel works with the Republic of Cyprus, and 3. Israel and Turkey cooperate; in the last scenario, Israel plays a pivotal role. Unlike with the case of Kouskouvelis, who emphasizes “smart” leadership and therefore the idea that the state can play an important role in the emerging regional system, it seems that Adamides and Christou focus on the powerful players in an attempt to predict the possible outcomes of alliances.

The Arab Uprisings and the Middle East are the focus of several chapters in the book. Raymond Hinnebusch’s account of the general environment in the region produced by the Arab uprisings shows how new dynamics emerged such as street politics and sectarian conflicts that weakened states; indeed, the uprisings marked the most powerful attempts in decades to transform regional politics and they eventually provoked a “New Cold War” among global powers. However, according to Hinnebusch although these dynamics failed to produce sweeping changes as a deep structure due to power balancing—“mutual checkmating” as the author calls it (p. 129)—state apparatuses became entrenched and increasing fragmentation occurred, and in the process agency was defeated. Stacey Gutkowski’s chapter takes up the cases of Egypt and Jordan in terms of danger and safety and how these issues were conceived and negotiated by citizens. The author rightly argues that such studies which focus on people’s perceptions are seriously lacking in the literature. In this informative and engaging chapter, Gutkowski concludes that the Egyptian and Jordanian cases “suggest that feelings of citizen safety may overlap with but are by no means congruent with regime security measures or state stability” (italics per the original; p. 157). Thanks to its approach, Amikam Nachmani’s chapter is also quite captivating. Nachmani focuses on the vicious weapon of the rape of girls and women in times of war and civil strife, as well as throughout history. Taking up the act of rape as a weapon in daily life and in times of war, as well as its cultural aspects in diverse cases from the Yugoslav war to the civil war in Syria to Libya, Nachmani notably associates rape with genocide, as women are seen as being in charge of the demography of a given ethnic group (p. 199) and as being closely connected to issues such as ethnicity and nationalism. The last chapter, which deals specifically with a Middle Eastern country, was written by Ghoncheh Tazmini. Focusing on Iran’s foreign policy, Tazmini describes the broader subterranean shifts that have taken place in Iran’s modern history and he shows how “the historical baggage Iran carries with itself” (p. 217) reflects the transformations Iran has undergone. The author argues that Iran has faced a historical “moment” as the new leadership of the state is taking up a more integrative approach to development, one that is more “normal”—that is, adaptive—as regards present-day conditions. Tazmini argues that Rouhani’s policy and attempts to consolidate a new model of normality that combines Western-inspired reforms with Iran’s distinctive culture, history and place in the world should be explained through such a prism.

The remaining four chapters of the book deal with Turkey and Israel. Ilter Turan’s chapter about Turkish foreign policy under the AKP administration asks whether the foreign policy of the AKP is undergoing major shifts, and if so, in what direction and why. Starting with a round of electoral wins in 2002 and since then dominating the political landscape of the country, the AKP has adopted a foreign policy that can be divided into three stages, each one of them roughly corresponding to a victory at the ballot box. While the AKP initially remained loyal to the previous governments’ foreign policy agenda, since 2007 there has been a clear emphasis on trying to take on the role of regional leader by acting as a mediator in conflicts taking place in the region. In this way, the AKP has tried to make itself indispensable for both Middle Eastern countries and Western ones, most notably Europe and the US. As the author rightly argues, although initially successful in promoting itself as regional power, Turkey exaggerated its ability to shape outcomes alone due to overconfidence and stubbornness, leading to a continuing state of “loneliness” in 2011. In chapter eleven, Aslı Tunç takes an interesting approach to the Gezi Park protests which took place in Istanbul in the summer of 2013 by examining social media. Central to her approach is the concept of Generation Y or the Millennial Generation, the first generation to have spent their entire lives with social media, which Turkey increasingly became familiar with during the Gezi Park protests. This chapter looks at the general profiles of Generation Y in Turkey and their internet use patterns, providing valuable data on the Gezi Park protesters such as age and education levels, two factors that also explain why Turkish youth, apart from the distrust and opposition they feel towards the government, do not trust the media, which lacks objectivity. A survey revealed that 69% of the participants said they look to social media and not national television to get informed (p. 165). It should not come as a surprise then that the Gezi protesters were informed about the initial police attacks and other events through social media, which led the Turkish government to censor the internet. According to a recent survey, Turkey is the top-ranking country in terms of Twitter censorship.[i] Tunç demonstrates how Generation Y practiced a new kind of politics during the protests in a new era of protest and political activism that Turkish youth desired.

The last two chapters of the book examine Israel and its role in the Eastern Mediterranean. The first of these, written by Aharon Klieman, focuses on the strategic opportunities and challenges Israel faces in the region as maritime rivalry for strategic assets is on the rise again, while the final chapter of the book—written by one of the editors, Aristotle Tziampiris—focuses on Israeli-Greek rapprochement. Although for decades the Greek government has viewed the state of Israel with suspicion, a new era in relations between the two countries emerged, albeit slowly, in 1990. It was only after 2009 that a multifaceted approach to rapprochement eventually took place, and this was also affected by the deterioration of Israeli-Turkish relations and the fact that Ankara was trying to become a regional power. Tziampiris presents a number of correct observations and hypotheses, such as the rise of the neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn, which came third in the last elections. Although the party has a strong anti-Semitic agenda, it is unlikely that the party will bring about any shifts in the country’s foreign policy; anti-Semitic attitudes are common in Greece, and it is the most anti-Semitic Europe (p. 248). The author correctly predicted that the left-wing Syriza party would win, as well as the fact that this victory would not affect Israeli-Greek relations, at least for the time being; however, it is highly unlikely that, despite the fact that such a rapprochement is favored also by the EU and the US, this will happen in the near future.

In conclusion, this volume is a welcome addition to the literature on the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East region and international relations. The multipolar approach used by the authors should be seriously taken into account as it provides, regardless of any objections that may be raised about it, valuable approaches and insights concerning the current state of the international system as it undergoes changes. Indeed, the Russian jet shot down by Turkish forces just a few days ago provides a case in point to see whether the arguments made by the authors of the book are valid or not. All of the chapters—some being stronger than others—are well-written and informed, and present the reader with a very good overall picture of the current system and status quo in the region.

[i] http://www.statista.com/chart/3727/share-of-all-twitter-content-removal-requests/

Excerpt from Oğuzhan Göksel (2015) “In Search of a Non-Eurocentric Understanding of Modernization: Turkey as a Case of ‘Multiple Modernities’“, Mediterranean Politics, DOI:10.1080/13629395.2015.1092293

This article uses the Turkish case of modernity to critically examine different understandings of modernization put forward by competing schools of thought, namely the ‘classical modernization theory’ [CMT], the ‘neo-modernization theory’ [NMT] and the ‘multiple modernities paradigm’ [MMP]. In the context of modernization studies, Turkey has long held a special place as numerous scholars have studied this country in an attempt to validate the ‘convergence thesis’ – namely the idea that once a nonwestern society launches a secularization and/or an industrialization programme, its political regime and socio-economic life would eventually resemble its western counterparts. Firstly, the three theories are comparatively analysed by discussing how they perceive the concept of modernity and its interaction with religion, economic development and democratization. Then, the theories are reviewed in light of the Turkish experience. It is argued that the Turkish modernity can be best comprehended through the lens of the multiple modernities paradigm that challenges the Eurocentric assumption of classical modernization and neomodernization theories based on the convergence thesis.…

An alternative to mainstream views within modernization studies FMEDemerged in the 1990s and 2000s with the multiple modernities paradigm. Unlike its rivals, MMP refrains from offering an exclusionary definition of modernity based on characteristics of western societies. Instead, the theory defines modernization as the unpredictable process of change a society experiences (Eisenstadt, 2000; Wagner, 2000: 2012). Since it does not define a clear ‘destination’ for modernization such as liberal democracy and capitalist economy, its framework is highly inclusive and its arguments harder to challenge.

In contrast to the widespread usage of CMT and NMT, MMP has not yet been holistically applied to a multi-dimensional study of the historical modernization trajectory that produced Turkish modernity, a gap that this article aims to fill. Three noteworthy works analyse Turkish modernity through the lens of MMP: Nilüfer Göle (2002), İbrahim Kaya (2004) and Masoud Kamali (2005). All three scholars examine the discourse regarding the link between Islam and modernity on the Turkish example. In contrast to these earlier works that mainly focus on religious interpretation and the so-called concept of Islamic modernity, this work studies the origins of Turkish modernity as a whole by tracing the trajectory of economic, socio-political and institutional development processes in light of MMP.…

It is important to note that to further specify the research inquiry, the article focuses on the experience of the Republic of Turkey from its foundation in 1923 until 2013 and the legacy of the Ottoman Empire is not studied in detail– though it is acknowledged when necessary at certain instances as the modernization of the country began in the late Ottoman era. As the three cases of modernization refer to the study of macro-processes such as industrialization, urbanization, secularization and democratization, the focus of the article is on showing how these phenomena have evolved over the years. As such, even though micro-elements of modernization such as the evolution of party politics are referred to in relevant instances, they do not constitute the focal points of the work. This article aims to contribute to the literature through re-examining the competing theories in light of Turkish modernity, arguing that MMP is a more appropriate framework to explain the phenomenon of modernization in the non-western world than its rivals. As the originality of the work is based on conceptual interpretation, it makes no pretence to offering new data such as unused archives or interviews.…

The rise of economically developed societies within the non-western world is given as the main reason that led to the manifestation of various types of modernities that diverge from the western model:

“As an alternative to Western modernity, there is not one later modernity, but multiple later modernities; for example, those of Russia, China, Turkey and Japan. Although they share some basic features, for example the fact that reactions against Western dominance played a significant part in their emergence, their specific contexts meant that they differed from one another too.” (Kaya, 2004: 31) …

CMT and NMT have long assumed that development would necessarily produce liberal democracy and that developing non-western countries would gradually converge towards western modernity. Compared to its development level, however, Turkey has very low democratic standards, since economically less-developed countries such as Niger have been assessed to possess similar democratic standards to Turkey (Goldsmith, 2007: 90–91).

As such, Turkish modernity can be said to have more in common with cases such as Russia, China and Singapore that also diverged from western modernity: these countries are not liberal democracies today, despite having high levels of development in terms of the criteria used by CMT and NMT. As explained in this article, MMP fully envisages the divergence of non-western cases from western modernity. This indicates that the future of modernization studies lies with MMP as this alternative theory of modernity offers a more accurate depiction of the complex transformation processes experienced in cases such as Turkey by acknowledging the possibility of unexpected results.

12307965_10103253529557623_9156097759558774457_o

Dr. Düzgün-Öncel is an assistant professor at Marmara University, Department of Economics.  She worked as research bdassistant at the same department between 2011 and 2015. Dr. Öncel-Dereli received her Bachelor’s (2006), MA (2008) and PhD (2014) degrees from Marmara University, Department of Economics as well. She was a visiting researcher at Universitat Pompeu Fabra during the summer 2007 and at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam during the 2013-2014 academic year. She also spent two years at Bonn Graduate School of Economics between 2008-2010 during her doctoral studies. Her PhD thesis was selected the best thesis of the year by Turkish Economic Association in 2014. Her research areas are health economics, labor economics, and female labor supply in a household context.

Huge literature on socio-economic inequalities reveals a persistent phenomenon of social  inequality in health in many countries, and people at low socio-economic status suffer a heavier burden of poor health than their better-off counterparts. In other words, many aspects of health determinants such as how health differs by socio-economic status (SES) over life cycle have been studied by this literature. Does the distribution of health change across generations? Do socio-economic disparities narrow or widen as people age? What dimensions of SES matter- financial aspects like income or wealth or non-financial aspects such as education? All of these questions address the strong relationship between health and socio-economic conditions in which individuals live and work both in rich and poor countries (Kunst and Mackenbach, 1994; Smith, 2004; Case and Deaton, 2005; Smith, 2007; Van Doorslear et al., 2008; Van Kippersluis et al., 2009; Willson et al., 2007). However analyzing socio-economic differences only at certain ages would lead to incomplete impression of the extent of health differences over the life course. Life cycle component to the SES gradient in health should be taken into account in order to reflect the  speed of decline of health by age groups.

Turkey has undergone substantial changes in health policy and retirement schemes in the last decades and debate goes on the age limit in retirement and pension systems. Two retirement reforms were passed in 1999 and 2008 that aim to regulate the retirement and work patterns and to increase retirement age. Additionally, three social security systems have been merged under one system which covers the whole population. These changes offer the importance of understanding fundamental structure of socio-economic status (SES) gradient in health in order to form an efficient public policy concerning retirement, pensions, health financing, health and social care.

This study aims to analyze the life cycle behavior of SES-health gradient in Turkey by using cross section data from 2010. The aim here is not to determine the causality from SES to health but to form a context that puts forward the magnitude and nature of SES gradient in health. The data used come from the wave of Turkstat Income and Living Conditions Survey (SILC) of Turkey for  2010. Since the analysis  focuses on adults, people under 25 are excluded.  Self-reported health, categorized as good and bad health, status is used as a health indicator. In this section, evolution of SES gradient in health is depicted by using income quartiles, education quartiles, work status and work type as indicators of SES.

Literature is divided between three approaches on the evolution of socio-economic gradient in health over life cycle. According to cumulative advantage hypothesis the differences in health by SES are established in life and subsequently widen as the economic and health disadvantages of less privileged interact and accumulate (Willson et al., 2007). On the other hand, age-as-leveler hypothesis suggests that deterioration in health is an inevitable part of the process of aging, with the result that SES-health gradient narrows at older ages (Beckett, 2000). A compromise scenario, is that cumulative advantage operates though middle age, with the SES-health gradient widening until around retirement age, before it narrows in old age as the biological determinants kick in (Van Doorsler et al., 2008).

There are important points remarkable in the process of analysis conducted here. One limitation of cross section data is that cohort effects may confound life cycle patterns. The strength of the relationship between SES and health may increase across cohorts (Van Doorslaer et al., 2008). Another limitation would be due to selective mortality. At older ages the most robust of the lower socioeconomic groups survive given that mortality is correlated with SES.

Income is attributed as the first indicator of socio-economic status (SES). Income is the household income per capita adjusted by OECD equivalence scale in which 1 is assigned for the head of household, 0.5 for each other person if he/she is older than 14 and 0.3 if he/she is younger than 14. First income quartile represents the lowest quartile (lowest income group), whereas the fourth income quartile represents the highest quartile (highest income group). Figure 1 shows self-reported good health according to income quartiles. One can regard percentages in the Figure 1 as: Probability (good health/1st quartile & age & gender). Although the income gradient is obvious, we observe different patterns for men and women. Despite the fact that starting points of first (bottom) and fourth (top) income quartiles are very close to each other; the rate of deterioration, which is given by the slope of the curves, is greater for women. For men, income gradient stays almost the same in young ages and income differences in health diverges at the beginning of the middle ages before it starts to converge after age of 64. On the other hand, the divergence in health starts immediately at young ages but convergence begin to occur at around age 45 for women. The immediate divergence for women would be due to justification bias and/or social roles.

Figure 1: Self-Reported Good Health by Age According to Income Quartiles and Gender

bd_f1

Figure 2: Self-Reported Good Health by Age According to Education Quartiles and Gender

bd_f2

Another important component of socio-economic status is education. Figure 2 presents self-reported good health according to education quartiles. First quartile includes illiterate individuals, second quartile includes primary education, third quartile refers to secondary education and fourth quartile involves individuals who have completed high school and university or higher education. As in the income gradient, men always report better health in every education and age category. For men, immediate widening of education gradient from young ages up to late middle age is apparent. The magnitude of education gradient is biggest at the age group 30-34. About 50% of men aged 40-44 report good health in the first (bottom) education quartile whereas this ratio is reached at the age of  65+ for men in fourth (top) education quartile. Similar structure is also valid for women; about 40% of women aged 40-44 in the bottom education quartile report good health while this proportion is attained after age 60-64 for the top education quartile.

Figure 3: Self-Reported Good Health  by Age According to Work Status

bd_f3

The theory predicts that individuals with physically demanding jobs will result in higher depreciation rates and will have a higher relative health decline over the life cycle (Grossman, 1972). Occupation is less predetermined than education, but is more so than income, offering another opportunity to examine whether the widening of income gradient until old ages may be influenced by the impact of health on work activity (Van Doorslaer, et al., 2008). In this respect the evolution of self-reported health through life cycle according work status, and work type are presented in Figure 3 and Figure 4 respectively. Figure 3 shows the percentages in good health according to work status. Working category includes individuals who are employed full-time, non-working category refers to the individuals who are both unemployed and out of labor force. The most remarkable observation is the widening of the gradient at younger ages and narrowing of it after age group 45-49 for men. Narrowing of the gradient would be due to selective mortality that leaves more robust survivors in the sample. Moreover it is observed that almost stable gradient for women implying that women’s health is not responsive to work status. Figure 4 presents the share of good health according to work type. Slightly widening of occupational gradient in health until late middle ages and narrowing of the gradient in old ages is observed. In  young ages, differences in health between blue and white collar workers are evident but not marked. However health trajectories experienced by blue collar workers are steeper.

Figure 4: Self-Reported Good Health  by Age According to Work Type

bd_f4

These results indicate that relatively wide SES gradient in health in middle ages and narrowing of it in old ages is a sign of cumulative-advantage hypothesis operating in middle ages before age of leveler hypothesis begins to play the major role in old ages. Although we cannot explicitly observe justification bias, selective mortality and cohort effects, the evolution of gradients reveals many important features. Education, work and income gradients imply that both of them are important for the production of adult health. Furthermore we observe significant difference between men and women over life cycle. Women’s health status is always worse than men in every SES group in any age category. However health of women shows greater response to education men. We can argue that policies directed at increasing female education would help to increase labor force participation and thus health status of women.

References

Beckett, M. (2000) ‘Converging Health Inequalities in Later Life: An Artificant of Mortality Selections’, Journal of Health and Social Behavior, Vol.41,No.1,   pp.106-119.

Case, A. and Deaton, A. (2005) ‘Broken Down by Work and Sex: How Our Health Declines’, David A. Wise (ed.), Analyses in the Economics of Aging, Chicago, Chicago University Press, for NBER.

Grossman, M. (1972) ‘On the Concept of Health Capital and the Demand for Health’, Journal of Political Economy, Vol.80, No.2, pp.223-255.

Kunst, A. E. and Mackenbach, J.P. (1994) ‘Mortality Differences Associated with Educational Level in Nine Industrialized Countries’, American Journal of Public Health, Vol.84, No.6, pp.932-93

Smith, J.P. 2004.’Unraveling The SES-Health Connection’, Population and Development Review, Vol.30, pp.108-132.

Smith, J. P. (2007) ‘The Impact of SES on Health Over the Life Course’, Journal of Human Resources, Vol.42, No.4, pp.739-764.

Van Doorslaer, E., Van Kippersluis, H., O’Donell, O. and Van Ourti, T. (2008) ‘Socioeconomic Differences in Health Over the Life Cycle:Evidence and Explanations’, NETSPAR Panel Paper, No.12.

Van Kipperluis, H., Van Ourti, T., O’Donnel, O. and Van Doorslaer, E. (2009) ‘Health and income across the life cycle and generations in Europe’, Journal of Health Economics, Vol.28, No.4, pp.818-830.

Willson, A., Shuey, K. and Elder, G.  (2007) ‘Cumulative Advantage Processes As Mechanisms of Inequality in Life Course Health’, American Journal of Sociology, Vol.112, No.6, pp.1886-1924.

Kyris, George. The Europeanisation of Contested Statehood: The EU in Northern Cyprus. Surrey: Ashgate, 2015. pp. xiv+ 154. ISBN: 9781472421593

 

Reviewed by Dr. C. Akça ATAÇ (Çankaya University, Turkey)

 

Although advised otherwise, disclaimers in fine print are rarely read. The terms and conditions of using a product 9781472421593could go so lengthy and wieldy that no consumer would take the trouble or time to read them through and grasp them fully. The instructions and prerequisites provided legally for the user sometimes tend to be so extremely irrelevant and boring that Apple Inc., at the launch of their Ipod Shuffle, has approached the situation ironically by including the warning “Do not eat it.” Unfortunately, the introductions of books that are the later versions of PhD dissertations increasingly resemble the unexciting and dull, implicit and explicit terms and conditions accompanied by legal and technical disclaimers. When the narrow margin of movement in the discipline in question is cluttered with too many similar theoretical, analytical, methodological and empirical studies, introductions of new contributions to the field risk becoming dry and repetitive approaches that struggle to justify their existence.

Since Peter Gourevitch’s call to focus on the international sources of domestic politics in 1978, an inordinate number of studies of the sort have been published.[1] Similarly, Europeanisation, which seeks to pin down the impact of the EU on the domestic dynamics of member/candidate/partner states, has become one of the most widely adapted, faddy theoretical approaches to understanding the EU. On this account, newcomers to the overcrowded Europeanisation studies now have to communicate their works to the editors, publishers or PhD-juries through detailed disclaimers in the form of introductions that are dreary and uninteresting for the non-scholar -and sometimes even for the scholar- reader. The delicate reason why one study is different from many other similar ones with which it shares the same theoretical framework and empirical case requires extensive explanation and this takes its toll on readability.

The introduction of the book under review also suffers from this urge of self-explanation in the field of Europeanisation, too jammed with too many publications. The book partakes of the Europeanisation studies, but “without aiming to conceptually challenge or build on the Europeanisation debate.” [p.4] Within this framework, it also seeks to delve into the EU-Cyprus relations, but since this topic is also overcrowded with studies pinning down the EU impact on the Cyprus problem or the Republic of Cyprus’s international acceptance and legitimacy, it only concentrates on “the EU’s relevance to the Turkish Cypriots” as “a missing empirical account.” [p.3] Of course, because the impact of the EU on the domestic affairs of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) has been studied before, the book approaches the topic by placing it within the context of contested states that are “self-declared states which are not recognized internationally.” [p.ix] And among other contested situation of sovereignty such as Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Kosovo and the Ukraine crisis, the author, George Kyris, picks TRNC to be examined as a “single case study linked to the Europeanisation debate.” [p.6]

Although the current suspension of acquis communautaire in TRNC diminishes the urgency for a full-fledged investigation of Europeanisation in terms of “institutional compliance,” “change of domestic opportunity structures” and “change of beliefs and expectations,” the EU impact on institutions, political parties and civil society could still be adequately traced through the Financial Aid Regulation and the Green Line Regulation [pp.22-3, 10, 5]. Also, even though TRNC, as a contested state, is a non-EU member, the possibility that the Cyprus problem would be solved by a unitary federation allows this study to make “references to the literature on enlargement-driven Europeanisation.” [p.22] However, the “six main parameters of contested statehood” [p.23], which are “lack of recognition,” “international isolation,” “influence of a ‘patron’ state,” “lack of effective state structures,” “lack of effective control of the declared territory by the contested state,” and “importance of the regional dispute for domestic affairs,” continue to be valid altogether for TRNC, and the Turkish-controlled part of Cyprus remains a territory outside the EU jurisdiction. [pp.20, 22] And after all such disclaimers, terms and conditions and self-explanations are provided, the focus of research manifests itself as the question that appears on page 5 as “What is the impact of the EU on the Turkish Cypriot contested state?”

Kyris’s book consists of 7 chapters. They cover the contested statehood literature with reference to Europeanization, a political and historical overview of TRNC’s contested statehood, and the EU effect on Turkish Cypriot civil society, political parties and institutions. The author uses policy papers and media reports as well as interviews with EU elites and Turkish Cypriots, who are involved in the EU-related processes, as primary sources. The qualitative analysis of these sources results in revealing how the EU has affected the institutions, power structures, and political practices and ideas in TRNC; and how the contested statehood has mediated this impact through the six parameters mentioned above. Within these parameters, it is challenging that Turkey as the patron state engages with the Turkish Cypriot institutions, political parties and civil society in an “easier and longer” manner than does the EU; and this situation definitely puts Ankara forward as a tough “contender for influence.” [p.115] Naturally, such competition between Turkey and the EU at times deepens the rift between Europeanisation and Euroscepticism. Nevertheless, as long as the EU maintains its relevance to TRNC through “integration prospects” and the “solution to the ‘Cyprus’ problem,” Europeanization seemingly scores a better chance in its competition with Euroscepticism. [p.117] To claim, however, within this context that the UN’s EU supported Annan Plan had “triggered a strong pro-solution/EU trend amongst Turkish Cypriots” in the name of Europeanisation [p.117] is problematic, because the way the EU disowned the plan after it was rejected actually unleashed an equally visible flow of Euroscepticism. This point seems to be left out rather under-elaborated.

In fact, once the reader reaches beyond the ‘terms and conditions in fine print,’ Kyris’s book is a coherent attempt to tackle the Republic of Cyprus’s accession to the EU as “the accession of a separated country.” [p.118] and TRNC’s position as a contested state experiencing Europeanisation and Euroscepticism at once. In the course of the restarted negotiations between the two parts of the island, it could be a good read to sharpen one’s focus on TRNC’s contested statehood and the EU impact on its domestic dynamics of change.

[1] Peter Gourevitch, ‘The Second Image Reversed: The International Sources of Domestic Politics,’ International Organization, 32(04), 1978, pp. 881-912.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 998 other followers

%d bloggers like this: