The withdrawal of U.S. combat forces from Iraq at the end of 2011 left behind a set of thorny and unresolved problems in the relationship between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) centered in Erbil, and the Federal Government of Iraq in Baghdad… The vague constitutional provision for a federal Iraq has been interpreted differently in Erbil, which has sought to maximize its autonomy from the center, and Baghdad. These differences have been given additional import by the KRG’s energetic attempts to develop its own oil and gas resources in the absence of a federal hydrocarbons law…

The “Arab Awakening,” especially in Syria, has further contributed to the tensions between Ankara, Erbil, and Baghdad. Turkey’s support of the mainly Sunni opposition to the Damascus regime has been countered by the sympathies Tehran and Baghdad have exhibited towards the mainly Alawite Syrian government. Combined with Turkey’s unhappiness with Maliki and Tehran’s support of Iraq’s Shia leadership, a sectarian dimension has been introduced into these regional relationships. Furthermore, Turkey is also uneasy about the emergence of Syrian Kurdish groups seeking autonomy and deemed by Ankara to be aligned with its own troublesome Kurdish Workers Party (PKK). Although the KRG leadership has sought to bolster more amenable Syrian Kurdish groups, its support for autonomy for Syria’s Kurds has introduced some disquiet into Ankara’s relationship with Erbil. Developments in Syria’s Kurdish areas have combined with the very existence of the KRG and Ankara’s relationship with it, to put Turkey’s own domestic Kurdish problems under the spotlight.

The investment of the major energy companies in the KRG and the construction of pipelines into Turkey, possibly in the face of 51eoYW58wjL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU02_Baghdad’s opposition, has raised the stakes in the region. Currently, Washington still appears to be aligning with Baghdad’s view that the Turkey-KRG relationship has moved too far and too fast and that the development of Iraq’s entire energy resources is, and should be, primarily Baghdad’s responsibility. The United States is also contributing to Iraq’s rearmament, which Erbil feels poses a direct threat to the KRG’s security. This has created the paradox that Washington’s perspective seems closer to Tehran’s than to Ankara’s or Erbil’s. The United States is encouraging a search for consensus between Ankara, Erbil, and Baghdad, but it is unclear that this is a realistic prospect. Iraq’s national elections are due in 2014, which is also the year that commercial decisions on whether to produce marketable quantities of the KRG’s energy resources will probably need to be made, which will, in turn, require the identification of export routes and mechanisms.

With so many moving parts, prediction is impossible and unwise. However, a failure to address the outstanding difficulties in the Ankara-Erbil-Baghdad set of relationships could find regional tensions worsen, possibly leading to a serious challenge to the current map of the region; a failure to bring the KRG’s significant energy resources to global markets; a burgeoning of Iranian influence in Iraq and in the wider region; an increasingly authoritarian, centralizing, unstable, Shia dominated and pro-Iranian government in Baghdad; and a challenge to Kurdish aspirations to wriggle free of some of those forces in the region that have so long repressed their aspirations.

Social Transformation and International Migration in Turkey

Venue and Date: Boğaziçi University, 8-9 January 2015

Organizers: Mine Eder, Ahmet İçduygu, Derya Özkul


Workshop rationale

At times of rapid change, such as the current epoch of accelerated globalization, international migration tends to grow in volume and to become increasingly important as a factor helping to reshape societies. This call for papers for an international workshop looks at the processes of social transformation in Turkey and aims to analyze the role of recent human mobility within these processes. Thus, our main departure point is that migration is not just a result of change, nor a cause of change, but an integral part of social transformation processes*

Turkey has gone through a series of changes in the last decade that constitute a neoliberal transformation: the developments in the economy, the rise in the urban middle class and the absence of welfare provisions are among the factors that have required the arrival of international migrants. As such, Turkey has increasingly become an immigration country. In this workshop, we are interested in papers with a clear theoretical perspective and strong empirical data on recent migration flows in Turkey from a wide range of disciplines and perspectives.

Papers may explore the following themes, and any further issues that arise from this outline:

  • Political economy and absence of welfare provisions in Turkey: need for low-skilled migrants;
  • Increasing international competition for highly skilled migrants and implications for Turkey;
  • Lived experiences of internal and international migrants: precarious work and informality;
  • Urban transformation projects and implications for internal and international migration;
  • Feminization of migration in Turkey;
  • Challenges to policy-making in migration and asylum seeking in Turkey;
  • Changing citizenship regime and challenges to national belonging in Turkey;
  • Turkey’s changing foreign affairs, regional flows and in particular Syrian migrants.


*Castles, Stephen. 2010. Understanding Global Migration: A Social Transformation Perspective. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 36: 1565 – 1586



As a result of this workshop, we are planning to publish the selected papers in a highly ranked academic journal. Our second aim is to establish an academic network for scholars interested in migration related issues in Turkey.


For those presenters who are traveling from outside of Istanbul, limited funding is available for travel and accommodation expenses.

Paper Submission Guidelines

Abstracts of approximately 500 words should be sent as Word document to the organizers by September 15, 2014. Please make sure that you include specific details of your theoretical framework and methodology of your paper. The papers that are suitable for the workshop’s aims and standards will be invited for presentation and a full paper submission.

All enquiries should be sent to:

Mine Eder

Department of Political Sciences and International Relations

Boğaziçi University, Turkey

Email: eder[at]boun.edu.tr


Derya Özkul

Social Transformation and International Migration (STIM) Network

School of Social and Political Sciences

University of Sydney, Australia

Email: derya.ozkul[at]sydney.edu.au

 The more they change… Change in the EU and its impact on neighbouring countries

Date and Venue: 9-11 October 2014; Atılım University Ankara, Turkey

 Deadline for abstract submission: 22 August 2014

PhD students and early career researchers are welcome! Please see the workshop rationale below.

Workshop Rationale:

In times of crisis, reform within and beyond the EU has been as pressing as ever. Have the internal dynamics in workings of the EU had an impact on countries in the neighbourhood, particularly those which seek accession? Current five candidate countries for EU accession, as well as further countries in the Western Balkan countries that have been offered the prospect of EU membership are in the focus of monitoring, assessing these countries’ capacity to fulfil economic and political criteria, and ensure societal stability much like countries in previous enlargement waves. Do dynamics internal to the EU impact on candidate and perspective candidate countries and their reactions to changes suggested by the EU? How are those countries sitting in the EU’s ‘waiting room’ interact with the changing interpretation of EU conditionality? Do accession and candidate countries push for reforms even though the nature of conditionality has changed? What role do other international organisations (e.g. Council of Europe, OSCE, NATO) play in drawing candidate states closer to EU? What role do other options available for countries in the European neighbourhood play in variant interpretation of norms projected by the EU upon accession states, candidates and neighbours? Has the nature of the Europeanisation process changed since the start of the economic crisis in Europe? What consequences can we expect for the ability of the EU to deal with future challenges of integration should current accession, candidate or neighbouring states become members?

Debate on how accession, candidate and neighbouring states deal with the changing nature of EU conditionality and respond to the changing perception about the role of the EU on the continent is overdue for refining the self-perceptions of Euro-critical/-sceptic publics in the EU proper. We invite papers that discuss how accession, candidate and neighbouring states deal with the changing nature of EU conditionality, re-shape processes of Europeanisation, address challenges of interacting with sets of international organisations and respond to the changing perception about the role of the EU on the continent. We particularly welcome papers that reflect on one of the above questions by using case or comparative studies. Early/mid-career scholars and PhD students working on topics related to those outlined above are particularly encouraged to apply.

Profs Tanja Börzel and Thomas Risse (FU Berlin) will deliver a keynote speech at the conference. Selection of the papers presented at the conference will be submitted as a special issue to a journal on European politics. Some assistance (costs of accommodation) will be made available to support attendance for early career researchers/PhD students presenting papers. Meals and refreshments will be available for all participants.

Timeline / organisation: Paper proposals of no more than 500 words, complete with author contact details and institutional affiliation, should be submitted via http://www.jotformeu.com/form/41674262878365 by August 22. Successful applicants will be notified by August 31 2014.

The workshop is organised by the UACES CRN Centrifugal Europe http://go.qub.ac.uk/centrifugalism jointly with the Atılım University Ankara (Turkey) and Queen’s University Belfast (UK). If you have any questions, please email Timofey Agarin t.agarin[at]qub.ac.uk  as well as Gözde Yilmaz gozde.yilmaz[at]atilim.edu.tr


We are pleased to announce Centre for Policy and Research on Turkey (Research Turkey)’s public conference entitled “Europeanization of Public Debates and Civil Society in Turkey: The Kurdish Question and Secularism Debates Revisited” inalper which Dr. Alper Kaliber,  Marie Curie Research Fellow at European Institute, Istanbul Bilgi University will give a talk. This event will take place on Friday, 4 July 2014 between 6:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. at Main College Buildings, Room 116, SOAS, University of London, WC1H 0XG. This event is co-sponsored by the Department of Development Studies, SOAS, Neoliberalism, Globalisation and States Research Cluster. Umit Sonmez of London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) will kindly chair the event.

You may find the synopsis of the talk and a short biography of Dr. Alper Kaliber below.

This event is free and open to public but it is a ticketed event that requires pre-registration. A ticket does not guarantee a seat. Please register using the form above or alternatively email toevents@researchturkey.org for registration.

Synopsis of the talk

Europeanization of Public Debates and Civil Society in Turkey: The Kurdish Question and Secularism Debates Revisited

Contemporary Turkish politics is characterised by fierce ideological, political and economic public debates flourishing in every segment of the society. These debates, which have been re-shaping both Turkey’s domestic politics and the trajectory of Turkey’s relations with the EU/Europe, have mainly revolved around such issues as the rise of political Islam, authoritarianism, and the Kurdish question and the peace process. Civil society organizations (CSOs) from all segments of the political spectrum have been heavily involved in these public deliberations dominating Turkish politics and polarising the society. These debates have been informed by distinct perceptions and representations of Europe: Europe either as a source of democratization and improvement of civil and political rights or as a source of insecurity threatening Turkey’s territorial integrity, the core characteristics of the regime and the ‘national will’.

This seminar aims to discuss the impact of the European norms, policies and institutions (particularly the EU) on the politically mobilised civil society organizations in Turkey. It focuses on the CSOs vocal on the Kurdish question and political Islam/secularism debates and on their distinctive perceptions of EU/Europe. It assesses to what extent and in what ways the CSOs formulate their political demands and deliberative positions by making reference to specific European norms, policies and institutions, in order to justify and express their political agenda and deliberative positions. The views of civil societal actors on the current peace process and the potential roles of the European actors in the process would be another focus of the seminar.

Against this background, I suggest a clear analytical distinction between EU-ization as an EU-induced process of legislative, institutional and policy engineering, and Europeanization as a wider socio-political and normative context. The impact of Europeanization is heavily conditioned by the extent of and the ways in which Europe is used as a context by domestic actors to promote their political/social projects. Civil society actors often support EU-ization reforms and consolidation of Europeanization as a political-normative context only when they think that this best serves their causes or deliberative positions. In such cases, they strategically emphasize norms and values which they consider resonate with those of Europe. When CSOs do not support Europeanization, they either ignore or make negative references to European norms and values. They try to explain how these roles conflict with the interests of the social groups that they claim to represent. Therefore, to get a better insight into the multi-layered impact of Europeanization, one needs to look at how Europe is politically and discursively constructed and used by domestic societal and political actors.

Short Biography of Dr. Alper Kaliber

Alper Kaliber currently works as a Marie Curie research fellow at European Institute, Istanbul Bilgi University and conducts a research project titled ‘Europeanisation of Public Debates and Civil Society in Turkey’. He completed his PhD in Political Science at Bilkent University, Turkey. Dr. Kaliber served as a research fellow at the University of Birmingham and he worked as a consultant and researcher in the SHUR project ‘Human Rights in Conflicts: The Role of Civil Society’, funded by the European Commission’s 6th Framework Programme. He previously taught on European security, European Integration, Turkey and the European Union relations, foreign policy analysis and international relations theories at Sabanci, Yaşar, Istanbul Bilgi universities and at the University of Birmingham. His areas of interest include Critical and Regional Security Studies, European security, the Cyprus conflict, Europeanisation, civil society and conflict transformation and Turkish foreign policy. Among his recent publications are ‘Contextual and Contested: Reassessing Europeanisation in the Case of Turkey’ inInternational Relations, ‘Turkey’s Cyprus Policy: A Case of Europeanisation’, in “Turkey and the European Union: Processes of Europeanisation”, Çiğdem Nas and Yonca Özer (eds.), (Ashgate, 2012); and ‘Human Rights, Civil Society and Conflict in Turkey’s Kurdish Question’, in “Civil Society, Conflicts, and the Politicization of Human Rights”, Raffaele Marchetti and Nathalie Tocci (eds.), (United Nations University Press, 2011). He was recently awarded with Young Scientist Award by Turkey’s Science Academy (BAGEP).

Please find below a summary of the public conference entitled ‘Are Islam and democratic liberalism destined to clash?’ given by Turkish journalist, Mustafa Akyol today at Ashmolean Museum Lecture Theatre in Oxford. The event was organized by OXGAPS (The Oxford Gulf and Arabian Peninsula Studies Forum) in collaboration with the Oxford University Islamic Society. Ali Aslan Gumusay (Lecturer in Management at Magdalen College, Oxford) acted as discussant.

Fotoğraf-0180Is Islam inherently incompatible with liberal democracy? This question is a challenging one and deserves serious attention due to its potential to problematize deterministic accounts. Mustafa Akyol suggests that there is a need to redefine Islamic theories and practice in line with a pluralist and liberal normative framework that has been generally applied -albeit imperfectly- in the Anglo-Saxon world. He rightly reminds that democracy is not only about free and fair elections; it is also about liberal values and norms that allow individuals to choose their own right and wrong during their lifetime. Akyol emphasizes the multiplicity of Islamic traditions and philosophies in order to reject the imposition of a singular version of Islam in the name of ‘sharia law’ in Muslim societies. He finds similarities between a pre-modern Islamic group known as ‘postponers’ and John Locke’s ideas in the sense that it suggested the ‘postponing’ of the discussion of which version of religious rule is the right one to after-life, facilitating the co-existence of multiple interpretations.

However, Akyol acknowledges the difficulty of dealing with Islamic traditions and notions that run counter to liberal values, such islam-without-extremesas the rule of death penalty against apostasy (renunciation of religion). Putting this rule in a historical context, he finds it irrelevant in the modern era. In his reading of Islamic history, apostasy meant joining the enemy forces during the war between Muslim communities and non-Muslim ones. In this sense, the crime of apostasy in those days could be comparable to today’s crime of‘high treason’. Multicultural societies of the modern era should no longer see apostasy as a vital threat against the Muslim community and should stop penalizing individuals for abandoning Islam. Also, Akyol reminds that penalties such as mutilating an individual’s body or hand or stoning to death were used during the pre-modern era when there were no effective institutions like prisons or courts. Criminals were penalized at the spot by the public. Today, such penalties have become obsolete. Another area where Islam seems to clash with liberal democracy is the area of women rights. However, Akyol stresses that rather than Islam, it is the cultural traditions of patriarchy that constitute the major source of gender inequality (since not only Muslim but also non-Muslim societies experience oppression against women). Such cultural traditions have often merged with Islam, and lead many to blame Islam for the violation of women rights. He agrees with ‘Islamic feminists’ that Islam is not against women rights.

Akyol’s criticism of Turkish (and French) secularism reminds of Ahmet Kuru’s thesis of ‘assertive secularism’. Kuru compared French and American secularist traditions and found a significant variation in their approach to religious rights and freedoms. While the French ban of religious symbols in the public sphere represents ‘assertive secularism’, American approach that does not allow the state to ban individual religious freedoms is ‘passive secularism’. Akyol does not use these terms but similarly argues that the Turkish secularism has been traditionally authoritarian and has oppressed Islamic segments of the Turkish society, pushing some groups to fundamentalism. He gives the example of Egyptian liberals adopting a similar pejorative view of towards Islam and supporting paradoxically military coups against elected Islamists. In this regard, Akyol suggests both secularists and Islamists to abandon the idea of ‘reshaping’ Turkish society in line of their own values. He criticizes the current AKP government for attempting to impose Islam-oriented moral values on Turkish society, which has proved counter-productive in terms of provoking anti-Islamic sentiments in some segments of the society. He believes that it is against Islam’s spirit to force individuals to follow Islamic practices and this would not only provoke resentment but also would reinforce hypocrisy.

As a response to the Changing Turkey team’s question about European potential to reconcile secularist and Islamist segments of Turkish society, Akyol gives a mixed picture. He suggests that there are many Europes and the answer would depend on ‘which Europe we are talking about’. He blames the European Court of Human Rights decision justifying Turkey’s headscarf ban in the case of Leyla Şahin for falling prey to French ultra-secularism that sees religious symbols in the public sphere as a ‘threat’ to individual rights and freedoms. He thinks that the ECtHR’s decision against Leyla Şahin led to the disillusionment of many Turkish Islamists with the idea of Europe representing rights and freedoms. In Akyol’s opinion, the European Union that follows liberal values and observes religious freedoms is capable of bridging divides in Turkey but it currently lacks both the capacity and the political will to do so due to the economic and political crises in Europe. Finally, Akyol argues that the AKP government no longer needs the EU membership to legitimize its domestic position since it has already curbed the political power of the Turkish military and other veto players in the domestic arena. In this context, it is crucial for the Turkish government to decide whether it will govern the society as a whole by taking a more liberal approach or continue to impose a certain version of Islamic values, which has already alienated certain parts of the society and damaged those very values in the eyes of many. To conclude, Akyol’s thesis needs much attention as it tries to merge two different ontological stances (liberalism and Islamism) that seem unbridgeable from many perspectives. It is to be seen whether Akyol will remain the exception in the Islamic world to take up this challenging task and whether his thesis will help the emergence and rise of a Liberal Muslim movement in Turkey and elsewhere.


Excerpt from Suphi Ural and Sitki Demirkol (2008) ‘Evaluation of occupational safety and health in surface mines’, Safety Science, vol. 46, no. 6, pp. 1016-1024.

According to 2004 statistics, the population of Turkey is 67,844,903 and 6,181,251 of the populations are insured employees with social security (SSK, 2004). Statistics have shown that 83,830 employees had an accident in 2004 comprising 1.36% of the total number of employees… In Turkey, mineral-extracting industries rank first in occupational diseases and permanent incapacity, third in fatal accidents and fourth in occupational accidents (SSK, 2004). Number of accidents for major branches of Turkish industry is presented in Table 1.

Comparison of yearly mining accidents statistics in terms of past observations indicated that mining accidents have been diminishing continuously since the beginning of last century, although some minor deviations from this trend have been observed (Marovelli, 1981Leger, 1991 and Ramani and Mutmansky, 1999). Clanzy (1979) compared the safety record of two safest ever years, 1936 and 1977, each representative of a different era of coal production in Great Britain. He directed the attention to the importance of the human element and the need for meaningful education, training and instruction of personnel if a significant reduction in serious casualties was to be expected. Comparison of coalmine health and safety performance between the United States and European coal producing countries was evaluated (Marovelli, 1981). The study showed that one could encounter a great difficulty in making direct comparisons and any valid conclusions because of different mining methods applied, different reporting practices and standards in health and safety regulations and laws…They showed the effects of mine regulations and enforcements, new technology and equipment introduction, change in applied mining methods on the improvement of mining accidents and fatality rates along the historical trend.

Accident history of Turkish coal mines

Occupational accidents of Turkish mines were evaluated into two groups. The first group of studies analysed the occupational accidents in Zonguldak Hardcoal region (Arioglu and Ari, 1990Buzkan and Buzkan, 1990 and Akcin and Hamarat, 1994). Buzkan and Buzkan (1990) gave the number of fatal accidents subjected to the production workers of this region between 1970 and 1988. They found a relationship between the fatality ratios, which were calculated by dividing number of fatal accidents to total number of workers for each year, and amount of coal production. Arioglu and Ari (1990) examined statistically occupational accidents in the Zonguldak coalfield from 1941 to 1987. They found a strong correlation between amounts of raw coal production and number of injuries. Akcin and Hamarat (1994) studied legal and financial aspects of the occupational accidents and diseases occurring in Zonguldak coal region. They indicated that most of the accidents took place at the underground and majority of them were falls of ground type.

The second group of studies based their analysis on the occupational accident statistics taken from the surface and underground 0mines of TKI (Bozkurt, 1993Can, 1994Istanbulluoglu, 1999Kose et al., 1990,Sari et al., 2003Tatar and Ozfırat, 2002 and Yilmaz et al., 2000). Kose et al. (1990) investigated the occupational accidents in GLI Tuncbilek mine occurring at 1988 and 1989 in terms of months of year, days of week, hours of day, and age and job category of the injured worker. They concluded that workers engaged in the production and developments works with 25–35 age range were more accident-prone. Bozkurt (1993)studied OAL Cayırhan Enterprise mine accidents between 1985 and 1991. A general statistical evaluation of occupational accidents from some of the TKI mines between 1980 and 1992 was carried out by Can (1994).Istanbulluoglu (1999) presented and evaluated occupational accident statistics occurred during the last 16 years in the mines of TKI. He indicated that the yearly number of fatal accidents was not decreased during this period and the most important cause for that were the traffic accidents in surface mining operations.Yilmaz et al. (2000) evaluated the DLI Erzurum TKI mine occupational accident statistics which occurred from 1987 and 1998. They stated that the workers engaged in the production and developments works were more accident-prone. Tatar and Ozfırat (2002) investigated the occupational accidents occurred in ELI Soma TKI underground mine between the years 1992 and 2000. They showed that the most important cause of fatalities was falls of ground. Sari et al. (2003) statistically analysed historical records of GLI Tuncbilek and ELI Soma TKI underground mines. The results indicated that the safety and productivity are improved when the panels are mechanized.


Mineral-extracting industries of Turkey have the highest fatal and non-fatal incidence rates among the major mine-producing countries. Blasting operation, powered haulage and fall of face/highwall are the most common fatal accident/injury types. Mainbody, head and hand are affected the most. The studies (Can, 1994Sari, 2002 and The Ministry of Labour and Social Security, 2005) suggest that usage of self-protection devices and technological improvements should be promoted. Mining workers must be forced to use this kind of devices at all stage of work activities. Excessive frequency in the 18–30 age range is a sign of risk factors for that age group of workforce in the Turkish surface mining sector. Therefore, young workers should be trained and the experienced workers should be preferred for critical works. Slope heights and inclinations must be recalculated and slope stability risk assessments should be carried out in surface mines. In order to increase the safety in the considered surface mines, efforts to decrease the number and severity of the accidents should be made. For this purpose, a study for finding the reason of the accidents at risky mines environments must be performed.

The Center for Middle Eastern Studies (Ortadoğu Araştırmaları Merkezi) in Sakarya University is going to organize the 1st Workshop on “Debating Human Security” on June 23-25.

“Debating Human Security Workshop” is a training project in the scope of which there will be a selection of 28 postgraduate students from different universities in Turkey (14 foreign and 14 Turkish citizenship students). Project is focused on analyzing the human security approach in the theoretical and practical perspective on basis of different points of view.

In this project there will be invited professors from Turkey and abroad who are going to accompany the participants through the entire workshop. At the end to all the participants there will be given certificates of participation and the research papers submitted during the workshop will be published. All the costs (accommodation, food, travel and materials) will be covered by the organizers.

Abstracts should include the title, objectives, methodology, major findings and keywords of the paper and must not exceed 500 words. Both English and Turkish submissions are welcomed.

The abstract should be submitted to: ormer@sakarya.edu.tr

Click for detailed information on the workshop


Important dates:

Abstract Submission:    01/06/2014

Notification to Abstract Acceptance: 06/06/2014

Full Paper Submission: 20/06/2014


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With the hope that you are going to participate in our program, we wish you all the best!

Project Coordinator

Murat Yeşiltaş, PhD, Assistant Professor, Sakarya University.


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