Security in Turkey

Determination of the main causes underlying the Kurdish issue. Consideration of both internal and regional transformations, such as the Arab uprisings, changed the foreign policy perspective of Ankara. Evaluation of the security policy of Turkey.

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Table of Content


1. Research Problem and Significance

1.1 Research Problem and Significance

1.2 Research Goal

1.3 Methodology

2. Historical Background

2.1 Why Turkey is important

2.2 The Kurdish Ethnic Identity

2.3 Understanding the Kurdish Question

2.4 Military and Political Discourse

2.5 Security in Turkey

3. Theories and Ideologies

3.1 Theoretical Approach to Security

3.2 The Copenhagen School of Security Studies

3.3 Five Sectors of Security in CS

3.4 Securitization and Desecuritization

3.5 Regional Security Complex Theory

3.6 Kemalism: the expanding machine of Kurdish question

3.7 Neo-Ottomanism and the AKP

3.8 Kurdistan's Workers Party (PKK)

3.9 PKK's Security Threats on Turkey based on the CS

3.9.1 Military Aspect

3.9.2 Political Aspect

3.9.3 Social Aspect

4. Turkey's Foreign Policy

4.1 Evolution of Turkish foreign policy

4.2 Foundations of new foreign policy

4.3 Principles and objectives of the AKP foreign policy

4.4 A shift in Turkish foreign policy

4.5 Authoritarian and Ideological Approach

4.6 Securitization of foreign policy

4.7 Aggressive approach toward neighbours

4.8 The Kurdish factor

4.9 Current Situation of the Kurds

4.9.1 Turkey

4.9.2 Kurdish Regional Government of Iraq

4.9.3 Syria

4.9.4 Iran

5. Foreign Policy Analysis

5.1 Relations with Syria

5.2 Relations with Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan

5.3 Relations with Iran

5.4 Relations with the EU

5.5 Failure of democratic opening

5.6 Current security challenges




Turkey, because of its geographical location and history, has been the birth and flourishing place of many ethnic groups and religions. For years Turks, Kurds, Christians, Jews and others which sums up to 70 million people have lived together in this country (Yildiz, 2005). Among the minority groups in Turkey, the Kurds for various reasons are of great importance and their confrontation with the Turkish government specially during 1980s and 1990s have caused a serious trouble for the Turkish government. The rise of ethno-nationalist sentiments of the Kurds in Turkey and in its neighbourhood with the goal of re-writing history and making a new identity from one side, and Turkey's struggle for keeping alive Ataturk's concept of nationalism and national integrity from the other side, is shaping one of the oldest and complicated challenges not only in Turkey but in the whole region. This challenge is well known by the scholars and experts as The Kurdish Question or The Kurdish Issue.

When Mustafa Kemal Ataturk the founding father established the modern Republic of Turkey in 1923, he latter introduced the concept of Turkish Nationalism as to make the whole population a unison one. However, most of the Kurds refused the imposed Turkish identity and struggled for the retrieval of their language and cultural rights. As a result of the Kurdish uprisings they faced harsh and ruthless resistance by the government (Yildiz, 2005). The Turk-Kurd dispute peaked after 1950s. Policies and attitude of the Turkish government in 1960s and 1970s led a social challenge to shift to a major political challenge as a result in 1984 by carrying out a military operation, the challenge took a military shape which today it has spoiled not only Turkey but all the surrounding countries. The past and future of the Kurds living in the Middle East which majority is residing in Turkey (24% of the total 80 million population) has become a very interesting topic of research and debate in the scientific, political and security assemblies in the past two decades. Specially after the rise of IS and the decisive role of the Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerges and Syrian Kurds in war against them. Kurds, throughout the history of the Turkish Republic never had the opportunity to freely express their selves, their rights have been denied and their identity have been ignored. In addition, the Turkish government traditionally has always responded to the Kurdish Question through military. However, since Erdogan's AKP (Justice and Development Party) came to power in 2002, situations changed dramatically. People were hopeful to solve the Kurdish issue; especially when Erdogan in 2005 talking in Diyarbekir, the unofficial capital of the Kurds of Turkey addressed the Kurdish question to be solved. The appearance on that time and later the enhancement of formal and informal negotiations from Oslo to Amerli, reassured the experts to conclude that the AKP government views this old and unsolved problem from a different perspective and dealing with different and modern rationality. A rationality that looks beyond military solutions to the sociological roots and foundations of the problem and at the end presents a new model for the question.

AKP managed to end the Kemalist political domination in the context of the national-global financial crises. Turkey's political structure shaped by the Kemalists backed by Turkish military during their decades of political domination leading up to the election victory of the AKP. In order to make the political ascendancy of Kemalism irreversible, the AKP subject to bring wide structural changes in the political-administrative system as well as military-security policies in Turkey. AKP needed more and more seat in the Parliament. Adherent to neo-Ottomanism, AKP started negotiations for reconciliation with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). In addition, Erdogan promised to recognize the rights of the Kurds. Thus, AKP attracted the votes of Kurds along with low-income classes and socio-culturally more conservative Turkish society.

The beginning of the democratic uprisings known as the Arabic Spring provided an `'unprecedented opportunity'' and a new leverage to strengthen economic and political power of the AKP to quickly sketch the action plan of the ideology known as neo-Ottomanism in the region. Nevertheless, the transformations caused by the initial move of the AKP on both sides (the Kurdish question and involvement specifically in Syria) was different than AKP's expectations and restraining or redefining the right direction quickly became the goal of AKP. Consequently, the Turkish government is again in war with the PKK and currently in a cold war with the HDP (People's Democratic Party) the first ever pro-Kurdish party to surpass the highest 10% threshold and enter to the parliament. In the meanwhile, Turkey is suffering from security threats, economic and political instability.

1. Research Problem and Significance

1.1 Research Problem and Significance

The Kurdish issue is one of the oldest and most controversial conflicts in the Middle East and existed since 1923 and even before and has been a major source of conflict and instability in Turkey. Since ever the time of Kemal Ataturk's attempt of building a single unison ethnic group at the expense of other ethnic groups, the Turks are dominating the Kurds which lead to suppression, neglecting their basic rights and marginalization (Yildiz, 2013). Any kind of move by the Kurds residing in Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria for recognition of their rights, self-determination and political representation traditionally have been retaliated by suppression and violence (Yildiz & Susan, 2010). In all these periods of national oppression of the government, the Kurds have organized major uprisings; in return, Ankara has responded with military forces. This approach can be defined as a standard response model of the Turkish government and dominant rationality regarding this issue specifically for the past few decades. The Turkish government regardless of sociological and identity roots of the Kurdish issue in the political geography of the country, only covered the surface of the issue with heavy military attacks. That is why in all these periods despite enormous amount of financial and spiritual investment to resolve the issue, still it is a major question in Turkey and in the region.

At the beginning of the new millennium, when the Islamist Justice and Development Party: Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi (AKP) led by their charismatic leader, Recep Tayip Erdogan came to power, hoping to solve the Kurdish issue in the country grew. Nonetheless, the onset of the Arab Spring, policy and strategy changes of the AKP from economic and cultural hegemony to military intervention, the desire to ideological expansion and seizing power like their old former Kemalist friends and many other reasons, day by day changed the hopes regarding the Kurdish question to a delusion. After several years of negotiations, the AKP government simplified and limited the Kurdish issue to a few fighters and terrorists in the mountains and pledged to destroy them thus at the end AKP also turned to the former solution and their old traditions. The AKP government also showed that they have not passed the anxiety and phobia stage of a shrinking Turkey, a phobia that the Kemalists always have lived with. A phobia and fear that prevents any fundamental solution for the Kurdish question in Turkey.

In short, more than 40,000 people has lost their lives plus, mass violation of basic human rights, socio-economic effects and huge amount of money spent through military to dismantle the uprisings as a result of the existence of the Kurdish question. Also, as a result of rise of Kurdish nationalists and separatist in the neighboring countries of Turkey, have influenced internal affairs of Turkey and even the in some cases have put allies in confrontation. On the other hand, the Kurdish question have reduced the chance of Turkey in joining the European Union which was one of the primary goals of the AKP government. According to the before-mentioned reasons I see that the Kurdish issue have become so important that today it can change the domestic equations and influence the interaction between regional and global actors.

security turkey kurdish arab

1.2 Research Goal

The purpose of social research maybe organized into three groups based on what researcher is trying to accomplish- explore a new topic, describe a social phenomenon, or explain why something occurs. (Creswell, 2003; 33) However, in this research first we are trying to understand the reasons behind the Kurdish question. In order to understand the roots of the problem in our case, we have to become familiar with the basic concepts, facts, settings and concerns so that we could create a general mental picture of the situation followed by testing a theory's prediction and principles. Second, we will analyse the political behaviour of the AKP administration regarding the Kurdish question in early 2000s to examine how AKP shifted their security policies from traditionally aggressive military-oriented policies to reconciling policies. Finally, how the domestic and regional transformations such as the Arab uprisings transformed Ankara's foreign policy perspective.

Therefore, in general, this thesis is trying to answer the following questions:

How the security policies of Turkey effected the Kurds and its foreign policy?

How the Kurdish has effected and been effected the regional security policies of Turkey?

1.3 Methodology

There are three most important factors in a successful research design. (Creswell, 2003:5) A) What knowledge claims being made by the researcher? B) What strategies of inquiry will inform the procedure? C)What methods of data collection and data analysis will be used? In this research I have tried to follow the guideline provided by Creswell. Thus, I have chosen to use a socially constructed knowledge claims. Constructivism identifies assumptions that people are trying to understand the world they live in and they develop subjective meanings of their experiences based on their social, cultural and historical perspectives. These meanings are varied and multiple, leading the researcher to look for the complexity of views rather than narrowing meanings into a few categories or ideas (Creswell 2003, 8). The aim of research consequently would be to extensively rely on the different player's perspectives of the situation being examined. Therefore, the question becomes broad and general so that different participants can construct the meaning of a situation which in our case is Turkish foreign policy or security-foreign policy.

In short, the qualitative approach most suits this type of research. A qualitative approach is one in which the inquirer often makes knowledge claims based primarily on constructivist perspective (ibid.: 18). To be more specific, I have used a case study qualitative approach which follows the analytic technique of explanation building grounded on security theories of the Copenhagen School. This case study can be said to consist of two parts woven into one: one part focuses on the ethnic Kurdish nationalism in the region, specifically in Turkey while the other part focuses on Turkey's perception of security and the `Kurdish question' as well as its role in dealing with this concept domestically and in the region. A case study approach is preferred strategy when: how or why questions are being posed, the investigator has little control over events, and when the focus is on contemporary phenomenon within some real life context (Yin 2003). All the criteria mention suits my research given that the research question starts with `how', and transformations and equations are dramatically shifting in Turkey and in the region which makes it difficult to have control over the issue.

According to Robert Yin (2009: 9), there are three types of case studies that are; descriptive, exploratory, and explanatory. Explanatory case studies normally focus on how or why questions (ibid.). This case study, seeing as the purpose of this research is to provide an explanation for how the Kurdish discourse have influenced the security perspective, and consequently the foreign policy of the ruling party (AKP). Focusing on how the Kurdish question has effected and been effected the regional security policies of Turkey, will give us a comprehensive and in-depth description of the experience which is critical as it confirms certain hypothetical arguments and accordingly debate others and gives us observational cases to support this. Our hypothesis in this research could be: a) Turkish Nationalism, specially Kemalist ideologies are the creator and expanding machine of the Kurdish Question and neo-Ottomanism or multiculturalism could subside the problem to some extend and b) Turkey's relationship with the surrounding states and RSC are multidimensional and extremely complex.

In order to increase the validity of the conclusions drawn in this case study, the principle of data triangulation is adopted which involves the use of several different types of data.

Explanation building: is when explaining a phenomenon includes clarifying a presumed set of casual links about it, or `how' or `why' something happened (Yin, 2009;141) and it's difficult and complicated to precisely measure the stipulated casual links. Therefore, Yin suggests that explanation should be based on theoretical frameworks. As a result, this paper is grounded on security theories derived from Copenhagen Security Studies School. However, it is worth to mention that, it can not be claimed that this paper will present a comprehensive and definitely accurate prediction of how the Kurdish question has effected and been effected the regional security-foreign policies of Turkey? Yet, I have done my best to be as precise as possible and this paper at least is a partial predition and analysis of the case.

Data Triangulation: is to use multiple data sources in the research in order to develop a comprehensive understanding of the phenomenon and to increase the strength of conclusion (Patton 2002: 247). Using variety of information sources, allows an investigator to develop a better and reliable interpretation of the ongoing events through conjunctions of difference evidences (ibid.,). Accordingly, I have cited a few distinct sorts of information keeping in mind to get as accurate outcome as possible which are including; books, academic articles, policy briefs, newspaper articles, news reports, reports from global non-government institutions and official reports from the Turkish authorities.

Consequently, our methodology is set to be qualitative approach: with constructivist knowledge claims, ethnographic design, and observation of the behaviour or field observation (Creswell, 2003: 20) In order to accomplish an efficient conclusion from in addition to the data available, the field observations will only strengthen the position of this research and in order to draw a clear understanding of the relationship between the theories and the research (Bryman, 2013: 31) a deductive approach is used in this thesis. Having many theories, ideologies, concepts and participants in this research makes it a little puzzling and difficult to understand. However, Peter Burnham argues (2005, 31) that a research should be interesting, puzzling, neglected or challenging to understand. The Kurdish issue is one of the most controversial topics specially during the AKP government (2002 till now), it's definitely puzzling and neglected because different parties and concepts like APK, Kurds, and security/foreign policies are involved.

2. Historical Background

In order to examine the situation in Turkey, more specifically the Kurdish issue, it is important to know the historical background of the issue and how has the Kurdish question evolved throughout the history. To do this, we need to take the following factors into account.

2.1 Why Turkey Matters

The modern Republic of Turkey replaced the Ottoman Empire that ruled from Anatolia to the Middle East and Balkans for centuries. However, because of their imperialistic policies and pressure from the Young Turks, the nationalist freedom movement, the Ottoman Empire collapsed. The last Caliph of the empire however, tried to modernize but it was too late, the internal problems, vast polyglot population, and wars made the circumstances impossible for reforms. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk (the father of Turks) established the new Republic of Turkey based on values like laicism, republicanism, Kemalism and nationalism in 1923. Ataturk became the first president of Turkish republic and he was re-elected as president in 1927, 1931, and 1935 (Yildiz 2005: 11) Ataturk's image in public opinion is highly controversial within Turkish community. Ataturk and his beliefs are highly regarded and respected among people with secularistic or atheistic beliefs. Because they believe that if it was not of Ataturk's mass reforms, Turkey would have had the situation of Iraq, Syria or one of Islamic countries in the Middle East. Reforms that aimed to strengthen the nation building, political participation of men and women, and change the socioeconomic structure of the country for better (Kili 1980: 384).

On the other hand, for Islamists and neo-Ottomans specifically among the AKP followers Ataturk's status is controversial. As a result of abolishing the caliphate, Westernization of Turkish alphabet, prohibiting religious schools, and even changing the Azan (call to prayer for Muslims) from Arabic to Turkish and many other crossing of the red line angered the Islamists in Turkey. Ataturk which Turks believe to be a mastermind in Military had structure the state and military system to easily influence and even dominate the state.

Although the Kurdish people's contribution to Ataturk's achievement of independence was instrumental but latter on he pledged to create a centralized and unified country under a solely homogenous identity for all ethnic groups in the country. Thus, he introduced the Turkishness project whereas all the citizens of the Turkish Republic would have a single identity (Yildiz, 2005: 11) and that is being a Turk, not Armenian or Greek, not Muslim, not Kurd. The contemporary history of the Kurdish question could be linked to the Ataturk's Turkishness identity project.

Turkey's Kurdish question, the most important and fundamental problem which has existed for over a century and continuously erupted security, stability and has been an obstacle to Turkey's economic development and prevented Turkey from becoming a regional player or has negatively affected its bet on joining the European Union. Examining the Turkish version of the Kurdish question could be of most use to a broader audience concerned with conflict resolution and prevention because there are plenty of countries facing similar ethnic and sectarian conflicts. Therefore, we could argue that the Kurdish issue in Turkey have a wide range of interesting issues attached that have comprehensive applicability to similar dispute situations in the rest of the world (Berkey & Fuller, 1998:1)

In addition, according to the historian David McDowall (2004; 3), there are probably between 24-27 million Kurds living in the Middle East specifically, Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria which around half of the total population meaning at least 13 million Kurds are residing in Turkey (Berkey & Fuller, 1998;2). McDowall argues that their reproductive rate is almost double that of the Turks, so technically the Kurdish population should be around 23 percent of the total population by now. Thus understanding the Turkey's Kurdish question will help to understand the and analyze the whole Kurdish question.

Moreover, Kurdish issue in the Middle East, is one of the most challenging and the most paradoxical issues. For example, Iraq's Kurds have a good relationship with Turkey, meanwhile Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and Syrian Kurds, while at war with Turkey, they have a good relationship with Iran. Hence the Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran has a problem with the government. On the other hand, the Kurds in general are in good relationship with Israel. The Kurdish question is therefore a challenging issue in the region because of their interaction and diplomatic relations with regional and global actors like Iran and Russia, their collaboration with the West and particularly the United States. Turkey's security is also considered to be important for EU's security since Turkey functions as a bridge between East and West. As a result, understanding and drafting a fundamental solution for Turkey's Kurdish question is of great importance in promoting the regional security and instability and can alter the international relations equations.

2.2 The Kurdish Ethnic Identity

One of the dominant factors which is giving rise to the Kurdish question in Turkey is the Kurdish identity which is other than Turkishness''. The Kurdish ethnic identity has many different roots than the Turkish identity like language, culture and in some cases religion since a handful of the Kurds are Alawites. Although the sources of the Kurdish question in Turkey could be assumed as many but for a considerable number of Kurds it is their ultimate desire to be recognized as citizens of Turkey which have a different ethnic identity and distinct features (Cornell 2001). The origin of the Kurds are not well defined in terms of ethnicity because they have lived with Turks and Arabs and they are geographically, culturally and genetically integrated together (Bulloch & Morris 1993; White 2000).

In addition, a state called Kurdistan, or the country of the Kurds has never existed and it is extremely difficult to find solid evidence regarding the existence of Kurdistan in the history (Yildiz 1992; Genckaya, 1996: 94-101). However, the first people called as Kurds or Kurdish people (Carduchis) used to live in the mountains of northern Mesopotamia for around two-four thousand years; nevertheless, the identity of the Kurdish people are not clear enough yet (Bulloch & Morris 1993: 53). Kurds are living as tribes rather than a nationwide entity and each tribe has its own leader which this tribal system have caused conflicts amongst the tribes (McDowall 1991:293-302) and therefore, is one of the main reasons behind Kurds being the largest minority group without a state.

2.3 Understanding the Kurdish Question

The Kurdish question is one of the most controversial topics discussed within Turkey and within academic circles. For many who are at the side of the government, referring to the Kurdish question as Kurdish Question means to take an ideological position (Unver 2015: 3). In another words, while pointing to existence of a Kurdish question in Turkey, it could be interpreted that the person is supporting the Kurdish separatism; in the meanwhile, saying that there is not Kurdish question, features someone's ultra-nationalistic understanding and suppression of the Kurdish rights and identity. Therefore, defining the Kurdish issue is one of the most sensitive topics which made it a taboo for years and as a result the uncertainty and vagueness surrounding the definition has manifested itself either in complete denial of the Kurdish question or supporting the Kurdish `separatism' or even `treason' (ibid). In short, the Turkish society have different positions on whether the Kurdish question exist or not, also people have different definitions of the Kurdish question.

Similarly, there is a different definition of the Kurdish question; however, no Kurd denies the existence of a Kurdish question. The Kurdish question for the Kurds in Turkey could vary from demanding a full secession, to federalism, and at a minimum, to the recognition of their individual and cultural rights (Yavuz 2009: 171). However, apparently the public opinion about the Kurdish question seems to be less tolerant and more anti-Kurdish over the past decade (McDowall 2005: 116). And this is mainly because of the emergence of the PKK and war with the Turkish government which have taken the lives of hundreds of Turkish soldiers.

2.4 Military, and Politics Discourses

Basically, the first foundations of governance in this country, was first laid down by the Ottoman Empire based on their strength of armed forces which ruled more than 700 years in Minor Asia and much of the Balkans. Due to the geopolitical characteristics of the region as a bridge that links the East to West, centuries of war and evasion, has been the prominent reality of the country. In recent centuries with the arrival of the military elite to the political and social spheres, also known as Mustafa Kemal Ataturk Pasha, who was a full-fledged military, took the political power in his hands and during nearly two decades, laid the security foundations and social-political order according to his own militaristic thinking. After Atatrk's death in late 1930s his military policy and constitution still had a major influence on the country's infrastructure and socio-political institutions.

From the sociological perspective, some paradigms such as Weber and Huntington's modernization theory and Mandel's militarist and security perspective, while investigating the military and politics interaction, have tried to highlight the role of militarism and armed forces in the structure and components of national security. Turkey due to its unique characteristic, has been considered a suitable model for the analysis with these perspectives. Robert Mandel in his book "Third World National Security" reviewed the security situation in the Middle East and concluded that military strength is the key to these country's security. He believes that in Third World countries, the dominant ideology of military can easily influence the internal and even external political decision-making processes. Samuel Huntington, generalize this situation to a condition in which the regime has lost its legitimacy or community is experiencing a major crisis. According to his view, the military intervention in politics will increase in case there is a contradiction between the demands and political objectives of the government and the militaristic ideal commitments. In societies that are grappling with crises, gradually new forces arrive at the scene and pose new demands which the government is not able to meet those needs and thus prepared and paved the way for military intervention.

Max Weber in this regard also emphasizes on the three points; a) Military technology, the institution and its carrying forces can affect the internal composition of different forms of political systems b) The formation of modern bureaucracy and rational authority are closely interrelated with the military institutions, their role and purposes. c) Military as the most disciplined institution and loyal to the country, is a role model and example to other institutions in the society (Azghandi 1998: 17). Centralized command, hierarchical order, power and discipline and having a strong communication network, both in peacetime and in times of war, have depicted the military institutions as capable and suitable force to govern, especially at critical junctures. The Turkish Republic, always faced with multiple crises and according to this theory, Turkish military had intervened and controlled the situation.

2.5 Security in Turkey

In Turkey for reasons of historical facts and wars, external threats, Ataturk's ideas and political conditions and geographical features, security is defined in the shadow of military presence. This country has experienced centuries of war and crises thus the society traditionally believes in the military power to overcome these problems. Not so stable governments urge the military as the only institution with the absolute capability and national legitimacy only, to enter the administrative scene in order to preserve the integrity of the country (Ay Azer 2001: 43). This issue is more common in countries where their history is incorporated with military and war. Stanford J. Shaw in the History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey (Shaw, 1991; V1. 217) depicts roots of militarism in Ottoman Empire and its multifunctional features as follows:

During the Ottoman era, all those who were responsible for the maintenance and development of the empire and restoring order and security as well as those who were guaranteeing the full utilization of resources for the Empire and supported the government institution and other activities of the regime, are all entitled as Sayfiyah or Swordsmen gathered in the military institutions of the ruling class

Mustafa Naima, a historian of the Ottoman Empire, has raised an idea that he calls it as "circulation of justice". He believes that (1) government or the ruler cannot survive without an army, (2) maintaining the army requires wealth, (3) wealth is obtained from people's business, (4) people cannot achieve prosperity and wealth to pay tax to the Sultan only under unjust conditions (5) justice will not prevail but under the state protection and again the government cannot exist or survive without the army (J. Shaw 1991: 203).

In 1923 the Young Turks led by Ataturk took power from the Ottoman Empire. Turkey's military influence rooted in social and cultural developments and with the aim of modernization and saving the country from the problems, security sectors deeply impressed the Turkish community on that time. Establishment of secular regime and nationalist actions, and avoiding religious and ethnic and cultural values were the results of the transition process that security was defined around those goals. Turkish security situation after the Young Turks empowerment, came to the fact that the Turkish Republic's main principles may be a target. At the time of Atatrk, National Security Agency decided to immediately apply the "revolutionary laws" meaning the prohibitions of the Social-Islamic activities. Together with the conservative Islamists, ethnic groups specifically, Kurds became main target and victims of the new principles of Republic of Turkey almost a century.

In 2002 the Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power with a commitment to address the Kurdish question. AKP calling themselves as Conservative Democrats occasionally rehabilitated its repressed Islamic identity (Yavuz, 2009; 2) through democratic procedures in a long struggle with the powerful Kemalist military establishment. They brought the generally conservative Turkish traditions and local-level norms and identities to the national level (ibid. 13). During its first term in power, AKP's key foreign and domestic policy has been to limit the power and influence of the military and it has measured its success in terms of the withdrawal of the military from policy areas ( Yavuz, 2007; 248). Because of the military's offensive stance toward the Kurds, the AKP government attempted to utilize the EU institutions and standards to get control over the military (Uzgel, 2006: 69-84).

3. Theories and Ideologies

3.1 Theoretical Approach to Security

Perhaps nowadays the most basic human need is security and safety. Increasingly concerns about the state of insecurity in the developing world and everyday problems that life and human survival is challenged in these communities are among the issues that has attracted many researcher's attention.

A dramatic rise in the ethnic and ideological secession movements from the 20th century to the 21st century: increasing desire for self-determination, and independence all over the world which the disintegration process was not generally peaceful but they had to go through bloodshed and violence such as Yugoslavia. A significant number of internal conflicts, regional crises, and in general violence and crises on global scale occurred in the developing countries after the World War II. As a result of this situation, most of these developing countries have turned to safe heaven for the armed groups or to a war zone between the government and the armed groups; however, its unsafe for people and their quality of life is deteriorating. Governments that their primary and fundamental functional theory must be the maintaining security and order for its citizens, in developing countries unlikely people have become the focus of security risks. Transnational factors that are active in different aspects of human security have been challenged in the developing world and due to the structure of the government and society, the old problems have deepened. As a result, the life of a third world country citizen is challenged in different levels. The tragic conditions of life in these areas, have persuaded many theoretical efforts on the causes of insecurity and how to deal with it. Perhaps the most successful of these efforts could be referred to the Copenhagen School and studies of Barry Buzan and colleagues in this area.

This theoretical framework is stressing to address the distinct factors, and thus approve a comprehensive and multilayered picture of security issues and present a new approach to study and investigate security. In further sections this approach will be used to discuss and analyze many important issues. Although the conceptualization of security, definition, and its references are examined and studied in various ways and shapes in different theories. Among several different security and International Relations theories, the domination of the realistic discourse on the mainstream IR in its classic form as well as its new shape is undeniable. So, there is no theory which emphasizes on security more than realism; however, there is lack of critical analysis by realists in order to explain what is the meaning of security (Baldwin, 1997: 21) Realists believe in zero-sum philosophy in IR which one state's win is another state's loss and some of the most important features are power struggle, national interest and competition. As a result, realism only produces competition and conflicts between states (Bathily, 2009:185) The domination of the realistic approach over security was easily evident till the end of the Cold War and collapse of the Soviet Union but since that time realism faced serious skepticism due to the inability to reappear in the contemporary transitions and developments.

In realistic theories, security is one of the most fundamental factors in IR which usually revolves around states. Therefore, the focal point of the security studies is the security of the state which if we have to use a terminology it is the `National Security'. The above mentioned assumptions, are based largely on a certain understanding of the state which is on the other hand challenged by some different views. Lack of type and nature of the Western-like government in Third World Countries- from these different points of view- needs distinctive research questions and methods in the security realm. As a result of different socio-political characteristics, critics argue that the Third World countries face different kind of security problems and management mechanisms which the roots could be the lack of components in the development of national government and deficiencies in the political structure of these types of governments.

3.2 Copenhagen School of Security Studies (CSSS)

Till the end of the Cold War, International Security Studies and theories were based on traditional way of thinking and definition of security that was limited only to military-political relations of the two blocks. Therefore, there was lack of `conceptual literature on security' and the concept (security) was `underdeveloped' and too much narrowly founded and defined (Buzan 1991:4, 1981: 14) and there is a need for broadening the concept in order to address a broader spectrum of security issues. As a result, a group of neo-realist and social constructivist theorist came together and presented an innovative and comprehensive perspective: `a broader framework of security' (Buzan 1982) which are well known as The Copenhagen School of Security Studies(CSSS). This school develops three conceptual tools of analysis which makes this school distinguishable from other security researches. Sectors of Security and Regional Security Complex Theory (RSCT) are the two conceptual tools that originally developed by Barry Buzan while Ole Weaver developed Securitization Theory. Copenhagen School believes that `security' is a particular type of policy that is used in a wide range of issues (Buzan, Weaver, & Wilde, 1998: 21-22).

Copenhagen school has tried to expand the definition of security through that non-military threats can weaken the security, stability and the survival of states and continue to undermine people's lives.

`Security' is supported or conducted through three adjacent types of concepts: complementary, parallel and oppositional (Buzan 2009: 6-14). Contemporary concepts highlight more specific and narrower questions like humanitarianism, deterrence, strategy and containment. Parallel concepts, such as identity, power and sovereignty takes security into a broader political theory and finally the oppositional concepts functions through security; however, argue that they should be replaced; for instance, peace, risk etc.(ibid.,) In short, the Copenhagen School - is partially about broadening the threats and referent objects, especially societal/identity security, to some extend its about paying more attention to the regional level which is defined as `regional security theory', but mainly about focusing on securitisation (the social processes by which groups of people construct something as a threat), therefore, offering a Constructivist counterpoint to the materialist threat analysis of traditional Strategic Studies (ibid: 36). Although the Copenhagen School is considered to be a dominant school in International Security Studies; nevertheless, some theorists have criticized its scope of broadening the concept of security. The main concern is that to what extend the concept of security can be expanded? Whether or not by expanding it becomes the study of anything and consequently everything could become a `referent object' of security? (Floyd 2007: 41) The school presents a simple but comprehensive definition of the concept, `security as follows: pursuit of freedom from threats (Buzan 1991: 18). Copenhagen school argues that, anything such as: individuals, social groups, states, regions, even the world which are recognized as being in danger of any type, or considered to be existentially threatened are called `referent objects' and thus have a legitimate claim to survive (Buzan 1997: 36). Buzan for the first time comprehensively linked the security studies with the type of government. He believes that security questions are intimately related and connected to the questions surrounding the nature of the state. In another word, the privileged referent object in the Copenhagen School is the state (Buzan, 2009: 10). While for example, in Human Security Studies it is believed that human beings should be the primary referent object of security (ibid,: 36). While we set human beings as the referent object of security, we include issues like hunger, underdevelopment, human integrity and so on in security research. The security environment in each state can be drawn based on the presence or absence of actual or potential threats against the national security at the national, regional and global level. There are many ways to calculate and understand these actual or potential threats. Understanding the nature of the government, the factors and its complicated entities, is one of the addressing ways to identify how national threats emerge.

The framework Copenhagen School theorists have used, has many potential and functionality in understanding the emergence of the security environment in the Third World countries and how to manage security threats. In addition, from this theoretical perspective, knowing the relationship between nature of the state and cause (why and how) of two-way interaction of threat and vulnerability can overcome many of the existing problem in the research area. The Copenhagen School divides the concept into different levels and sectors. There are three levels of security according to Buzan which are individuals, states, and international systems (Buzan 1981) and the security sectors are Political, Social, Economic, Military and Environment (Buzan 1991) Although from this School's perspective, individual security has certain importance in political analysis, but individuals are certainly not recognized as the security referent although, security is an import factor of the individual life, freedom, status, health and wealth (Buzan 1981: 36). The Copenhagen School acknowledges that states are the main referent of security because of their political authority and political loyalty and they dominate the tools. In addition, states by nature are egoist; therefore, they may pursue their hegemony in governmental, nongovernmental and international affairs through whatsoever means of power they occupy.

3.3 Five Sectors of Security in CS

The Copenhagen School is well known by its efforts broadening the security conceptualization. It refers to expanding the security studies from its narrow and traditional way of analysis based on military strengths to other sectors and categories. Buzan raised the first serious criticism on the existing security approaches from the late 1990s, upon which the survival of the state or state actors is not only threatened by the military means and elements; but other also other subject areas. The Copenhagen School has used the concept of Existential Threat in order to recognize real and ascertain threats and offer best possible solution to address security dilemmas and use of coercive force. According to the existential threat concept, the Copenhagen School has divided the security concerns into five different categories (military, political, societal, economic and environmental) rather than merely restricting the security studies to military discourses (Buzan 1991, Sheehan, 2005: 44) For instance, the existential threats in the political sphere are issues related to sovereignty however occasionally the ideology of the state; in military sphere `the referent object is the state'; and in the societal sector, `the referent object is the large-scale collective and the extent to which it can function independently of the state, such as the nation or religions' (Buzan 1997: 17).

Social factors of the security theory in the Copenhagen school is especially important. Social factors link the national security issue with national identity and cause the aforementioned issue to become a component of national security. Therefore, although according to the traditional security doctrine, national security was restricted only to the military sector, but now it is the security of nations as most important factor in shaping a nations identity, also determines the concept of national security (Chena, 2008: 28). Signs of the concept, `security' in the military segment is highlighted more than some other divisions because of having the capability to use coercive force, being the most disciplined entity of the state, the guardian of the state and more characteristics which can dominate the political, financial and social sectors.

In the political sector, anything which jeopardizes the recognition, legitimacy, and symbols of sovereignty of a state is called as the existential threat. In the political sphere existential threat can be an external or internal or arise from the nature of state. The referent object in the societal or public sector is identity, social cohesion and balance or lack of it. Considering Turkey as an example, which different ethnic groups, ideologies, cultures and languages draw a line between the state and minority groups. There are two key factors in turning identity issues to existential threats and their securitization; first, the issue of imagination of the identity holders and toward what factors they are sensitive; second, it contributes to fueling tensions and conflict between states (Buzzan & Weaver, 1997: 95). Most of the conflicts today can be placed within the societal security issues. In our further analysis this paper will pay more attention to the military, political and societal sectors of security studies.

3.4 Sucuritization and De-securitization

In 1989 article issued by Waver under the title of Security, described the term `securitization' as the speech act: analyzing the politics of a word. Waver initially defined security as a `speech act' and showed that the meaning of security is related with the `security discourse'. This means that a non-security issue only by a political elite's interpretation of the issue, could appear to be a security issue (Waver, 1998: 6); in another word, the main argument in `securitization theory' is that in international relations, when an issue is securitized, it is not due to the fact that it is an objective threat to the existence of a country; but in fact this is a political actor which has declared something as an existential threat.

The concept of securitization is one of the main themes that the Copenhagen School is based on. It was formulated by Ole Waver an important figure within the Copenhagen School and a colleague of Buzan. The school argues that security is all about survival and when an issue is posing an existential threat to a particular referent object, and in emergency case it is justified to use extraordinary measures and coercive force to neutralize them (Buzan, Weaver & de Wilde, 1998: 21).

Securitization is the process that led to put some issues within the framework of the security, while these issues are not already in this field. For this purpose, a three-degree spectrum of: non-political topics (issues out of the scope of the state), political issues (decision-making and allocation of resources by the state) and security issues to be drawn. In this context there are two conditions for the securitization of an issue: securitization dialogue and breaking the rules, and the existing procedure and rules. In an ideal condition, politics based on the usual procedure should be able to explain issues without having to adopt procedures which are extrajudicial and beyond the rules of the game. Accordingly, securitization is shifting an item or issue from the natural and normal agenda to the agenda of the extraordinary and emergency that justifies use of unusual tools.

According to Weaver, the process when an issue is socially constructed into a threat then the issue is securitized, the process can include securitizing actors, mostly political who affirms an issue as an existential threat to a referent object and reacts to the problem for survival by taking extraordinary measure to handle them. As a result, the issue is considered as securitized and it takes politics beyond the established rules of the game (Waver, 1998: 23) and take place within the panic politics and is out of the democratic political process (ibid.: 34) According to Waever, something is a security problem when the elites declare it to be so (Waever, 1998: 6). while some have argued that `Securitization is about constructing a shared understanding of what are to be considered security issues' (Sheehan, 2005: 62).

The Copenhagen School conclude that 'securitization is not decided by the securitizer but by the audience' (1998: 31); therefore, securitization studies which is based on the concept of the specific nature of the security, should be looking to understand who is for what cause (which threat?), for who (referent object), why and with what (potential) results, specially under which conditions making an issue securitized. Securitization means that the issue can not be subject to political bargaining anymore (Nasri, 2002: 7-35); however, the Copenhagen School, especially Ole Weaver, as it is clear from the title of his book Securitization and Desecuritization, believes that a comeback is possible which we will analyse the desecuritization further parts. Ethnic diversity in a country and its relationship with its surroundings is one of the most important issues in Copenhagen School and Buzan's security studies. Among these are issues of different ethnic and religious groups and how to link them to the two categories of threats and vulnerabilities of which takes a special place in security debates. From this perspective, the national government and the Kurdish question in Turkey and its relationship with its securitized surrounding environment, is of great importance of in security researches. Therefore, based on the importance of the topic, this paper is seeking to design questions around the regional security of Turkey and the Kurdish question and tries to analyze based on the Copenhagen School of Security Studies.


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