Between 19 and 22 January 2011, ESI organised in Istanbul an introductory seminar for its six new EU-Turkey fellows. The fellows will help implement the project "A changing Turkey and a critical Europe", which is funded by the EU. During the seminar, the fellows were acquainted with ESI's work and staff, discussed the project and their tasks, and met a range of Turkey experts.
With this project, ESI aims to deepen understanding of contemporary Turkey in five enlargement-sceptical EU countries: Austria, Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands. The aim will be pursued with the help of a new attractive Turkey website with the most important reports and texts translated into French and German; a new book with ESI's major Turkey reports (in English, German and French) that will be disseminated to decision-makers and opinion leaders across Europe; two rounds of debates in the five countries, in the spring and in the autumn of 2011, as well as updated "Enlargement Manuals" and tailor-made information targeting the relevant key people in the five countries.
Each fellow is based in one of the five countries, with a sixth living in Istanbul. The fellows will monitor the internal debates on Turkey in their countries, producing "chronologies" documenting them. They will also help organise the public debates on Turkey, organise effective outreach and update the manuals. The idea is to create a network of like-minded people who will continue to exchange information on the Turkey debate in the EU after the project.
During the seminar, ESI chairman Gerald Knaus, ESI's Turkey analysts and a number of Turkish experts briefed the fellows on the major transformations that Turkey has undergone in recent years. The guest speakers included university professors Kemal Kirisci and Hakan Yilmaz, the journalist and commentator Mustafa Akyol, Hugh Pope, Director for Turkey/Cyprus at the International Crisis Group, as well as Michael Thumann, correspondent of the German weekly Die Zeit.
The debates covered all burning issues in contemporary Turkey, from the state of Turkey's democracy to Turkey's dynamic foreign policy, Turkish-Armenian relations and Turkey-EU relations; from the role of women to the "Islamic Calvinists", a new class of entrepreneurs from Anatolia; as well as the "deep state", the role of the military and the trials related to the alleged terror network Ergenekon. Since 2004, when it opened its Istanbul office, ESI has researched and published analyses of most of these topics.
The fellows had the opportunity to present their first findings on the Turkey debate in the EU country that they cover. They discussed the immigration debates, and the role played by the media as well as that by certain politicians and key personalities that manage to hijack the debate.
The fellows: Matthias Bernold, freelance journalist and author in Vienna; Marjanne de Haan, programme manager at the Turkish Institute in The Hague; Olivier Ruchet, lecturer at the French University College Sciences-Po (Fondation National des Sciences Politiques); Dominik Tolksdorf, lecturer at Vesalius College Brussels; Peter Widmann, German guest lecturer at Bilgi University in Istanbul; Natasha Wunsch, resident fellow at DGAP in Berlin (German Council on Foreign Relations).
- Hürriyet, Mustafa Akyol, "The tragedy of Turkish justice" (7 January 2011)
- Hürriyet, Mustafa Akyol, "Ottomania, sculpture-phobia and the conservative agenda" (11 January 2011)
- Hürriyret, Mustafa Akyol, "Why Said Nursi matters" (4 January 2011)
- Kemal Kirişci, "The transformation of Turkish foreign policy: The rise of the trading state", in: New Perspectives on Turkey, no. 40 (2009): 29-57.
- International Crisis Group, Hugh Pope, "Turkey: Pax Ottomana?" (27 October 2010)
- Die Zeit, Michael Thumaann, "Between opportunity and self harm" (18 October 2008)
- Michael Thumann, "Turkey's Role Reversals", in: Wilson Quarterly, Summer 2010
- Hakan Yilmaz, "Turkish identity on the road to the EU: basic elements of French and German oppositional discourses", in: Journal of Southern Europe and the Balkans, Volume 9, Number 3, December 2007
An ESI project supported by the European Commission