Co-IRIS Panel at Sakarya University’s Middle Eastern Congress


Co-IRIS Panel: Islamic Perspectives on Theory and Praxis in International Relations

Chair: Nassef Manabilang Adiong

The 2nd Middle Eastern Congress on Politics and Society is organized by the Centre for Middle Eastern Studies of Sakarya University and will take place in Sakarya, Turkey on 14-17 October 2014.

1st Presenter: [Yusuf Sayın] ABSENT

Editor of Strategic Outlook and PhD Candidate in IR at Selcuk University

Foreign Policy Analysis in Islam and International Relations

The relation of religion to International Relations is usually seen as a Western construct patterned through the historicity of Christianity in Western Europe. Thus, the historical patterns of other religions, particularly Islam, has been untowardly ignored or not given equal attention by IR scholars focusing on comparative studies between religion and IR. Generally, case studies are concentrated on foreign policy analysis and its impact of state and non-state actors with strong religious affinities. Consequently, religious influences in analyzing foreign policy oftentimes extend in both dimensions and angles, and are clear-cut and evidentiary due to an irrefutable reality of complicated structure of the nature of international politics. The paper seeks to present contemporary findings of Islamic contributions assisted by Islamic jurisprudence and law in foreign policy analysis including selected religious actors in the international system of the Muslim world.

2nd Presenter: Tareq Sharawi

PhD student at the Alliance of Civilizations Institute in Istanbul

Comparative Analogy of War between Classical Islamicists and Hedley Bull

War, according to Hedley Bull, is presented as organized violence waged between political entities. This position, rightfully accepted in essence and meaning, presupposes that the interrelated ends of war are both political entities. In modern times, one could argue, these political entities are represented by states. In the Islamic discourse, however, war has traditionally been linked with the body of the Muslim community, the Ummah, as an entity. But the notion that the concept of war in Islam should necessarily be tied to a political entity has caused some confusion; certainly, groups who seem to lack proper political organization are conducting violence against groups far from political entities while giving the description of ‘war’ to their acts. In this paper, I will base my discussion on classical Islamic texts and historical pointers from the Medina period of the birth of Islam to argue that the concept of war in Islam does not escape Bull’s presentation. I will humbly try to draw from the historical insights a coherent understanding of the link between war, the Ummah as an organized political entity, and perhaps, the modern nation-state.

3rd Presenter: Fadi Zatari

PhD student at the Alliance of Civilizations Institute in Istanbul

The Concept of Enemy in the Hamas Ideology

The Islamic movement of Hamas-controlled Palestine historically traces its roots from the Muslim Brotherhood, which was established in 1928 as the first Islamic movement in Egypt. The study aims to fulfill research gaps and look for alternative approaches to the analysis of the Hamas’ conception of Jihad and Hudna (truce), i.e., studying the Hamas charter, leaflets, and other disseminated informative sheets. Hamas uses the concept of ‘Hudna’ or truce, not directly meant for peace, for subsequent reasons. Firstly, it is possible to achieve ceasefire with Israel through Hudna without recognizing the ‘state of Israel’. Hence it is a legitimate theological concept since Prophet Mohammed signed Hudna (truce) with the people of Quraish in Mecca. Secondly, it includes limited duration of ceasefire so that Hamas will not concede for an indefinite truce. Therefore, this paper argues for further comprehension and research of Jihad and Hudna under the perspective of Hamas and their process of utilizations as tools of foreign policies towards Israel.

4th Presenters: [Mehmet Ali Mert and Cenay BabaoğluUNCONFIRMED

PhD students at Hacettepe University in Ankara

The Impact of Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) to Turkish Foreign Policy

as an International Political Actor

International relations originally covered simply the relations between states and non-state actors were given a secondary status. But political and economic liberalization, technological transformation and particularly the effect of globalization challenged this approach and triggered governance (Benner, Reinicke and Witte, 2003: 18). Thisprocess pave way to the strengthening of international actors as well as non-governmental organizations (NGOs). NGOs similar to state, operates in a variety of global policy including participation in diplomacy. This process indicates new types of corporatism and the growing strength of the third sector. The growing role and influence of NGOs in national or international area, non-states actors have become important political actors in the global society. Detomasi (2007: 325) lists the stakeholders of the global governance in four levels: private sector, nation-state, international organizations and NGOs. From this point of view, a civil society organization is going to be examined as a case study in the context of its impact on Turkish foreign policy in the last decade. The growth number of NGOs, the scale of their activities, and the complexity of their transactions has had a major political impact. So international politics and diplomacy are not limited to Turkish government. IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation as an Islamic based institution can be considered as an effective actor in Turkish policy, both in national and international level without restricting its activities to a particular group, nationality, or country. IHH was set up to deliver humanitarian aid as a voluntary organization. Activities of the foundation began in 1992 and were institutionalized in 1995. IHH has reached out to 136 countries and regions in five continents and prioritizes at war-hit and post-war regions, disaster zones, impoverished countries and regions. IHH’s activities in international crisis areas and taking initiatives in human diplomacy such as Mavi Marmara flotilla aid campaign for breaking an Israeli blockade on Gaza, interference to internal conflict against minority Muslims in Arakan, taking active role in prisoner swap and as a mediator in releasing journalists in Syria, raised its influence on Turkish foreign policy. Therefore, the foreign policy of Turkey cannot be understood without knowing role of the civil organizations like IHH. Turkish foreign policy and diplomacy does not operate on some separate planet, cut off from such civil organizations. So, in this research IHH’s role on Turkish foreign policy and diplomacy will be examined in the context of NGOs influence on state policies.

5th Presenter: Yasser Salimi

MA Candidate at the Islamic Azad University

West vs. Islamic World: From Clash to Dialogue

This research wants to argue that dialogue among civilizations and other similar initiatives resulted to a paradigm shift in international relations. After the end of cold war, efforts for defining situation of post cold war era have started. Most of these efforts were made by scholars in US as the only super power in the world that theories made by Huntington and Fukuyama are the most famous ones. After introducing his theory Huntington developed it and answered to critics and did not only make theory and made some suggestion to US government as post cold war strategy. During the cold war attention of world powers to multilateralism decreased and world issues was focused on security and armament. Leaving international organizations such as UNESCO by US is a proof to that. US had been founding member of UNESCO since 1946 but in 1984 left it and in 2003 rejoined it again. George W. Bush administration by declaring war against terrorism and invading Afghanistan and Iraq displayed return of unilateralism and realism. After Obama came to power a U turn is visible in US foreign policy that pulling troops out of Iraq is one example. U.S. did not oppose openly Dialogue among Civilizations initiative in 2001 despite its contradiction to US hawkish foreign policy. Secretariat of international year of dialogue among civilizations was based in Seton Hall University in New Jersey and Leslie H. Gelb emeritus president of Council of Foreign Relations was also member of prominent group of UN SG for dialogue among civilizations. Bush for the first time appointed an envoy to OIC in 2008 and after that Britain and Russia did the same. Though change from clash to dialogue backs to last years of Bush administration. Hillary Clinton also appointed Farah Pandith as special rep. to Muslim Communities in 2009. US joined Alliance of Civilizations Group of Friends after Obama came to power, 5 years after its establishment also shows the change. After Madrid bombings which are speculated to be in response of Spain military involvement in Iraq Afghanistan its PM proposed Alliance of Civilizations initiative. Its main goal is decreasing tensions between west and Islamic world through dialogue and cooperation.

Presenter’s Biography:

Yusuf Sayın is the editor of Strategic Outlook and PhD candidate in International Relations. He earned his master’s program in IR from Selcuk University in 2011. His master thesis was on the role of religion in international relations and IR theories. He currently completes his PhD thesis regarding the relations between Turkey and Iran in the context of integration and unity under the model of Seljuk Empire. He has published several articles, reviews, and translation works. He is fluent in English, Arabic, and German. He also works as English-Turkish translator.

Tareq Sharawi is a Jordanian PhD student at the Alliance of Civilizations Institute of Fatih Sultan Mehmet Waqf University, Turkey. He received his Masters degree in International Relations from The University of Bristol, UK. His research interests include Religious Nationalism and political organization in classical Islamic traditions.

Fadi Zatari is a Palestinian PhD student at the Alliance of Civilizations Institute of Fatih Sultan Mehmet Waqf University, Turkey. In 2009 he received his first Masters degree in International Studies from the Birzeit University, and in 2013 his second Masters degree in Political Theory from the Goethe University Frankfurt am Main and the Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany.

Mehmet Ali Mert is a research assistant in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at Hacettepe University, Turkey. He obtained his BA in International Relations at Fatih University (Turkey) in 2006. He also continues his PhD studies at the same department. He works at some academic projects. His research interests include Islamic political thought, political science, Turkish and Middle East studies, state and religion.

Cenay Babaoğlu is a research assistant in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at Hacettepe University, Turkey. He also continues his PhD studies at the same department. His research interests include comparative and international public administration, Turkish administrative history, public policy analyses and ICT in public administration.

Yasser Salimi is an MA Candidate in International Relations at the Islamic Azad University Science & Research Branch in Tehran, Iran.

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