Demythologizing the National Security Concept: The Case of Turkey

by Umit Cizre

...the global trend whereby intra-state wars have replaced inter-state wars as the main sources of insecurity. According to Mary Kaldor [in New and Old Wars, Stanford U. Press, 1999], these 'new wars' differ from traditional wars in three ways: they are about identity politics: that is, the exclusive claim to power on the basis of identities defined by memory, history as well as diaspora. Secondly, the methods of fighting have changed: full scale battle is avoided, violence is directed against civilians, and the guerrilla strategies of the the Cold War have been revived. But while the former strategies of the Cold War aimed at capturing hearts and minds, the new warfare aims at sowing fear and hatred. Conspicuous activities, population displacement, and home burning are all part of this strategy. Moreover, these new wars have their own informal war economy which supports political and economic vested interests through plunder and black market activities...

[Abstract] Since the second half of the 1990s, a new national security discourse in Turkey sanctifies security over democratic and developmental objectives. By organizing itself around the concepts and issues raised by the former Deputy Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz’s pathbreaking speech on August 4, 2001 on "national security syndrome," this essay problematizes the increased security concerns of the TSK against the democratic priorities of the EU which Turkey aspires to join. Secondly, the essay analyzes the problems involved in Turkey’s process of formulating its national security policy.

The Middle East Journal, Vol. 57, #2, Spring, 2003

Of special interest to our readers is a review of Mary Kaldor's book about the increasingly genocidal nature of war: