Con­fer­ence: DAVO 21st In­ter­na­tional Congress, Uni­ver­sity of Cologne

Turkish Review - - CONTENTS - AMKE DIETERT1 AND GÜN­TER MEYER2

The Ger­man Mid­dle East Stud­ies As­so­ci­a­tion for Con­tem­po­rary Re­search and Doc­u­men­ta­tion (DAVO) is an in­ter­na­tional and in­ter­dis­ci­pli­nary net­work of more than 1,500 schol­ars, stu­dents, and pro­fes­sion­als in­ter­ested in the Mid­dle East. The mem­bers of DAVO are from not just Ger­many but also other Euro­pean coun­tries, North Amer­ica, the Mid­dle East, and North Africa. Mid­dle East stud­ies ex­am­ines is­sues rel­e­vant to the area com­pris­ing all mem­bers of the League of Arab States, Afghanistan, Iran, Pak­istan, Turkey, the Mus­lim states of the for­mer Union of Soviet So­cial­ist Re­publics, and Is­rael, as well as the im­pact this re­gion has on the devel­op­ment of other parts of the world.

The in­ter­na­tional con­gresses of DAVO have no spe­cific theme. As a schol­arly net­work, DAVO wants to give all mem­bers and guest par­tic­i­pants -- who, in the case of the Cologne con­fer­ence, came from 23 dif­fer­ent coun­tries -- the op­por­tu­nity to present and ex­change their re­search re­sults. There­fore, DAVO prefers not to iden­tify a gen­eral con­clu­sion of the con­fer­ence or even to give a com­pre­hen­sive sum­mary of the more than 150 pa­pers, which were pre­sented dur­ing the last congress. Nev­er­the­less, cur­rent events in the re­gion are al­ways a fo­cus of the pre­sen­ta­tions and dis­cus­sions. This year that fo­cus in­cluded the up­heavals in the re­gion, the dra­matic ex­pan­sion of the Is­lamic State, and the es­ca­lat­ing con­flict be­tween Is­rael and Pales­tini­ans.

The key­note speech, ti­tled “Power and Faith: Saudi Ara­bia, the Wah­habiya and the Salafists,” was de­liv­ered by Guido Stein­berg from the Ger­man In­sti­tute for In­ter­na­tional and Se­cu­rity Af­fairs (SWP) in Ber­lin. He de­scribed the his­tor­i­cal, ide­o­log­i­cal, and po­lit­i­cal links be­tween the Wah­habiyya in Saudi Ara­bia and the cur­rent Salafist move­ments. The Saudi state has had, since its found­ing, a sym­bi­otic re­la­tion­ship with the Wah­habi cler­ics. On the one hand this has been a sta­bi­liz­ing fac­tor. On the other hand, if po­lit­i­cal de­ci­sions of the king or the gov­ern­ment are per­ceived as be­ing not in ac­cor­dance with the prin­ci­ples of Is­lam -es­pe­cially co­op­er­a­tion with the US -- prob­lems can oc­cur. This leads to ac­cu­sa­tions of apos­tasy against the king and the rul­ing elites, and to calls for a vi­o­lent over­throw of the gov­ern­ment. There­fore, Stein­berg con­cluded that Saudi Ara­bia’s fi­nan­cial and lo­gis­ti­cal sup­port for ISIS was not an out­come of the of­fi­cial pol­icy of the state but was or­ga­nized by pri­vate sym­pa­thiz­ers.

The po­lit­i­cal re­ac­tions of Saudi Ara­bia and the small Gulf States to the “Arab Spring” and the con­flicts in its af­ter­math, as well as anal­y­sis of the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion in Iraq and Syria were sub­jects of sev­eral pan­els and pre­sen­ta­tions. Turkey’s role in the con­flicts of the re­gion was the sub­ject of an­other panel which in­cluded the three fol­low­ing pa­pers: “The Para­dox of Turk­ish-Is­raeli Re­la­tions dur­ing the Arab Spring: En­tan­gle­ment of Geostrate­gic Considerations and Ne­olib­eral Eco­nomic Fac­tors,” by Ay­man Talal Yousef, of the Arab Amer­i­can Uni­ver­sity in Jenin; “Turk­ish In­ter­na­tional NGOs and the Arab Spring,” by Ibrahim Natil, from Dublin; and “Agents of Change? Con­cep­tu­al­iz­ing Con­tem­po­rary Forms, De­mands and Con­cerns of Women’s Par­tic­i­pa­tion in the Gezi Park Protests in Turkey,” by Janet Kur­sawe, from Univer­sität Duis­burg-Essen, and Nora Stein, from Univer­sität Ham­burg.

Two other im­por­tant ac­tors in the re­gion are Egypt and Iran. Pre­sen­ta­tions on Iran dealt with the coun­try’s for­eign pol­icy, civil so­ci­ety or­ga­ni­za­tion, and also at­tempted a com­par­a­tive anal­y­sis of the Arab re­volts and Iran’s Green Move­ment. The pre­sen­ta­tions on

THIS YEAR THAT FO­CUS IN­CLUDED THE UP­HEAVALS IN THE RE­GION, THE DRA­MATIC EX­PAN­SION OF THE IS­LAMIC STATE, AND THE ES­CA­LAT­ING CON­FLICT BE­TWEEN IS­RAEL AND PALES­TINI­ANS

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Turkey

© PressReader. All rights reserved.