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Title: Turkey and international society from a critical legal perspective
Author: Aral, Berdal
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 1994
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Contrary to the pretentions of liberal jurists, positive international law does not represent a 'scientific' and 'universal' system of law. Instead, it is largely marked by ambiguity, fragmentation and legal lacunae. For instance, international law still lacks supranational mechanisms for resolving inter-state disputes. Furthermore, there is no agreed definition among states of what constitutes 'law' and how it should be applied. If this is the case, then, international jurists should seek to understand the subjective context in which a particular legal discourse takes place, instead of proposing 'correct' formulae on the basis of 'objective' legal norms. The deficiency of present international law is most visible in the sphere of the law of territory. Under international law, territory is still treated as an exclusive preserve of the state irrespective of the wishes of the 'people'. It will be argued that the state-centric nature of international law still persists despite the inclusion of other legal personalities and categories of rights into its ambit. Since the autonomy of states is the starting point of international law, practical implementation of the right of 'peoples' to self-determination or the international protection of human rights and minority rights are severely prejudiced. This conceptual framework informs the mode of analysis pursued here to examine Turkish conceptions and practices of international law. By attempting to understand Turkey's international outlook from within, this study is intended to demonstrate, in the context of various test-cases, the need for the international legal discipline to open itself to other social disciplines, instead of confining itself to the parochial boundaries of 'law' as such. The second chapter, following the Introduction, introduces the critical hermeneutical paradigm adopted in this study. It argues that the analysis of international law requires a multidimensional and multilayered understanding of legal pheneomenon and behaviour which does not proceed on the basis of a single theory, be it positivism, naturalism or postmodernism. Chapter three focuses on the theories of state and nationalism as explanatory frameworks for the international legal behaviour of individual states. This theoretical framework is then deployed for an exposition and explanation of Turkish conceptions of international society. It will be argued that the Turkish view of international society is largely shaped by Eurocentric assumptions and perspectives, while Turkish nationalism is deeply suspicious of the outside world, including the west. Chapter four focuses on the role played by Turkey's academic establishment in the dissemination of a particular view of international society and its legal framework. Having examined some prominent textbooks of international law and, to a far more limited degree, of international relations, this study concludes that they are largely modelled on western positivistic scholarship, and tend to ignore the 'progressive' dimensions of international law and politics. The second section of this thesis draws on the practical implications of the conceptual analyses made previously. This is done through an investigation of Turkey's legal behaviour in the context of some disputes and questions with which it has been involved. Chapter five focuses on the Cyprus dispute over which Turkey and Greece hold contradictory views. This is also the case with the Aegean dispute which will be examined in Chapter six. Chapter seven focuses on the problems faced by the Turkish minorities in Bulgaria and Greece. In its turn, Chapter eight deals with the question of the Kurdish minority in Turkey. Chapter nine focuses on Turkey's voting pattern in the UN General Assembly with regard to some of the 'progressive' issues of international law, namely the principle of self-determination, human rights and the search for a new international economic order. The concluding chapter, on the basis of the preceding analyses, draws on the limits of positive international law in securing a peaceful and egalitarian international order. The same chapter also asserts that Turkey's largely anachronistic view of international law, and its failure to play an active role in international relations is, by and large, a function of its problematic identity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available