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The Return of the Near East? A Perspective on the Arab World, Turkey, and Southeast Europe

The Return of the Near East? A Perspective on the Arab World, Turkey, and Southeast Europe

With Maurus Reinkowski.

The current conflicts and humanitarian crisis in states like Syria and Iraq have raised the question of a dissolving political order in the Middle East. Since the invasion of Iraq in 2003, formerly hegemonic Western powers have proven increasingly incapable of preserving the cornerstone of the idea of the Middle East: A strategically controlled distance of the potential conflicts in the region and their consequences from Europe. The formation of the Islamic State, the re-emergence of the Kurdish question, and the ambiguous role played by Turkey are some of the elements which question the order established after WWI. The episode invites to a debate on the epistemological redefinition of the Middle East based on the alternative notion of Near East, which could consequently impact on how Southeast Europe is perceived and imagined.

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