Burcu Gorak Giquel

Cross-border cooperation in the EU policy of regional development is crucial for three reasons: it reinforces partnerships between, on the one hand, central, regional and local agents, and on the other hand, public, private, and associative actors; it rests on the decentralized structure of states, assigning to each level of intervention a unique role in the development process. Finally, it supports local initiative. Cross-border cooperation becomes a vehicle for the “multi-level governance” that the EU intends to promote, by linking organization of regionalized action, cooperation between actors, and solid territorial establishment. For Turkey the task represents a challenge and an opportunity. A challenge, because regionalization directly affects the unitary structure of the state. An opportunity, because the EU does not impose any model of decentralization. On the contrary, the EU gives national actors the chance to create their own public structures in function of their historical path and the negotiation between the centre and the periphery. This is what this study ultimately attempts to show, stressing two aspects of Turkish transformations: decentralization is not a precondition for membership and that different forms of cooperation exist at the borders with Bulgaria and Syria, as a proof of the Europeanization of the Turkish public administrations.

With over 8 million Filipinos living overseas, it could be argued that people have become the country’s largest export commodity. With their remittances making up 13% of GDP, they are as well crucially important economic actors. Has the Philippine state been instrumental in this exodus and in harvesting its fruits? Addressing such a proposition requires further refinement of three basic concepts – state, diaspora and transnationalism – through the use of three structuring templates. As a preliminary, the dichotomy of state strength and weakness is grounded in an analysis of a particular sector, namely emigration. By drawing on the typologies of Robin Cohen, Filipino overseas communities are portrayed as possessing, to some extent, the characteristics of much more readily accepted diasporas. However, a sketch of the varied experience of a heterogeneous Filipino diaspora underlines the differences between permanent migrants, contract workers, sea-based workers and irregular migrants. The diverse lived experiences of these groups – and their relations with their “home” nation – call into question the salience of notions of “transnationalism”. This questioning is reinforced by an examination of the Filipino state’s role in creating a “self-serving” diaspora through a review of the three phases in Filipino emigration policy since 1974. The characteristics that come to the fore are rather forms of “long-distance nationalism” and “rooted cosmopolitanism”. Taking cognizance of the multiple identities and loyalties in the case of the Filipino diaspora, a process of “binary nationalisms” is posited as a more fruitful avenue for future research.

Marlène Laruelle

When the USSR collapsed, about 25 million Russians suddenly found themselves outside the Federation borders. This Russian diaspora has since then been defended by various lobbies based in Moscow. Some have simply the status of an association; others enjoy considerable institutional recognition in Parliament, various ministries or the executive in Moscow. The diaspora theme has undergone a profound evolution in the Russian political space: during the early 1990s it was first considered as a nationalist demand initiated within marginal circles, and since then has progressively been taken up by the state as a “politically correct” stance. In the space of 15 years, organizations defending the Russian diaspora’s rights have managed to become totally institutionalized and have gained influence on legislation regarding federal aid to the diaspora. The wide variety of terminology used to name this phenomenon, the use of the word ‘compatriot’ (judicially improper), the ethnicisation of the discourse, as well as the administrative efforts made to develop new and depoliticized conceptions of the Russian diaspora all show the underlying identity issues behind the diaspora question.

Zuzanna Olszewska

Though Afghan emigration results from sociopolitical circumstances (drought, changes in the system of government, wars) and from the economic structure (pastoralism, seasonal cycles of productive activities), it is part of a historical continuum of recurrent population movements in the region. Many Afghans, particularly Hazaras, have settled in Iran since the end of the 19th century. Their presence in the country intensified during the 1970s following the Iranian oil boom and the Afghan drought, but also following the political upheavals in Afghanistan since 1978. The Islamic Republic has adopted a changing and rather inconsistent policy to deal with these immigrants, and in a both popular and formal climate of xenophobia the country’s current objective is to repatriate them. Yet, the presence of Afghans on Iranian soil seems irreversible as it satisfies economic needs, reflects the intensity of commercial exchanges between the two countries, and constitutes a complex cross-border social reality. Lastly, the Afghan presence stokes a public and legal debate on how to define citizenship, while it appears to be inherent to the Iranian conception of its own nation.

Marc Valeri

The sudden slump in oil production since 2001 has only heightened the question of an alternative to an economy based on oil revenues, whereas the sultanate had undergone exponential development over the three preceding decades. From this standpoint, the policy of Omanizing the labor force conditions all other issues, as it is not merely an economic matter, but instead deeply alters the social fabric that remained intact during the era of prosperity, thereby questioning the very legitimacy of Oman’s economic model. Omani society is currently experiencing a rise in frustrations reflected in a resurgence of particularist prejudices and demands. Alongside this phenomenon is an exacerbation of inequality, particularly due to the enmeshment of economic and decisionmaking powers in the hands of the oligarchy that has benefited from these revenues since 1970. To what extent do the changes Oman is going through today harbor a threat for the stability of a regime considered to be one of the most stable in the region?

Renaud Egreteau

The Burmese junta that came to power in 1962, and reaffirmed its domination by a second military coup d’état in September of 1988, has steadily increased its control over the nation’s institutions and over the running of the country (renamed Myanmar in 1989). In August of 2003, the decision taken by General Khin Nyunt, Prime Minister and head of military intelligence, to propose “a road map to democracy” suggested that a gradual “transition to democracy”, closely supervised by the military regime, was possible. But the ousting of Khin Nuyunt in October 2004 spelled the return of the regime’s hardliners and of the last of the army’s nationalist chiefs, adamantly opposed to any negotiations with the democratic civilian opposition led by Aung San Suu, held under house arrest since May 2003. Thus the regime, strengthened by a favorable strategic environment, has a good chance of remaining in power by setting its own rules for “democratic” procedures, its aim being to keep the country stable rather pursuing a process of liberalization. Such a policy will inevitably be detrimental to the interests of the opposition and the ethnic minorities.

Rémi Castets

With a substantial Uyghur population, Xinjiang (East Turkistan) is, after Uzbekistan, the second largest Muslim Turkic-speaking area of settlement area in Central Asia. Annexed by China fairly late, this territory has a tumultuous history punctuated by foreign interference and separatist insurrections. Through strict control of the regional political system and a massive influx of Han settlers, the communist regime has managed to integrate this strategic region and its large oil deposits into the rest of China. However, over the past twenty years, unrest in Xinjiang has dramatically intensified. Less familiar to Western countries than the problem of Tibet, the Uyghur question is nevertheless a deeper source of concern for the Chinese authorities. After a long media blackout about this unrest until September 11, 2001, the Chinese government issued a series of documents attempting to depict the Uyghur opposition as an outside terrorist force linked to transnational Islamist terrorist networks. This rhetoric, which portrays the current unrest as a foreign attempt to destabilize the region, conceals a deep socio-political malaise and an opposition that actually takes on a far different shape from the vision official discourse tries to impose.