of Case Study Themes
Religious beliefs are at the root of social, political,
and, ultimately, territorial conflict in both Jerusalem
and Turkey. Different perspectives on location, settlement,
and public policy in Jerusalem and Istanbul are voiced
by Jews, Muslims, and Christians. Both Jerusalem and
Istanbul face two possibilities: further fragmentation
or unification among competing interests. The Palestinians
and the Kurds are nations without states.
Study 1 -- Jerusalem: Capital of Two States?
Long before the creation of the modern state of Israel,
Judaism, Christianity, and Islam vied for control
of the Holy Land. Stories from the Bible tell of conflict
over the lands of the Israelites even before the time
the Jews were exiled from Jerusalem to Babylon in
586 B.C., they returned to rebuild their Temple, but
in A.D. 30 they were defeated by the Romans. After
three hundred years of Christian Byzantine rule, and
just six years after the death of the prophet Mohammed
in 632, Muslims conquered Jerusalem and built the
Dome of the Rock shrine over the Foundation Stone
of the Temple where, in Islamic belief, Mohammed ascended
to heaven. The Early Arab Period continued until Christian
soldiers mounted the Crusades of 1099 and slaughtered
many of the Jews and Muslims of Jerusalem.
Muslim era began eighty-eight years after the Crusades
and lasted until the Ottoman Turks settled in the
city in 1517. Near the end of World War I, British
troops drove the Ottoman Turks from the city. The
League of Nations then gave Britain a mandate to govern
Palestine, including Jerusalem, in 1922. Toward the
end of British rule, the newly constituted United
Nations called for the partition of Palestine and
the internationalization of Jerusalem. Arabs rejected
this plan, war broke out, and the state of Israel
declared independence on May 14, 1948.
Urban Patterns in Jerusalem
The walled Old City on the eastern side of Jerusalem's
Green Line is divided into religious and ethnic quarters.
The Jewish and Muslim Quarters are located alongside
the Western Wall remnant of the destroyed First and
Second Temples and the Dome of the Rock at the Temple
Mount. Only one thousand feet to the west, the Christian
and Armenian Quarters claim sacred ground. The traditional
site of Christ's crucifixion, burial, and resurrection
sits in the middle of the Christian Quarter at the
Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Today, the church is
physically and spiritually divided among Roman Catholics,
Greek Orthodox, Armenians, Syrians, and even Ethiopian
monks and nuns. The later have been denied part of
this sanctuary, and have lived on the roof since the
mid-1800s to press their claim for shared ownership.
Territorial Conflict in the Holy Land
At the end of Israel's War of Independence, Jerusalem's
western side was controlled by Israel; its eastern
side, including the Old City, was controlled by Jordan.
After the Six Day War of 1967, Jerusalem was taken
by Israel, but Muslims were granted control of the
Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem. In 1980,
a special law passed by the Israeli parliament that
reasserted its capital city as Jerusalem was refuted
by Palestinians who also laid claim to the same capital
for their proposed state. By 1993, Israeli and Palestinian
peace negotiators signed a Declaration of Principles
that outlined the terms of Palestinian self-government
in the Gaza Strip and Jericho, but the peace process
crumbled at the turn of the 21st Century. The second
Intifada broke out, taking the lives of Jews and Palestinians
alike. The peace process continues today with its
most recent incarnation, "The Roadmap for Peace."
Study 2 -- Turkey: Fundamental Change
Separation of Church and State in Turkey
In the 1920s, after the last remnants of the Ottoman
Empire had disappeared in World War I, Kemal Atatturk
built the modern state of Turkey. One of President
Atatturk's major political achievements was the complete
formal separation of church and state. He reduced
the power of Islam by abolishing the caliphate (the
office of supreme ruler of a Muslim state), substituting
Roman for Arabic lettering, and purging Turkish of
Arabic words. He declared that religion should be
a matter of individual choice and conviction only.
In 1934, he passed a law requiring all Turks to use
surnames in the Western style and he himself took
the name Atatturk, father of the Turks.
Another of Atatturk's achievements was economic modernization,
most clearly evident in urban areas. As a result,
tremendous pull factors encouraged rural to urban
migration, and by the 1950s and 1960s many villages
were completely abandoned. Migration to big cities
such as Istanbul has also been politically motivated.
An internal war against the traditionally nomadic
Kurds in the southeast over their demand for self-government
has contributed to this migration pattern by driving
refugees out of the countryside and into the cities.
After arriving in Istanbul, immigrants vie for jobs
and housing on the outskirts of the city. Many residences
are built around once-small villages, producing shantytown
conditions. In such overgrown, under-serviced settlements,
the fundamentalist Welfare Party is gaining popularity.
The movement, which observes only Islamic laws and
divine authority, holds an appeal for those who are
not well served or even suffer under the modern, Western-style
economy and secular government.
desires to join the European Union. However, for now,
it seem Turkey will have to wait until it deals with
Islamic fundamentalism and improves its human rights
record, especially in terms of Kurdish cultural rights.