Current Security Issues in International Relations

The World Between Fear and Hope

by Zeynep Yücel (Volume editor)
©2019 Edited Collection 260 Pages


There’s a continued need for overarching and profound approaches to security. The con-cept of security needs to be thoroughly considered so that issues with an ever-increas-ing complexity and interconnectivity can be understood and dealt with. The nature of security and the various aspects of threats should be considered by examining different definitions of security.
This book covers researches from different perspectives and disciplines upon migration by various experts. The contributors make different and rigorous analyses of all areas influenced by migration in order to be one of the new reliable source about the immi-gration studies with various dimensions.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title Page
  • Copyright Page
  • Preface and Acknowledgements
  • About the editor
  • About the book
  • Citability of the eBook
  • Contents
  • List of Contributors (in alphabetical order)
  • Introduction
  • Section I
  • Chapter 1 An Analysis of Causes, Process and Consequences of Securitization
  • Chapter 2 Terrorism as a New Threat
  • Chapter 3 A Feminist Analysis of Nuclear Armament’s Impact, Actors and Discourse
  • Chapter 4 A Vague Concept on the Basis of International Relations: Energy Security
  • Chapter 5 Climate Change: An Existential Threat to Humanity
  • Chapter 6 Securitization of Immigration: The Case of Trump’s Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric
  • Chapter 7 Human Trafficking as a Human Security Issue: The Case of Trafficking in Women and Children
  • Chapter 8 The Impact of China’s Fishing Policy on Human Security in West Africa
  • Section 2
  • Chapter 9 Intra-state Conflicts: A Conceptual Analysis
  • Chapter 10 Analysis of Changing Security Strategies of States in the Context of Balancing Policy
  • Chapter 11 Nationalisation Tendency in Defense Industry and Turkey’s Domestic and National Defense Industry Policy
  • Chapter 12 Appraising Reasons for Participation of NGOs in the Maintenance of International Peace and Security
  • Chapter 13 Cybersecurity in the European Union: Dimensions and Institutional Mechanism
  • Chapter 14 Fight Against Terrorism as an European Union Policy
  • Chapter 15 Struggle for Permanent Structured Cooperation for the European Union Security
  • List of Figures

List of Contributors (in alphabetical order)

Ertan Efegil (PhD.)

Professor, Sakarya University, Sakarya, Turkey, eefegil@sakarya.edu.tr

Çiğdem Aydın Koyuncu (PhD.)

Assoc. Prof., Bursa Uludag University, Bursa, Turkey, cigdema@uludag.edu.tr

Sezgin Kaya (PhD.)

Assoc. Prof., Bursa Uludag University, Bursa, Turkey, sezgink@uludag.edu.tr

Mehmet Halil Mustafa Bektaş (PhD.)

Assist. Prof., Bursa Uludag University, Bursa, Turkey, mhmbektas@uludag.edu.tr

Talip ALAN

Res. Assist., Bursa Uludag University, Bursa, Turkey, talipalan@uludag.edu.tr

Emre Çıtak (PhD.)

Assist. Prof., Hitit University, Çorum, Turkey, emrecitak@hitit.edu.tr

Altuğ Günar (PhD.)

Assist. Prof., Bandirma Onyedi Eylül University, Balikesir, Turkey, agunar@bandirma.edu.tr

Oğuz Güner (PhD.)

Assist. Prof., Amasya University, Amasya, Turkey, oguz.guner@amasya.edu.tr

Ceren Uysal Oğuz (PhD.)

Assist. Prof., Akdeniz University, Antalya, Turkey, cuysaloguz@akdeniz.edu.tr

Senem Atvur (PhD.)

Assist. Prof., Akdeniz University, Antalya, Turkey, senematvur@akdeniz.edu.tr

Sanem Özer (PhD.)

Assist. Prof., Akdeniz University, Antalya, Turkey, sanemozer@akdeniz.edu.tr

Ayça Eminoğlu (PhD.)

Assist. Prof., Karadeniz Technical University, Trabzon, Turkey, aeminoglu@ktu.edu.tr

Anıl Çağlar Erkan

Instructor, PhD. candidate, Burdur Mehmet Akif Ersoy University, Burdur, Turkey, acerkan@mehmetakif.edu.tr

Fatma Anıl Öztop (PhD.)

Assist. Prof., Kocaeli University, Kocaeli, Turkey, fatmaanil.oztop@kocaeli.edu.tr

Şerife Özkan Nesimioğlu (PhD.)

Assist. Prof., Karatay University, Konya, Turkey, serife.ozkan.nesimioglu@karatay.edu

Betül Özyılmaz Kiraz (PhD.)

Ankara Haci Bayram University, Ankara, Turkey, betulozyilmaz@yahoo.com

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Sami Kiraz (PhD.)

Assist. Prof., Hitit University, Çorum, Turkey, samikiraz@hitit.edu.tr

Zerrin Ayşe Öztürk (PhD.)

Assist. Prof., Ege University, İzmir, Turkey, zerrin.ayse.ozturk@ege.edu.tr

Zeynep Yücel


The concept of security, as it comes up in every activity conducted with the intention of protecting and preserving one’s existence, refers to state of being free of worry. While Booth defines security as the absence of threats (Booth, 1991:319), Wolfers defines it as the protection of previously-acquired values. According to Wolfers, “security in an objective sense, measures the absence of threats to acquired values, in a subjective sense, the absence of fear that such values will be attacked” (Wolfers, 1952: 483). According to this definition, security in an objective sense is a state where no threats to such values are detected. (Arends, 2009: 16–25). According to a subjective point of view, security is rather the lack of fear that such values will be attacked. According to Buzan, security “…is taken to be about the pursuit of freedom from threat and the ability of states and societies to maintain their independent identity and their functional integrity against forces of change, which they see as hostile. The bottom line of security is survival, but it also reasonably includes a substantial range of concerns about the conditions of existence” (Buzan, 1991a:432–433).

Throughout the Cold War, security was approached through a traditional perspective. This traditional approach was shaped by realism. In a realist approach, the referent object for security is the state, and “national” security remains in the centre. Realism sees the state as the fundamental actor in security, and focuses solely on state security. The international arena, according to realism, is comprised of sovereign states (defined as “powers”) that attempt to fulfil their “national” interests. These states move within an anarchic international system with security as their end goal –here defined as the state’s survival. Since national interests inevitably clash with one another, competition, conflict and war are considered natural. The system is conflictual by nature. In such an environment, states must possess sufficient power and capacity to stave off threats from other states against their sovereignty (Morgenthau, 1960; Waltz, 1979; Gilpin, 1981; Walt, 1991:211–239). The best way to protect peace in a realist international order is reaching a “balance of power”. However, reaching such a balance is challenging. Even when it is achieved, since balance cannot be maintained without change, such a system brings about a competitive arms race. As “peace” is unattainable or impossible to protect, nuclear deterrence is seen as a balancing factor according to the traditional approach (Glaser, 1998).

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By the 1980s, the concept of “Common Security” started appearing in the literature. The concept was first employed in the 1982 Palme Commission. “Common Security” refers to the idea that security can be assured through less conflictual methods. Under common security, the state remains as the referent object for security. The focus in such an approach is on threats (military threats in particular) coming from other states. The Palme Commission Report warns that conventional approaches that seek security may lead to intense competition and tense political relations, causing “reduced security for everyone”. The report also expresses that the world’s existence and security are “interconnected”, and as such that security can only be maintained via “common acts” (Independent Commission on Disarmament and Security Issues, 1982:ix).

The traditional state-centric approach has been criticised for overlooking topics related to personal security, such as welfare or justice, societal security (e.g. identity and culture), and ultimately survival. According to Ullman, defining national security within a solely military context also gives a wrong impression. Ullman calls for the need to redefine security in a different context (Ullman, 1983: 129–153). The rise of contemporary approaches to the concept of security has also given voice to those defending that individual and societal security are more crucial than state security. These approaches include “collective security”, “stable peace” and Third World security (Bilgin, 2003: 203).

Critical approaches to security go so far as to argue that contemporary security threats target citizens and are triggered by states (Miller, 2001: 19). According to this viewpoint, the security of people cannot be equated to the security of the state. In other words, the state’s security does not automatically mean the security of citizens. (see: Møller, 2003: 277-288). According to humanitarian security approaches, threats can come from states or non-state actors as well as structural elements in power relations.

While conventional approaches prioritise power and order, critical security priorities emancipation. According to Booth, humanity is placed at the centre of security and emancipation takes precedence. Emancipation can be defined as freedom from “all those physical and human constraints which stop them from carrying out what they would freely choose to do” (Booth, 1991: 319). Constraints that people find themselves in range from human rights violations, deprivation (from literacy, healthcare services, etc.), poverty, environmental issues and the degradation of the ecological balance, and conflicts on state and sub-state levels (Bilgin, 2005: 44).

There is no one “correct” answer to what security really is. This is a matter of definition. According to structuralists, there should be no search for a “correct” definition of security since security is a “social construct” just as much as the rest ←18 | 19→of “reality”. What can be done is examining how concepts are used and how security discourse evolves. As Wæver states, analysing security discourse as a complex “speech act” leads to examining the process by which issues are securitised. Through discourse, a subject can be deemed as a “security issue” and “become taboo”. The act of branding a subject as a subject of national security carries the aim of pushing the subject “out of discussion”. This way, any grounds for meaningful discussion are removed and future discussions are ruled out, leading to the marginalisation of opposing views (Wæver, 1995:46–86).

Galtung’s “positive peace” term, which focuses on peace, security and violence (Galtung, 1964: 2–3), as well as Boulding’s “stable peace” approach (1978) have acted as pioneers to the expansion of security as a concept. According to Galtung, “security” has a meaning only when it is based on a positive and stable structure of peace. In other words, security means more than “negative peace” –understood as the lack of war in the form of a “direct violence”. Security must aim to remove or reduce “structural violence” which refers to the relative deprivation of large parts of the world’s population (Bilgin, 2003: 204–205).

Buzan proposes a “broader framework of security”, arguing that security as it is known is too narrowly founded (Buzan, 1991b; 14; 20; Wæver et. all, 1993). Buzan also proposes five different sectors for security (Political, Military, Economic, Societal, and Environmental), elaborating on how these sectors affect the periphery according to changes in the centre. According to Buzan, “five sectors do not operate in isolation from each other. Each defines a focal point within the security problematique, and a way of ordering priorities, but all are woven together in a strong web of linkage” (Buzan, 1991a:433). Military security here refers to the armed offensive and defensive capabilities of states as well as their intentions. Political security relates to a state’s power systems as well as ideologies that legitimise it. Economic security deals with problems of reaching the markets and resources. Societal security concerns the protection, development and continuation of religious, linguistic and cultural identities. Environmental security deals with the development of defence systems in order to preserve life on this planet (Buzan, 1991a: 435–443).

Military threats can affect different components of a state. Beyond asking the question of whether a state can protect its citizens, these threats can have negative effects on “social and individual interests” (Buzan, 1991b:119). Political threats may be harder to detect when compared to military threats. Since the state itself is a political entity, a political threat that aims to weaken it may be equated to a military threat. Such a threat may be perceived as ideological competition as well as an attack on a nation itself. With that said, Buzan points out that “intentional political threats” and “those that arise structurally from the ←19 | 20→impact of foreign alternatives on the legitimacy of states” must be distinguished (Buzan, 1991b:120).

Economic threats are hard to define due to the nature of the economy itself. Actors in a market economy exist in an environment of risk, competition and uncertainty. This nature of the economy makes economic security hard to evaluate. Discussions arise during an economic crisis on what assets “should be saved” or “shouldn’t be saved” by the government. There exists also a link between military and economic security. Military security needs economic security, since military capacity ultimately exists on a budget. Furthermore, when comparing developed and developing countries, it becomes clear that economic security is correlated to creating security in other sectors (Buzan, 1991b:124).

Following the end of the Cold War, non-military threats have increased in addition to conventional military threats. Less threats come from conventional forms, e.g. military competition or armament, and more from unconventional sources such as the disintegration of a state authority, poverty, famine, ethnic conflict, civil war, natural and environmental degradation, terrorism, organised crime and human trafficking. Both international security and state security are impacted by conventional and unconventional threats. During the Cold War, security was assessed through the lens of a country attacking another. “Unconventional” threats existed during this period as well, but were not seen as substantive threats. In the post-Cold War period, non-military threats have become increasingly important in security agenda and have gained importance in the literature concerned with security issues.

Societal security deals with existing identities within a society and the harmony and balance between them (or lack thereof). Almost every state and society are home to multiple identities and cultures. How these differences are experienced then becomes a matter of significance. It must be noted that societal security is closely connected to political, economic and military security. Almost every contemporary conflict incorporates a societal aspect. Thus, societal security must be considered when examining international or regional security. It should also be noted that since societal security deals with identities and cultures, its treatment can lead to the creation of discriminatory or exclusionary policies.

Environmental threats immediately evoke mankind’s struggle against the forces of nature, such as earthquakes and tornados. Humanity has yet to exert full control over nature. Issues such as climate change and environmental pollution also show the “new ways” in which humanity can have a negative impact on the environment. It is likely that these problems will be multiplied in the coming years. Since these issues do not create individual threats for states but pose a ←20 | 21→global threat, the fight against environmental issues is likely to have serious consequences for political and environmental security.

As Buzan puts it, “the ‘national’ security problem turns out to be a systemic security problem in which individuals, states and the system all play a part, and in which economic, societal and environmental factors are as important as political and military ones” (Buzan, 1991b:368).

Another term often used in the post-Cold War period is “Collective Security”. The scope of the term reflects the idea that the United Nations (or other international organisations) exist not only to protect peace between states, but also to protect human rights if need be. In this new period, the international system presents itself as a global entity where “international politics” and “internal politics on a global scale” are brought together, instead of relying entirely on sovereign nations whose boundaries cannot be crossed. This leads to another question: Whose security?


ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2019 (December)
Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2019. 260 pp., 2 fig. b/w.

Biographical notes

Zeynep Yücel (Volume editor)

Zeynep Yücel, Assoc. Prof. , is working as an academician at the department of Inter-national Relations at Bandırma Onyedi Eylül University, Turkey. Her research interests include Turkish foreign policy and also foreign policy of the European Union.


Title: Current Security Issues in International Relations