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Turkey Book Talk episode #70 – Dimitar Bechev on the past and present of Turkey-Russia relations, “rich in history, ambivalent, multifaceted and rich in nuance, blending fierce competition with cooperation.”

Bechev is a research fellow at the Center for Slavic, Eurasian, and East European Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He is the author of “Rival Power: Russia in Southeast Europe” (Yale University Press), and he has written extensively on Turkey, its policy in Europe and the Middle East, and its relationship with Russia.

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Follow Dimitar on Twitter.

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Rival Power

Support Turkey Book Talk by becoming a member. Membership gives you full transcripts in English and Turkish of every interview upon publication, transcripts of the entire Turkey Book Talk archive (over 60 conversations so far), and access to an exclusive 30% discount on over 200 Turkey/Ottoman History titles published by IB Tauris.

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Turkey Book Talk episode #69 – Amy Spangler on the life and work of Sevgi Soysal, whose classic 1973 novel “Noontime in Yenişehir” she translated into English. She also discusses co-founding the literary agency AnatoliaLit and her work on “Seher,” a collection of stories penned in jail by former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş.

Download the episode or listen below.

Here’s my review of the (great) novel from a few weeks ago.

Subscribe to Turkey Book Talk :  iTunes / PodBean / Stitcher / Acast / RSS

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Support Turkey Book Talk by becoming a member. Membership gives you full transcripts in English and Turkish of every interview upon publication, transcripts of the entire Turkey Book Talk archive (over 60 conversations so far), and access to an exclusive 30% discount on over 200 Turkey/Ottoman History titles published by IB Tauris.

Turkey Book Talk episode #68 – Michael Provence of UC San Diego on “The Last Ottoman Generation and the Making of the Modern Middle East” (Cambridge University Press).

Over the past four years the centenary of the First World War has prompted a new focus on the conflict’s historical importance. In Europe the war ushered in the modern age and precipitated the downfall of old regimes, but it perhaps had an even more cataclysmic impact in the Middle East, precipitating a crumbling of the regional order that caused chaos and destruction.

“The Last Ottoman Generation” looks at continuities rather than ruptures, focusing on various individuals who came of age in the final years of the Ottoman Empire, socialized into ways of thinking and operating in a vanished network of Ottoman institutions.

Download the episode or listen below.

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The Last Ottoman Gen

Here’s my review of the book from a few weeks ago.

Support Turkey Book Talk by becoming a member. Membership gives you full transcripts in English and Turkish of every interview upon publication, transcripts of the entire Turkey Book Talk archive (over 60 conversations so far), and access to an exclusive 30% discount on over 200 Turkey/Ottoman History titles published by IB Tauris.

Turkey Book Talk episode #67 – Jonathan Varjabedian on “My Dear Son Garabed: Kojaian Family Letters from Efkere/Kayseri to America (1912-1919)” (Histor Press).

The book is a collection of 88 letters written from the Anatolian village of Efkere to America between 1912 and 1919. They were sent to Garabed Kojaian and his father Harutian, who were among the many Ottoman Armenians migrating to America in the early 20th century.

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Garabed front

Here’s my review of the book from a few of weeks ago.

As mentioned in the episode, check out the website efkere.com, where Jonathan, the grandson of the late Garabed Kojaian, pieces together the lost history of the village.

Purchase the book (highly recommended) from Histor. Details on their Facebook page.

Support Turkey Book Talk by becoming a member. Membership gives you full transcripts in English and Turkish of every interview upon publication, transcripts of the entire Turkey Book Talk archive (over 60 conversations so far), and access to an exclusive 30% discount on over 200 Turkey/Ottoman History titles published by IB Tauris.

Turkey Book Talk episode #66 – Cengiz Erişen of Istanbul’s Yeditepe University on “Political Behavior and the Emotional Citizen: Participation and Reaction in Turkey” (Palgrave Macmillan), focusing on the months between the June 2015 and November 2015 elections.

Our conversation also takes in the current campaign for the snap presidential and parliamentary elections, the surprisingly energetic performance of main opposition candidate Muharrem İnce, and the critical importance of the Kurdish issue.

Download the episode or listen below

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Emotion

Here’s my review of the book from a couple of weeks ago.

Support Turkey Book Talk by becoming a member. Membership gives you full transcripts in English and Turkish of every interview upon publication, transcripts of the entire Turkey Book Talk archive (over 60 conversations so far), and access to an exclusive 30% discount on over 200 Turkey/Ottoman History titles published by IB Tauris.

I’ve written an article for World Politics Review ahead of Turkey’s presidential and parliamentary snap elections on June 23.

In it I try to take a longer view, suggesting that while President Erdoğan’s political grip continues to tighten, long-term social tides in the country are not necessarily moving in the religiously conservative direction many assume.

“Erdoğan towers over all areas of life in the country. State institutions have gradually been subordinated to his will since he first came to office in 2003 … He is almost constantly on television, often delivering three pugnacious speeches in one day, broadcast live on every news channel. Under the state of emergency he has been able to govern through decrees granted the full force of the law. His supporters refer to him as ‘reis,’ or chief.

“The government’s attempts to mold Turkish society have in recent years shaped education, family and cultural policy. Money has poured into the Directorate of Religious Affairs, which now has an annual budget of over 4 billion liras, dwarfing most other ministries. Erdogan has famously declared his aim to ‘raise pious generations.’ In right-wing populist fashion, he frames this as a return to a more authentic and harmonious Turkish order, denouncing liberal and secular currents as alien and unwelcome impositions.

“But despite the AK Party being at the apogee of its power, longer-term trends suggest that things may not be so simple. While the government’s religious-nationalist program, combining modern Islamic conservatism with a populist streak heavy on Ottoman nostalgia, appears firmly in place today, there are growing signs that social tides in Turkey are not necessarily moving in the conservative direction that many assume. The vaunted social revolution ushered in by the current government is not as deep as many observers inside and outside the country commonly assume.”

Click here to read the whole thing. If the link doesn’t bring up the whole article it means you’ll need need to sign up to WPR to read it. But if you write your email address in the box at the bottom right corner of the page you should be given access to read.

Turkey Book Talk episode #65 – Journalist ERIN BANCO on “PIPE DREAMS: THE PLUNDERING OF IRAQ’S OIL WEALTH” (Columbia Global Reports), uncovering squalid deals, unscrupulous foreign oil companies, and rampant corruption among local officials in the Kurdistan Regional Government since the 2003 invasion of Iraq. It also touches on Turkey’s role in fostering Erbil’s independence from Baghdad through oil deals.

Download the episode or listen below.

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Pipe Dreams

Here’s my review of the book from a few weeks ago.

Support Turkey Book Talk by becoming a member. Membership gives you full transcripts in English and Turkish of every interview upon publication, transcripts of the entire Turkey Book Talk archive, and access to an exclusive 30% discount on over 200 Turkey/Ottoman History titles published by IB Tauris.

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