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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.

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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.

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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.

Turkey Book Talk episode #64 – JOHN MCMANUS, post-doctoral fellow at the British Institute at Ankara, on “WELCOME TO HELL? IN SEARCH OF THE REAL TURKISH FOOTBALL” (W&N), a colourful exploration of what the beautiful game can tell us about a football-mad society and Turkey’s modern history.

Download the episode or listen below.

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welcome-to-hell-

Here’s my review of the book from last week.

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.

Turkey Book Talk episode #63 – VOLKAN YILMAZ, assistant professor of social policy at Istanbul’s Boğaziçi University, on “THE POLITICS OF HEALTHCARE REFORM IN TURKEY” (Palgrave Macmillan).

The book examines reforms in the country’s healthcare system under the AKP since 2003: What changed? What improved? What got worse? Who gained? Who lost?

Download the episode or listen below.

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Healthcare

 

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

Become a member to support Turkey Book Talk. 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.

Turkey Book Talk episode #62 – ASLI AYDINTAŞBAŞ, journalist and fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, on the ECFR’s recent report: “The Discreet Charm of Hypocrisy: An EU-Turkey Power Audit”

Based on interviews with top officials on all sides, the report examines bitter current ties between Brussels and Ankara. It recommends finding a new model for the relationship beyond the hypocritical and stalled accession process.

Read the report in full.

Download the episode or listen below.

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Become a member to support Turkey Book Talk and get extra things! Members get full transcripts (in English and Turkish) of every interview upon publication, transcripts of the entire Turkey Book Talk archive (in English) and access to an exclusive 30% discount on over 200 Turkey/Ottoman History titles published by IB Tauris.

Turkey Book Talk #61 – DIANA DARKE on “THE MERCHANT OF SYRIA: A HISTORY OF SURVIVAL” (Hurst), which tells the story of Abu Chaker, a textile merchant from Homs who lived from 1921 to 2013.

The book traces Abu Chaker’s life in parallel with the story of the modern history of Syria, examining the social, cultural and political context that shaped him. It also touches on the emergence of the ongoing war, which Darke herself witnessed as she was living in a historical courtyard house in Damascus’ old town until a few years ago.

Download the episode or listen below.

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Here is Diana’s article on Afrin for the BBC that we mention in the conversation.

Merchant of Syria

Become a member to support Turkey Book Talk and get extra content. Members get full transcripts (in English and Turkish) of every interview upon publication, transcripts of the entire Turkey Book Talk archive (in English) and access to an exclusive 30% discount on over 200 Turkey/Ottoman History titles published by IB Tauris.

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