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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.

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Turkey Book Talk #60 – MAX HOFFMAN of the Center for American Progress on the major recent study “IS TURKEY EXPERIENCING A NEW NATIONALISM?” based on focus groups and polling with the Metropoll research company.

The report finds that Turkey remains a deeply nationalist, conservative country, where the national mood is prickly, defensive and conspiratorial. But it also contains some perhaps surprising details about attitudes to President Erdoğan, levels of religiosity in young people, and the political opinions of Turkish women.

The study can be read/downloaded here. Further analysis of the results can be read here.

Download the episode or listen below.

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Turkish Riviera

As mentioned in the podcast, here’s the episode we published with Max last year on his previous long report about civil society under siege in Turkey:

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.

Turkey Book Talk episode #59 – Ceren Baysan of University of California, Berkeley on her paper “Can More Information Lead to More Voter Polarization? Experimental Evidence from Turkey.” The study was based on voter surveys in the months before the April 2017 referendum on granting President Erdoğan more powers and also measured Turkish parties’ own polling operations.

Baysan measured Turkish voters’ opinions about various issues as well as the major parties’ own polling operations: How much they know about voters’ preferences and how they adapt their work in light of that information.

The report is full of interesting insights about the state of Turkish parties and the deep polarization that is only getting worse in the country.

Download the episode or listen below

Here’s a link to download/read the report itself.

The Kayhan Delibaş book mentioned in the episode is called “The Rise of Political Islam in Turkey: Urban Poverty, Grassroots Activism and Islamic Fundamentalism.” Here’s an interview with Delibaş on his research.

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Supporters of the ruling AK Party listen to Turkish PM Davutoglu during an election rally for Turkey's June 7 parliamentary election, in Konya

Consider supporting Turkey Book Talk and get extra content by becoming a member. 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 episode #57 – Karabekir Akkoyunlu, research associate at the University of Graz, on “Exit from Democracy: Illiberal Governance in Turkey and Beyond” (Routledge), a collection of 10 essays he co-edited with Professor Kerem Öktem.

Listen out for details of our brand new Turkey Book Talk membership system – giving members a range of exciting extra perks.

Download the episode or listen below:

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The Sultan and the Sultan

November 8, 2017

I’ve written a long-ish article for History Today on historical revisionism in Turkey around the figure of hard-line late Ottoman Sultan Abdülhamid II – who many are keen to imagine as a precursor of President Erdoğan.

Abdülhamid has long been venerated as ‘Ulu Hakan’ (the Supreme Sultan) by conservative ideologues within Turkey, but the reverence has reached fever pitch under Erdoğan. An idealised memory of Abdülhamid, which casts him as the last proudly Islamic Ottoman leader standing up to the West, has become part of the government’s narrative of civilisational ‘restoration’, in which Turkey is once again a great power that shapes history. Abdülhamid is often glorified as a symbolic precursor of Erdoğan – proof that historic forces are at play today. …

When he first became sultan in 1876, Abdülhamid appeared to be an enlightened reformer. He supported the Ottoman constitution, giving the empire its first experience of constitutional democracy. The next year he opened the first session of an elected Ottoman parliament … But the experience of ruling a vast, decaying empire hardened him into an absolutist, and he became convinced that he needed to rule with a stronger hand to protect it from further dismemberment. …

The parallels with Turkey’s current president are obvious. Erdoğan was once lauded in the West as a moderate Muslim reformer, raising the country’s democratic standards and advancing its economy. But his international reputation has since deteriorated badly. Authoritarianism, rent-seeking and demagoguery mark his era. The state administration is subject to the whims of capricious one-man rule. A cult of personality is in full swing, with Erdoğan embodying the frustrations, hopes and grievances of Turkey’s conservative masses, bound by a powerful sense of shared identity. …

Erdoğan’s supporters see the decline in his reputation abroad as part of a dark international plot to halt this forward march. Conspiratorial thinking runs rampant. Orhan Osmanoğlu, a fourth-generation descendent of Abdülhamid, claims that Turkey is today witnessing a ‘repetition of history’: ‘Meddling foreigners now call our president a dictator, just as they used to call Abdülhamid the “Red Sultan.”’ Parliament Speaker İsmail Kahraman compared last year’s coup attempt to the dethroning of Abdülhamid in 1909: ‘They wanted to do the same as they did when they overthrew Abdülhamid, but this time they couldn’t succeed.’

I’ve been meaning to write this article for ages so do go and read the whole thing (there are also some nice visuals).

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Turkey Book Talk episode #43 – SONER ÇAĞAPTAY on his book “THE NEW SULTAN: ERDOĞAN AND THE CRISIS OF MODERN TURKEY” (IB Tauris).

Download the episode or listen below:

My review of this book is forthcoming in the Times Literary Supplement. Not sure of the publication date so keep your eyes peeled for that.

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New Sultan

*SPECIAL OFFER*

You can support Turkey Book Talk by taking advantage of a 33% discount plus free delivery (cheaper than Amazon) on five different titles, courtesy of Hurst Publishers:

  • ‘Jihad and Death: The Global Appeal of Islamic State’ by Olivier Roy
  • ‘The Circassian: A Life of Eşref Bey, Late Ottoman Insurgent and Special Agent’ by Benjamin Fortna
  • ‘The New Turkey and its Discontents’ by Simon Waldman and Emre Çalışkan
  • ‘The Poisoned Well: Empire and its Legacy in the Middle East’ by Roger Hardy
  • ‘Out of Nowhere: The Syrian Kurds in Peace and War’ by Michael Gunter

Follow this link to get that discount from Hurst Publishers.

Another way to support the podcast, if you enjoy or benefit from it: Make a donation to Turkey Book Talk via Patreon. Many thanks to current supporters Michelle Zimmer, Steve Bryant, Jan-Markus Vömel, Celia Jocelyn Kerslake, Aaron Ataman and Andrew MacDowall.

RYAN GINGERAS, associate professor at the Naval Postgraduate School in California, joins Turkey Book Talk once again. This time he is discussing his report, penned for Washington’s Bipartisan Policy Center, “DEEP STATE OF CRISIS: RE-ASSESSING RISKS TO THE TURKISH STATE.”

Download the episode or listen below.

Here’s a link to the PDF of the report we are discussing.

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Gingeras Bipartisan

Ryan previously appeared on the podcast last year to discuss his book “The Fall of the Sultanate: The Great War and the End of the Ottoman Empire, 1908-1922” (Oxford University Press):

He also joined to discuss his biography of Atatürk: “Mustafa Kemal Atatürk: Heir to an Empire” (Oxford University Press):

 

*SPECIAL OFFER*

You can support Turkey Book Talk by taking advantage of a 33% discount plus free delivery (cheaper than Amazon) on five different titles, courtesy of Hurst Publishers:

  • ‘Jihad and Death: The Global Appeal of Islamic State’ by Olivier Roy
  • ‘The Circassian: A Life of Eşref Bey, Late Ottoman Insurgent and Special Agent’ by Benjamin Fortna
  • ‘The New Turkey and its Discontents’ by Simon Waldman and Emre Çalışkan
  • ‘The Poisoned Well: Empire and its Legacy in the Middle East’ by Roger Hardy
  • ‘Out of Nowhere: The Syrian Kurds in Peace and War’ by Michael Gunter

Follow this link to get that discount from Hurst Publishers.

Another way to support the podcast, if you enjoy or benefit from it: Make a donation to Turkey Book Talk via Patreon. Many thanks to current supporters Michelle Zimmer, Steve Bryant, Jan-Markus Vömel, Celia Jocelyn Kerslake and Aaron Ataman.

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