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Unfortunately topical episode of Turkey Book Talk this week – Palestinian author and lawyer RAJA SHEHADEH on his book A RIFT IN TIME: TRAVELS WITH MY OTTOMAN UNCLE (OR/Basic Books), retracing the journey of his great uncle Najib Nassar, who was on the run from the Ottoman authorities for three years in Greater Syria from 1915.

Download the episode or listen below.

Here’s my review of the book at HDN.

The Nation has also just published a beautifully written long-ish profile of Raja Shehadeh that is well worth reading.

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Rift

* 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 pledge to Turkey Book Talk via Patreon. Many thanks to current supporters Michelle Zimmer, Steve Bryant, Jan-Markus Vömel, Celia Jocelyn Kerslake, Aaron Ataman, Max Hoffman, Andrew MacDowall, Paul Levin, Ayla Jean Yackley and Tan Tunalı.

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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).

Abdul_Hamid_II_BNF_Gallica

Turkey Book Talk episode #45 – DOUGLAS HOWARD, professor of history at Calvin College in Michigan, discusses “A HISTORY OF THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE” (Cambridge University Press).

The book is the first single-volume history of the Ottomans to appear in a while, covering more than 600 years of history – from the empire’s 13th century origins in the Balkans and western Anatolia to its protracted, violent dissolution at the start of the 20th century.

Download the episode or listen below.

Here’s my review of the book.

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

Follow on Facebook or Twitter

history of the ottoman empire

* 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, Max Hoffman and Andrew MacDowall.

University of Arizona Professor Benjamin Fortna discusses “The Circassian: A Life of Eşref Bey, Late Ottoman Insurgent and Special Agent” (Hurst).

Eşref Kuşçubaşı was a secret service operative in the final years of the Ottoman Empire, who later turned his back on the resistance forces of Mustafa Kemal during the War of Independence and ended up in exile for almost 30 years. Fortna’s biography is the most detailed account of Eşref’s contentious life, based on exclusive access to previously unexamined papers.

Download the episode or listen below.

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

Follow on Facebook or Twitter.

the-circassian

As mentioned in the episode, Turkey Book Talk listeners can get a 33% discount plus free delivery on this and three other titles published by Hurst – “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, and “Out of Nowhere: The Syrian Kurds in Peace and War” by Michael Gunter. Follow this link to get that discount.

If you enjoy or benefit from the podcast and want to support it, click here to make a donation to Turkey Book Talk via Patreon!

Many thanks to my current supporters Özlem Beyarslan, Steve Bryant, Celia Jocelyn Kerslake and Aaron Ataman.

Ali Yaycıoğlu joins Turkey Book Talk to discuss “Partners of the Empire: The Crisis of the Ottoman Order in the Age of Revolutions” (Stanford University Press), examining the extraordinary upheavals in the Ottoman Empire at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries.

In the conversation he talks about the long-term effects of these upheavals and what the period can tell us about contemporary Turkey’s turbulent political landscape.

Download the podcast or listen below:

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

Here’s my review of the book.

partners

If you like this podcast and want to support independent podcasting, you can make a small or large monetary donation to Turkey Book Talk via Patreon.

Many thanks to current supporters Özlem Beyarslan, Steve Bryant, Andrew Cruickshank and Aaron Ataman.

Cem Emrence speaks to Turkey Book Talk about his book “Remapping the Ottoman Middle East: Modernity, Imperial Bureaucracy and Islam” (IB Tauris).

The book looks at Ottoman modernization through the 19th and early 20th centuries using an original model of “three-trajectories”: The coast, the interior, and the frontier, which each followed distinct paths to modernity.

Download the episode or listen below.

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

Here’s my review of the book at Hürriyet Daily News.

9781848859586

If you like Turkey Book Talk and want to support independent podcasting, you can make a small or large monetary donation to the show via Patreon. Many thanks to current supporters Özlem Beyarslan, Steve Bryant and Andrew Cruickshank.

A welcome return to the pod to Ryan Gingeras, who joins to talk about his new book “The Fall of the Sultanate: The Great War and the End of the Ottoman Empire, 1908-1922” (Oxford University Press).

Download the podcast or listen below.

Subscribe: iTunes / PodBean / Stitcher / Facebook / RSS

Here’s my review of the book at HDN.

sultanate

This is Ryan’s second appearance on the Turkey Book Talk podcast. Click here to listen to him discussing his recently published biography of Atatürk: “Mustafa Kemal Atatürk: Heir to an Empire.”

Support the podcast via Patreon. Many thanks to current supporters Özlem Beyarslan, Steve Bryant, Andrew Cruickshank, and Sera Alexandra Marshall.

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