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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 #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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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 #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 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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Please spread the word about Turkey Book Talk and the new membership scheme.

Turkey Book Talk episode #56 – Boğaziçi University Professor Edhem Eldem on “To Kill a Sultan: A Transnational History of the Attempt on Abdülhamid II” (Palgrave Macmillan), which he co-edited with Houssine Alloul and Henk de Smaele.

The book explores a deadly assassination attempt targeting the Ottoman sultan in Istanbul in 1905, and appears at a time when Abdülhamid II is the subject of a growing popular obsession among religious conservatives in Turkey.

Download the episode or listen below.

Here’s my review of the book at HDN.

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As mentioned in the podcast, here’s a recent article from me in History Today on this Abdülhamid revisionism and comparisons between him and Erdoğan.

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As also mentioned, stay tuned for details of a new membership system coming for Turkey Book Talk. As part of the system, paying subscribers will get access to a range of extra content and benefits. I will post more details in due course, hopefully by the time of the next episode in two weeks.

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Remember you can support the podcast, if you enjoy or benefit from it, by making 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, Burak Kodaz and Tan Tunalı.

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