The Turkish Complex: Bigman, Hero, Traitor, State

My new piece in The National Interest is an analysis of Turkish current events, seen from a slightly more anthropological angle than usual. I identify repeating themes and patterns that underlie Turkish society and politics.

Breaking News: Women in Trousers

In the end it was easier to change the rules to allow headscarves in Turkey’s Grand National Assembly than to allow women MPs to wear pants.

It’s Out!

Muslim Nationalism and the New Turks is out in Turkish translation, Müslüman Milliyetçiliği ve Yeni Türkler

Safak Pavey’s Historic Speech

Last week Safak Pavey, MP for CHP, gave a speech in the Grand National Assembly on the occasion of the very first inclusion in parliament of four women wearing headscarves. Her speech captured the historical moment in all of its ambiguities and anguish.

Time to Decriminalize Dissent. Sign Up.

Amnesty International is urging the Turkish government to use this crucial moment to act concretely to decriminalize dissent, at a time when a new constitution is being written where such issues are being debated and when promises have been made in this respect to the PKK in return for peace. A package of reforms called the […]

Coming Soon at a Bookstore Near You!

Publication date is early November. The excitement (well, my excitement) is mounting. Here’s the publisher’s website with a pdf of chapter 1.

Military and Opposition Party Boycott Presidential Reception

Such an innocent scene — the receiving line of a reception at the presidential residence in Ankara… Yet contained within this image are the powerful contradictions of Turkish political and social life. On Oct. 29 the Republic of Turkey celebrated the 87th anniversary of its founding. Representatives from the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) and the […]

European Court Decision on Turkish Headscarf, Revisited

Leyla Şahin v. Turkey was a 2005 European Court of Human Rights case brought against Turkey by Leyla Şahin that challenged a Turkish law which bans wearing the Islamic headscarf at universities and other educational and state institutions. The verdict upheld the Turkish law with 16 votes to 1. While recognizing the Turkish state’s right to intervention, the […]

Nothing Goes, Anything Goes

Chief Prosecutor of the Supreme Court of Appeals, Abdurrahman Yalçınkaya, citing the Turkish constitution and the European Court of Human Rights, announced that the recent actions of the Higher Education Board (YÖK) to allow headscarves on campus contradicted both national and international law. “Recognizing the validity of [wearing] the headscarf at higher education institutions on the […]

That Slippery Slope

This post was updated. Here’s the predictable fallout of the Higher Education Council’s recent tacit permission for women students to wear headscarves on campus (see my post below). President Gul’s wife attended a formal reception for the first time (even though I believe it is illegal for women with headscarves to attend formal government events. […]