A brilliant talk.
A brilliant talk.
The real question is not who will win, but whether a civil war can be averted between the lines of fire now being laid down, between Kurds and Turks, Alevis and Sunnis, and ISIS-inspired Turks and the rest of Turkish society.
I was struck by a number of similarities [between Turkey in the 1970s and] present-day Turkey and wonder whether there are certain key culturally powerful concepts around which Turkish society and polity orient themselves — and that help to shape them — in every era, regardless of the current ideological labels.
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.
Armed fighting has broken out again in southeast Turkey between the Kurdish PKK and Huda-Par, resulting in two deaths. Given that the AKP government is supposed to be negotiating peace with the PKK, we may well ask who or what is Huda-Par, which appears to be a far-right Islamist organization, one of many armed factions of various stripes that make up the Turkish fringe. But they’re more than that and evidence of another dangerous game being played blind in Ankara.
The December 2014 edition of Current History has a collection of articles on the Middle East by prominent scholars that give excellent analyses and updates for different countries in the region. Here’s my take on Turkey.
It appears certain that Turkey has provided military and medical assistance to ISIS (now Islamic State or IS) fighters in the past couple of years, allowing them refuge in and easy transit through Turkey to Syria. The Turkish IHH organization played a prominent role in this.
One IS member threatens on camera that if the apostate Turkish government doesn’t turn the Euphrates water back on, which Turkey has blocked with its dam, IS will come to Istanbul and turn it on from there. He is quite explicit that this is a threat. Hello, Ankara?
The biggest danger to the region — including Turkey — and arguably the world at the moment is not Russia’s expansionism or the Israel-Gaza conflagration, but Islamic State (IS), formerly ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant).
For those who are interested, this is what [Jenny White has] been doing on [her] sabbatical in Stockholm, a short essay describing [her] recent research on the 1970s in Turkey, a period that ended in a quasi-civil war and a coup.