Lines of Fire

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.

The Turkish Complex: Bigman, Hero, Traitor (The Video)

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.

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.

What is Huda-Par?

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.

Analysis and Summary: Turkey at a Tipping Point

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.

The Salafi Switcheroo

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.

Islamic State Member Threatens Istanbul

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?

Islamic State in Turkey

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).

Coffee, Camaraderie, and the Cultural Logic of Factionalism

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.

The Ballot Queen and The People’s Cake

The situation in Turkey is so fluid and unpredictable, that all possibilities are on the table right now. PM Erdogan has been campaigning for months to become president, without actually announcing his candidacy. The opposition has floated a few candidates without any campaigning.