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.

The Berlusconi Paradigm

On Wednesday, the Turkish parliament with a show of hands approved another blatantly anti-democratic piece of legislation. It authorizes the Director of Telecommunications (TIB) to block websites at will with no judicial oversight.

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.

Eid Mubarak – Şeker Bayramınız Kutlu Olsun

Even the recently overworked police are on holiday. T24 reports that children are playing in Gezi Park and police are spritzing cologne instead of pressurized water and passing out chocolates to passersby, instead of shooting them with teargas canisters.

Gezi’s Nineteen Days

NTV Tarih, a popular history magazine, decided to record the nineteen days of the Gezi protests hour by hour as a contribution to historical documentation: “History Written While Living”. The issue, the remarkable cover of which is pictured above, never was never distributed. Instead, the owner, Doğuş Media Group, closed the entire magazine down.

Turkey Wired: By the Numbers

With 18 million TV homes, Turkey is one of Europe’s major markets… [But t]he introduction of the cellphone at the end of the 1980s and its immediate spread was a major factor in Islamist political organizing, making it possible to set up phone trees and mobilize large numbers of people through their personal networks.

Time For An Afternoon Map

I found this image of a 19th century Istanbul tram ticket decorated with a map of the routes on a wonderfully intriguing site exploring eclectic Turkish and Ottoman maps, Afternoon Map. It’s a site that I love to peruse and have just added to my blogroll. Afternoon Map gives the provenance of each map and discusses […]

My Hero Lives On

I was thrilled this morning when I discovered that my hero Abdülcanbaz still lives. I used to cut Abdülcanbaz comic strips out of Cumhuriyet newspaper; I have stacks of them. Decades ago in a used bookstore in Istanbul I discovered a large cache of his original comic books and bought all of them. I still leaf […]

Publishing in Turkey

Some information from a recent evaluation of Turkey’s publishing industry (click here): According to the Turkish Ministry of culture, over the last 10 years there has been a 300 percent increase in number of books published. In 2011, according to the Turkish Publishers Association, 43,190 titles were released with sales of 1.5 billion dollars.  30-35% are […]