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

After collecting interviews last year about life in 1970s Turkey, a new project has begun to take shape that unexpectedly reaches into the present. Reading the interviews I was struck by a number of similarities with 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 Gezi protests signal a brief rupture in this ongoing pattern. Perhaps a long view can help us better understand the present, rather than trying to parse the last few years on their own terms.

Here I link to an article I wrote in The American Interest (and excerpted in the previous post) and here to the video of a recent talk in which I further develop this new approach.


5 Responses to “The Turkish Complex: Bigman, Hero, Traitor (The Video)”

  1. […] Scores of people have been injured in two explosions ahead of the HDP rally in the southeastern Turkish province of Diyarbakır. While Energy Minister Yıldız ruled out claims of an accident at a power distribution unit, HDP co-chair Demirtaş, who was only 30 meters away, called everyone to stay calm. The Turkish Complex: Bigman, Hero, Traitor (The Video) […]

  2. Dr White, I read about half of your article … and have a few comments. Sorry, but I don’t agree with your view about involvement of military as you described it. Yes it is sad that the military becomes part of “checks and balances” but it’s almost essential in any country that possibly has an Islamist running it.
    I certainly don’t condone the military coup nor execution of Menderes. Menderes showed to be an Islamist by using religion as a tool and prior to elections promised to change the call to prayer to Arabic (was in Turkish since 1932). He later turned out to be a true autocratic dictator

  3. By some accounts, during Menderes’ period, over 800 journalists, newspaper owners, caricaturists received a total of 60 years imprisonment. Even a 79 year old got 2 years and another for publishing a translated article. He passed the most restrictive laws to brutally control the press
    Party members who did not agree with him were kicked out and during his period meetings by people supporting the opposition party could be banned.
    While at a public meeting in Kayseri, Menderes told the public that he built 15,000 new mosques and restored many others. He later claimed Istanbul would be the second Mecca. Reminds me of Erdogan claiming to be the Imam of Istanbul and many other similarities as an Islamist dictator.

  4. Here is a link that still works to the lecture that was likely linked to:
    “Campagna-Kerven 2015 Lecture: The Turkish Complex Big Man, Hero, Traitor, State by Prof. Jenny White”

  5. Thanks!

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