Category Archives: Modern Turkish History

When Leftists Ruled the Airwaves: İsmail Cem, TRT, and a Divided Turkey (Part 3)

  From the minute he was appointed head of Turkish broadcasting by a newly-elected center-left government, İsmail Cem became a magnet for conservative criticism: he was giving too much time to left-wing perspectives, he was giving too little time to famous conservative artists, and he was turning the airwaves into a mouthpiece for the government. […]

When Leftists Ruled the Airwaves: İsmail Cem, TRT, and a Divided Turkey (Part 2)

When İsmail Cem became General Director of the Television and Radio Institution of Turkey (TRT) in 1974, it was an opportunity for Turkey’s center-left to present itself and its vision to the public. Cem, a well-known journalist, came to TRT with the ambition of  improving service, content, and quality. From the beginning, however, his tenure was controversial. […]

When Leftists Ruled the Airwaves: İsmail Cem, TRT, and a Divided Turkey (Part 1)

İsmail Cem was thirty-three in 1974, youthful and handsome, educated at the best schools in Turkey and Europe, president of the Istanbul Journalists Union and a famous columnist in his own right. He was also the author of several books on Turkish politics with a pronounced socialist-bent. He was, in short, an ideal candidate to […]

The Applause Last Time: Ali Dayı and Turkey’s Pro-Government Media in 1955

  Turkey’s Democrat Party governed the country for a decade. During these years, it won three elections and dominated Turkish politics. Even after it was removed from office by the military and its highest-ranking leaders had been executed, it remained popular. In the first post-coup election in 1961, its successor party was nearly returned to […]

Coalition of the Unwilling

  On May 27, 1960, the Turkish military decisively entered national politics, easily removing the ruling Democrat Party from power. Leaders of the coup explained they had acted to “extricate” the political class from its divisive conflicts; extricating themselves proved far more difficult. Transitioning back to a state of affairs even resembling civilian-led government necessitated something utterly […]

The Şükrü Kaya Problem

  Mehmet Şükrü Kaya’s political career came to an end on November 11, 1938.[1] A day earlier, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Turkey’s first president, had passed away, leaving Kaya in a difficult position. Since 1927, Kaya had served as Ataturk’s Minister of the Interior and, during those years, his power had grown. Understandably, as Ataturk had […]

Where to Draw the Line: Political Cartoons in Turkey

      How long should Musa Kart go to jail for drawing a cartoon implying the prime minister of Turkey is a crook? According to Turkish prosecutors, somewhere between nine and ten years.   Though the case was thrown out on the first day of trial, it received coverage from international papers and drew […]