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 […]

Party Building

    After thirteen years in office, Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş resigned on September 22, following a seemingly minor dispute with his fellow Justice and Development Party (AKP) legislators in the municipal council. The suggestion that his resignation was a “personal” decision—unlikely from the start—has become less tenable in the following days as two more […]

Laboratory of Democracy? Turkey’s Scientific Institutions After the July 15 Coup

Since Turkey experienced a failed coup attempt a year ago, hardly a week goes by without news of new firings, suspensions, detentions, and arrests. By the end of June 2017, over 138,000 government employees had been removed from their jobs and over 110,000 citizens had been detained—with nearly half of these detentions leading to formal […]

The Sick Man of Turkey: Rıfat Ilgaz and Humor in Hard Times

They came for Rıfat Ilgaz again when he was sixty-nine years old. Six years earlier, he had returned to his Black Sea hometown of Cide and settled into a slowed-down version of his professional life: he still wrote columns for the local paper and he still published a range of books, but now he could […]

Reading the Black Sea Tea Leaves: Post-Referendum Analysis

Speaking before supporters, celebrating yet another electoral victory, President Erdoğan sounded many familiar themes: he promised to serve the nation rather than be its master; he emphasized the historic nature of the referendum and the heroism of those who had voted in support of his priorities; and he ended by leading the crowd in a […]