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 […]

Who’s Left: Filiz Kerestecioglu and the Struggle for Rights in Turkey

On December 10, Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), backed by the most right-wing of the opposition parties, submitted legislation to parliament that would do away with the office of prime minister, increase the president’s power over the judiciary, and remove parliament’s authority to investigate the executive branch.[1] That same evening, forty-four people were […]

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 […]

Some of the President’s Men: Yıldırım, Davutoglu, and the “Palace Coup” Before the Coup

  When Ahmet Davutoğlu announced on May 27, 2016 that he would return all the gifts he had accumulated during his eventful nineteen months in office, the media had barely settled into referring to him as “Turkey’s former prime minister.”[1] Just a month earlier, no such end was in sight for Davutoğlu—in fact, he seemed […]

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 […]

Book: Turkey’s Ever Present Past

For more than nine decades, citizens of Turkey have argued over what “Turkey” is and what it means to be Turkish. Rather than give a particular answer, this collection of essays looks at various figures from modern Turkish history who have sought to define Turkey or pushed back against the definitions that others sought to impose […]