Turkey’s Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan (R) and Chief of General Staff General Ilker Basbug (L) are accompanied by military officials as they attend an official ceremony to mark the 86th anniversary of Republic Day at the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of secular Turkey, in Ankara October 29, 2009. REUTERS/Umit Bektas
Prof. Dr. Fusun Alver is Head of Department in Journalism at Kocaeli University, Turkey. Her publications include Alver, F. (2007). Gazeteciliğin Kuramsal Temelleri (Institutional Bases of Journalism). Beta Basım A.Ş. İstanbul. Alver F (2003). Basında Yabancı Tasarımı ve Yabancı Düşmanlığı (Strangers and Xenophobia in media). Der Yayınları. İstanbul.
Question: How could Luhmannian theory (Modern Systems Theory-MST) help improve our understanding of Turkish society and politics?
Prof. Alver- The benefits of utilising MST in understanding practical and/or everyday questions in Turkey and providing solutions to them are open to debate.
Prof. Erik J. Zürcher has kindly sent us the abstract of his speech on ?Ataturk cult in Turkey?, at LSE, April 2010.Please see the announcement of the conference here.
The Ataturk cult in Turkey
After an introduction in which I will place the start of the personality-cult surrounding Mustafa Kemal Pasha (from 1934: Ataturk) in the historical context of the political purges of 1925-1926, I first intend to analyse the components of the cult as it developed from the Nineteen Thirties to the Nineteen Eighties, putting particular emphasis on the different roles (commander, father, teacher, icon of modernity) attributed to Ataturk. I will also discuss the extent to which the concept of charisma is useful in analyzing the cult and the role the cult played in Turkish nation-building. The final part of the paper will be devoted to the emergence of a civil Ataturk cult in the Nineteen Nineties, which was a reaction against the emergence of political Islam as a significant factor in Turkish politics. I will contrast this movement with the more traditional state-led personality cult that also continues unabated to this day. Because of the importance of iconography for this topic, I will use a power point presentation.
Turkish President Abdullah Gul, right, and Turkey’s Chief of Staff Gen. Ilker Basbug, center, salute the War Academy students and people during the Republic Day celebrations in Ankara, Turkey, Thursday, Oct. 29, 2009. Turks celebrate the 86th anniversary of the Turkish Republic by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who commanded the Turkish army during the 1919-1922 War of Independence that ended in Turkish victory.
(AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)
Prof. Murat Belge is Head of the Department of Comparative Literature at Bilgi University, Turkey.
Changing Turkey: Could you tell us a bit about your recent/forthcoming publications?
Prof. Belge– At the moment I?m working on a book which, when finished, will be named ?Militaristic Pathways into Nation-Statehood: Germany, Japan and Turkey. I am about two-thirds finished, I daresay, as far as the number of pages is concerned. The basis is the role of the Army in establishing ?modernization? in the absence of a powerful middle class to fulfil this ?historic? mission.
Changing Turkey: What are the potential limitations of the existing analyses on Turkish politics and society, in your opinion? Could you suggest any gaps in the literature or any potential pitfalls?
As I have mentioned in this blog perviously, I was not hugely impressed with some of the arguments used, on both sides, during the recent referendum campaign in Ireland on the Lisbon Treaty. But perhaps the most outrageous slogan used was found on one anti-Lisbon poster: ?Hello Lisbon, Hello Turkey, No Way?. This was outrageous for many reasons. Its basic suggestion (presumably that the Treaty would pave the way for Turkey?s admission into the EU) was nonsense factually, but that?s not my main gripe. Rather, what I abhor is the racist innuendo. The voter was to be seduced into the fear that voting yes would hasten the arrival of Turkey in the Union, with the subtext being that before we could say ?mass migration? hordes of Turks would come gunning for our jobs.
As Turkey celebrates its 86th birthday, the walls between Turks and Kurds have begun coming down. A relationship once regarded as ?active human rights abuse? is slowly becoming ?hesitant disregard? and may one day even grow into ?begrudging tolerance.?
On October 29th, 1923 Turks all got together and figured they needed to tear down old walls by establishing a republic. Some walls were mundane (replacing fezzes with fedoras to blur distinctions between Westerner and Turk), others more explosive (ending arbitrary monarchy, citizens now picked their own leadership as long as it was the one party allowed to run in elections) and a few walls were just downright sexy (you could now see women?s ankles!).
Gov’t to settle accounts with plotters at civilian tribunal
Last week civilian prosecutors conducting a probe into a clandestine group known as Ergenekon summoned five members of the military to testify about the