Turkey Since 1989: Angry Nation


Since its re-emergence as nation-state in 1923, Turkey has often looked like an odd appendix to the West situated in the borderlands of Europe and the Middle East, economically backward, inward looking, marred by political violence, yet a staunch NATO ally, it has been eyed with suspicion by both "East" and "West." The momentous changes in the regional and world order after 1989 have catapulted the country back to the world stage. Ever since, Turkey has turbaned into a major power broker and has developed into ...

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Turkey since 1989: Angry Nation

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Since its re-emergence as nation-state in 1923, Turkey has often looked like an odd appendix to the West situated in the borderlands of Europe and the Middle East, economically backward, inward looking, marred by political violence, yet a staunch NATO ally, it has been eyed with suspicion by both "East" and "West." The momentous changes in the regional and world order after 1989 have catapulted the country back to the world stage. Ever since, Turkey has turbaned into a major power broker and has developed into one the largest economies in the world. In the process, however, the country has failed to solve its ethnic, religious and historical conflicts peacefully. Today, as the foundations of the ethno-nationalist Kemalist state are eroding rapidly, Turkey appears to be coming to terms with the many sources of its anger, if cautiously and slowly. At this historical turbaning point, Turkey Since 1989: Angry Nation charts the contemporary history of Turkey by looking at the country's erratic transformation from a military dictatorship to a maturing, if still troubled, democracy.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Since the end of the Cold War, the world order has been redefined with many countries renegotiating their foreign and domestic politics.  Kerem Öktem's meticulous analysis provides valuable insights into the difficult process the Republic of Turkey has underwent since 1989, a course dictated by ruptures, missed opportunities, new syntheses and gradual erosion through it all of the state control over civil society.  Öktem captures this arduous and very complex two decades of Turkey's recent history extremely thoroughly and even-handedly: he carefully maps out all the public discourses and significant key moments in excellent prose, making frequent references to the interviews he conducted with significant public intellectuals.  I too join Öktem's concluding wish that Turkey transform into a more liberal, self-confident state of its citizens.” — Fatma Müge Göçek, The University of Michigan 

“This book provides an unusually lucid and well-structured account of developments in Turkey since the end of the Cold War. In a fluent and accessible style, the author addresses the most significant events of the last two decades. The new actors and the challenging issues of this era in Turkish politics are explored against the backdrop of the emergence of modern Turkey since the 19th century. The author is part of a new generation of critical scholars in Turkish studies, for whom cultural issues related to Alevis, Kurds, and Armenians are as important as issues of power politics.”  — Professor Elisabeth Özdalga, Director of the Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul
“Turkey's rapid development over the last three decades has added new layers of complexity - political, social, legal, religious, ethnic - to an already formidable mix. This makes Kerem Oktem's forensic and engaging analytical portrait of Turkey since 1980 all the more welcome. In five deft, lucid chapters the author deploys intimate knowledge and illuminating detail to examine the forces shaping the country and contesting its future. The result is a brilliant, assured overview that plunges into a maelstrom of issues surrounded by passionate argument and makes sense of them with cool judgment and an acute sense of balance. Kerem Oktem has written a compelling book about an indispensable nation - and done both scholarship and modern Turkey a true service.”—  David Hayes, openDemocracy

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Kerem Öktem is Research Fellow at the European Studies Centre, St Antony's College, University of Oxford, UK and teaches the Politics of the Middle East at the Oriental Institute.

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Table of Contents

The workings of the guardian state - Life-world transformations

Part 1. Empire and Nation: The Late Ottoman State and the Turkish Republic before 1980
1. Reform and Imperial Dissolution
Loss of sovereignty - Reform to save the state - Ideological experiment and nationalist endpoint

2. The Kemalist One Party-State (1920s - 1946)
Imperialist designs and nationalist resistance - Ideology and revolution: The discourse of the new republic - Citizenship, ethnicity, religion: The 'others' of the republic - Faultlines: The contradictions of the republic

3. The Guardian State's Incomplete Democracy (1946 - 1980)
The emergence of conservative democracy: Cadres and policies - The guardian state in action against the Democrats - Political chaos and military takeover

Part 2: The Özal Years: Rupture, Promise and Missed Chances (1980 - 1991)
4. Silence and Torture: 12 September 1980
Tabula rasa: Minarets and monuments - The roots of the Kurdish War

5. Motherland Promise: Wealth and Stability
Liberalising the economy, 'cutting the corners' - Özal's new man and the 'Dallas model' - Pushing the boundaries: The beginnings of civil society

6. Re-Engagement with the World: The US, Europe and 1989
International isolation and civilian return - The harbingers of 1989 - Restoring Turkey's neighbourhood

Part 3. The 'Lost Decade': Wars, Crises and Weak Coalitions (1991 - 2002)
7. State of Emergency in the East: The Kurdish War in the 1990s
The policy of scorched earth - The urbanisation of the Kurdish war - Foreign policy without vision

8. Fighting Terror: The Guardian State in Western Turkey
The Alevi massacres: Sivas and Gazi - The Manisa trial and the state of human rights - First crash of the guardian state: The Susurluk incident - A brief interlude of Vox populi

9. Post-modern Coups and Cracks in the System (1997 - 2001)
The 'post-modern' coup of 28 February 1997 - Capturing Öcalan - Killing tremors: The Marmara earthquake (August 1999)

10. Crises, Hopes and Saviours (2000 - 2002)
A national crisis: The turmoil of 2000 and 2001 - A world crisis: 9/11 and the clash of civilisations

Part 4. Justice and Development: 'Islamic Calvinists' versus the Guardian State (2002 - 2007)
11. Islamic Calvinists in Office
The sources of AKP power: Islamic Calvinists and the Gülen network - Tayyip Erdoğan, terror and the 'War on terror' - Negotiating the European promise

12. War and Peace in Kurdistan
The Śemdinli affair - The end of the 'Kurdish spring' - Counter-terrorism and children

13. Memory and Reality: The Return of the Guardians
Remembering 1915 - The murder of Hrant Dink - The republic marches - The ballot box as remedy

Part 5. Another Nation: Moving Towards the Present (2007-2010)
14. The Guardian State Exposed
The Ergenekon trials - The Young Civilians are displeased

15. Home Affairs: Kurdish, Alevi and Human Rights
Local elections and electoral fine-tuning - The 'Kurdish Opening'

16. Engaging with the World
Soft power and strategic depth - The limits of strategy: Israel, Iran and ArmeniaThe limits of Europe

17. Turkey's Possible Futures

Sources - Interview Partners - Further Reading on Turkey - Literature - Overview of Important Political Parties in Turkey - Literature - Overview of Important Political Parties in Turkey - Key Moments in Turkey's History - Turkey Before 1980 - Turkey Since 1980

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