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Archaeology Turns Political to Benefit a Trio of Middle East Strongmen

Dictators and Hijacked Heritage

Both Saddam and Assad recognized the value of their countries’ archaeological heritage and adapted it to suit their interpretations of what they thought the Baath Socialist Party should be.

On the Screen, Libyans Learned About Everything but Themselves

On the Screen, Libyans Learned About Everything but Themselves

From California to Cairo, none of the films that featured my country, Libya, could step out of an Orientalist vision of camels, belly dancers, an endless desert and, of course, our iconic “Brother Leader.”

Istanbul’s Most Beguiling Cocktail

Istanbul’s Most Beguiling Cocktail

Among all the foods in Istanbul’s giant foodscape, perhaps the one with the most complicated and long history and provenance is boza.

Suna Çağaptay
The New Kurdish Right

The New Kurdish Right

Within Kurdish politics in Turkey, there is an emerging style of right-wing discourse. No longer content to be a silent partner of the governing Turkish right-wing coalition, the new Kurdish right defines itself in opposition to both the Turkish state and the PKK’s left-liberation mythos.

Müjge Küçükkeleş,
Selim Koru
Turks in America

Turks in America

The 1940s and ’50s were a golden age for Turkish travel writing. These were boom years for the Turkish publishing industry, and visitors invariably wrote up their experiences in books and newspaper columns with titles like “Letters from America,” satisfying a hungry audience.

Nicholas Danforth
What’s in a Turkish Name?

What’s in a Turkish Name?

Demonstrating political affiliation is just one aspect of Turkish names. Names tell the whole story of the country’s complex society. When you look at Turkish names, it opens up all of the different dynamics of history, societal cleavages, understandings of class and gender, and political expectations.

Nick Ashdown
Syria’s House of Poetry

Syria’s House of Poetry

Roula Roukbi is among the few Damascus socialites who created an alternative space for art, culture, and some politics in the city. She excelled at living as if Syria was a free country, and in many respects, her hotel came to embody a microcosm of what freedom might one day look like.

Lina Sinjab