In the Balkans, the Ottoman Empire is gone but not forgotten. Many of the citizens of republics in southeastern Europe long for the past to return, a nostalgia that has not gone unnoticed in Turkey. For years, politicians have sought to mobilize this post-imperial memory for their own purposes.
Among all the foods in Istanbul’s giant foodscape, perhaps the one with the most complicated and long history and provenance is boza.
The key to understanding liberalism’s consistent presence at the core of otherwise illiberal governance in Turkey lies in the history of another word, muhalefet. It’s the word at the center of Christine M. Philliou’s brilliant new book.
Still today, a majority of the public believes that women were handed their rights on a silver platter. However, according to the rectified version of history, it was in the late 19th century that Muslim women of the Ottoman Empire first started to demand their rights.
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.
For Syrian Armenians, the apparent entry of their compatriots into the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict seems to confirm all their suspicions about the role of Turkey, which also supported rebel factions in Syria, and that the true purpose of helping Azerbaijan retake territory is Turkish irredentism.
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.