Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
On the margins of capitalism or in the furnace of communism, Turkic peoples have borne the brunt of modernity’s failures and experienced few of its successes. Ancient history, invented or otherwise, offers a refuge.
“My baba left,” I would say to friends, who were still a little mystified I had moved by choice, “and now I’ve come back.” I could never stop myself from saying “back.” In a way, it makes no sense. I had never lived in Turkey before. But it acknowledges something that feels true: that the arcs of our stories stretch beyond our own lifetimes.
Calls within the EU to designate the Ülkü Ocaklari, also known by the moniker “Gray Wolves,” as a terrorist group are portrayed as a crackdown on Turkish far-right extremism. But it raises questions on broader issues about assimilation and inclusion of Turkish immigrants in Europe.
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Benjamin Netanyahu have become their countries’ longest-serving leaders by claiming to speak for silent majorities. In doing so, they have taken their respective countries in new directions.
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.
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.
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.