Turkey: The Insane and the Melancholy by Ece Temelkuran
Turkey is a nation of contradictions and contrasts. Though considered democratic, the Erdogan government has increasingly begun to resemble a dictatorship, jailing it opponents and violently suppressing dissent. And though Turkey is notionally secular, the Justice and Development Party’s power has fed the creeping influence of religious conservatism, with figures in the party denouncing abortion rights and attempting to criminalize adultery. Having long occupied an uneasy middle ground between a secular West and Islamic East, Turkey has been drawn into the conflicts of its neighbors, including the Arab Spring, the Syrian civil war, and the rise of ISIS. In this fascinating portrait of a nation in turmoil, the renowned Turkish journalist and novelist Ece Temelkuran provides a vivid and deeply personal account of the crisis afflicting modern Turkey.
Temelkuran identifies a long-running culture of repression and authoritarianism that has plagued Turkey throughout its history, a culture she traces back to the fall of the Ottomans and the continued climate of denial around the Armenian genocide. But, she firmly believes there is still a strong voice of dissent in Turkey, and she argues that the Gezi Park protests of 2013 represented a glimmer of hope that has not yet been fully extinguished and may still grow to rejuvenate democracy in the country. Providing unique insight into Turkey’s ongoing political turmoil, this is a timely look at a country that is caught at the center of many of the changes and much of the turmoil of the Middle East today.