Almost a century after the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire, Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and his supporters believe that they can restore the empire’s former glory. Stroll through the streets of any Turkish city and you will see car windows emblazoned with the imperial seals of Ottoman sultans, who are also commemorated in the names of new multibillion-dollar building projects.
Mr. Erdogan, the country’s leader for 14 years, is the one chiefly responsible for putting the Ottoman Empire at the center of Turkey’s collective imagination. The Ottoman sultans doubled as the caliphs of the Muslim world, which is not lost on the supporters of Mr.… Seguir leyendo »
Last month, more than 1,200 Turkish and foreign academics signed a petition calling attention to the continuing humanitarian crisis in many Kurdish-majority towns in southeastern Turkey, which are the site of fighting between the Turkish Army and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or P.K.K. The petition decried the Army’s shelling of urban areas and the imposition of weekslong, 24-hour curfews, which have left many civilians unable to bury their dead or even obtain food. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan publicly denounced the signers as “so-called intellectuals” and “traitors.” Within days, antiterror police had detained and harassed dozens of the signatories.
Mr. Erdogan’s actions shouldn’t have been surprising.… Seguir leyendo »
In the late 1990s, as Turkey was reeling from various political and economic crises, there was a nationwide debate over European Union membership and whether Turkish accession to the union would solve the country’s problems.
Back then, I was a graduate student in International Relations at Marmara University. Among the professors in my department, there was only one who opposed Turkey’s integration with the West. He was a distinguished scholar of Islamic and Western political philosophy, and a genial figure who enjoyed spending hours conversing with his students. In his lectures, this professor argued that Turkey would soon emerge as the leader of the Islamic world by taking advantage of its proud heritage and geographical potential.… Seguir leyendo »