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Friday, January 17, 2014

SUITS Senior Scholar Murat Somer on the Kurdish Settlement Process (and other things)

Murat Somer, Senior Visiting Scholar at The Stockholm University Institute for Turkish Studies, has been busy lately. He has a new article in Foreign Policy magazine on current developments in Turkey and what the EU could do to move things in the right direction. Read it here.

Murat also has a forthcoming book on the Kurdish issue in Turkey, which addresses the challenge of reformulating "Turkishness" in the Turkish constitution, among other topics. Alas, the book will be in Turkish, but if you happen to be in Stockholm on the 28th of January you can come hear the author talk about his book and offer his analysis of the ongoing attempt to settle the conflict between the government and the PKK. See the flyer and link below.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Turkish Wave in TV Drama - Institute for Turkish Studies

Do Turkish soap operas have an impact on gender relations in the Middle East and North Africa? What did Swedish Television do with four-minute long crying scenes when they aired "The End" on primetime? These and many more questions were answered by the panelists at the Turkish Wave in TV Drama - Institute for Turkish Studies Follow the link to see a film from the event!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Debreafing of Returning Ambassador to Turkey - Institute for Turkish Studies

Join us at the Stockholm University Institue for Turkish Studies (SUITS) for a "Debreafing" of the returning Swedish Ambassador to Turkey, H.E. Ambassador Håkan Åkesson. The ambassador will reflect on his time in Turkey and take questions.
Debriefing on Turkey - Institute for Turkish Studies

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Media coverage of our event: The Global Turkish Wave in TV Drama

Last Friday, the Institute for Turkish Studies held a well-attended panel conversation about the global impact of Turkish TV dramas.

We held the event at what I believe is the oldest movie theatre in Stockholm, Biograf Zita. The panelists included top TV producer Kerem Catay, media scholars Melis Behlil (Kadir Has U. and Affiliated Researcher at SUITS) and Eylem Yanardagoglu (Kadir Has U.), as well as the Swedish distributor of many of the Turkish shows - Fredrik af Malmborg - and Magdalena Löfström from Swedish Television (SVT), who is responsible for the Turkish market and for the decision to air the Turkish show Son (The End, or Lögnen, as it was called in Sweden) on prime time. Yours truly served as moderator.

The event was covered by several Swedish and Turkish media, including the large Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet and the news show Kulturnytt on Swedish Radio P1. Below a list of links to some of the coverage in Turkish media.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The EU, the Kurdish question, and democratic reforms

Arboga - a small Swedish town an hour and half outside Stockholm is passing outside the train windows. I am on my way back from having commented on a draft Doctoral thesis on Kurdish ethnopolitical mobilization in Turkey, at Örebro University.

In Swedish, the discussant is called the "opponent" but I hope that I wasn't very hostile. In fact, there were a lot of interesting material in the thesis that got me thinking.

Among other things, the interviews that the author had conducted with pro-kurdish elite activists in parties, media organizations, unions and other civil society organizations, showed how important the EU has been for the Turkish reform process. Most of the interviewees appeared to credit the EU for the (limited but yet) opening up of political space that most of the respondents had noticed by 2005.

But they also faulted the union for its lack of involvement in the question of minority rights and the situation of Kurds in the years before 2008, when the study ended. And the danger is clear that this is set to continue.

The lingering Eurozone troubles, the problematic aftermath of the Gezi Park demonstrations, and now the interpretation given to the Egyptian crisis by the dominant AKP leaders, all of these are reason for concern regarding the EU's continued "normative power"to propel a continued Turkish reform process.

Some of this is the AKP leadership's own fault (especially with respect to the state of the independence of media and the harsh response to the Gezi protests). Some of it - arguably the tragic developments in Egypt and Syria (pace the conspiratorial interpretations emanating from Ankara) - is largely out of the hands of both the EU and Turkey.

But the almost impressive mismanagement in the EU's response to the Great Recession can be blamed on no one else. And the decreasing credibility with which the union has been able to present itself as a fair adjudicator of developments in Turkey has to do with the fact that it has opened itself up to the accusation of having hidden culturalist or religious standards when judging Turkey. And the same reason undermines the credibility with the which it can put forth a full membership offer as an incentive for reform.

That's a real shame. The important post-Gezi lesson for the EU that I draw from the thesis I just read, is that failure to credibly engage is not a strategy that is likely to boost democratic reforms in Turkey.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Interviewed by "Zaman" newspaper about the Gezi protests (in Turkish)

The Turkish daily newspaper Zaman published an interview with me today. In it, I address questions about the consequences of the Gezi Park protests, about Prime Minister Erdoğan, and about Turkey's relations with the EU. You can find the interview here (note that it is in Turkish).

Sunday, June 16, 2013

On my way to Istanbul...

On my way to the airport and Istanbul. I'm going there to take part in a workshop organized by the Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul, which is located in the lovely "Swedish palace" on Istiklal street, which ends in Taksim square. 

My flight is schedules to arrive at 4:15 pm. That would be precisely 15 minutes after the planned start of two major rallies to be held simultaneously in the city: one in support of the AKP and the other in support of the Gezi Park demonstrators. Let's hope for the best. 

To be continued. 
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