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Cihan Tugal

Turkey Page Co-Editor

Quick Thoughts: Cihan Tugal on the Soma Mining Disaster

[A person identified by Turkish media as Yusuf Yerkel, advisor to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, kicks a protester already held by special forces police members during Erdogan's visiting Soma, Turkey. Erdogan was visiting the western Turkish mining town of Soma after Turkey's worst mining accident. Image by Depo Photos via Associated Press]

  [An explosion at a coal mine in the Turkish city of Soma on 13 May 2014 has resulted in the death of at least 284 miners. With another one hundred miners still unaccounted for, it is the worst such disaster in Turkish history. The subsequent demonstrations seen in numerous Turkish cities appear to transcend solidarity with the miners and have developed into expressions of fury against the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Jadaliyya asked ...

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Stillbirth: The New Liberal-Conservative Mobilization in Turkey

[Prime Minister Erdoğan at the G-20 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia in September 2013. (Photo by Sergei Karpukhin, Pool/AP Photo)]

Liberal-conservatism was the dominant intellectual discourse in Turkey for more than three decades. The 1980s was its moment of departure. It suffered a hiatus under the shadow of the Kurdish war in the 1990s, but militaristic brutality also increased its sympathizers. The 2000s was its golden age. Its triumphalism reached an apex during the 2010 referendum. Ever since, its dominance has been crumbling. State versus Society, the Military versus the Civilians, the Authentic ...

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Towards the End of a Dream? The Erdogan-Gulen Fallout and Islamic Liberalism’s Descent

[A poster showing Fethullah Gülen, Barack Obama, Shimon Peres and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Gezi Park, June 2013. Image by Gregg Carlstrom via Flickr at].

While international headlines regarding Muslims these days are understandably focusing on bombings, historical court cases, a palace coup, and a civil war, something more world-historical than any of these is happening without much public attention. Islamic liberalism is in a state of coma. The so-called Turkish model, the alleged marriage of liberalism and Islam, is collapsing under its own weight. The two core components of the Turkish model, the Gülen Community and Recep ...

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Gezi Hareketi ve secimler

[Protesters occupying Yoğurtçu Parki in Istanbul’s Kadikoy district, July 2013. Image via]

Gezi Hareketi ve seçimler[1] Gezi Ayaklanması’nın ilk haftalarından beri, hareketin seçimlerdeki tavrının ne olması gerektiği hararetle tartışılıyor. Konumlanışlar muhtelif ama, üç ana hattın ön plana çıktığı görülüyor. Bunların artıları olduğu kadar eksileri de var. Neyse ki bu üç ana hattın artılarını eklemleyen yeni bir yaklaşım mümkün. En çok taraftar toplayan görüş, hem yerel hem genel seçimlerde hareketin bir adayı olması gerektiği. Bu görüşün bir çeşitlemesi de, ...

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Occupy Gezi: Die Grenzen des neoliberalen Erfolgs der Türkei

[Turkish police pursuing protesters in Istanbul on 1 June 2013. Image from Associated Press]

[This article was originally written by Cihan Tugal, and published by Jadaliyya in English here. It was translated/published in German by Infobrief Türkei.] Die neoliberale AKP räumt alles aus dem Weg, das sich einer Vermarktlichung in den Weg stellt. Ideologische und soziale Spaltungslinien zwischen den Akteuren des Protests und Widerstands gegen diese Politik bedingten lange Zeit eine Fragmentierung und gegenseitige Isolation. Die Gezi-Proteste bergen das ...

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Gulenism: The Middle Way or Official Ideology?

[Left: Fethullah Gülen, from Diyar Muhammed, via Flickr; right: Prime Minister Erdoğan, from World Economic Forum via Flickr.]

As a result of excessive repression of the Gezi protests, the legitimacy of the new Turkish regime took a serious blow during June 2013. Coupled with the government’s inability to make progress in its peace negotiations with the Kurds, the repression and its aftermath resulted in a political crisis. Debate now centers on whether this is a crisis of the Prime Minister, of the governing party, or of the whole regime the party established during the last decade (in cooperation ...

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Gezi hareketinin ortak paydalari ve yeni orgutluluk bicimleri

[Photo by Mehmet Kaçmaz/Nar Photos.]

Gezi hareketinin ortak paydaları ve yeni örgütlülük biçimleri Gezi Direnişi’nin gündemi her gün değişiyor ve hareket her gün yeniden tanımlanıyor. Bu, bir taraftan, hareketin gücünü teşkil ediyor. Diğer taraftan da, orta vadede dağılma, fazla bir iz bırakmadan sönümlenme riskini arttırıyor. O halde, hareketin her dönemeçte yeni bir renk kazanma niteliğini olumsuzlamadan, genel bir çerçeve önermek, bir zihin berraklığına vesile olabilir. Gezi hareketini yaratan ve sürdüren ...

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Occupy Gezi: The Limits of Turkey’s Neoliberal Success

[Turkish police pursuing protesters in Istanbul on 1 June 2013. Image from Associated Press]

There are two telling, though widely neglected, details about what initiated and popularized the groundbreaking protests in Taksim Square, Istanbul: the protests started out as a response to the governing neoliberal party’s project of urban transformation or urban renewal; yet, urban questions quickly took a backseat as the protests became massive. Understanding these two facets of the mobilization sheds much light on what is happening in Turkey and why. What the governing ...

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Egypt's Emergent Passive Revolution

[Mohammed Morsi speaks during a press conference after his apparent victory in the Egyptian presidential election at his campaign headquarters in Cairo, June 18, 2012. Image by Ahmed Gomaa/AP Photo.]

One and a half years after the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak, Egyptian revolutionaries returned to the streets in the first half of June 2012. The huge crowds that filled public squares throughout Egypt defy those accounts that reduce the revolutionary uprising to a naïve effort that is inadvertently paving the way for the usurpation of power by “Islamic autocrats.” While the polarization of Egypt’s political community across Islamist-secularist divide is evident, ...

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Egypt's Path Could be Distinct from Turkey's and Iran's

[Image of book covers--in English and Turkish--by Jadaliyya]

It is striking that as Egypt turns a new page in history, voices as diverse as Financial Times, Le Monde and the New York Times want it to follow the Turkish model. But is the process in Turkey really repeatable? And who would stand to gain if it were taken as a model? It seems that liberals in the West and elsewhere want to use the Turkish model as an example because it shows the possibility of Islamist empowerment without Islamist dictatorship. The “Turkish model” emerged ...

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Cihan Tugal


Cihan Tugal works on the role of religion in political projects. His research so far has focused on how the interaction between religion and politics shapes everyday life, urban space, class relations, and national identity. His book Passive Revolution: Absorbing the Islamic Challenge to Capitalism was published in 2009 by Stanford University Press. His research was also published in Economy and Society, Theory and Society, Sociological Theory, The New Left Review, The Sociological Quarterly, and edited volumes. Born and raised in Turkey, Tugal is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of California Berkeley. He is co-editor of the Turkey Page.