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Reuben Silverman


Eastern Promises Squandered

[Image via]

In the days following the 1 November election, Turkey’s pro-government newspapers have depicted a bright future for the nation. Writing for Yeni Şafak, one columnist explained that the government could now move forward with constitutional and economic reforms, albeit vaguely defined ones. In Yeni Akit, another columnist echoed these sentiments, pointing out that the exchange rate had already begun to fall, stocks were rising, and anticipated investments could now begin ...

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The Shoebox Is on the Other Foot: Turkey's Year of Retaliation

[Cartoon from the cover of

Which date is more useful for explaining the arrests of prominent Turkish media figures that occurred earlier this month: 4 April 2009—when the Turkish religious leader Fethullah Gülen first issued a broadside against the “Tahşiyeciler,” a small religious group that opposed his interpretations of scripture—or 17 December 2013—when prosecutors and police connected with Gülen’s movement[1] spearheaded a series of sweeping arrests that ensnared both government officials and the ...

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The Realm of the Ugly King

[Yılmaz Güney. Image via]

On a September evening in 1974, Yılmaz Pütün was arrested for murdering a local judge at a seaside Turkish casino. An argument between Pütün’s table and the judge’s had quickly escalated to the point where Pütün had pulled out a gun and demanded everyone sit back down. When the judge confronted Pütün, demanding the gun, Pütün knocked him down. According to witnesses, the judge grabbed a chair and approached again. At this point Pütün shot him. Nearly two years later, when ...

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All Politics Is Local: Mustafa Sarigul and the CHP (Part Three)

[Sarıgül in the thick of it. Image via]

All Politics Is Local: Mustafa Sarıgül and the CHP (Part Three) [Part one of this article can be found here; part two can be found here.] Even before the campaign had started, there had been whispers that Sarıgül would make a better CHP General President than Deniz Baykal. At the time, he had dismissed such suggestions, saying, “I am bound to the problems of Şişli for another five years. We already have a President.”[1] Now, however, his tone was changing: asked how ...

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All Politics Is Local: Mustafa Sarigul and the CHP (Part Two)

[Gülay Atığ (left) and Mustafa Sarıgül (right). Images via]

All Politics Is Local: Mustafa Sarıgül and the CHP (Part Two) [Part one of this article can be found here.] By 1987, Turkish politics was returning to its old patterns. Though the new constitution remained in effect and General Evren still presided over the state as president, the five-year ban from politics for leaders like Ecevit and Baykal was at an end and they had begun to plot their returns. Sarıgül too was busy positioning himself for the upcoming elections by ...

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All Politics Is Local: Mustafa Sarigul and the CHP (Part One)

[Mustafa Sarıgül. Image via]

All Politics Is Local: Mustafa Sarıgül and the CHP (Part One) [People ask,] “Why are you always beating up on Sarıgül?” Let’s start the matter from here. I ask you: in this country has there ever been a party like the Republican People’s Party, which—without having done a bit of work—turns to the left for its votes? There’s never been such a freeloading party…I don’t know how many hundred suits [Sarıgül] has—he’s changing them twice a day. He doesn’t even know how ...

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Reuben Silverman


Reuben Silverman holds a BA in History and an MA in International Studies from the University of Washington, and will be joining the PhD program at the University of California at San Diego in the fall. He has been living in Turkey for over three years. He is interested in the ways individuals understand and react to economic and political changes–especially those moments after wars or economic crises when people have the vision necessary to imagine a better world, and the confidence necessary to attempt to bring such dreams about. His blog can be found here.