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Turkey in crisis: U-turn or head-on?

Thursday 13 April 2017
WHAT's NEW!? Spring Lecture Series
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden

Turkey in crisis: U-turn or head-on?

This talk aims to understand how the political leaders respond to a major crisis and reconfigure their policies in the face of a contrast between their short-term political motives and long-term ideological tendencies. In this regard, two major political currents will be put in historical perspective and discussed in a comparative framework: Kemalism represented by the Republican People’s Party (CHP) in the one-party era (1923-1945) and Islamism espoused by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in power since 2002. Drawing on an extensive analysis of the primary sources, this talk will demonstrate the multiplicity and complexity of the ideological legacies inherited by the CHP and AKP.

Both parties were challenged by a major international crisis: The Great Depression of 1929 and the World Financial Crisis of 2008. Notwithstanding the discourse revolving around democracy, the evidence shows that the crises were followed by the rise of authoritarianism. Was it due to a U-turn from the road to democracy or did they long for an authoritarian regime all along? In my discussion, I will provide insights into this question with a critical eye toward the twists and turns of the policies and the accompanying reinterpretation of the ideological tenets at the time of crisis.

About Onur Ada

Onur Ada

Onur Ada has graduated from Istanbul University with a double major in History and Turkish Language and Literature. Then, he received double master's degrees in European and International Studies from the Institut européen·European Institute (IE·EI) in Nice and Istanbul Bilgi University. Onur is currently a PhD researcher and instructor at Leiden University. His research focuses on the relationship between the socio-economic composition of the Kemalist ruling elite and the power struggle among the factions inside the ruling party and parliament in the Turkey of the 1920s and 30s.

This lecture is part of the WHATS's NEW?! Spring Lecture Series.

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