Pub Date2021
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Turkey: A Past Against History

Christine M. Philliou
University of California Press

Imagine living in a place where the political elite is deeply divided within itself. Contradictions between constitutionalism and empire are coming into violent conflict, seemingly on a daily basis. “Minority” groups who have long been subject to institutionalized discrimination and relegated to second-class citizen status are struggling to attain legal equality. Parts of the political elite are violently opposed to this struggle and see it as a threat to their own existence and hegemony. In this landscape, historical memory, and indeed the very writing of history is an arena of deep contention, filled with taboos, where heroes of the past are turning into villains to be erased from history, and vice-versa. And finally, there is the predicament of a writer-raised, educated, and groomed for membership in the political elite, only to have its power dismantled to make way for a new kind of authoritarian democracy.