This article argues that Northern responses to, and recognition of, LGBTQ refugees bind queer organizations in Lebanon and Turkey, which support such refugees, in a state of contradiction. This contradiction is defined both by the failure of Northern LGBTQ rights discourses to account for Southern ways of being queer, but also by the categorical imperative of hospitality, which asks that the “right” refugee appears in line with the moral, political, raced, and gendered assumptions of Northern host states. In recognizing this imperative, this article observes how queer organizations in Lebanon and Turkey navigate this contradiction by simultaneously “coaching” their beneficiaries on how to appear “credible” in line with Northern assumptions about sexual difference, while working to accommodate the alterity of those they support.
Hospitality and the Categorical Imperative of LGBTQ Asylum Seeking in Lebanon and Turkey
De quelques transformations contemporaines des villages
Turkish society is now predominantly urban, and, in this context, villages are undergoing significant changes. The principal one is that they have become a resource. Until recently, the village - even if it had resources - was not looked on as such; rather, it was seen as a milieu with which people had to cope. This transformation, however, does not end there: the village has also become an object of desire.
This article describes and analyzes the complex relationship between Turkey, Germany, and the European Union over the past half-century. It asks why numerous other countries have jumped the queue and managed to gain entry, whereas Turkey has been left knocking at the door, presented with increasing obstacles through which it must pass. The role of Islam is examined as a motivating factor in the exclusion of Turkey. Also, the historical memory of the Ottoman Empire's relationship with Europe is discussed. The mixed reception and perceived problems of integration of the large population of people from Turkey and their descendants who arrived in the 1960s as "guestworkers" is put forth as a key obstacle to Turkey's admission to the European Union. Contradictions in policies and perceptions are highlighted as further impediments to accession.
The Leftist Youth Subculture in Istanbul
This article, based on ethnography conducted in Istanbul, focuses on the experience of the political among young, far-left Turkish militants and young adults whose parents belong to the ’78 revolutionary generation. It shows how their ‘red youth subculture’ is imbricated with family, solidarity and generational bonds. Through the analysis of ritualised political practices such as the May Day parades, the feeling of nostalgia for a never-lived past, political meetings and the role of politics in families, it argues that the experience of the political is irreducible to a set of strategies and ideas: it consists of affections, corporeal sensations, embodied knowledge, aesthetic choices and material culture, which all contribute to substantialise relationships with the state, forms of intimacy and practices of distinction.
Mapping the Topography of Oppression
During today’s crisis in Turkey, victimhood authorises oppression, oppressors see themselves as victims and the oppressed are not only the poor, but educated middle classes. Citizen and state are imbricated in the same political and discursive fields where people mobilise against one another, some moving up and others down, creating unexpected landscapes of victimisation and oppression that do not fit comfortably in literature that analyses ‘politics from below’. How do we conceptualise this in a way that respects people’s understanding of their coordinates in a complex landscape of power? This article interrogates some basic assumptions of this literature, including the impact of the observer’s position and the oppression/resistance framework, replacing it with a model of politics as a shared horizontal topography of action across a terrain of values.
The 2013 Anti-Government Protests in Istanbul, Turkey
Colin W. Leach, Ayşe Betül Çelik, Rezarta Bilali, Atilla Cidam, and Andrew L. Stewart
By happenstance, we found ourselves in Istanbul, Turkey in early June 2013 only days after a mass anti-government protest developed in and around Gezi Park. In addition to informal discussions and interviews with academics and others, we visited the protest site and traveled throughout Istanbul to directly experience the atmosphere and events. We also conducted two studies of Turks’ participation in, and views of, the protests. This paper recounts the events in Istanbul that summer and reviews our own, and other, social science research on the protests and the protestors. We focus on who the protestors were and why they protested, as opposed to the less engaged actions of visiting the protests or following them in the media.
Natural Limits, Creation and the Culture of Mahremiyet in Turkey
This article offers an ethnographic account of the culture of mahremiyet [intimacy and privacy] in Turkey, not only as an institution of intimacy regulating everyday sexual relationships between individuals in public, but also as a system enabling the operation of social normalcies through the creation of boundaries and privileges. By probing the concepts of mahremiyet and fıtrat [creation or natural disposition], the article investigates how intimacy operates in religious, mundane and political registers, and delves into the intricate relationship between the intimate and the shared. It suggests that the culture of mahremiyet is deeply rooted in the ways individuals construct their sense of selves in relation to others, and imagine mahrem boundaries as natural, God-given, or fıtrî laws in their entanglement with gender. The use of the language of mahremiyet in contemporary politics not only enables what can seem to be a meta-cultural intelligibility that guarantees popular support, but also distances any critique as strange or foreign.
Marching, Marketing and the Emergence of Gay Identities in Istanbul
The emergence of gay identities in Istanbul is often regarded as a practical result of mobilisation by minority sexual rights NGOs. Indeed, Istanbul Pride emerged in the early 2000s as a widely-referenced exemplar of the political promise of street-level activism in Turkey. Tracing how gay initially was used in the nightlife market around İstiklal Street and reconstructing the early history of agitation for an annual Pride march, I argue that street traders and small-scale entrepreneurs, not street-level campaigners, have played the critical role in prising open spaces where men could come to identify themselves and be identified as gay. Moreover, spaces afforded by particular fixed-place businesses in the nightlife market critically shaped the initial forms of political association involving gay men that were able to develop and consolidate in the city.
Kurdish Activists and Diaspora Politics
“Turkish authorities have occupied Kurdish municipalities, arrested Kurdish mayors and appointed civil servants instead of those publicly elected. We, as Kurds, do not accept this and we will not remain silent like EU and Norway are!” — Kurdish
The Karaoğlanoğlu War Memorial
Mehmet Kerem Özel
The architectural and sculptural design of the Karaoğlanoğlu War Memorial (1990-1991), which this article explores, has a unique place in Turkish war memorial architecture built after 1950. Until the end of the 1990s, Turkish war memorials continued to be conceived and constructed in a traditional and conventional manner in spite of the changes that the notion of the war memorial underwent worldwide over the course of the twentieth century. The Karaoğlanoğlu War Memorial embodies certain attributes of a 'living memorial' and 'counter-monument' with regard to its architectural form and its monument characteristics, which distinguish it from other Turkish memorials. Designed in connection with the features of its geographical context, this memorial enables an awareness of the landscape of memory. With its humane dimension and vaguely figurative repre- sentation, the monument evokes a unique personal experience for each visitor.