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Turkish-Israeli Relations during the Cold War

The Myth of a Long ‘Special Relationship’

Kilic Bugra Kanat

An examination of Turkish-Israeli bilateral relations during the Cold War demonstrates that a solid pact between Israel and Turkey never materialized. This was due to both internal and external factors, mainly, Cold War politics and the Arab

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Pınar Melis Yelsalı Parmaksız

Girls might regret only not having been born as male. —Statement in the official newspaper Ulus (Nation), 1939 This article is an inquiry into the gender regime of Turkish modernization, with a focus on the single-party era of the Turkish Republic

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Feminism and Feminist History-Writing in Turkey

The Discovery of Ottoman Feminism

Serpil Çakır

The formation of a feminist consciousness and memory in Turkey coincided with a historical period in which both social movements and academic studies proliferated. Towards the end of the 1980s, the increasing number of women's organisations and publications began to impact upon both the feminist movement and academic research in the area of women's studies. This, combined with the expansion of the civil societal realm, has resulted in many topics and issues related to women becoming part of the public discussion, thereby contributing to the development of a new feminist consciousness. This article discusses the impact of the work in the field of women's history and the ensuing discovery of an Ottoman feminism on the formation of such a feminist consciousness and memory in Turkey.

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Expanding Religion and Islamic Morality in Turkey

The Role of the Diyanet’s Women Preachers

Chiara Maritato

Despite scholars’ tremendous interest in the dynamics of Turkish laicism, little to no attention has been paid to the actors and the practices through which Islamic morality is propagated among society every day. This article investigates the Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet)’s policy that has been increasing the number of women working as preachers since 2003. To what extent and how does the employment of the Diyanet’s women preachers affect the way in which religion and Islamic public morality grow and are spread in Turkey today? What specifically is women’s contribution in this respect? Drawing on an ethnographic observation of the Diyanet’s women preachers’ activities in Istanbul mosques, the article outlines how they contribute to reshaping Turkish laicism while diffusing Islamic morality in the public space.

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Aestheticised Rituals and (Non-)Engagement with Norms in Contemporary Turkey

A Contribution to Discussions on Piety and Ethics

Erol Saglam

Drawing on an ethnographic research in some rural communities of Trabzon, Turkey, this article provides insights about the diversity of Islamic pieties and their relations to religious norms. An exploration of everyday Islamic practices in the area demonstrates how piety can take peculiar forms within which norms are both publicly and socially upheld and yet also hollowed out. Among Muslim men of ‘the Valley’ in Trabzon, piety emerges as an aggregate of reiterative practices exterior to the pious self. Highlighting the aestheticised and ritualised state of these engagements with Islam in the Turkish context allows discussion of the relationships among practices of piety, pious subjectivities, and ethics.

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Mona Tajali

Male leaders have often used women's bodies and dress as a means to regulate their access to formal politics, including to national parliaments. Through an analysis of women's activism surrounding the expansion of headscarved women's access to the parliament during the 2011 parliamentary elections in Turkey, I argue that pious women's public protests against discriminatory actions of male leaders towards headscarved women's candidacy challenged the hegemonic symbolism surrounding the headscarf as articulated by both secularist and conservative religious forces. The consequent discourse shift offered a new perspective on women's sexuality in the public arena and brought secular and pious women's rights groups, who rarely saw eye to eye with one another, closer as they realised that imposed dress codes are vehicles for their exclusion from formal politics.

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Aygen Erdentug

The Santa Claus figure, the Christmas tree and decorations that are associated with this Christian holiday have been adopted by liberal consumers in Turkey, a Muslim country. These Turks envisage Santa Claus, in his trademark red suit, as a gift bearer on the occasion of New Year's Eve. This societal development has consolidated the cultural distance not only between the upper and lower classes but also between the established middle class and the flourishing, new conservative middle class. In protest, the religiously conservative have produced sombre 'alternative gatherings' to remind Turks of their Muslim heritage.

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Serpil Atamaz-Hazar

This article discusses the historical value of Ottoman women’s periodicals published in the aftermath of the 1908 Revolution, which marked the beginning of the Constitutional Era (1908–1918). Through specific examples of women’s writings in the press, it illustrates how these periodicals can shed light on the previously unexplored aspects of this period. The article argues that women’s journals allow scholars both to recover the identities and stories of hundreds of women, which would have been lost otherwise, and to challenge the mainstream historiography, which has traditionally presented a one-dimensional portrayal of the Constitutional Era by privileging men’s voices and experiences over women’s. It demonstrates that women’s journals not only reveal a dynamic, flexible, and complex milieu, in which women could and did act as agents of both social and political change, but also signify the multifaceted transformation the Revolution of 1908 caused in Ottoman society in the early twentieth century.

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Between 'Greatness' and 'Ignorance'

The Transition to Nuclear Power in Turkey

Sezin Topçu

Focusing on Turkey’s nuclearisation process, which has accelerated over the past decade, this article examines the historical and contemporary relationships that the country’s political decision-makers maintain with risk, the environment and health and ecological disasters. While the transition to nuclear power in the post-Fukushima period is not a dynamic specific to Turkey, it nevertheless operates, in the Turkish case, in a particular geographic, energy and political context. On the one hand, Turkey is a highly seismic country that heavily depends on its neighbours for energy and, on the other, is experiencing a creeping political authoritarianism. This article focuses on the dynamics and specificities of this post-disaster nuclear transition, which will be analysed here as ‘serene nuclearism’, positioned as the polar opposite of ‘reflexive modernisation’, as theorised by Ulrich Beck.

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Gender and Culture in the Turkish Province

The Observations of a Russian Woman Traveler (1868)

Evguenia Davidova

This article examines Maria F. Karlova's relatively unknown travelogue about her visit to Ottoman Macedonia and Albania in 1868. She was a sister of the prominent Slavist scholar and diplomat Alexander F. Gil'ferding and traveled with him. She appears to be the only known Russian female traveler to publish a travelogue about the Ottoman Balkans until the late 1870s. Karlova constructs her gender identity through elite lenses against three principal backdrops: the Turkish province, Europe, and Russia. She offers an example of how gender and class can be inserted into discourses about Russian identity and Russia's place in Europe's symbolic map of modernity. She also introduces gender issues into debates about Russia's political interests and Slavophile views about the Balkans. This article argues that Karlova asserts her sense of belonging to European elite culture in order to raise the issue of women's emancipation. The travelogue provides insights into the process of gender construction in Russia. The intertwined themes of gender, class, and national identity are compared to contemporaneous Victorian women's travelogues.