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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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The Institutionalization of “Voluntary” Returns in Turkey

Zeynep S. Mencutek

institutionalize “voluntary” returns with the support of IOs. This article examines this development in the case of Turkey, the largest refugee host and transit country on the eastern Mediterranean route of irregular movements toward Europe. It shows that the

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Paternalism, Modernization, and the Gender Regime in Turkey

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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Education and Change in the Late Ottoman Empire and Turkey

Space, Time, and Text

Benjamin C. Fortna

Ottoman Empire and the Turkish Republic, I demonstrate some of the ways in which education was changing as a response to the altered desiderata of the state and the wider world and the ways in which the new world of education influenced the late imperial

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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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Syrian refugees and the politics of waiting in a Turkish border town

Özge Biner and Zerrin Özlem Biner

This ethnography examines two Syrian refugee women’s experiences of waiting while living in the Turkish–Syrian border town of Antep. Since the beginning of the Syrian war in 2011, 3.5 million Syrians have left their homes to seek refuge in Turkey. With the 2014 Temporary Protection Regulation granting Syrians temporary residence and limited access to social services, the Turkish state developed state of exception strategies aimed at minimising the impact of incoming refugees. Living within the temporality of war and refugeehood, Syrian refugees are subjected to various forms of waiting that are constitutive of temporal dispositions and strategies with which they negotiate the vicissitudes of the war, the precariousness of refugee life in Turkey, their emotionally and politically charged sojourn in the borderlands close to their home, and their future‐oriented expectation of war’s end. Engaging with the anthropological concepts of waiting, patience and migration, we examine how two Syrian women refugees navigate the uncertain temporality of their lives. To cope with the Turkish state’s arbitrary exceptional policies that constantly pause and interrupt the flow of daily life, they replace waiting for the demands of the present with forms of patience that keep their future expectation of return to Syria alive.

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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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Women's Dress and the Politics of Access to Political Representation in Contemporary Turkey

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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The 'Christmas Tree' and 'Santa Claus' on New Year's Eve in Turkey

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.