Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Elif Shafak is delivering the 2010-11 Campagna-Kerven Lecture on Modern Turkey this spring at Boston University

[The date is May 3, 2011]

She has a thoughtful OPED in the NYTimes, "Finally, Turkey Looks East."  Readers will know that Shafak is a gifted novelist.
"When Hosni Mubarak finally stepped down, there was widespread celebration in Turkey. It’s a topsy-turvy world. The Europe we loved and admired for so long has looked down on Turkey, but the Middle East we ignored is suddenly looking up to us as a force to be reckoned with. Now there is much talk of Turkey serving as a model for a new Egypt.
Considering all this, it has been rather disconcerting to hear politicians and talking heads in the United States speak about Turkey as if it is in thrall to radical Islamists. Even President Obama has described our country as an “Islamic” democracy. But what does it mean to be an Islamic democracy?
"Turkey defies clichés. Turkish society is a debating society, with some people passionately in favor of the governing Justice and Development Party and some passionately against it. At a recent event I heard an academic applaud the government for curtailing the power of the military, while a journalist criticized it for conducting groundless trials against army officers and restricting the press."
More details on the upcoming lecture will be released soon.

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