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Turmoil in Turkey: The Aftermath of the Failed Coup

Turmoil in Turkey: The Aftermath of the Failed Coup
1 Devonshire Place, Room 108N, Munk School of Global Affairs
Time: Mar 28th, 12:00 pm End: Mar 28th, 2:00 pm
Interest Categories: Slavic Studies (FAS), Religion, Study of (FAS), Political Science, History (FAS), Historical Studies (UTM), Historical and Cultural Studies (UTSC), 2000-
Talk by Sophia Pandya

The Centre for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies presents

Turmoil in Turkey: The Aftermath of the Failed Coup

On July 15, 2016, a group of Turkish soldiers, apparently initiating a coup attempt, flew attack helicopters; F16s fighter jets, bombed the parliament building, and drove tanks down the streets of Istanbul and the capital city of Ankara. The subsequent violence caused almost 300 people to lose their lives, and at least two thousand more to suffer physical harm. The upheaval, quickly crushed by governmental forces, granted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an an opportunity to squelch his critics, effectively bolstering his authority. He promptly accused Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen (b. 1941) and his followers of masterminding the plot, and launched a series of oppressive measures against those affiliated with the Gülen Movement, also known as Hizmet (Turkish for “service”). Individuals from a wide range of political allegiances perceived to be in opposition of the government were arrested. Most of those arrested or fired, however, were involved, or affiliated in some way, with Hizmet. In the aftermath, participants found themselves under siege, vulnerable to human rights abuses, in light of Erdo?an’s three-month suspension of the European Convention of Human Rights. Termed “the purge,” or temizlik(Turkish for cleansing), his AKP government detained 94,889 people, arrested over 47,120, and closed or took over 149 media outlets, and over 2,000 educational institutions were shut down.[1] Erdo?an also labeled Gülen a traitor, and the movement a terrorist organization, creating the conditions for ordinary participants to experience acute ostracism from those around them, creating rifts between friends and family members. Refugees of the purge spoke of loss of family, friends, occupations, and property, and also of their very identity as Turks or citizens of Turkey. These series of events reflect seismic fault lines in Turkey between sectarian, ethnic, and ideological groups, and ultimately a brutal struggle over the soul of Turkey. The resulting geopolitical outcomes will transform Turkey and the larger region, already destabilized by the war in Syria, PKK militancy, and Russian aggression.
[1] Turkey Purge, as of March 16, 2017,http://turkeypurge.com/.

Dr. Sophia Pandya specializes in women, religion, and globalization. She received her BA from UC Berkeley in Near Eastern Studies/Arabic, and her MA and PhD from UCSB in Religious Studies, with a focus on women and Islam. An Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of California at Long Beach, she co-edited the book entitled The Gulen Hizmet Movement and its Transnational Activities: Case Studies of Altruistic Activism in Contemporary Islam.

This event is free and open to all. Registation is required. For further information, contact Olga Kesarchuk at 416-946-8938

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