Dossier: Turkey

Portrait of the last Ottoman Caliph, Abdulmecid II. Photo: Library of Congress

History of the Caliphate

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We are all caliphs!

The history of the Caliphate is, with a few exceptions, an unstable and unhappy one. In this essay, Stefan Weidner explains why the self-appointed caliphs of today, like the ISIS leader in Iraq, have little in common with the caliphs of oldMore

Protest rally in Istanbul, one year after the Gezi demonstrations. Photo: Ali Yildirim

A literary anthology of the Gezi protests

Gezi lives!

In "Gezi – A Literary Anthology", a volume of essays that was recently published in German, 19 Turkish authors and a photographer reflect on the motivation and dynamics of the Gezi movement. By Astrid KaminskiMore

Emrah Serbes. Photo: Iletisim Yayinlari

Portrait of the Turkish writer Emrah Serbes

"Politics is made on the street by the people"

The young author Emrah Serbes is regarded as the "enfant terrible" of Turkish literature. Not only is he one of the most popular authors in Turkey: since the protests in Gezi Park last summer and his active participation in the resistance, many now seen him as the "writer and voice of the people". Ceyda Nurtsch met him at a reading in BerlinMore

Thomas Ostermeier. Photo: Ali Güler. © Thomas Ostermeier

Interview with Thomas Ostermeier

"An Enemy of the People" in Istanbul

Thomas Ostermeier is the artistic director of the Berlin Schaubühne and one of the most creative figures among the younger generation of German theatre directors. His productions are incisive and provocative – something he demonstrated again recently at this year's theatre festival in Istanbul with Henrik Ibsen's play "An Enemy of the People". He spoke to Anna EsserMore

Cover of the book Alev Cukurkavakli by Sabahattin Ali

Sabahattin Ali's novel "Yusuf"

A modern-day Odysseus

The works of Sabahattin Ali are widely read classics in Turkey. The author suffered throughout his life from censorship and repression, yet his novels, with their modern multi-perspective narrative style and skilled social criticism, still hold up a mirror to the powers that be. Now, his novel "Yusuf" has been translated into German and published. By Volker KaminskiMore

A demonstrator kicks a tear gas canister back to riot police during an anti-government protest in Ankara on 31 May 2014 (photo: Reuters)

Turkey a year after the Gezi protests

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The dream is over

The lack of mass protests against Erdogan's policies on the first anniversary of last summer's demonstrations in Taksim Square and Gezi Park highlights the lack of unity within the Gezi movement and the continuing crackdown on civil society activists and organisations in Turkey. By Luise Sammann in IstanbulMore

The BDP's victorious candidate in Agri, Sirri Sakik (photo: Ekrem Guzeldere)

Local election re-run in Turkey

"My strategy is honesty"

On 1 June 2014, some local elections in Turkey were re-run after the results of the original polls were contested. Re-runs were held in the provincial capitals of Agri and Yalova. For the citizens of the eastern Anatolian city of Agri, the outcome was a surprise: the candidate of the Kurdish BDP party, Sirri Sakik, clearly prevailed against the ruling AKP, taking 51 per cent of the vote. Observations from Agri by Ekrem GuzeldereMore

Performance of the Kurdish play "The Pains of Language" in Berlin (photo: Jillian Hoppe)

The Kurdish theatre company Teatra Si

Out of the cellars and onto the stage

The Kurdish-language theatre scene has been developing in Turkey since the 1990s. One group committed to promoting Kurdish language and art is Teatra Si, a theatre company from Istanbul. Ceyda Nurtsch met with its members in Berlin at the start of their European tourMore

German pianist Davide Martello is surrounded by anti-government protesters as he performs in Istanbul's Taksim Square on 13 June 2013 (photo: Reuters)

Tahrir and Taksim – Part II

Soundtrack of two revolutions

Tahrir and Taksim: two squares, one new culture of protest? In the second part of this two-part report, Amin Farzanefar looks at the how street art, music and film became essential parts of the new protest cultureMore

Revolutionary graffiti on Mohammed Mahmoud St in Cairo (photo: Arian Fariborz)

Tahrir and Taksim – Part I

A New Culture of Protest

In 2011 and 2013, two major cities in the Islamic world were rocked by popular unrest. The extended demonstrations seemed to usher in a new culture of protest. In this two-part report, Amin Farzanefar looks at how the art and music scenes changed in Cairo and Istanbul as a result of these protestsMore

A Muslim and a Jew stand side by side (photo: Getty Images)

Interview with Benjamin Stora

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The history of relations between Jews and Muslims

The French-language book "Histoires des relations entre juifs et musulmans, des origines à nos jours" (The history of relations between Jews and Muslims, from their origins to the present day) is encyclopaedic in both its scope and length. Some 120 top specialists worked under the direction of Abdelwahab Meddeb and Benjamin Stora to rebuild more than 13 centuries of coexistence between Jews and Muslims. Nathalie Galesne spoke to Benjamin Stora about the bookMore

Performance of Marc Sinan's "Dede Korkut" (photo: Thomas Aurin)

Interview with the composer Marc Sinan

A modern-day Bartók of Turkic music

Dede Korkut, the best-known of the epic stories of the Oghuz Turks, and the music that goes with it form the basis of Marc Sinan's new docu-fictional musical theatre production, "Dede Korkut – The Story of Tepegoz". Astrid Kaminski spoke to the composerMore

A poster of Abdul Fattah al-Sisi seen in central Cairo. It reads "Sisi, son of Egypt. You are free. Son of freedom" (photo: Reuters)

Terrorism and repression in the Arab world

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On Islam, anti-terrorism and fascism

One of the reasons why there is little outcry over the repression practised by secular governments in the Arab world is that there is a lack of empathy for those who are affected by it, writes Charlotte WiedemannMore

Fatih Macoglu (photo: Ekrem Guzeldere)

Turkey's first Communist mayor

Great expectations, even greater challenges

Turkey's first ever Communist mayor was elected on 30 March. Turkish Communist Party (TKP) candidate Fatih Macoglu won 36 per cent of the 1,812 votes cast in the small town of Ovacik. He believes in people power, popular assemblies and investing in agriculture and tourism. By Ekrem GuzeldereMore

Recep Tayyip Erdogan (photo: Reuters)

Turkey's secret service

Erdogan paves way for Turkish surveillance state

Turkey's government has submitted a bill to parliament in a bid to strengthen the position of the country's intelligence service and make it more independent of the judiciary. Critics say this will turn Turkey into a surveillance state. By Senada SokolluMore

Elif Shafak (photo: picture-alliance/dpa)

Interview with Elif Shafak

"There is a lack of democratic culture in Turkey"

The Turkish writer Elif Shafak is one of the country's best-selling authors and one of the best known Turkish writers worldwide. In her books, she intertwines sensitive Turkish issues with cosmopolitan stories and Sufism. In this interview, she talks to Ceyda Nurtsch about how she plays with language, the role of fiction and the democratisation of TurkeyMore

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