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Policy Analysis

Policy Forum

Authoritarianism, Politics, and Literature in Turkey

Ece Temelkuran, Robert Finn , and Soner Cagaptay

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November 16, 2017


Watch a stimulating conversation with acclaimed Turkish writer Ece Temelkuran, whose latest novel examines the upheavals around Turkey's 1980s coup.

As Turkey pushes through its most tumultuous period since the Ottoman collapse, acclaimed author and journalist Ece Temelkuran argues that the best way to understand the upheaval is to reexamine the 1980 military coup, which fundamentally altered Turkish society. This is the era of transformation brought to life in her latest novel, The Time of Mute Swans (translated by Kenneth Dakan). To discuss how this portrait of past authoritarianism intersects with the Erdogan era, The Washington Institute hosted a Policy Forum with the author, who was joined by Robert Finn and Soner Cagaptay.

Ece Temelkuran is a Turkish author whose books have been translated into more than ten languages. A regular columnist for Turkish newspapers, she has won numerous awards for journalism and written opinion pieces for international outlets such as the Guardian and Le Monde Diplomatique.

Robert Finn is a former lecturer on Turkish literature at Princeton University's Department of Near Eastern Studies. His distinguished foreign service career includes posts at U.S. missions in Turkey and as ambassador to Afghanistan and Tajikistan.

Soner Cagaptay is the Beyer Family Fellow and director of the Turkish Research Program at The Washington Institute. His numerous publications include the 2017 book The New Sultan: Erdogan and the Crisis of Modern Turkey.