Today we’re going to be talking with Turkish author Kaya Genc, a writer based in Istanbul. His new book, Under the Shadow: Rage and Revolution in Modern Turkey, has just been released here in the U.S., and is centered around the protests that took place in Istanbul’s Gezi Park.
The modern Turkish republic is nearing its one hundredth birthday. The country has cycled through a number of military coups since the republic was established in 1923. At least one of the coups by Turkey’s military led to years of military rule. But the most recent coup, on the night of July 15th, has had a somewhat different result. Nearly two hundred fifty people were killed in the coup attempt. Since July 15th, thousands of people have been imprisoned, including over one hundred journalists. Last week, the Turkish parliament approved the third three-month period of emergency rule.
Turks have been living with other forms of public violence, particularly in the past two years. Less than a month ago, the Russian ambassador to Turkey was shot and killed while addressing an audience at an art exhibition in Ankara, the Turkish capital. There were at least eight major terrorist attacks in Turkey in 2016. And on New Year’s eve, thirty-nine people were killed at an Istanbul nightclub. It’s probably not surprising that Turks, especially young Turks, are anxious about their country’s future.