Tuesday 10th November
Grimond Lecture Theatre 1
Lecture commences at 18.30 and is followed by a buffet reception
We are delighted to be welcoming Professor Sarah Green from the University of Helsinki to deliver a talk entitled ‘The summer of ‘no’ in Izmir: ethnographic reflections on the shifting relative location of Turkey’.
The summer of 2010 was a troubled time in the Aegean region: in the previous year, the new Greek government had taken office, only to discover that the country’s finances were in deep trouble, and the country took an instant nosedive into recession. On the other side of the Aegean, in Turkey, the then Prime Minister (now President) Recep Erdoğan, was causing both amazement and consternation, as he used widespread popular support to move steadily away from Kemalist principles and instead towards what some saw as populist neo-Ottomanism, and a revival of the role of Islam in the state. Erdoğan’s popularity was underwritten by relative economic success: Turkey had managed to side-step the financial crisis that was engulfing its Greek neighbour and many other countries, at least for now.
It was in that context that Erdoğan announced a referendum to be held on September 12th on changes to the Turkish constitution. Formally, the changes were to bring Turkey’s political principles more in line with European Union standards. In Izmir, an historically strongly Kemalist city, many believed that Erdoğan was using this as an opportunity to pursue his own agenda, and not the EU’s. The city was covered with posters declaring “Hayır!” (No!), an exhortation on how people should vote in the referendum.
This moment of the summer of ‘no’ in Izmir in 2010 will be ethnographically explored so as to think through how Turkey’s relative location – somewhere between the Arab Spring (which would not occur until 2011, but was in the air) and the European Union – presented a range of social and political dilemmas for people in the city. The aim is to show how location, being somewhere in particular, continues to matter, and how shifts in location powerfully inform everyday life.
The lecture is free to all and attendance can be registered here.