Director of the University of Washington Jackson School of International Studies
Email interview response:
Sorry for getting back to you so late but here are some questions which I would love to get your perspective on.
-Looking at present day Turkey, how and in what aspects have you seen a cultural shift? TURKEY HAS BECOME A LOT MORE CONSERVATIVE IN RECENT YEARS. THERE IS MUCH MORE PUBLIC DISPLAY OF RELIGION AND USE OF RELIGION IN POLITICS. THE STARK DIFFERENCE BETWEEN URBAN AND RURAL AREAS HAS DISAPPEARED TO A LARGE EXTENT. WE SEE MORE OF THE PROVINCIAL AND RURAL CULTURE REPRESENTED IN MAJOR CITIES.
-What are important factors in the mentalities of Turkish citizens that have caused political and societal change in your opinion? THE MAJOR FACTOR WAS THE ECONOMIC CRISIS IN THE 1990S WHICH WAS SEEN AS RESULTING FROM THE FAILURE OF THE OLDER REGIME. ALSO, THE WARS AND UPRISINGS IN THE COUNTRIES THAT SURROUND TURKEY MADE TURKS FEEL LESS SECURE AND SEARC NEW WAYS OF MANAGING THEIR LIVES.
-Are there any specific events or people that have caused sentiments to change and evolve? THE WAR IN IRAQ AND THE ONGOING CIVIL WAR IN SYRIA
-What is your opinion on the politics within Turkey? Do you lean toward supporting one side or another? THE POLITICS IN TURKEY IS VERY POLARIZED. MAJOR PARTIES ARE VERY ANTAGONISTIC TOWARD EACH OTHER, WHICH MAKES EVERYDAY POLITICS VERY DIFFICULT AND DESTRUCTIVE.
-Is your family from Turkey? If so, did you grow up there and what has been the major differences you have observed? and specifically WHERE in Turkey? Did your family come originally from elsewhere in Turkey Or did they migrate earlier in 20th–post-Ataturk–to cities looking for work? Were they going to university? I WAS BORN AND GREW UP IN SOUTHERN TURKEY IN A TOWN THAT IS VERY CLOSE TO THE SYRIAN BORDER. WHEN I WAS GROWING UP THAT REGION WAS A LOT MORE DIVERSE THAN IT IS TODAY. MANY OF THE NON-MUSLIM GROUPS HAVE LEFT SINCE THEN
-Do you recall hearing your parents/grandparents speak of Ataturk? YES. THEY ADMIRED HIM DEPLY
-Why did you decide to study, research, and write about the evolution of turkey and the history behind it? What makes Turkey/The Ottoman Empire/the Middle East interesting? ONCE I DECIDED TO GO INTO ACADEMIA AND DO RESEARCH, I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE INTERESTING TO LEARN ABOUT THE PLACE I GREW UP IN. IT IS A VERY INTERESTING STORY THAT INVOLVES THE TRANSFORMATION OF A MAJOR WORLD EMPIRE INTO MORE THAN 25 SEPARATE STATES.