The political scene in Turkey is quite intense and complex in terms of the events that have occurred and the people who have been involved, and as such Turkey is unique among other countries. Naturally, understanding contemporary politics requires a comprehensive knowledge of the actions of political figures from the recent and distant past. As a means of filling that gap in the literature on Turkey, this book offers an easy-to-read, compact, informative, and analytical collection of biographies prepared by experts that offsets the bias inherent to much that is said in social media. In recent times, that need has become even more pressing as regards international public opinion as well as scholars and researchers who are concerned with monitoring politics in Turkey.
This book consists of 130 brief biographies about people who have shaped contemporary politics in Turkey and influenced how Turkish politics have unfolded in recent times. The biographic portrayals of each individual are based not just on facts but analytical explorations of the general context of the periods in question as well as the relationships that existed between particular incidents and persons. Surely, it is no easy task to choose who to write about for a country with such a dynamic and intense political environment. In our selection of the people in this book, we chose those who have had a major influence on and marked the political scene in Turkey. Also, we were careful
about including people from civil society and not limiting the scope of the work to parliamentary politics. It is a well-known fact that politics in Turkey are overwhelmingly patriarchal in nature, so we sought to offer up a balanced distribution in terms of gender. Another criterion in our selection was the representation of different political movements regardless of their impact on today’s politics. We included some figures who are not part of legal political activities but have been very influential in the political scene and the shaping of the Turkish political agenda.
In the course of their research, the authors involved in the creation of this book delved into the archives of magazines and newspapers while also examining memoirs, institutional histories and analyses of the politics of Turkey. However, since our main aim was to prepare a general guide for readers interested in better understanding the developments that have occurred in the politics of Turkey, we did not break up the text with footnotes or bibliographies, as might be done in a more academic work.
The research for Who’s Who in Politics in Turkey was made possible through the support of Turkish History Foundation and the contribution of Heinrich Böll Foundation Turkey Representation.
İsmet Akça and Barış Alp Özden
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