Past and Present in Istanbul – Some sources

I have a new essay up on CNN. I started public writing for two reasons – 1. To write about parenting (especially disability, though gender has now emerged as a major theme). 2. To try and insert historical context into contemporary stories. The name, How Did We Get Into This Mess, reflects that latter goal, and it permeates everything I do. Like many historians, we think the past matters both for its own sake and for those who really want to understand today’s world. Today’s essay especially serves that broader theme.

When I write for online publications, I tend to litter the prose with links, as I think the hypertextual relationships between pieces of writing is part of what makes online discourse so interesting (links and hashtags are entirely new kinds of writing). But my editor at CNN, surely wisely (I trust my editors), removed most of the links. So here are the resources to which I explicitly connected my essay. These are my footnotes.

  1. Erdoğan
    speaking
    in support of the renovations
    and an overview of reviews.
  2. Early reports on the demonstrations spreading to other cities
  3. Erdoğan claiming to be open to “democratic
    demands,” but denial of the legitimacy of all the public unrest, calling
    them
    , “an illegal uprising against the rule of democracy.” 
  4.  CNN’s link on yesterday’s crackdown, when the police blanketed
    the area
    with tear gas. 
  5. Disagreements about the cause. What are the protests “really” about?  Some focus on the role of Islam
    in Turkey,
    while others emphasize disagreements about the nature of Turkish democracy,
    the lack of civil
    liberties
    , or the nascent environmentalist
    movement.
  6. Under AKP rule, the Ottoman
    past
    has re-emerged
    as culturally powerful.  More and more aspects of elite Turkish
    culture now embrace Ottoman architecture,
    fashion and even foodAccording
    to some opponents of the AKP,
  7. In fact, in popular Turkish culture, the Taksim
    Barracks are associated
    with the killing of Christian army officers
    in 1909, while the Alevis (a
    large minority group in Turkey) remember Selim
    I as the murderer
    of their people. 
  8. At their best, the Ottomans were surprisingly pluralistic
  9. Actors protest: Devrim Evin declined
    to join Istanbul’s formal celebration. He joined actors
    from Magnificent Century. You can follow him on twitter. His comments on on Mehmet

There’s lots more out there that I read. A friend just suggested this architecture blog which links to another piece describing the plans as “a neo-Ottoman Las Vegas in this 6000-year-old city.”

What else should we read?

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