03 September 2019
Khalili Lecture Theatre, SOAS University of London
Book Launch: “Erdogan Rising: The Battle for the Soul of Turkey” with Hannah Lucinda Smith
The Centre for Turkey Studies is delighted to invite you to the launch of ‘Erdogan Rising: The Battle for the Soul of Turkey’ by acclaimed journalist and Times correspondent Hannah Lucinda Smith.
The event will take place in the Khalili Lecture Theatre, SOAS University of London between 19:00-21:00 on Tuesday 3 September.
Ms Smith will be in conversation with Mr Gamon McLellan, Teaching Fellow in Turkish, SOAS.
Who is Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and how did he lead a democracy on the fringe of Europe into dictatorship? How has chaos in the Middle East blown back over Turkey’s borders? And why doesn’t the West just cut Erdogan and his regime off?
Erdogan Rising introduces Turkey as a vital country, one that borders and buffers Western Europe, the Middle East and the old Soviet Union, marshals the second largest army in NATO and hosts more refugees than any other nation. We are introduced to Erdogan as the face of devotion and division, a leader who mastered macho divide-and-rule politics a decade and a half before Donald Trump cottoned on, and has used it to lead his country into spiraling authoritarianism.
Yet Erdogan is no ordinary dictator. His elections are won only by slivers, and Turkey remains defined and divided by its two warring cults: those who worship Erdogan, the willful Muslim nationalist with a tightening authoritarian grip, and those who fly fierce flags for Ataturk, the secularist, westward-looking leader who founded the Republic and remains its best loved icon – now eighty years dead.
Erdogan commands a following so devoted they compose songs in his honour, adorn their homes with his picture, and lay down their lives to keep him in power. Erdogan Rising asks how this century’s most successful populist won his position, where Turkey is headed next, and what the means for the rest of the world.
Reserve your tickets here
Hannah Lucinda Smith has been living in Turkey as the Times correspondent for nearly a decade, reporting on the ground from the onset of the Arab Spring through terrorist attacks, mass protests, civil war, unprecedented refugee influx and the explosive, bloody 2016 coup attempt that threatened to topple – and kill – Erdogan.
During her time in the country, she has also reported from inside rebel-held Syria, on the front lines of the battle against Isis in Iraq, and joined the mass movement of migrants on their journey to Europe in 2015.