Ozan Ozavci talks to Christine Philliou about her new book Turkey: A Past Against History and the many lives of muhalefet (opposition) from the late Ottoman Empire to today.

Professor of History at Berkeley, Christine specializes in the political, social, and cultural history of the Ottoman/post-Ottoman world.

What would it be like if one attempted to reconstruct the political history of Turkey through the lens of oppositional figures? Christine Philliou’s 2021 book, Turkey: A Past Against History, is one such effort. It offers an insightful and perceptive analysis of the notion of muhalefet (opposition) in the late Ottoman Empire and the early Turkish republic. Its seven chapters discuss the life and writings of Refik Halid Karay (1888-1965) as a case study in muhalefet. For Philliou the shifting meanings and associations of muhalefet reflect “the deep lack of consensus about the history of Turkey”. This conversation was recorded on 14 January 2022.

Episode 11 – The Many Lives of Muhalefet

FEATURE IMAGE: REFİK HALİD AND ALİ KEMAL, GÜLERYÜZ, 30 JUNE 1919 (courtesy of Christine Philliou)

This post is an edited version of a paper presented at “The Age of Catastrophe and the Destruction of Coexistence: Expulsions, Deportations, and Genocides, 1912-1924”, a conference held in Kalamata, Greece, 1-4 December 2022. Opinion pieces are published by TLP for the purpose of encouraging informed debate on the legacies of the events surrounding the Lausanne conference. The views expressed by authors do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of TLP, its partners, convenors or members.

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