As Turkey makes a bid for European Union membership, its recent military coup attempt and efforts to cleanse the nation of those allegedly involved are putting this democracy’s rising economic force to the test.
According to anthropology professor Brian Silverstein, director of Center for Turkish Studies at the University of Arizona, Turkey is attempting to cope with the aftermath during an era of “rapid and profound changes” from its ancient Ottoman and Islamic roots to its emergence as a modern democracy and Middle East powerhouse.
During his 3:30 p.m. Thursday (Dec. 8) presentation in the Arizona Senior Academy’s Great Room, Silverstein will share his observations and research into the effects of modernity and religion, including his recent experiences in Turkey amidst the July 15 coup attempt. His current work examines the country’s institutional reforms and techno-politics through the application of statistics to the key role of agriculture in its burgeoning economy.
As he notes, Turkey is now one of the world’s top 20 economies, a full partner in NATO, and a nation bordered by the Middle East countries of Syria, Iraq and Iran. The European nations of Bulgaria, Greece, Armenia, and Georgia also share borders with Turkey, and it is connected by water to Cyprus and Russia. Silverstein says this puts Turkey in the middle of a “tough neighborhood.”
Silverstein holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Strasbourg, and both master’s and PhD degrees in anthropology from UC Berkeley. His most recent book is Islam and Modernity in Turkey, which the journal American Anthropologist says is “most recommended as a valuable reference for students of Islam in Turkey.”
Written by Fred Volkmann, Academy Village Volunteer