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Erdogan’s Culture Wars

August 5, 2020

Episode Notes:

Last month, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ordered the Hagia Sophia — an ancient structure in Istanbul that was once a church, mosque, and then a museum — to be opened for Muslim prayers. The move was controversial and seen by critics as an effort by Erdogan to appeal to his religious base. Likewise, the government’s decision to build a dam that flooded the Hasankeyf archaeological site is seen by some as yet another sign of the country’s turn toward authoritarianism. These domestic moves come as Turkey has hardened its rhetoric and foreign policy approach to the West.

Nicholas Danforth — a contributing editor at War on the Rocks and George F. Kennan fellow at the Wilson Center’s Kennan Institute and — joins the Warcast to explain developments in Turkey.

[ 01:05 ] What's behind Erdogan's recent decisions on the Hagia Sophia and Hasankeyf archaeological site?

[ 03:28 ] What does Erdogan hope to achieve with his culture war (both at home and seemingly abroad)?

[ 05:24 ] What should the United States and the West more broadly make of these moves, and what should they do about them, if anything?

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