How to lose a country: The 7 Steps from Democracy to Dictatorship

How to lose a country: The 7 Steps from Democracy to Dictatorship

Thursday, 14 February 2019 - 5:00pm
Seminar Room, European Studies Centre, 70 Woodstock Road, Oxford OX2 6HR
Ece Temelkuran (Journalist and Author)
Kalypso Nicolaidis (St Antony’s College, Oxford)
Kalypso Nicolaidis (St Antony’s College, Oxford)
Murat Belge (St Antony's College, Oxford); Ceren Lord (St Antony's College, Oxford); Laurent Mignon (Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Oxford)

Book presentation

An urgent call to action from one of Europe’s most well-regarded political thinkers. How to Lose a Country: The 7 Steps from Democracy to Dictatorship is a field guide to spotting the insidious patterns and mechanisms of the populist wave sweeping the globe – before it’s too late. How to Lose a Country is an impassioned plea, a warning to the world that populism and nationalism don’t march fully-formed into government; they creep. Award winning author and journalist Ece Temelkuran identifies the early-warning signs of this phenomenon, sprouting up across the world, in order to define a global pattern, and arm the reader with the tools to root it out. Proposing alternative, global answers to the pressing – and too often paralysing – political questions of our time, Temelkuran explores the insidious idea of ‘real people’, the infantilisation of language and debate, the way laughter can prove a false friend, and the dangers of underestimating one’s opponent. She weaves memoir, history and clear-sighted argument into an urgent and eloquent defence of democracy. The book will be available to buy at the discounted price of £10.

Ece Temelkuran is a Turkish journalist and author. She was a columnist for Milliyet (2000–2009) and Habertürk (2009 – January 2012), and a presenter on Habertürk TV (2010–2011). She was fired from Habertürk after writing articles critical of the government, especially its handling of the December 2011 Uludere massacre. She was twice named Turkey's "most read political columnist". Her columns have also been published in international media such as The Guardian and Le Monde Diplomatique.

A graduate of Ankara University's Faculty of Law, she has published 12 books, including two published in English (Deep Mountain, Across the Turkish-Armenian Divide, Verso 2010, and Book of the Edge, BOA Editions 2010). In 2008 she was a visiting fellow at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, during which time she wrote Deep Mountain, Across the Turkish-Armenian Divide. Her books include Ne Anlatayım Ben Sana! ("What am I Going to Tell You!", Everest, 2006), on hunger strikes by Turkish political prisoners. She was awarded the Human Rights Association of Turkey's Ayşe Zarakolu Freedom of Thought Award in 2008. Her first novel, Muz Sesleri ("Banana Sounds"), was published in 2010 and has been translated into Arabic and Polish.

Murat Belge is a Turkish academic, translator, literary critic, columnist, and civil rights activist. Since 1996 he has been a professor of comparative literature at Istanbul Bilgi University.  He received his Ph.D. from Istanbul University in 1969 on leftist criticism in English literature. For several years he wrote columns for the daily Radikal, before shifting to Taraf in June 2008. He has been writing occasionally for openDemocracy since 2001. Belge has translated works of James Joyce, Charles Dickens, D. H. Lawrence, William Faulkner and John Berger into Turkish.

Ceren Lord is currently British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellow, with Middle East Studies at the Oxford School of Global and Area Studies (OSGA), where she was previously a Sasakawa Peace Foundation Postdoctoral Research Officer. She completed her PhD in May 2015 at the London School of Economics, Government Department, focusing on the role of the state and the ulema (Diyanet) in the rise of political Islam in Turkey. She holds a master’s degree from Oxford University (St Antony’s College) in Modern Middle Eastern Studies. Alongside her academic career, Ceren previously worked in finance as an economist focusing on Europe, the Middle East and Africa. She is a regular contributor to the Economist Intelligence Unit, Associate Editor at the British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies and the lead editor for the British Institute at Ankara (BIAA) Contemporary Turkey series published  by I.B. Tauris. Her research and expertise includes religious political movements, Islamism; secularism and state-religion relations; the role of the ulema and changing nature of Islamic authority; comparative democratisation and the dynamics of authoritarian persistence; nationalism and nation-building; sectarianism and ethno-religious mobilisation in Turkey and the Middle East, the Alevi movement. 

Laurent Mignon is Associate Professor of Turkish at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Saint Antony’s College. He also collaborates to “New Religiosities in Turkey: Reenchantment in a Secularized Muslim Country?”, a collaborative research project of the Orient Institut in Istanbul and the Paris-based Centre d’études turques, ottomanes, balkaniques et centrasiatiques (CETOBAC). His research interests include modern Turkish literature and intellectual history, minority literature, socialist literature, new religious movements in Turkey, the reception of Japanese poetry in Turkey, biblical themes in Turkish literature and modern Jewish intellectual history. From 2002 to 2011 he taught at the Department of Turkish Literature at Bilkent University in Ankara. He was a Senior Research Fellow at the Lichtenberg Kolleg, University of Göttingen from January to July 2016.