February 2, 2015
Turkey is a pivotal country: It is one of the few countries with a functioning democracy, it links the West with the turbulent Middle East, and it has been a reliable partner in NATO in difficult times. Turkey is also a country in crisis.
Over the past decades, the trajectory of Turkey’s history had been anything else than a straight line. Turkey’s past 25 years in particular have presented a story of profound and deep changes. It began when rural Anatolia, a land that had been neglected over centuries, finally awoke. A new Anatolian middle class emerged; it became prosperous, but is still pious; Erdogan became its political leader. Those “black Turks” started to challenge the traditional urban elite, the “white Turks”. Change in Turkey was not about Islam, it was about a fundamental shift in society. Despite recent setbacks, Turkey is a natural partner of the West in the Muslim world. The nation is needed to stabilize war-torn neighbors such as Syria and Iraq and to prevent a spillover of violence to other countries.
Rainer Hermann has been working as a journalist in Turkey and the Middle East for more than twenty years. As correspondent of the national German daily “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung,” he lived in Istanbul from 1991 until 2008, then moved to Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. Since 2012, he as been an op-ed editor at the daily’s headquarter in Frankfurt, Germany. Mr. Hermann has studied economics and Middle Eastern studies in Freiburg (Germany), Rennes (France), Basel (Switzerland), and Damascus (Syria). He holds an M.A. in economics and a Ph.D. in Middle Eastern Studies. In Germany he has published most recently “The Gulf States” (2011), in March his new German book Final Destination Islamic State? State Failure and Religious War will be on sale.
This event is free and open to the public. Reception with the author at 5:00pm. Book signing to follow lecture.
Sponsored by the International House Global Voices Lecture Series, the Chicago Project on Security and Terrorism, and the Niagara Foundation.