Prof. Dr. Bilgin Ayata
Hörsaal 120, Kollegienhaus
Annual Lecture der Studien-und Forschungsstelle Schweiz-Türkei
This lecture addresses the problematic Turkish-Arab interface from the vantage point of fieldwork in Antakya in the period of the ongoing war in Syria. Public discourse in Turkey is currently infested with racist references to Arabs, particularly targeting refugees from Syria. While scholars have begun to address contemporary Arabophobia in Turkey, the longer term relationality between ‘Turkish’ and ‘Arab’ positionalities, subject-positions, and subjectivities remains insufficiently explored. Likewise, while ‘non-Muslims’ and Kurds have been studied extensively in scholarly literature on ‘minorities,’ as well as Turkish- and Kurdish-speaking Alevis, Arabness has not been addressed as a ‘minority’ position in Turkey. Angling itself in the area in the circumference of Antakya that was incorporated by Turkey via annexation in 1939 and renamed ‘Hatay,’ this lecture provides a critical reading of Turkey’s de-Arabization practices, co-handed with Turkification, from an Arab Alawi point of view. The status of the Arabic language in relation to Turkish, and to inter-generationally and socially defined subjectivities in this region at Turkey’s border with Syria forms the centrepiece of my discussion which will lead to contextualised reflections and analyses on Turkey from an Arab and Alawi angle.
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