Remembering the Turkish Military Coup d’Etat of 12 September 1980: a comparison between the memories of revolutionaries in exile and of those who stayed | Elifcan Karacan


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12 September 1980 was one of the milestones in the modern history of Turkey. The military coup d’etat was not only an intervention in the democratic system — it was an event which radically transformed the country’s economic, cultural and political life. On 12 September 1980, the military overthrew the government and declared a military regime. Although the military junta only lasted until the establishment of a civilian government in 1983, the constitution of 1982 and the key institutions (created by the leaders of the coup) are still operative. In this presentation, Elifcan is going to discuss social, economic and political background of the 1980 Military Coup. In addition, based on her primary research with various members of Turkish Left, she will discuss various ways of how to remember the legacy of the 12th September military coup today; in other words, what remains in our memory, which part of the events and resistance have been forgotten.’
Today, 36 years after 1980 military coup, Turkey is again in the grips of an oppressive counter-coup, following a failed coup attempt on 15/ 16 July. The coup was an attempt by one section of bourgeoisie against mainstream AKP rule, which showed the deep rifts that exist inside the Turkish ruling class, a contradiction that relates to the country’s position in the global inter-state system. Now in its aftermath the country is suffering in the midst of a growing drive towards the creation of an Islamist populist authoritarianism. Elifcan Karacan’s seminar is based on her original research on the dynamics and characteristics of the ways revolutionaries remember the 12 September 1980 military coup. It will also provide us an opportunity to look at parallels between 1980 and 2016.

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