Erdogan: the Rise of Turkey’s Modern Autocrat – A Graphic Biography – A New Form of Journalism

A book launch – November 23rd, 2023 ; 12-1:30pm, Centre for Global Studies, Sedgewick C168.  Registration

Can Dundar’s ‘Erdogan: A Graphic Biography: the Rise of Turkey’s Modern Autocrat’

This talk will feature a Zoom session with Can Dundar and illustrative artist Anwar led by Fazila Mat and Oliver Schmidtke at the Centre for Global Studies at the University of Victoria.

One of the world’s most divisive and controversial leaders, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has ruled over Turkey as either prime minister or president since 2003. (In 2023, despite predictions he would lose, Erdogan was re-elected president, as the country continues to unravel due to economic crises, international conflicts, and a devastating earthquake.) This graphic biography sheds light on the origins of Turkey’s most powerful man, from his youth as a budding soccer player to his years spent navigating Turkey’s political landscape, including the founding of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in 2001. Author Can Dundar, a Turkish journalist and contributor to the Washington Post now living in exile in Berlin, spent several years researching this book. In 2015 he was arrested when his newspaper published photos of Turkey’s state intelligence sending weapons to ISIS in Syria; in 2020 he was sentenced in absentia by Turkish courts to twenty-seven years in prison for espionage and aiding an armed terrorist organization.

As Turkey’s leader, the Islamic, conservative Erdogan has had a polarizing effect on the country’s populace; some applaud his economic and political reforms, while others decry his autocratic, iron-fisted rule, which has included the jailing of opponents, the crushing of free speech and the rights of LGBTQ+ people and others, and an ongoing war waged against the country’s Kurdish minority.

Featuring compelling illustrations by Egyptian Sudanese comic artist Anwar, this book provides a critical and dramatic context for understanding Erdogan’s convictions and contradictions as a demagogue for whom democracy has been merely a means to power.

This event is co-financed by research project Populism and its Effects on Liberal Democracy: Minority Rights and Freedom of Speech funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.