IN CAFES outside Istanbul University, students pore over a glossy leaflet. It is not one of the many political pamphlets being distributed ahead of the presidential and parliamentary elections on June 24th; inside are not campaign promises, but stories of fantasy fiction set in supernatural or imaginary worlds.
Since the attempted military coup in July 2016, the suppression of freedom of expression has swept through Turkey’s universities. Nearly 5,000 academics were dismissed; books, many written by prominent political journalists, were confiscated. At Istanbul University, common areas have been closed, political gatherings are forbidden and students are obliged to attend classes in shifts to reduce mingling. There was a temporary ban on students entering faculty buildings other than their own. In April a bill submitted to parliament proposed splitting up the university. One professor called it an attempt at control through a “divide and rule policy”.
In this difficult climate, speculative fiction has thrived as students turn to…Continue reading
Why Turkish students are turning to speculative fiction