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Welcome everyone, uh my name's Kevan Harris. I'm a Professor

in the Department of Sociology at UCLA. I'm also a

member of the faculty advisory board for

the Center for Near Eastern Studies.

Um and it's under the auspices of the

Center of Near Eastern Studies at UCLA that

we're uh honored to have professor Cihan Tuğal from

the Department of Sociology at UC Berkeley

here with us today uh, to give a talk

in an ongoing speaker series that we're

having here in uh at the Center.

Cihan Tuğal is uh has been an inspiration for many

uh sociologists uh with interest in the Middle East.

He's known for many of his publications.

I'll run through his major works

in case uh audience members are not aware.

He's the author of "Passive Revolution:

Absorbing the Islamic Challenge to

Capitalism" in 2009.

Then "The Fall of the Turkish Model"

in 2016. "How the Arab Uprisings Brought Down

Islamic Liberalism" uh and most recently

uh his third monograph "Caring for the Poor:

Islamic and Christian Benevolence in a

Liberal World" from which I believe some

of the talk today will draw from. And he's a prolific essayist,

uh political commentator, um

uh and scholar and so without further

ado, I'm gonna mute my screen

and uh welcome Professor Tuğal and

thanks to everyone who's attending and

watching from, you know,

California, United States, and around the world.

Okay, thank you very much for that generous

introduction, Kevan and thank you for the invitation.

I'll share my screen.

Okay, so um I'm going to talk about

charity and neoliberalism today but

charity very widely

understood. Um, so all kinds of

good works and we will, we can get into

the etymology of these terms in

uh in both English and in uh

Turkish, Arabic, etc. later. But uh I'm

uh casting the net

a little wide to include all kinds of good works.

And my primary question is how has the logic of charity

changed during neoliberalization. Okay that that's the

main question and I, let me give you a

map of the talk before I

define Neo-liberal because it's a very contested

uh and hard to pin down term.

Basically, what I will do is after a very short

theoretical and methodological introduction,

I will mostly focus on

some exemplar institutions of

uh what I call communitarian charity in Egypt

and uh well, in Egypt.

Then neoliberal institutions in Egypt and then uh coming to Turkey,

a one redistributed association

and then a very interesting combo

institution. And I'll conclude the talk, maybe last 10

minutes focusing on one organization

and a discussion of how a merger of neoliberalism

with redistributed politics and charity

has precipitated the end of liberal

Islam. Okay, so in one sense, I'm combining the theme of my

two uh recent books, the Verso book and

the Routledge book but I'll

come to how I'm doing that. But let's first define

the meaning of these terms. So before I

define neoliberal, I need to define what it is against, what

it is trying to replace. And that is communitarian

charity. Again, a very problematic term

but everything I'm going to be doing and

talking about is problematic. I mean all

of these concepts have some blind spots and issues. But what I

mean by communitarian charity

is a logic of benevolence based on interdependence between

god, providers, and beneficiaries.

And this is mostly based on uh [...],

a scholar whom I will problematize a little

in the middle of the talk after I

present my empirical material on a

communitarian and neoliberal charities and before coming to

Turkey. So what is neoliberalism then?

New actors of charity whom I call neoliberal

in both Egypt and Turkey are critical of

what they call traditional charity. They don't call this

uh communitarian, they call it

traditional charity and because of reasons I

will only lightly touch, I'm not

calling what they are attacking traditional charity. So these

neoliberal actors argue that an irregular

distribution of funds by these traditional

charities reproduces laziness.

And therefore they say if we reorganize charity and philanthropy

as a business, we can transform the poor into

independent entrepreneurs.

So that that's what I define as a neoliberalism.

And I'll play around with this term a little

in the bulk of the talk, but the basic

theoretical assumption just for the purposes of this talk.

So I mean this is not not a theoretical

talk on neoliberalism.

So I'm uh setting the theoretical by a little

law here. So just for the purposes of

this talk, neoliberalism for me is this, you know, restructuring of

charity as a business and the will to transform uh the poor,

but also the beneficiaries, the providers, and the volunteers too

into entrepreneurs.

So that is the project and I am largely talking about how

this is severely limited despite this understanding that we

are now in a neo-liberal age and we would

uh you know, expect the victory of this.

But uh I will underline that has been really

circumscribed, neoliberal charity has

been really circumscribed, by the heaviness of communitarianism

especially in Egypt, but by counter

neoliberal responses to the deeper neoliberalism in Turkey.

So that's where the talk gets a little convoluted. It's

easier to understand why communitarianism would be

restricting neoliberalism but when I come to Turkey,

I'll point out how the success of

neoliberalism uh prepares the end of neoliberalism.

And I'm not saying we are there yet, so

I'm not saying you know, neoliberalism has ended but uh I'll talk

more about that when the time comes.

So uh as for my theoretical framework of

how I am studying this, I am mostly arguing against

this literature called new institutionalism, sometimes called world

society scholarship. And I propose a field and hegemony based

theoretical alternative against that. So

new institutionalists argue that the charity model,

philanthropy model born in the United States and Britain

has traveled throughout the world and is now predominant

thanks to normative, coercive, and

mimetic pressures. And in

contrast to that, I argue

by focusing on these different

organizations in Egypt and Turkey

that charity organization

each charity organization develops its unique

neoliberalism or anti-neoliberalism or

neoliberalism and anti-neoliberalism

combo through first

distinction from other organizations.

That's the Bourdieusian angle.

And secondly, but not secondarily, second

as importantly, through links with the state

and Islamic politics. So that's the

integral state as [...] understands it.

And how did I study all of this? Uh first

uh at the very end of the Mubarak era,

I went to Egypt and focused on 17 organizations,

mostly through interviews and document studies

with mostly top and middle level

managers as well as staff and volunteers and less so

uh beneficiaries because I was trying to

understand how the logic of provision is changing. And in

Turkey, I studied 12 organizations through 35 interviews

in 2011, 2012. And this was

right before the government took its anti-new liberal

turn. Um and then I've did a follow-up study

uh to look at how charity is

changing or whether it is changing after uh the

government's– I shouldn't say anti Neo-

liberal, maybe counter neoliberal,

counter Neo-liberal turn after 2013,

and I conducted interviews with 33 additional

people from the same organizations. And

I also talked to the people I interviewed uh before

uh in in the earlier stage of the

study. And I attempted to do this

a similar kind of follow-up study right

after the Egyptian revolution,

but I went there in the middle of the

revolution and nobody was willing to

talk about charity. I mean all the

charity actors were talking about

politics. So it's just, you know,

the follow-up study didn't happen. I

ended up studying uh the uprising itself

uh for the other book. And then

afterwards, after the coup,

it became just impossible to do field

work. So I, because of all of these difficulties,

I couldn't do the same kind of follow-up study

in Egypt. But overall, all of these

different field visits resulted in 120 interviews.

Okay, and there's a lot also on a Christian

uh and secular charities and philanthropies

in the United States and in Britain, but

I won't have time to talk about these. So if you're

curious about what's happening in the US and in

Britain, uh especially in the US, less so Britain, you

can you can check out my book.

So let me first clarify what I mean by communitarian

charity through some sustained discussion of

one association I will call

the Piety Association. So this is a huge organization and

according to the documents of the

organization, they take care of 600 000 orphans.

And other than that, they have clinics,

you know hundreds of health clinics. They have

6 000 mosques, they have 1 000

Quranic schools, and along with all of

these you know Dawah activities,

they are also focusing on medical

services. And most of these services are rationalized,

very uh very you know, strict medical provision, perfectly rationalized.

And because of that reason, you know, by no means traditional.

So this is a very, you know, fully modernized

operation but I don't want to call it

modern either because of reasons I might not have

time to talk about. But you know, again we

can talk about these terms maybe in the Q & A

session. And as different from neoliberal

organizations though, so this is where the neoliberal

criticism is you know quote unquote, justified,

there is no differentiation between

deserving and undeserving

poor. And this is very, very conscious. So

neoliberal charity is defined by differentiating

between the deserving and

undeserving poor. And this association

was emphasizing that, you know, anybody

who comes to us, any Muslim, any Muslim who comes to us,

deserves aid. Now even if we see them

driving a Mercedes,

we don't ask for proof of poverty. If you

say you need these free

medical services, then you need them

okay. But communitarianism is

something broader for me and it's

this communal obligation not just you

know, lack of differentiation between the

deserving and undeserving poor,

it's a communal, obligatory understanding

of charity. And here is what the director

told me. I think this is a perfect exemplar

of communitarianism. He's saying you know, in the first three lines

that you know, zakat will just you know take care of

hunger if it was properly administered.

Then he says there's an other Islamic

obligation than zakat, which is, and

zakat is an individual worship. There is

a communal worship called fard kifaya and this is a

concept that has been lost and obscured

by the community. So he's saying

uh it's not you know, my perhaps individual

obligation, I cannot be forced to do this.

But as a community, we are,

Islam necessitates us to take, as he's saying here,

all kinds of needs of Muslims. Medicine,

food, drink, blockade.

So the money that is left with me, he

says, has the duty

to relieve the anguish of all. So just to

underline what's happening here, um so if you

have grown up in an Islamic context,

probably they must have made you know

memorize this. Zakat is obligatory,

Sadaqah is not. It's voluntary.

Well, of course that's official Islam, so

I'm not saying that you know that that is not

a valid understanding of Islam. That's

the official understanding of Islam, but

these communitarian charities, they're

saying this is not accurate

because you you can collect zakat by

force and you cannot forcefully collect Sadaqah.

But despite that, we

are obliged to relieve

all needs of the community.

Okay and in that sense, Sadaqah is not,

it cannot be forced on the individual

but it is an obligation. It is not

voluntary and therefore this

association, which was the biggest provider of aid

in Egypt, argued that

we cannot call ourselves volunteers [...].

And they they use the another Arabic

word for themselves [...], which

I can get into. It's a very

interesting word but uh for the purposes of uh time you know

time management, speaking of rationalization,

I need to move on.

So it is important, very important that

neoliberalism, neoliberal charities are

much more at home with the idea of

as Sadaqah being something voluntary.

I mean it cannot be forced on the

community or anybody else,

definitely not only individual. And what

are these neoliberal associations uh doing other than

trying to restructure everything as a business?

Well, they depend on volunteers.

Volunteering is very very important.

Okay so volunteer time, volunteer money, volunteer labor.

And uh they not only rationalize

each uh each branch each activity,

but the idea is that you rationalize it along the lines of

business management. Like very is

self-consciously and openly,

they talk about that. And they of course

have funds coming from mostly

new businesses, the new Muslim rich of

Egypt. and they are not Dawah

organizations. So that this is all also

very very important.

As I say here, they claim to religious capital. You know they

call what they're doing [...], they call what

they're doing [...], and they collect zakat and sadhaqah, but

they they say we are not Dawah

organizations, the major ones. I'll come to

important exceptions, but the biggest

neoliberal organizations say they are not

Dawah organizations. And they also

explicitly discuss the privatization

of welfare as their explicit rationale.

So the state shouldn't do this provision,

we should do this provision. This is what

they say, this is what they define as their agenda,

but they cooperate with both the

giant existing communitarian

associations I have just covered including

this association I have called Piety Association,

but they also cooperate with

the Egyptian bureaucracy, the welfare bureaucracy.

And they reinforce both. So even these you know,

puritan neoliberal charity organizations

in Egypt reinforce communitarian charity associations.

Not the logic of communitarianism itself

but they are reinforcing other actors who

operate with the logic of

communitarianism. And they reinforce the bureaucracy. How so?

I'll exemplify this through another

association I call the Generosity Fund,

one of the three biggest neoliberal organizations in Egypt.

So uh, again you know, I got all the usual stuff

from them about you know laziness and

how communitarians reproduce laziness.

And instead they say you know, we are like a

business oriented association. But

they worked with not only private

institutions but also Ministry of Tourism

to collect all the unused food

in hotels. And they had to work with

Egyptian bureaucracy again and again. And they said, they

reassured me, oh you know

the ministers are very good people.

Mubarak's ministers are very good people.

Their staff is not uh good though

because they're bureaucrats.

There's a lot of bureaucracy. And uh you

know, in field work, you always have to

play stupid. So I was like, oh there's

bureaucracy. Why is there bureaucracy?

You have to ask these questions if

you're a field worker, whatever you might think, you know.

Even if you think you might have the

answers because you get different answers, right.

So of course, he was he was shocked. Like

you know what what kind of an

idiot would be asking this question? Why

is there bureaucracy in Egypt?

This is a 7 000 year old civilization, he exclaimed.

It is 7 000 years of bureaucracy.

So he's not talking about Nasser, Arab socialism.

It's our culture. Egypt is a very strong country

my friend, he said. Sorry. Egypt is a very strong country my friend,

and bureaucracy here is

very well established. But then you know, he's winking now.

There are many ways to deal with the bureaucracy.

So what I want to emphasize here is a

multi-layered complexity. So

the, you know, much of the neoliberalism literature,

maybe not less so the critical

literature, but uh the mainstream literature and the

mainstream literature on organizations in general,

they expect philanthropies, NGOs to limit the bureaucracy,

right. And that could have worked in a,

you know, quote unquote, "ideal

liberal and neoliberal situation" where people

don't have these ingrained assumptions

about what bureaucracy is, what Egypt is,

and how you should operate.

Here the growth of neoliberal charities

only reinforced and reproduced

the notion that bureaucracy is inevitable.

You work with it, you don't seek to limit

it, you don't seek to demolish it.

Neoliberalism is not against the state.

Okay it works with the state

to fulfill its purposes. But as I'm

saying you know,

this is this is the biggest one of the biggest uh

organizations and on the margins of this

neoliberal trend, we see many uh differences

and uh wow, I'm going

much slower than i thought. Let me try to

pick up pace a little. Uh so it contrasts

how they're operating with

what I have called the Loyalty

Association, a much smaller

neoliberal organization, which is

more puritan in its operation in terms of you know this,

cooperating with communitarians and

the state. It just doesn't, it doesn't

cooperate with the bureaucracy

and it doesn't cooperate with the

communitarian associations.

And I had another quote here but I will just

skip that to save time. And

um, I'll just move on to say

that he was very, the director

of this association was very critical

of the other neoliberals because they

were still dependent on the

bureaucracy and communitarian associations.

But the reason they stopped working with

the communitarian associations

was not out of neoliberal puritanism.

They stopped working with

the Piety Association because when they

did, and they were also

working with the Muslim Brotherhood to

to be able to reach

poor people because they themselves

don't have the networks with the poor,

the Muslim Brotherhood does.

So the reason they stopped doing that

was because the security forces

were giving them a lot of trouble.

Okay so what they what what made their operation

more purely neoliberal was actually

quite a political reason. Nothing to do

with you know these mimetic isomorphic forces, the new institutionalists

talk about. You know it's not an

imitation of the center that is causing

this. It is the political

particularity of the context. And

here is where I sharply disagree then

with the new institutionalists

who say, who argue that it is easy to predict

the organization of a newly emerging

nation's administration without

knowing anything about the nation itself

because they're just assuming you know, these

good business practices will be imitated

everywhere, always. Of course, they they do have a lot of

caveats which come comes through the

concept of decoupling and I can open up further in the Q&A

session perhaps how I disagree with that kind of analysis too.

But I'll just hear you know,

rather than going more deeply into my

criticism, I'll just point out what's

happening here from my own

perspective. All of this you know cynicism

and the dependence on the state and the

communitarian associations

uh is basically a Bourdieusian distinction

from other you know,

all of these associations are, that they

feel the need to distinguish

their activities from each other. And all

of this distinction

in a way Bourdieusians do not notice, is

shaped by the logic of the state

and by the logic of the social movements which are

challenging the state. Okay,

what we see in Turkey by contrast is an

inclusive uh neo-liberalism.

So the top associations

are both more neoliberal than the

associations in Egypt in ways that I

will have to specify though.

So give me a minute to do that. But

they're also more

proselytization oriented, so they

did not have,

you know the top neoliberal

organizations in Turkey did not have this anti-dawah

stance that the organizations in Egypt had.

And this is happening again because of the

regime type which allows a blending

of neoliberalization and Dawah. And you

know, in Egypt, it's called Dawah and even though this

same word exists in Turkey.

The counterpart of that, which is not you

know, which is not an exact translation or

exact counterpart, but most of them call theirs

themselves [...] organizations, so

of course that's another Arabic word. But

uh it has traveled in a different way and

means something slightly different in the Turkish context.

So they have these top

organizations are uh less reliant on the

state. Well they are reliant in a broader

sense, but in in terms of you know

their day-to-day operations, they don't

summon as many uh bureaucrats and

bureaucratic activities. Uh they are much more piety

based and they are much more openly political

you know in a way neither the neoliberal nor the communitarian,

associations with the exception of the

Muslim Brotherhood and a couple of others

were in Egypt. So what do I mean by inclusive neoliberalism?

So two things were happening in Turkey.

The neoliberalism went both deeper and it was much more

generous. So unlike in Egypt,

the neoliberal organizations in Turkey

did not think that welfare should be privatized wholesale.

They said oh we need the state, we need

the state to take care of poor people. We

come in only when the state fails. We need a

strong generous state.

So what do I mean when I say they are more neoliberal.

Well their tentacles were much

deeper into the lives of the poor than in

Egypt. So as I was emphasizing, the neoliberal organizations

in Egypt relied a lot on the state and

on the existing communitarian

organizations to reach out to the poor.

They didn't have their

own networks. By contrast the neoliberal

organizations in Turkey did

and they had this much more excessive

control and monitoring of the lives of the poor

unlike their Egyptian counterparts which

you know appeared and then disappeared.

They were in the lives of the poor and they were

you know, controlling them, punishing them,

and monitoring them all the time. And you know, punishing

their laziness and you know, preaching them hard work

uh and uh checking uh their

deservingness all the time. So the Egyptian

associations also had the

idea that they should be doing this

but they were not doing it unlike the Turkish organizations.

Now uh here comes the twist in the talk.

So I was, this is the part I was not

expecting to see. So

such deep neoliberalization also

produced a lot of counter

neoliberalization. Not always

anti, there there is some anti, but it's

more like, you know counter.

And this requires some,

a little theological uh discussion again.

Not nothing too deep but I have to do this here.

Uh this, what's happening resonates strongly with

what scholars have called return and uh

you know several scholars have analyzed this. I will

rely more on a Bonner than Kochuyt here

because Kochuyt's idea of

interdependence between God,

beneficiaries, and providers–

this balanced circle of justice– is

very medieval and it doesn't exactly

capture what was happening in the first decades of Islam. So in,

no later, in the, after the first century of Islam especially,

the result of wealth accumulation and

there's this understanding that you know

it has to be just. So there's a circle of

justice, which you know

combines, with Persian traditions [...],

then gets Turkified but then

travels back to Egypt during the Fatimid and Mamluk

empires et cetera et cetera. And that's what

Kochuyt mostly bases his account on and I think he,

that misleads him uh in his reading of

the original uh sources, the Hadith and the Quran. So

Michael Bonner points out that

this concept of return is much more

complex. It's not exactly a circle of

justice. It's rather an attack

on wealth accumulation but not against

wealth itself. So you know,

I'm not reading any revolutionary

socialism into this.

But it is an attack against wealth

accumulation, so it's this idea

that yes, the prophet was a merchant and

he came from within the merchant class. But he

attacked that as a class, not the activity of trade itself

but the classness of the class itself.

So he mobilized zakat and sadaqah

and other means to prevent

the formation of monopolies and

oligopolies in the market's place.

And this is done through conquest, war,

and redistribution.

So this is the idea of return of [...]

that Shariati also use

and of course they read some

revolutionary socialism into this. So

when we come to the 1960s and 1970s,

these original sources are now combined

with a structural Marxist influenced

criticism of the system. And

in what I call the Companions Association,

we see a pure version of this

sort of you know war mobilization kind of

combination of one variety of Marxism

and one variety of Islam. So in

a small association, so this is

what I call the pure version of

redistributive politics and charity. Then I'll come to

the more interesting impure version but

in this pure version. the idea

is very straightforward. You know, charity

has to be political

and it needs to build collective

self-reliance. Not the poor as entrepreneurs

but the poor as self-reliant activists.

So this has led to what I call a

charismatic egalitarian management structure

in the shelters and other provisional

institutions of the Companions Association

and one example I will very shortly discuss here

is homeless shelters. And the homeless shelters

are run, operated, managed by

people who used to be homeless themselves.

Okay, so they they take the homeless,

they don't turn them into

uh entrepreneurs, or you know

rational neoliberal managers, but

activist managers

who shelter the poor and then mobilize

the poor uh to fight uh the government. Not

necessarily in a revolutionary way but

definitely in a like a critical way,

to push the government in a more

redistributive direction. And the reason I'm calling

this a charismatic egalitarian

management structure

is because these ex-homeless

people, the new managers of these shelters,

they they do not run the whole operation.

At the top of the whole operation

is a a rich merchant

from uh well, someone from merchant

background who has mostly stopped trade

activity, trading activities. So

just like [...] I mean he's like he is uh

modeling himself after the

prophet. So he comes from within this

conservative merchant milieu but he is rebuilding as the conservative

milieu and he still goes uh door-to-door collecting

zakat and sadaqah and uses that

in a way that is critical of government

and in this egalitarian

way. And then you see these managers,

these ex-homeless people,

not only use Islamic language, but also

you know this structural analysis. They

cite numbers, they you know,

they provide you with charts. They talk

talk about charity and poverty in a global

structural context okay, even though you know this

is still an Islamic operation and organization.

So okay now now to the punch line of the whole talk.

Uh IHH: İnsani Yardım Vakfı;

or Humanitarian Relief Foundation

which merges imperial or sub-imperialist

redistributive and neoliberal charity.

And I've been talking about for 32 minutes,

uh so how quick can I do this um?

So yeah, I'll be uh as quick as

possible. So I'll give you a very short

history of IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation.

So before they became anything like

neoliberal, uh they they were a strong

combo of redistributive and

communitarian uh charity. So just like this Companions

Association uh I covered. So the IHH is the only non pseudonym in this book by the way.

IHH was very much like the Companions

Association in that it was

non-neoliberal. Maybe it was not purely

redistributive. It had a very

strong communitarian tendencies too. But

they were more redistributed and they

were thinking globally,

but unlike the Companions Association,

their I was always on jihad at least at

least partially. I mean,

I'm not calling this a Jihad

organization. It's not but you know, I mean they are

they are very sympathetic to Jihadis and

uh the secular suspicion or accusation

is always that you know, some some of their funds always

go to Jihad. And you know,

there are many court cases about this

and you know, I won't go into the details of that.

Um but that was IHH in the 1990s.

Uh afterwards, you know as

Turkish Islamism became more and more

neoliberal, they joined forces with the neoliberal organizations.

So they're not against them unlike the

Companions Association, they're not

against all of the neoliberal

organizations. At least they're

against some of them. um

but operationally structurally speaking,

institutionally speaking,

what's happening is that they are

applying neoliberalism at home.

okay so in Turkey, with the exception

of Syrian refugees,

uh so when when they are providing for

Turks and Kurds,

their operational structure, their

organizational structure,

and their logic of charity is very much

along the lines of

neoliberalism. But when it comes to

Bosnia, uh to the Middle East, North Africa,

they take a politicized and redistributive

approach. And uh in the beginning they were very

hands off of politics, not because they

were not political, but because they were

trying to combine all Islamic forces under one roof, but

as the AKP emerged as the unquestionable

leader of Islam, in their eyes and in the

eyes of the majority, in Turkey then they started to side with

the AKP. But they still have a very complex

relation and I don't have the time to

cover that complexity here but

I'll say certain things about that. But

I won't, you know give you the whole

picture, again maybe something

that's something I can do in the Q & A.

But what I want to really emphasize is that

their combination of neoliberalism and redistributivism

brought about the end of liberal Islam

in Turkey, or it's it's one of the forces

that brought about the end of neoliberal

Islam. And the Mavi Marmara

affair uh is very central to this

whole story. So many of you probably know what

Mavi Marmara is but just maybe there are a couple of people

who don't know, so I have to very shortly

explain what's going on here.

So Mavi Marmara is

a ship operated run by IHH, not owned by them, but you know they, I think

they later bought the ship too but

at that point it was rented. They were

running the ship, they were controlling the ship.

it was leading this freedom flotilla that

aimed to break the blockade, the

Gaza blockade.

And you know, they they fought with the Israelis.

Not the other seven ships in the

flotilla but Mavi Marmara

activists fought with the soldiers and uh

eight of them were killed. So the, you know,

this is a huge, again international

issue that's you know,

part of court proceedings. Again that's

not the part I will go into

but uh what interests me here

is the relation they see

between this incident, uh that you know, this

uh failed attempt to break the Gaza blockade

and the regime change in Turkey. The change

of the regime from liberal islam to

something else and what we can discuss what that

something else is, but there definitely

was a regime change. And they they uh

give themselves credit for this regime

change. So it's a different twist to what I'm doing or

what I have done in my

Verso book in 2016 where I traced this regime change back to

contracting world markets. So you know,

global capitalist dynamics.

And the government's overblown imperial

desires during the time of the Arab

Spring. So there's some, you know, there was some

miscalculation there

due to the structure of political

society as I argue in the book.

And then as a third factor, the Kurdish uprising.

So these three factors in my book

explain the end of neoliberal Islam in Turkey.

But they argue, you know they say we brought,

uh in my 2014 2015 interviews,

they said, they told me. And of

course, you know that some of them know my work, so

we are discussing my framework basically

with them. They were saying "No,

I mean you're not getting this, we did

this" was their

argument. And uh here is

one example, one entry into this debate.

They're saying uh this is one of the top managers of

the association.

Uh, so these relations, talking about

Israeli-Turkish relations, were

established in the Cold War era under

American control.

They were never based on the will of the

peoples' relations, so I mean, this is you know

classical radical left language.

Relations further developed in the 1990s after

uh the 1997 coup. Turkish-Israeli

relations reached their peak when

Turkey's unhappy

majority was under the highest duress.

The AK Party came to power by the votes

of these dissatisfied people.

These people were expecting certain

things regarding Israel,

Islamic covering, material needs,

education, and civic rights.

and this this is an important package. I

mean, it's really an interesting way of you know, summing

up the grievances of the

Turkish sunni population. When Turkey was

going through its most difficult financial times,

the Israeli regime was reaping the

benefits through special

military deals. Now I mean, we really

need to understand the mindset here. Uh

that they are holding and they say that, IHH

activists and managers say, the reason of

poverty worldwide and in Turkey elsewhere, well

not not in Turkey, worldwide in the Middle East and North

Africa, the reason of poverty

is corporate domination and the wars

incited by corporate domination you know.

It's a typical world system kind

explanation okay or even like maybe

Leninist uh rather than world system or maybe a

commonwealth or like,

I mean they're not that theoretical, but

it's basically in that genre. Uh in Turkey, it's

different but worldwide poverty is caused by corporate

domination and the wars they incite.

And uh up until the AK party government,

Turkey was that, a part of that global capital structure.

And the AK party voters wanted these

favors, this you know, this blending of

imperialist and capitalist domination to stop.

And he went on. "We never decide policy

based on the state's priorities, it

is rather the reverse. The state follows,

the AK Party followed us," he's arguing.

Uh one example before the Mavi Marmara affair,

we brought aid to Africa,

we organized conferences on Africa in the 1990s

2000s. Then the state declared, then the

government declared 2007 the year of Africa. And in the same way

he argues, when the Mavi Marmara incident occurred in

2010, the AK party had to claim it as its own

since its citizens were killed. So state follows

civil society and popular mobilization and

afterwards and neoliberal

Islam. And there's a lot to discuss there

but I'm running out of time. So I'm

almost at 45 minutes. So I'll just wrap

up with this slide. So then what does studying charity

teach us about organizational

dynamics? I tried to highlight some of this through

the differences I have discussed between

what I call the Loyalty Association in

Egypt and the Generosity Fund in Egypt

as well as a party

association. And through the example of IHH,

I want to further emphasize uh

what we what we see is neither isomorphism

as world society's scholars would claim, nor

an Islamic uniqueness. I mean, of course

like, we have to understand Islam to understand

any of this. Like, I mean we have to read

our uh Kochuyt and we have to

read our Michael Bonner and we have to

read our Hadith and Quran to understand any of this,

but the Quran on its own, or the Hadith

are not dictating the terms here.

Okay, so they are getting blended

very creatively and depending on each

context. So it's different in the 90s,

different in the 2000s, different

in the 2010s. All of these islamic

terms ideas are getting reinterpreted

in creative but not completely arbitrary ways

by neoliberal actors by redistributive actors

and then by actors such as the IHH

who combine neoliberalism with radical leftist

ideas. And uh, so we need to uh, I don't have a lot of

time here now for a deep theoretical discussion but

what I am arguing is that all of these different

creative interpretations of Islam and

neoliberalism and Marxism emerge out of a

field dynamic so that these associations

differentiating themselves from each

other but also within the context

of a broader hegemonic structure

in each nation-state context.

And I will stop there uh and uh thank you

for listening. So uh I'd like to thank

you again, Professor Tuğal uh and on behalf of the

Center for Near Eastern Studies

here at UCLA. Uh thank you very much.

Thank you for the great questions.

Uh for those who are interested in more

talks like this, if you

you know ended up here serendipitously,

uh you can check out our website and sign up for

uh listservs on more talks.

Professor Behdad, do you have anything else to

add? Thank you, no I just wanted to thank

both uh Professor Tuğal and you Kevan

for such a wonderful and stimulating

event. I learned a lot myself. I actually was

more curious to hear about Iran, but on

another occasion, we will have a conversation.

Thank you so much and thank you all for

joining us this afternoon.