Erdoğan – the new father of Turkey?

Dutch At 20:00 CET on the 27th February 2017, De Balie hosted a discussion about political developments in Turkey and the rise and future role of the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Topic / Speakers / Recording / Organisers

About the debate:

2016 was a dark year of political unrest in Turkey, which was marked by fear and violence with dozens of terror attacks and a failed coup. All these developments took place under the government of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Is Turkey, led by president Erdoğan, transforming into a dictatorship or is Erdogan holding Turkish society together as the new father of the Turks?

In this discussion, De Balie spoke with the French Turkey experts Nicolas Cheviron and Jean-Francois Pérouse, who have followed Erdoğan for more than 20 years and who recently published an acclaimed biography[Nl.][Fr.] about the influential leader. In their book, they vividly describe Erdoğan’s childhood in a working-class Istanbul neighbourhood and how he gradually become the powerful leader he is today.

Cheviron and Pérouse discussed the rise, role and future of this controversial figure, both praised and feared, with the writer and journalist Betsy Udink and the Dutch/Turkish photographer Ahmet Polat.

Is Erdoğan still operating within the realm of a democratically legitimate president or has he now overstepped the boundaries of democracy and begun to act like a dictator? What does the failed coup mean for Erdoğan’s influence and his position? Is his leadership in danger due to the recent violent political developments or is his influence as a world leader now greater than ever?

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Nicolas Cheviron – French Journalist and Co-Author of an acclaimed Erdoğan biography [Nl.][Fr.]

Jean-Francois Pérouse – French Geographer and Co-Author of an acclaimed Erdoğan biography [Nl.][Fr.]

Ahmet Polat – Turkish-Dutch Photographer

Betsy Udink – Dutch Author and Journalist


Eelco Bosch van Rosenthal – Journalist and Broadcaster at the Dutch state stations NOS and NTR


This programme was organised by De Balie in cooperation with the publishing house Uitgeverij Prometheus