Istanbul Technical University associate professor Gürpınar is a controversial academic in Türkiye, coming under fire for being pro-Erdoğan, anti-Erdoğan, liberal, fake liberal, anti-Kurdish, pro-Kurdish, a left-winger, a liberal, and more. He was probably none of these.
When Erdoğan launched a courtroom battle against Kemalist generals who he viewed as an existential threat to his Islamist regime, jailing scores of them on what later turned out to be fabricated evidence, Gürpınar's 2012 tweet left a bitter taste: "In 20 years' time we will remember [Erdoğan's] Justice and Ruling Party [AKP] with gratitude." No one does so.
Gürpınar has produced an interesting intellectual history of the late Ottoman Empire and modern Turkish state. In fact, Apparatchiks and Ideologues is a page-turner. It takes a connoisseur of Turkish politics on a journey to the country's 20 years under Erdoğan's rule, sharing knowledge and intellectual experience in a masterful book that tells the fascinating story of those apparatchiks and ideologues who shaped Turkish life.
Gürpınar notes the contrast between the utopian early Leninist regime and the stagnant Brezhnevite regime:
Whereas engaged intellectuals trumpeted these regimes at their inception, the regimes in time instrumentalized intellectuals as regime apparatchiks because they continued to seek intellectual and moral vindication. The AKP's evolution replicated this pattern, which also transformed ts intellectuals and their discursive maneuvers.
This book offers an overview of the AKP-aligned intellectual scene in its complexity. Behind that complex scene the reader will conclude that Erdogan's greatest service to his country has been to show a generation of younger Turks what it is like to be living under Islamist, one-man rule.