Making sense of senseless times: Religious narratives and identity in the memoirs of far-right militants in Turkey
This article traces the autobiographical narratives of the far-right Ülkücü militants in Turkey, based on memoirs written in the aftermath of the 1980 coup. The Ülkücüs, who had fought on the streets against the leftist during the 1970s in the name of the state and nation, experienced a great rupture in their lives following their torturous treatment at the hands of the junta. This article examines the ways in which narratives functioned in their attempts to make sense of their situation and in their attempt to regain coherence and meaning in terms of identity. We find that while their autobiographical narratives formulated in religious terms helped to instigate a sense of meaning, worth, and coherence in the lives of the Ülkücüs, these same narratives also ensured that they could escape any conscientious attempt to come to terms with the past. With this work, we hope to open new avenues of research, particularly focusing on the role of autobiographical narratives both in terms of the construction and negotiation of political identities and in relation to the prospects of coming to terms with the past.