Sacrificial Limbs: Masculinity, Disability, and Political Violence in Turkey (University of California Press, 2020) is an exploration of “the ways in which . . .veterans’ gendered and classed experiences of warfare and disability are hardened into politics . . .how self, community, and the world-making practices of disabled veterans get tangled up with ultranationalist politics in contemporary Turkey.” Drawing on extensive interviews and participant observations, anthropologist Salih Can Açıksöz traces the experiences of veterans of Turkey’s ongoing counter-guerilla warfare in the country’s predominantly Kurdish eastern region. In Turkey, military service is mandatory, part of a “heteropatriarchal contract” between men and the state. Injury in wartime confers on veterans the status of gazi, meaning both “wounded soldier” and “holy warrior.” Yet military “operations” in southeast Turkey are not officially recognized as war, and disabling injuries in Turkey’s “deeply ableist society” deny veterans the implicit rewards of their gendered contract with the state. Therefore, since the 1990s, disabled veterans have organized to demand the state honor its debts. In his book, Professor Açıksöz shows the different forms these organizations take, as well as the ways in which veterans' groups became drawn into far-right political movements during the early 2000s.
Reuben Silverman is a PhD candidate at University of California, San Diego