Drawing on an ethnography carried out in Istanbul, this talk examines the experience of silence in Turkish former revolutionaries’ families, the main victims of the 1980-1983 military coup, and challenges the universal model of traumatic silence which overshadows local conceptualizations of the self. In Turkey, the 1980 coup was a political, cultural and generational watershed that dismantled leftist organizations through incarcerations and tortures. For leftist movements and families, the 1980 coup is the biographical and political tragedy upon which a mnemonic community is built. They are still in a counter-hegemonic position compared to official historiography, but have built a “strong memory” codified through the figure of revolutionary martyrdom.

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