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Keywords:

  • critical geopolitics;
  • narcotics;
  • opium poppy;
  • oral history;
  • Turkey

abstract.

Historical scholarship in traditional geopolitics often relied on documents authored by states and by other influential actors. Although much work in the subfield of critical geopolitics thus far has addressed imbalances constructed in official, academic, and popular media due to a privileging of such narratives, priority might also be given to unearthing and bringing to light alternative geopolitical perspectives from otherwise marginalized populations. Utilizing the early-1970s case of the United States' first “war on drugs,” this article examines the geopolitics of opium-poppy eradication and its consequences within Turkey. Employing not only archival and secondary sources but also oral histories from now-retired poppy farmers, this study examines the diffusion of U.S. antinarcotics policies into the Anatolian countryside and the enduring impressions that the United States and Turkish government created. In doing so, this research gives voice to those farmers targeted by eradication policies and speaks more broadly to matters of narcotics control, sentiments of anti-Americanism, and notions of democracy in Turkey and the region, past and present.