I became fixated with this question when I started reflecting on the topic I was asked to talk about at the Arcola Theatre in London: ‘Writing Turkey’. As Turkey was the Market Focus for this year’s London Book Fair, we, the writers from Turkey, were supposed to represent ‘all the colours of Turkey’, as advertised in promotional materials. Well, we did not...Read More
This week‘s PEN Atlas piece reports from the Tanpınar literary festival in Turkey. Journalist Ece Temelkuran gives her personal response to this year’s festival
As world politics becomes bloodier, commercial literature becomes increasingly depoliticised. People eat, pray, love and think Tahrir Square is just crazy Arabs partying all night and the Madrid riots an attempt to break the record...Read More
A German colleague of mine who is based in Egypt, covering the Arab Spring, was sipping his beer in Taksim, center of İstanbul, on a open terrace. Being aware of my critical articles on Turkey he said, "Don't write negative stuff about Turkey anymore. Look around! People are happy."
On a sunny day in Istanbul, contemplating the people around me, I...Read More
"This cannot go on" said a journalist friend, referring to the oppression of the media, of Kurdish politics, the silencing of society and rising authoritarianism in Turkey. In return I asked: "Do you mean 'It is impossible for it to go on like this' or 'I will not let it go on like this'?" Because, as I still think, it CAN...Read More
"So do you think Turkey is being Islamized?"
Although my speech was more or less a detailed account of Turkey's domestic politics, I was expecting this classical and rather shallow question from the audience. Last week at the Bruno Kreisky Forum in Vienna, our topic of the day was the rising authoritarianism in Turkey. Yet again, Islamization is still inevitably the...Read More
"You were the one who produced and distributed the bad milk, we heard. We decided to drop by and see who you are. Don't get us wrong, we don't think you are the only guilty party in this business. Those who fell for your moderate Islamic style mustache and the scent of the rose oil that you wear - the ones...Read More
French writer Andre Malraux, during his time as the French Minister of Cultural Affairs once said, "The state is the servant of the theater.” Obviously this is just the opposite of what’s happening in Turkey and the theater is becoming the servant of the political authority – if not a propaganda tool – which is being used to create an even...Read More
"There had been a fire. The reasons for the fire wouldn't bring back the reasons of the fire. The burnt trees wouldn't bring back the lost lives. The reason of the fire is obvious. The fire might have three or five reasons. I mean, the fire can occur either from a blaze, or a bomb, or a rocket or gasoline. I...Read More
As tensions on the Turkish-Syrian border are hesitantly frozen after the Syrian government’s statement accepting a ceasefire, I thought that the Arab world should know about the passing away of Meral Okay. Apart from her larger than life personality she was the creator of magnificent Turkish TV series such as, Kharem al-Sultan (Sultan's Harem), Nareyn (Two Fires), and Kasr al-Hob (Palace...Read More
I don’t usually write such stuff. These are private issues. But I guess this once they should be on the record. Why? I’ll explain.
It was 8am I guess, maybe earlier. I’m sleeping. The phone starts to ring, a woman is crying her heart out on the line:
“I’m reading your article on his grave. Today is Yaman’s death anniversary.”