From Mustafa Kemal Ataturk to the current President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish Awakening by Alev Scott is a colourful exploration of mass migration, urbanisation and economics in a country full of contradictions.
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Born in London to a Turkish mother and British father, Alev Scott moved to Istanbul to discover what it means to be Turkish in a country going through rapid political and social change, with an extraordinary past still linked to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and an ever more surprising present under the leadership of Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
From the European buzz of modern-day Constantinople to the Arabic-speaking towns of the south-east, Turkish Awakening investigates mass migration, urbanisation and economics in a country moving swiftly towards a new position on the world stage.
This is the story of discovering a complex country from the outside-in, a candid account of overturned preconceptions and fresh understanding. Relating wide-ranging interviews and colourful personal experience, the author charts the evolving course of a country bursting with surprises – none more dramatic than the unexpected political protests of 2013 in Taksim Square, which have brought to light the emerging demands of a newly awakened Turkish people. Mass migration, urbanisation and a growing awareness of human rights have changed the social, economic and physical landscapes of a powerful country, and the 2013 protests were just one indication of the changes afoot in today’s Turkey. Threatened as it is by recent developments in Syria and Iraq and the approaching danger of ISIS.
Encompassing topics as varied as Aegean camel wrestling, transgender prostitution, politicised soap operas and riot tourism, this is a revelatory, at times humorous, at times moving, portrait of a country which is coming of age.
In a colourful survey of a complex, often paradoxical country on the cusp of social and cultural change, Scott is an open-minded, fresh-eyed reporter.
Alev Scott presents us with a sincere and straightforward analysis of a country that continues to bewilder many, East and West.
Full of unexpected insights, Turkish Awakening is an engaging and readable portrait of what is actually going on right now in this very diverse secular democracy.
Turkish Awakening is sharply observed and lively: a very good read.
For beach reading on the Mediterranean coast, even the most tunnel-visioned punter may be minded to swap a bodice-ripper for a book that tries to explain what is going on in Turkey. Chatty, engrossing, modest and gutsy, and in the end surprisingly moving, Turkish Awakening deserves a place with the suncream and sand.
Scott's book could hardly be more timely. In part, it's a narrative of the author's personal discovery of a country that she had known from afar all her life from her Turkish mother but where she had never lived. As a consequence she has an insider-outsider eye for telling details ... Turkish Awakening takes its place alongside other essential books about modern Turkey ... It's also highly readable and often funny.
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