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Turkish Awakening: Behind the Scenes of Modern Turkey

Alev Scott

Shortlisted for the Paddy Power Political Book Awards, Debut Political Book of the Year

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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.

Critic Reviews

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.

Iain Finlayson, The Times
Critic Reviews

Alev Scott presents us with a sincere and straightforward analysis of a country that continues to bewilder many, East and West.

Elif Shafak, Daily Telegraph
Critic Reviews

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.

Michael Wood
Critic Reviews

Turkish Awakening is sharply observed and lively: a very good read.

Norman Stone
Critic Reviews

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.

Tim Cornwell, The Scotsman
Critic Reviews

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.

Owen Matthews, The Spectator

Alev Scott was born in London in 1987 to a Turkish mother and a British father. She was educated at North London Collegiate School and New College, Oxford, where she studied Classics.After graduating in 2009, she worked in London as an assistant director in theatre and opera before moving to Istanbul in January 2011, where she taught Latin at the…

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