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Turkey Book Talk episode #67 – Jonathan Varjabedian on “My Dear Son Garabed: Kojaian Family Letters from Efkere/Kayseri to America (1912-1919)” (Histor Press).

The book is a collection of 88 letters written from the Anatolian village of Efkere to America between 1912 and 1919. They were sent to Garabed Kojaian and his father Harutian, who were among the many Ottoman Armenians migrating to America in the early 20th century.

Download the episode or listen below.

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Here’s my review of the book from a few of weeks ago.

As mentioned in the episode, check out the website efkere.com, where Jonathan, the grandson of the late Garabed Kojaian, pieces together the lost history of the village.

Purchase the book (highly recommended) from Histor. Details on their Facebook page.

Support Turkey Book Talk by becoming a member. Membership gives you full transcripts in English and Turkish of every interview upon publication, transcripts of the entire Turkey Book Talk archive (over 60 conversations so far), and access to an exclusive 30% discount on over 200 Turkey/Ottoman History titles published by IB Tauris.

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Turkey Book Talk episode #56 – Boğaziçi University Professor Edhem Eldem on “To Kill a Sultan: A Transnational History of the Attempt on Abdülhamid II” (Palgrave Macmillan), which he co-edited with Houssine Alloul and Henk de Smaele.

The book explores a deadly assassination attempt targeting the Ottoman sultan in Istanbul in 1905, and appears at a time when Abdülhamid II is the subject of a growing popular obsession among religious conservatives in Turkey.

Download the episode or listen below.

Here’s my review of the book at HDN.

Subscribe to Turkey Book Talk :  iTunes / PodBean / Stitcher / Acast / RSS

Follow on Facebook or Twitter

As mentioned in the podcast, here’s a recent article from me in History Today on this Abdülhamid revisionism and comparisons between him and Erdoğan.

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As also mentioned, stay tuned for details of a new membership system coming for Turkey Book Talk. As part of the system, paying subscribers will get access to a range of extra content and benefits. I will post more details in due course, hopefully by the time of the next episode in two weeks.

* SUPPORT *

Remember you can support the podcast, if you enjoy or benefit from it, by making a pledge to Turkey Book Talk via Patreon. Many thanks to current supporters Michelle Zimmer, Steve Bryant, Jan-Markus Vömel, Celia Jocelyn Kerslake, Aaron Ataman, Max Hoffman, Andrew MacDowall, Paul Levin, Ayla Jean Yackley, Burak Kodaz and Tan Tunalı.

Turkey Book Talk episode #52 – LORA SARI on the Aras Publishing House, set up in Istanbul in 1993 as a “window onto Armenian literature.” We also discuss Mıgırdıç Margosyan’s “Infidel Quarter,” published this year as Aras’ first English-language title.

Download the episode or listen below.

Here’s my review of “Infidel Quarter” at HDN.

Subscribe to Turkey Book Talk :  iTunes / PodBean / Stitcher / Acast / RSS

Follow on Facebook or Twitter

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Extras

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* SPECIAL OFFER *

You can support Turkey Book Talk by taking advantage of a 33% discount plus free delivery (cheaper than Amazon) on five different titles, courtesy of Hurst Publishers:

  • ‘Jihad and Death: The Global Appeal of Islamic State’ by Olivier Roy
  • ‘The Circassian: A Life of Eşref Bey, Late Ottoman Insurgent and Special Agent’ by Benjamin Fortna
  • ‘The New Turkey and its Discontents’ by Simon Waldman and Emre Çalışkan
  • ‘The Poisoned Well: Empire and its Legacy in the Middle East’ by Roger Hardy
  • ‘Out of Nowhere: The Syrian Kurds in Peace and War’ by Michael Gunter

Follow this link to get that discount from Hurst Publishers.

Another way to support the podcast, if you enjoy or benefit from it: Make a pledge to Turkey Book Talk via Patreon. Many thanks to current supporters Michelle Zimmer, Steve Bryant, Jan-Markus Vömel, Celia Jocelyn Kerslake, Aaron Ataman, Max Hoffman, Andrew MacDowall, Paul Levin and Tan Tunalı.

The latest podcast is with Judith Saryan, who edited a new English edition of Zabel Yessayan’s account of a trip to Adana in the aftermath of pogroms targeting Armenians there in 1909.

Download the podcast or listen below:

Subscribe: iTunes / PodBean / Stitcher / Facebook / RSS

Read my Hurriyet Daily News review of “In the Ruins: The 1909 Massacres of Armenians in Adana” (AIWA).

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Here’s an interview from last year with translator Jennifer Manoukian, discussing Yessayan’s remarkable life and work.

Here’s another piece I wrote last year for Al Monitor from a crumbling station on the Armenian side of the closed Turkey-Armenia border. The immediate political dynamics have changed since then but it may still be an interesting read. View photos I took of the station here.

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Finally, let me flag up my newly opened Patreon account – Through it you can support the Turkey Book Talk podcast by making a monetary donation, large or small, on a per episode basis. Check it out. Many thanks to my first supporter Sera Aleksandra Marshall.

A couple of months ago I visited the Armenian side of the border with Turkey – specifically the Akhuryan train station, 2 km from the border and just outside Armenia’s second biggest city Gyumri.

The station has been closed since 1993, when Turkey sealed the border amid the Nagorno-Karabakh War between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Ever since, former station conductor Hagop Kevorkian has stayed on as a guard, forlornly waiting for services to restart.

When we visited, Hagop was just sitting alone in the dark station office wearing his fading old Soviet-era uniform, midway through his 12-hour shift doing nothing. Another guard waits at the station on rotating days, but they have not seen trains for over two decades. The Akhuryan Station is thus a sad symbol of the human cost of the diplomatic impasse between Ankara and Yerevan.

I wrote an article for Al Monitor about the station and the slim chances for the border reopening.

Below are some of the photos I took of Hagop and the station.

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Ahead of next week’s commemoration of the centenary of the Armenian genocide, I spoke to Carnegie Endowment scholar Thomas de Waal about his new book exploring relations between Turks and Armenians in the years since 1915.

Read the interview here.

And here’s my review of de Waal’s “Great Catastrophe: Armenians and Turks in the Shadow of Genocide.” Great Catastrophe Unfortunately our conversation took place before Pope Francis’ remarks over the weekend. Neither could I ask de Waal about Kim Kardashian and Kanye West.

This week I spoke to Eugene Rogan, the author of an authoritative new history “The Fall of the Ottomans: The Great War in the Middle East, 1914-1920.”

Rogan is director of the Middle East Centre at the University of Oxford and also penned a major recent book on the history of the modern Arab world, so I was really happy to speak with him. The conversation was wide-ranging and stimulating, touching on some of the biggest issues around the war – resolved and unresolved – and the continued resonance of the Ottoman Empire’s collapse almost 100 years ago.

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Click here to read the interview with Professor Rogan.

Read my review of the book here.

And here’s some footage of Istanbul in 1915 from the British Pathé archives, showing the historic peninsula and various warships heading up the Bosphorus:

PS. I hope my Turkey-based followers can see this post, as WordPress keeps being blocked and unblocked here.

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