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Turkey Book Talk episode #70 – Dimitar Bechev on the past and present of Turkey-Russia relations, “rich in history, ambivalent, multifaceted and rich in nuance, blending fierce competition with cooperation.”

Bechev is a research fellow at the Center for Slavic, Eurasian, and East European Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He is the author of “Rival Power: Russia in Southeast Europe” (Yale University Press), and he has written extensively on Turkey, its policy in Europe and the Middle East, and its relationship with Russia.

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Follow Dimitar on Twitter.

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Rival Power

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 #68 – Michael Provence of UC San Diego on “The Last Ottoman Generation and the Making of the Modern Middle East” (Cambridge University Press).

Over the past four years the centenary of the First World War has prompted a new focus on the conflict’s historical importance. In Europe the war ushered in the modern age and precipitated the downfall of old regimes, but it perhaps had an even more cataclysmic impact in the Middle East, precipitating a crumbling of the regional order that caused chaos and destruction.

“The Last Ottoman Generation” looks at continuities rather than ruptures, focusing on various individuals who came of age in the final years of the Ottoman Empire, socialized into ways of thinking and operating in a vanished network of Ottoman institutions.

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The Last Ottoman Gen

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

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.

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.

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Garabed front

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.

Turkey Book Talk #61 – DIANA DARKE on “THE MERCHANT OF SYRIA: A HISTORY OF SURVIVAL” (Hurst), which tells the story of Abu Chaker, a textile merchant from Homs who lived from 1921 to 2013.

The book traces Abu Chaker’s life in parallel with the story of the modern history of Syria, examining the social, cultural and political context that shaped him. It also touches on the emergence of the ongoing war, which Darke herself witnessed as she was living in a historical courtyard house in Damascus’ old town until a few years ago.

Download the episode or listen below.

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Here is Diana’s article on Afrin for the BBC that we mention in the conversation.

Merchant of Syria

Become a member to support Turkey Book Talk and get extra content. Members get full transcripts (in English and Turkish) of every interview upon publication, transcripts of the entire Turkey Book Talk archive (in English) and access to an exclusive 30% discount on over 200 Turkey/Ottoman History titles published by IB Tauris.

Turkey Book Talk episode #58 – Mehmet Kentel on the life and work of Yusuf Franko, an obscure Ottoman bureaucrat who lived a remarkable double life as a caricaturist depicting Istanbul’s cosmopolitan late 19th century high society.

Kentel is a PhD Candidate in Near and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Washington, and was adviser to the exhibition “The Characters of Yusuf Franko: An Ottoman Bureaucrat’s Caricatures” at the Koç University Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations.

Download the episode or listen below.

Here’s the great website where you can view all of Yusuf Franko’s remarkable pictures and read the essays in “Youssouf Bey: The Charged Portraits of Fin-de-Siecle Pera,” the catalogue accompanying the exhibition.

And here’s my review of that book in Hurriyet Daily News.

Youssouf

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YB1_600_737_80

Consider supporting Turkey Book Talk and get extra content by becoming a member. Members get full transcripts (in English and Turkish) of every interview upon publication, transcripts of the entire Turkey Book Talk archive (in English) and access to an exclusive 30% discount on over 200 Turkey/Ottoman History titles published by IB Tauris.

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.

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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.

to kill a sultan - Copy

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.

Unfortunately topical episode of Turkey Book Talk this week – Palestinian author and lawyer RAJA SHEHADEH on his book A RIFT IN TIME: TRAVELS WITH MY OTTOMAN UNCLE (OR/Basic Books), retracing the journey of his great uncle Najib Nassar, who was on the run from the Ottoman authorities for three years in Greater Syria from 1915.

Download the episode or listen below.

Here’s my review of the book at HDN.

The Nation has also just published a beautifully written long-ish profile of Raja Shehadeh that is well worth reading.

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Rift

* 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, Ayla Jean Yackley and Tan Tunalı.

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