The Land of No: No Fun, No Devilry

First it was PM Erdogan’s diatribe and court case against the wildly popular TV soap The Magnificent Century, about Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent and the women in his family and harem. (I openly admit I am a fan). What’s wrong with it? In addition to the sultan overseeing his political staff and going on military […]

“I Am a Cat”

The New York Times recently published an interview with Orhan Pamuk about his favorite books and the books he would recommend to others. Below is my favorite excerpt, and here the full interview. …I respected the Turkish prime minister’s politics of pushing the army away from politics and back to the barracks, though I am […]

Turkish Horror, Fantasy and Science Fiction

Horror, fantasy, science fiction! No, we’re not talking about Turkish politics, but about literary genres. High-quality sci-fi, fantasy, and horror books by Turkish authors are flourishing and the writers, editors and publishers are getting organized. In October 2011 they founded FABISAD, the Turkish Association for Artists of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Founding members are  Altay Öktem, […]

Green Pop

From qantara.de, an essay by Dorian Jones on Islamic rock music in Turkey. Click here. I find it interesting that the pop musicians wish to add the expressiveness of  “shouting and crying” which they find in rock to religious music, which is too “soft”. Reminds me of the increasing popularity (especially in Africa and South […]

Ottoman Music

If you haven’t yet discovered the Ottoman History Podcast site, it’s a treasure of  fascinating facts and images on a variety of subjects, compiled and discussed by experts in various fields relating to Ottoman and Turkish life. There are over seventy episodes, with more added regularly.  Click here. Episode 74 is on Ottoman Classical Music with […]

Schrödinger’s Cat in Baghdad Perspective

This post was updated. I found a fascinating review of a new book by Hans Belting (for the full review, click here), who argues that the origins of perspective in Western art do not date to 13th century Florence with Giotto and Brunelleschi, but to 11th century Baghdad in the work of Ibn al-Haytham (965-1040), […]

Gangnam Style

I’m totally hooked on this deliciously fun music video. No, it’s not about Turkey. It’s a spoof on an upper-class district called Gangnam in Seoul, South Korea. So I can claim it as social criticism. And the performer PSY was once a student at Boston University. But really, I thought this might distract us just […]

The Black Cadillac

Orhan Pamuk has written a letter entitled “When the Bosphorus Dries Up” for the  New City Reader. It imagines what the Bosphorus will look like when the water has dried up, and it makes for quite a read. For one thing, there’s a certain Black Cadillac belonging to a bandit and his mistress….  Here’s an excerpt, […]

Jospehine Powell Exhibit and Slide Archive

Josephine Powell’s photographs of Anatolian nomadic life and documentation of pastoralism and carpet and kilim weaving are on display at the Koc on Istiklal Caddesi in Istanbul. I’ve posted some information on this exhibit earlier and have since then gone to see it. It’s worth visiting. The images of people are powerful. Make sure you watch […]

Turkish Cosmo Too Raunchy for Editor Helen Gurley Brown

In contrast to the previous post, here’s a different aspect of multifaceted Turkey. The recently deceased writer and editor Helen Gurley Brown was noted for her 1962 book Sex and the Single Girl and for transforming the magazine Cosmo, making it about young women’s sexual and lifestyle freedom rather than about jello recipes. But the […]