The state of Turkey

At 19:00 GMT on Thursday the 15th September 2016, a London Review of Books and Index on Censorship discussion took place in London‘s London Review Bookshop, with Kaya Genç, Samira Shackle and Ece Temelkuran speaking about the evolution of the Turkish state and modern Turkish society.

This event has now taken place, but a full recording of the evening‘s discussion can be found below for all those unable to be in London on the 15th September.

Topic / Speakers / Location / LRB and Index / Recording


About the debate:

Turkey possesses the world‘s 18th largest economy and its 18th largest population. Furthermore, with its position at the crossroads between Europe and Asia, the country is of considerable strategic importance and has so far played a pivotal role in regard to Syria and the refugee crisis.

Yet what do we in Europe actually know about the Turkish state? In most cases, we‘ll have heard about the Gezi Park protests and are likely aware of the internal conflict with Kurdish minorities and sinking press pluralism. Moreover, the spectacular events of and following the coup attempt of the 15th July 2016 will have caught our attention, as the Turkish parliament was bombed, the population came out onto the streets to defend their democracy and thousands were arrested in a subsequent government crackdown. However, do we know why these events happened and what tensions currently exist within the state?

The London Review of Books and Index on Censorship wanted to find out and invited Turkish writers Kaya Genç and Ece Temelkuran to take part in a discussion chaired by the New Humanist assistant editor Samira Shackle.

Both Genç‘s forthcoming book, Under the Shadow: Rage and Revolution in Modern Turkey, and Ece Temelkuran‘s most recent publication, Turkey: The Insane and the Melancholy, look at Turkish society and ask how the country has come to be the state it is today. And, this discussion asked the authors to go over the research for their books, as it looked to provide us with a picture of modern Turkey, its society and its evolution.

This discussion has now taken place, but a full recording of the evening can be heard below.

Full-length recording:


Kaya Genç is a Turkish novelist and essayist, whose forthcoming book, Under the Shadow, aims to get to the heart of his country‘s underlying conflicts.

Ece Temelkuran is one of Turkey’s best-known journalists and political commentators. Her latest book, Turkey: The Insane and the Melancholy, asks what makes Turkey what it is today and takes us on a tour of the country and its society.


Samira Shackle is a predominantly freelance British journalist, writing mainly on politics, terrorism and gender, with a particular focus on the Indian subcontinent. Currently, Samira works as the assistant editor of the New Humanist magazine.

LRB and Index:


The London Review of Books is an English-language magazine which stands up for the tradition of the literary and intellectual essay. Each issue contains up to 15 long reviews and essays by academics, writers and journalists. There are also shorter art and film reviews as well as poems and a lively letters page.

A typical issue moves through political commentary to science or ancient history by way of literary criticism and social anthropology. So, for example, an issue can open with a piece on the rhetoric of war, move on to reassessing the reputation of Pythagoras, follow that with articles on the situation in Iraq, the 19th-century‘s super rich, Nabokov’s unpublished novel, how saints got to be saints, the life and work of William Empson, and an assessment of the poetry of Alice Oswald.

The London Review of Books also established a bookshop in Bloomsbury in 2003, where regular events take place.

To find out more about the London Review of Books, click here.

To find out more about the London Review Bookshop, click here.

Index on Censorship magazine

In the summer, Index on Censorship launched a milestone 250th edition of its magazine. This edition focused on the increasing threats to journalists carrying out their work and includes the special report, Truth in Danger, Danger in Truth: Journalists under Fire and under Pressure.

To find out more about the Index on Censorship magazine’s 250th edition, click here.