A Coup in Turkey
The most dramatic, revealing and little-known story in Turkey’s history – which illuminates the nation
‘Through the spellbinding career of a single, ill-fated leader, Jeremy Seal illuminates a bitterly divided country’ Colin Thubron
‘Read this book if you’re interested in Turkey. Read it if you’re interested in power, hubris and redemption. Read it’ Christopher de Bellaigue, author of The Islamic Enlightenment
In the spring of 2016 travel writer Jeremy Seal went to Turkey to investigate perhaps the most dramatic, revealing and little-known episode in the country’s history – the ‘original’ coup of 1960, which deposed the traditionalist Prime Minister Adnan Menderes. The story of Menderes – to his adoring supporters the country’s founding democrat; to his sworn enemies its most infamous traitor – goes to the heart of the feud that continues to rage between the Western and secular ambitions of a minority elite and the religious and conservative instincts of the small-town majority. A Coup in Turkey is a thrilling account of the events leading up to the coup and the trials and executions that followed, a story of political subterfuge and score-settling, courtroom drama, state execution, authoritarian intolerance and ideological division.
Seal travels through President Erdogan’s Turkey, tracking down eye-witness accounts from survivors of the Menderes era in Istanbul, the historic metropolis, and the new capital at Ankara. As he expertly guides us through this extraordinary story, so the compelling parallels between past and present become strikingly clear, and he illuminates this troubled nation with a deep sympathy and love for the people and places he writes about. By focussing on one key event – one which many Turks regard with shame – this evocative, gripping portrait of Turkey recentres our understanding of the past and makes sense of one of Europe’s most bewildering yet intriguing neighbours.
‘A wonderful writer’ Robert Macfarlane
Lucid and multi-layered, backed by brilliant scholarship lightly worn, Jeremy Seal's gripping narrative moves effortlessly from the personal to the political as it charts the rise and fall of the man who, after Ataturk, reset the direction of the Turkish republic. It is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand modern Turkey -- Jason Goodwin A page turning quest into the greatest judicial murder story of its time, but also a physical journey across Anatolia and into the violent passions of Turkish politics where "not taking sides" is not an option. Which is why this book is not just a revelation, but also a love letter to the contemporary nation, written by England's pre-eminent travel writer on Turkey -- Barnaby Rogerson A gripping, meticulously told political drama. With great skill, tenacity and genuine feeling, Jeremy Seal re-assembles the extraordinary build-up to Turkey's 1960 coup, its courtroom aftermath and its tragic denouement. In doing so, he presents a brilliant portrait of oscillating populism and pragmatism, military force and religious fervour, democracy and state brutality, that appears as relevant to today's world as it was sixty years ago -- Philip Marsden Through the spellbinding career of a single, ill-fated leader, Jeremy Seal illumines a bitterly divided country -- Colin Thubron Turkey's 1960 coup was a huge event that played out on an intimate scale. Interpreting it requires the tenacity of a reporter, the learning of an academic and the verve of a novelist. Luckily, Jeremy Seal possesses all these qualities, which he brings to bear on one of the most significant calamities of the modern Middle East. Read this book if you're interested in Turkey. Read it if you're interested in power, hubris and redemption. Read it. -- Christopher de Bellaigue, author of The Islamic Enlightenment
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