The book delves into the murky world of male prostitution in Turkey in the 2000s, which allowed Özbay to explore assumptions about class, local and global culture, and masculine behavior. In the conversation we also address the troubled state of LGBT rights in Turkey at the moment and the general trajectory of the country over the past 15 or so years.

Download the episode or listen below.

Keep your ears peeled for two music clips – The first (after 10:23) is “Çile Bülbülüm” performed by Bülent Ersoy. The second (after 20:42) is “İmkansız” performed by Zeki Müren

Here’s my review of the book at HDN.

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

Follow on Facebook or Twitter


A piece I wrote a couple of years ago for Balkanist – LGBT Crackdown in Turkey: The Perils of Visibility


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 and Paul Levin.

I’ve been walking in north Wales so haven’t had chance to post this piece I wrote on Turkey’s nervous LGBTIs and the “perils of visibility.” Clouds have darkened in recent weeks for LGBTIs in Turkey after last month’s police crackdown on the annual Pride March and a broader uptick in violent incidents and homophobic rhetoric.

The paradox I try to explain in the article is that this has accompanied an increasingly vocal LGBT rights activism that has flourished in the country over the past couple of decades:

“Yeşim Başaran, who works at LGBTI rights group Lambda Istanbul, agrees that a ‘conservative resistance’ has arisen in response to the campaign for recognition. ‘The two things have happened at the same time. The issue of LGBTI rights has become more visible in the media and activists have become more vocal. Opposition parties have nominated gay candidates in elections and have LGBTI people working in their party organizations. That would not have happened a few years ago,’ she says. ‘Life for LGBTIs in Turkey was never easy. They already were subject to attacks in public and within their families. They were at risk of being fired from their jobs or committing suicide. But in the last few weeks it has become more concrete.'”

Read the whole piece at Balkanist.

Istanbul's 2013 Pride March, in happier times. Source: Wikipedia Commons.

Istanbul’s 2013 Pride March, in happier times. Source: Wikipedia Commons.

It was particularly interesting to meet the pro-Erdoğan AK-LGBTI group. Many people assumed they were trolls, but I can confirm that they are serious and in the process of becoming a legally recognised “dernek” (association). Turkey is certainly full of surprises.

%d bloggers like this: