Turkey Book Talk #180Gönül Tol, director of the Turkey program at the Middle East Institute in Washington DC, on “Erdogan’s War: A Strongman’s Struggle at Home and in Syria” (Oxford University Press).

The book tells the story of how developments in Syria have played a unique role in Erdogan’s political strategy, helping him construct his identity, consolidate his base, and divide and eliminate his domestic rivals. He has done this by shifting shape, emphasising different shades of Islamist or nationalist ideology at different times.

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Turkey Book Talk episode #106  –  Mike Giglio, staff writer at The Atlantic, on his book “Shatter the Nations: ISIS and the War for the Caliphate” (Public Affairs).

The book describes Giglio’s years reporting on the rise and fall of ISIS from Turkey, Syria and Iraq, including time embedded on the front line with Iraqi special forces and the Syrian Kurdish YPG.

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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.

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

Merchant of Syria

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This week I spoke to Diana Darke, the author of “My House in Damascus: An Inside View of the Syrian Revolution.” The book describes her experiences after buying a 17th century courtyard house in the center of Damascus in 2005, including Syria’s descent into bloody civil war after 2011.

Here’s a link to my interview with Darke at the Hurriyet Daily News.

And here’s my review of the book from a couple of days ago.

House In Damascus


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