Still, while I doubt it will delight the Turkish tourist board, this book offers an excellent historical lens through which to view the country’s political landscape. It’s also a reminder that whatever the current rows in Europe are over Islam’s role in public life, that same row has raged far longer – and harder – in Turkey.
A travel writer with a nose for a story, Seal tracks down the descendants of some of the protagonists and includes a fascinating interview with Menderes’s prison guard, a soldier who sneaked surreptitious photographs of his famous charge...
By the end of this excellent, occasionally disturbing and very original book, the reader may wonder whether something far worse may one day be coming Erdogan’s way.
Menderes was so scorned by Turkey’s secularists that his name was erased from public life for decades, although for religious Turks his death was a tragedy and his popularity never waned. More recently President Erdogan, the target of a coup attempt in 2016, has restored Menderes’s honour and often plays on the enduring affection for him by claiming that he is continuing his legacy. Yet as Jeremy Seal, a travel writer with a long-held fascination for Turkey, reveals in his enlightening book A Coup in Turkey, Menderes’s story defies the simple political messages that are projected on to it.
it also features engaging interviews with characters from the Menderes era, including a young military officer, now an old man, who photographed the former leader at his most vulnerable as he guarded his prison cell. The book’s greatest strength is as a testament to the deep seam of authoritarianism that runs through Turkey’s history, a reminder that Erdogan is a symptom as well as a cause of the country’s current problems.