"No longer can the reasonable comfort themselves with 'it couldn't happen here'. It is happening. And soon it may be too late." Taking in Eastern Europe and South America to Brexit UK and Trump's America as well as her native land, one of Turkey's best-known novelists and political thinkers issues an urgent call to action. She urges us to notice the insidious patterns and mechanisms sweeping the globe. Temelkuran's most recent novel, Women Who Blow on Knots won the Edinburgh International Festival's First Book Award.
The author argues of the risks of reducing politics to entertainment. Performance cannot cope with the complexities of political choice... The intensity of the call for political engagement and the fluency of expression make this an urgent read... As Temelkuran concludes: “If we are not politically active or reactive, then the act of understanding turns into only the expression and exchange of emotional responses. Our reactions gradually retreat to become nothing more than a sad cabaret”. Politics is not entertainment. Explaining, in political life, should not be the same as losing. Otherwise dangerous simplicities can run amok.
Just as she largely ignores Erdogan’s supporters (she writes about canvassing their opinion once, in 2002), in Britain she asserts her conclusions about why people voted Brexit without venturing outside her bubble. This is where Temelkuran, rather than diagnosing the problem, becomes part of it. Because it is the sense of abandonment and political impotence felt for decades by the religious masses in Turkey, Brexit voters in the UK and Trump supporters in the US that has brought these new populist movements to power.