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Watch > Episode > Ece Temelkuran - Erdogan, Enough Is Enough

Ece Temelkuran - Erdogan, Enough Is Enough


Ece Temelkuran is a journalist, activist and author who has twice been named Turkey’s “most read political columnist”. She is currently campaigning with the famous hashtag #Tamam, which means “Enough”. It is circulating around on social media after President Erdogan announced he would step down if the people wanted it. She was infamously fired in 2012 by her newspaper because of articles she wrote that were critical of the Turkish government, and the massacre of dozens of Kurdish teenagers. Ece has published 14 books including the bestsellers “Women Who Blow on Knots” and “Turkey: The Insane And The Melancholy”, both of which have won numerous awards.

In this revelatory conversation, Ece visits the London Real studio to discuss her approach to journalism, the current political situation in Turkey and her wider literary works.

Born on July 22, 1973, in Izmir, Turkey, Ece Temelkuran’s journey began against the backdrop of political turbulence and military coups in Turkey. Growing up in an environment marked by political instability, she developed a keen awareness of the socio-political landscape that would later shape her literary and journalistic endeavours. Temelkuran earned her bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Istanbul University and continued her studies in Political Science and Political Philosophy at Galatasaray University.

Ece Temelkuran’s journalistic career is marked by an unwavering commitment to truth and accountability. She began her career as a reporter, covering a diverse range of topics from politics to culture. Her work, characterised by a fearless pursuit of justice, earned her acclaim as one of Turkey’s prominent journalists. Temelkuran’s critical voice and dedication to exposing societal injustices made her a prominent figure in the media landscape.

As a prolific writer, Ece Temelkuran has penned novels, essays, and columns that delve into the complexities of human experiences, politics, and the struggle for justice. Her novels, such as “The Time of Mute Swans” which is celebrated for their poignant narratives that intertwine personal stories with broader societal issues. Temelkuran’s ability to weave together intricate plots with profound reflections on the human condition has garnered international acclaim.

Temelkuran’s advocacy for democracy and human rights goes beyond her literary and journalistic contributions. She has been an active participant in movements advocating for political change and has fearlessly spoken out against authoritarianism. Temelkuran’s courage in challenging oppressive regimes has made her a symbol of resistance and a source of inspiration for those fighting for democratic values.

The evolving political landscape in Turkey led to challenges for journalists and writers critical of the government. In the face of growing threats to free speech and dissent, Ece Temelkuran chose to live in exile. Despite physical distance, her impact resonates globally as she continues to shed light on the issues facing her homeland and the broader struggles for democracy and human rights.

Ece Temelkuran’s literary prowess has not gone unnoticed. Her works have received numerous awards, including the Edinburgh International Book Festival First Book Award for “Women Who Blow on Knots.” The recognition she has garnered speaks to the profound impact her storytelling has had on readers and critics alike.

One of the remarkable aspects of Ece Temelkuran’s work is her ability to communicate across linguistic and cultural boundaries. Her works have been translated into multiple languages, allowing her messages of resilience, justice, and the human experience to reach diverse audiences globally. Whether she is writing in Turkish, English, or other languages, Temelkuran’s voice resonates with a universal appeal.

Ece Temelkuran’s legacy is defined by her unwavering commitment to truth, justice, and democracy. Through her journalistic endeavours, literary creations, and political activism, she has left an indelible mark on the cultural and political landscape. As she continues to navigate the complex intersections of storytelling, journalism, and advocacy, her contributions are sure to shape conversations about resilience, dissent, and the pursuit of a just society.

Ece Temelkuran is a literary luminary and courageous journalist, using her words to illuminate the darkest corners of societal injustice. Her journey from a politically turbulent upbringing to global acclaim is a testament to the power of storytelling and advocacy in the face of adversity. Temelkuran’s work continues to inspire those who believe in the transformative potential of literature and the indomitable spirit of those who speak truth to power.


00:00 | Trailer
03:40 Brian’s thoughts on the episode
05:46 Brian’s introduction
06:16 Ece compares opportunity to “make it” in London with New York
09:05 Ece’s insider view of tensions in Turkey caused by Eastern and Western influences
16:37 Mother’s early influence on Ece’s future storytelling writing style
21:26 Study of law helps her journalism, but she has only been moved to take one case
26:01 Why she has written about the plight of the Kurdish people
27:56 Interesting time living in politicised Ankara
29:43 Joy of having her first book turned into a stage play
32:09 Inspiration for writing and where she finds freedom to do it
38:24 Beirut gives you an illusion
40:32 Why Ece returned to journalism and retains her storytelling style
41:46 Fired as a journalist and facing horrifying massive backlash on social media
49:31 Writing new book ‘How to Lose a Country’ about government paid social media detractors
53:53 Erdoğan, his background, the events and the network which brought him to power
58:22 Politics is about power and money
1:00:12 2016 Turkish coup d’√™tat attempt, how Erdoƒüan used it
1:05:09 When you love your country, but he doesn’t love you back, it is heart breaking
1:13:21 USA included in global pattern of what is happening in Turkey, Ece warns
1:16:04 Women should take-action now, rationally, in their communities
1:19:16 Famous people highlight protest movements, but it is the collective invisible who make change
1:22:15 What we can learn from the 1970s
1:23:15 The new book ‘How to Lose a County ‚Äì The New Ice Age of Politics’ will be non-fiction
1:35:10 Inspired by her time in Venezuela
1:26:10 Her daily writing routine
1:27:59 Success secrets
1:28:24 What is her super power to achieve so much
1:29:45 What would temporarily satisfy her
1:31:55 Best and worst day of her life
1:33:36 What we would be surprised to know about Ece
1:34:23 What keeps her awake at night
1:35:04 What scares Ece1:35:49 Does she feel a responsibility to the people of Turkey to keep writing
1:37:54 Telephone call to the 20-year old Ece
1:39:03 Best advice you ever received with an explanation of book title ‘Women Who Blow on Knots’
1:43:54 Advice to the young man or woman listening from a country with an authoritarian leader
1:46:36 Brian’s summing up.


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