Elif Şafak’s goodbye

Excuse me for beginning this blog by giving myself a pat on the back: today I read a column in a Turkish newspaper, didn’t give up halfway, didn’t have to look up too many words in the dictionary and understood it completely. My Turkish is getting somewhere!
The column I was reading was by Elif Şafak, one of Turkey’s best known and most important writers. What stunned me was finding out that this first column of hers that I had tried to read without any help actually turned out to be her last for Zaman. She has been writing for the newspaper for quite some time, and endured quite a lot of criticism. Not so much for what she wrote, but for the fact that she wrote for Zaman at all. It’s considered a very religious newspaper, published by ‘Fethullahci’s’, followers of much disputed Muslim preacher Fethullah Gülen. In her last columns she writes she has always found these criticisms very prejudiced, and I can only agree with that. In Turkey people have a very strong tendency to always stay in their own ‘camp’ and be very narrow-minded about it. Elif Şafak is anything but narrow-minded, so in a way it suited her to just go beyond the prejudice and write for Zaman. But now, she says, she needs a different audience for her columns. She needs it as a writer, to ‘sail to far away waters’. I wonder what newspaper she will pop up in. If she really wants to sail far away from Zaman, I recommend Cumhuriyet. Would she consider that? Maybe she would. But: would Cumhuriyet be brave enough to hire her?

5 replies
  1. uha1
    uha1 says:

    A quick fix. Zaman is NOT considered to be a ‘very highly religious’, but more likely to have tendency to be a religious newspaper. No offense Frederike but in order to recommend writing a Cumhuriyet to a Zaman writer?…. clarifies that you far away from understating the basics of Turkish media. nope nope 🙁

  2. Fréderike Geerdink
    Fréderike Geerdink says:

    Sorry uha1 but you totally don’t understand my blog. Elif Şafak is not a typical Zaman writer anyway, as I already mentioned and as you might know as well. It would be something for her to switch to the total opposite side of the media spectrum, being Cumhuriyet. I apparently have to explain my blog, could be I didn’t write clearly maybe you didn’t read properly. And by many people, esp. the ones that would critizice Şafak for writing for Zaman, Zaman is definitely considered very religious and suspect. You know it too.
    Thanks for your reaction!

  3. Yihawww
    Yihawww says:

    I disagree completely with the previous comment. You DO understand Turkish media. My family-in-law wouldn’t be caught dead buying a copy of Zaman, they only read Hürriyet/Milliyet/Cumhürriyet. So, where Elif Safak turns up will be very interesting.

  4. Hans
    Hans says:

    I had the same question as uha1.
    Writing for Zaman and then for Cumhuriyet is like writing for De Telegraaf and then suddenly for De Waarheid (if that newspaper still exist?)

  5. Fréderike Geerdink
    Fréderike Geerdink says:

    Yes Hans, true, and that’s exactly why I suggested it. Şafak wrote she wanted to sail away to far away waters, and since she is an unconventional woman daring to do unexpected things, I suggested the newspaper that would be further away from Zaman then any other, which would be Cumhuriyet. Understand? By the way, I heard she is writing for the rather new newspaper Haber Turk since this month, a rather main stream paper on tabloid size. I didn’t read her column there yet.


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply