Friday, 29 January 2016

New North London venue Starfish Loves Coffee to host Open Mic nights


Starfish Loves Coffee is hosting Open Mic nights weekly on Saturdays for musical talent in the capital. Singers and musicians are invited to take part in front of a live audience at this hip new coffee shop-cum-bar in the heart of Palmers Green, North London.

The event starts at 6.30pm and runs till late. Performers should turn up early in the evening to register and will be allocated a slot to showcase their talents. The sessions will be hosted by local personality Chris Kalli and actor Aykut Hilmi, who co-owns Starfish Loves Coffee with his wife Ingrid. Entrance is free to both entertainers and the public, who can indulge in the venue’s selection of craft beer, fine wine and Prosecco on tap, while enjoying and supporting the performers.

Located on Aldermans Hill, Starfish Loves Coffee has quickly become a hub for the local community since opening in November. The chic, glass-fronted shop with cool art on its walls (many items are for sale) is popular with parents by day that gently morphs into a bar in the evenings hosting a myriad of cultural happenings. 

Aykut Hilmi, who has appeared in Hollywood movies such as Mama Mia, TV shows such as Spooks and 24, and was the lead in hit West End musicals Grease and Saturday Night Feverfeels it’s important for the venue to be used in diverse ways, with cultural being integral to its local appeal:
“We are already hosting everything from film to comedy nights, as well as intimate music jams. So if you want to perform or have an idea, please get in touch!”

Address: Starfish Loves Coffee, 92 Aldermans Hill, London N13 4PP

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Turkey says goodbye to Mustafa Koç and Kamer Genç


Turkey’s top politicians, business leaders and many other notables were out on Sunday to bid farewell to two of Turkey’s leading personalities: Mustafa Koç from the world of business and former deputy Speaker of Parliament Kamer Genç.

On Thursday, 21 Jan, Mustafa Koç, the chairman of Koç Holding, passed away aged 55 following a heart attack. He was laid to rest next to his grandfather Vehbi Koç in a family plot in Istanbul's Zincirlikuyu cemetery following funeral prayers at the Marmara University Theology Faculty Mosque – the site where his company annually holds iftar (fast-breaking) dinners for Muslims during Ramazan. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu were among the mourners.

The day after Turkey was rocked by the sudden death of Mustafa Koç, the country also lost Kamer Genç. The veteran politician, known for his candid colourful and views, died after a long battle against pancreatic cancer and was buried in his home town of Tunceli, in eastern Turkey, on Monday. A service was held in his honour at Kartal Cemevi in Istanbul on Sunday, with CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu, former Parliament Speaker Hüsamettin Cindoruk, former Culture Minister Namık Kemal Zeybek and İzzettin Doğan, the head of Turkey’s Cem Foundation, among those present to pay their respects to the well-loved politician.

Kamer Genç - "The Nation's Deputy",  1940 – 2016
Of Zaza heritage Genç was born on 23 Feb. 1940 to a poor Alevi family in Ramazanköy, a village in Nazımiye in Tunceli. A bright student, he won a scholarship to his high school and went on to graduate from the Ankara Financial and Commercial Science Academy (now the Economic and Managerial Sciences Faculty at Gazi University) in 1966. He took up an internship with the Ministry of Finance and was subsequently appointed as a Tax Officer in nearby Bingöl.

He spent two years in Paris between 1974 and 76. He returned to Turkey and served in the Council of State, scrutinising the public sector finances and, where required, prosecuting any civil servants who had misused state funds. 

Following the military coup of 1980, Genç decided to enter politics. His application to stand as an independent candidate in Tunceli was initially turned down in 1983, but he succeeded a few years later and was first elected as an MP to Parliament in 1987.

'The Nation's Deputy' - thousands came to sign the book of condolences for Kamer Genç
Genç went on to serve as a deputy for a total of six terms. Of these, he stood as a Tunceli MP for CHP for two terms. He also served as a deputy for the Social Democratic People's Party (SHP) and the True Path Party (DYP). He failed to enter Parliament in 2002 when DYP failed to secure enough votes to cross the electoral threshold. However, Genç was re-elected in 2007 and again in 2011, serving until the General Elections of 2015. During his time as an MP, he also served as the Deputy Speaker of Parliament for the 20th (1996-1999) and 21st (1999-2002) sessions.

A man of the people, sincere yet stubborn, he was known as much for his integrity as for his outspoken views. Genç gained huge respect from the Turkish public in his later years as he was a constant thorn in AKP’s side, regularly challenging them over their attempt to change the secular nature of Turkey, their lack of transparency and the many corruption allegations that have plagued the party since 2013. Such was his Genç’s fierce opposition that some Turkish commentators dubbed him Turkey’s Biggest Opposition Party”He was also known for his comical gaffes in Parliament, which further endeared him to the nation.

Even though her wealthy father was reluctant to give his daughter away to the son of a pauper, Genç married his childhood sweetheart Sevim in 1967. She and their two children, Seçkin and Seçil, was at his bedside at Gayrettepe Florence Nightingale Hospital when he passed away on 22 Jan.

Mustafa Koç "an outstanding business leader", 1960 – 2016
Twenty years his junior, Mustafa Koç’s start in life couldn’t have been more different to Kamer Genç. He was born into one of Turkey’s wealthiest families, the eldest of Rahmi and Çiğdem Koç's three sons. 

His mother left the family home to be with another businessman, Haldun Simavi, when he was aged 11. Soon after, Mustafa Koç was sent to study at a private high school in Switzerland, learning English and German in the process. He went on to the George Washington University School of Business, graduating in 1984. He returned to Istanbul where he started to work in the family business, initially as a manager in the sales division at Tofaş cars.
Koç Holding's chairman & staff proudly present the new Fiat Aegen in 2015
Over the following period eight years, he served in different roles across the family’s diverse business portfolio before being made vice-president of Koç Holding in 1992. Four years later, he was appointed CEO and in 2003, he took over as chairman when his father Rahmi retired.

Mustafa with his father Rahmi,
Instagram / 
Mustafa V. Koç
Koç Holding currently owns 113 companies that operate in the automotive sector, white goods, food, retailing, energy, financial services, tourism, construction and IT industries. In 2014, the group posted $31.3 bn in sales, amounting to 8 percent of Turkey’s GDP. The conglomerate has 85,000 employees and its manufactured goods account for 9% of Turkey’s exports. It is listed as the 341st largest company in the world by Fortune magazine Global – the only Turkish company on the Fortune 500 list.

According to Bloomberg, Mustafa Koç’s term as chairman saw landmark deals to expand the group, including the takeover of 51 percent of Tüpraş (Turkey’s only crude-oil refinery) from the government for $4.1 billion in 2005. He also bought 57 percent of lender Yapı Kredi Bankası AS from Çukurova Holding AS for $1.5 billion, a deal it undertook in partnership with Italy’s Unicredit SpA in 2004.

In a statement Bill Ford, executive chairman of Ford Motor Co., paid tribute to Turkey’s leading businessman: “Mustafa was an outstanding business leader, a man of true integrity and a loyal friend and partner to Ford over many decades.”  Ford and Koç Holding have been partners for more than 80 years in motor-vehicle production in Turkey.

Posing at the bust of  Atatürk in Havana, Cuba - his penultimate 
photo on Instagram / Mustafa V. Koç
Bülent Eczacıbaşı, chairman of Eczacıbaşı Holding AS and a close friend of Mustafa Koç and his family, said: “His passing away is a big loss not only for his family and the Koç Group, but also for our business community and our country.”

Mustafa Koç was not only a business pioneer, but also known for his philanthropic support of the Arts, as well as many cultural and social projects. He also championed gender equality and was due to speak on the issue at a high profile forum in Davos during the week of his death.

The billionaire businessman endeared himself to the public when, during the Gezi Riots in 2013, he and his brother Ali allowed injured people to take refuge in the family-owned Divan Hotel located in Taksim, where they were also treated for their injuries. His actions incurred the wrath of the ruling AKP Party, who cancelled various government defence contracts with Koç.

In 1992, he married Caroline Giraud, the daughter of a wealthy family from Izmir. They have two daughters, Esra and Aylin. Mustafa Koç was also a passionate golfer and supporter of Fenerbahçe Football Club.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

OBITUARY: Prof. Salahi Ramadan Sonyel, 19 April 1932 - 25 December 2015

By Semra Eren-Nijhar

I took early retirement to concentrate on my research and writings” said Prof. Salahi Sonyel, who sadly passed away on Christmas Day 2015, in an interview I had conducted with him back in 1998. And indeed his writings and all the research he conducted over many years made him one of the most respected Turkish Cypriot historians residing in Britain.

Prof. Sonyel was born in Cyprus in 1932 and graduated from the English School in Lefkoşa (Nicosia). He later went to serve as a civil servant in the British Colonial Administration.

He first came to Britain in 1957, studied at the Queen's University, Belfast and obtained his BA and MA qualifications in 1959. Prof. Sonyel went back to Cyprus and then returned to the UK in 1964 following the start of the troubles in Cyprus. Since then he has lived in the UK for over 50 years till his death.

In 1971, he gained his PhD from the University of London and became an Associate of the Institute of Education. He was also a member of the Cyprus Turkish Association [Kıbrıs Türk Cemiyet] for over 40 years – the first Turkish association to be established in Europe.

Prof. Sonyel was a lifelong member of Cemiyet, located in D'Arblay Street
As a historian he was an expert on Atatürk, Atatürk’s revolutions, Turkey’s Independence War and the period during the establishment of the Republic of Turkey. His passion on the subjects of Armenians in Turkey and the Armenian massacre of 1915 was a central theme in his books and pamphlets. He was an honorary member of the Turkish Historical Society based in Ankara.
After our first meeting in1998, I met Prof. Sonyel on many occasions and interviewed him on various different other subjects. On areas such as migration, identity, racism, and being Turkish and living in the UK, Prof. Sonyel proved he was not only a historian, but equally committed as a social scientist.

Soon after I met him, I learned about his research in the area of Turkish migration while he was active in the Cemiyet during the 1970s and 1980s. I discovered fairly quickly that he was interested in the education of Turkish and Muslim children in schools, and had written many articles about their situation along with education improvement strategies. His book The Silent Minority – Turkish Muslim Children in British Schools, published in 1988, widened the debate within society on the underachievement of Turkish-speaking children in British schools, which remains a challenge even today.

To my surprise, I went on to discover the immense work he had carried out in the area of the Turkish people living in Britain. During my research in the archives of Cemiyet I came across many articles written by him on the exclusion of the “silent community” in which he refers to as the ‘Turkish Muslim Community’, and many more articles about Turkey’s history in the magazines, which were published by Cemiyet in particular in their Turkish publication Toplumun Sesi, and others in the English language like Turkish News. The more I delved into the extensive archives, the more I discovered the many old articles written or edited by Prof Sonyel.

In one of our conversations Prof. Sonyel told me he had originally wanted to become a poet and wanted to work in the area of literature, something he was very passionate about. However the Turkish Cypriot poet and writer Nazif Süleyman Ebeoğlu said to him at the beginning of the 1950s that Osman Türkay will become a very famous poet, but he (Prof.Sonyel) should rather concentrate his energy on other areas like political science, economics or social sciences.  Nazif Süleyman Ebeoğlu’s advice was to prove very wise and helped Prof Sonyel to find his own way into the world of social sciences. He was very grateful to Nazif Süleyman Ebeoğlu, whom he considered his teacher and mentor.

Prof. Sonyel also worked very closely with the twice Nobel Prize Nominee Turkish Cypriot poet Osman Türkay, helping him and other members of Cemiyet with the publication of their magazines. Innovative papers and articles were published on the issues faced by ethnic minorities, which were unique and groundbreaking during the period, especially in the 1970s where people were seemingly more interested in talking about the migrants’ issues instead of analysing and writing about them. I have not yet come across in any periodicals which were published during the 1970s by any other ethnic minority communities concerning the issues faced by migrants during that era.

Prof Sonyel was aware of the existence of racism in British society and worked tirelessly to overcome the prejudice in the wider community. He told me in one of our conversations: “When I first came here, I tried to find employment, but found it very difficult because of my name, as it is a Muslim name. I changed my name and within a fortnight I became the head of a large social science department in a secondary school. I changed my name when racism was rampant in the UK; it was before the time of the emergence of multi-cultural education. The Turkish people who have changed their names like me are doing well, but a lot of the Turks who hung on to their names experienced racism.”

The modern day term ‘Islamophobia’ seems to have existed in different guises much before the 9/11 events. In fact it is shocking to know that a respected historian and academic had to change his Muslim sounding name in to an English sounding one, in order to progress within his profession and professional life. It is important to mark the current atrocities happening in the name of Islam and increased Islamophobia in British society, yet we must also remember that Islamophobia is not an entirely new issue.

Prof. Sonyel reminded me in some of our interviews on this subject that, the level of racism is not the same as that experienced by Asian or Black people living in Britain. However, he always added that all the ethnic minorities are experiencing varying degrees of racism in diverse areas of their working or professional lives.

Prof. Sonyel will be remembered not only as a historian, but I believe it would be improper if we failed to recognise him as a social scientist too. It would be unforgiveable to forget all the work he has done in the last 50 years, in the area of exclusion, xenophobia, education of Turkish-speaking children and Turkish migration to Britain. 
In 2002, Prof. Salahi was awarded the State Medal for Distinguished Service by Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem
Prof. Sonyel was one of many remarkable people from the Turkish-speaking community who came to Britain, stayed, lived and worked in Britain. And during his time, Prof. Sonyel left an indelible mark and a treasure trove of writings for his own Turkish community, to other ethnic minority communities, to the academic community and to the wider British society.

He worked very hard and crafted his thoughts into words, the words were converted into books; these books will, in the future, be converted into new thoughts. Prof. Sonyel left a written historical legacy for the future generation of the Turkish-speaking communities not only in Britain, but across the world. The void he leaves behind will not be easily filled and will take time.

He once remarked, “I live in Britain with my Turkish Cypriot identity. I carry my Turkish identity everywhere I go but of course, I am part of the wider British society, too.”

Prof. Sonyel has published many books, articles and pamphlets. Some of his books in English are Atatürk – The Founder of Modern Turkey’, Minorities and The Destruction of The Ottoman Empire, and The Assyrians of Turkey Victims of Major Power Policy. His works appeared in numerous periodicals and newspapers in Cyprus, Turkey, Greece, UK, the United States, and in other countries.

Some of Prof. Salahi Sonyel's many publications
He was a visiting professor at the Near East University in Lefkoşa, in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, as well as in various universities in Turkey, Britain and other countries.

Prof. Sonyel became a major part of the history of the Turkish people living in Britain and also played a huge role in recording history and sharing his analysis of the Turkish people living in the UK.

He was married and had two daughters.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Turkish PM Davutoğlu forced to leave Downing Street via back gate

The calm before the storm as two leaders pose outside the famous door. Photo: Facebook/Turkish Embassy in London

Turkey’s Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu had an unseemly exit from Downing Street on Monday 18 Jan. as protestors tried to storm the famous street.

Following his hour-long meeting with British counterpart David Cameron, Davutoğlu and his delegation were set to leave as they had entered, via the front gates. Hundreds of protestors were assembled on Whitehall opposite Downing Street. As soon as officers on motorbikes escorting the Turkish PM’s motorcade went out onto the main road, scores of protestors rushed to enter.

Duty officers quickly closed the gates and called for reinforcements. Scuffles broke out as the police tried to contain the protestors and push them back behind the barricades. Ten arrests were made and a few journalists suffered minor injuries as they tried to capture the chaotic scenes (see below clip by Evrensel Gazetesi).

Londra'da protesto edilen Davutoğlu arka kapıdan kaçtı!
Londra'da protesto edilen Başbakan Ahmet Davutoğlu arka kapıdan kaçtı!
Posted by EVRENSEL GAZETESİ - on Monday, 18 January 2016

British minister expresses “regret” over Downing Street events

Realising the problems on Whitehall, the Turkish motorcade quickly exited from the gates at the far end of Downing Street. Later on Monday evening, Sajid Javid, the British Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills, visited Davutoğlu at his London hotel to express regret for the events outside Downing Street. Turkish media, however, reported the British response as an “apology”, which has been denied by British officials.

Turkish sources close to the Prime Minister said Britain authorities had been forewarned of the need for increased security during the Turkish Prime Minister’s two-day visit. Their concerns were proven to be well-founded.

The protestors – mainly from Britain’s Kurdish community – were present to denounce Davutoğlu’s government over the current unrest in southeast Turkey, which has claimed over 300 lives. Some held placards such as “Stop Turkeys War on Kurds” [sic], “Davutoglu War Criminal ISIS Supporter” and “Murderer Davutoglu”, while others waved banners displaying the picture of jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan.

Trade between Turkey & the UK exceeded $15 billion in 2015

The experience was an ugly, albeit minor blip in an otherwise highly successful visit to the British capital by Ahmet Davutoğlu and his high-level delegation, which included deputy PMs Mehmet Şimşek and Lütfi Elvan, Economy Minister Mustafa Elitaş, and Treasury Minister Naci Ağbal.

The Turkish PM had come to address the 16th Turkish Equity Conference organised by the Bank of America Merrill Lynch, where he was able to meet with current and prospective investors in Turkey. During the visit, Davutoğlu also spoke at Chatham House and was interviewed by Bloomberg’s Guy Johnson.

At Monday’s Downing Street meeting with David Cameron, the two leaders discussed the growing trade between their respective countries, which exceeded $15 billion in 2015, the war on terror, and the prospects of a political solution in Cyprus in 2016. 

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Tamer Hassan joins Game of Thrones

Tamer Hassan at press launch of Golden Island International Film Festival in Lefkoşa, May 2014

Turkish Cypriot Tamer Hassan has landed a role in the next series of Game of Thrones. The Hollywood actor revealed the news at the London premier of Breakdown last week.

He told Bang Showbiz: “I just finished doing Game of Thrones. I loved it. I can’t say too much about it but I’m part of that.”

He added, “It’s exciting what you’re going to see. Learning that Dothraki language was a feat in itself… so I’ve given you a little bit, but I’m not going to say too much!”

Season six of the globally popular HBO show will return in late April. According to interviews Hassan has given since the news broke, his arrival on the show will impact significantly on the fantasy drama. The 47-year-old actor told his character is a Dothraki warrior.

"I play a Dothraki warrior, a leader ... It's not a regular role or a major role, but the impact of what I do is epic ... What I do affects the main characters. Really, it's massive. A lot of people around me die. I didn't die.”

The actor has been eager to play a role in the drama for years and even though he has regularly met with the show’s producers, they have only seen fit to cast him now for season six.

“I actually was a little bit angry because I’ve met for Game Of Thrones for every season but it never worked out. When you look at the show, how do I not fit in? It’s just one of those ones that I could never seem to get, until now.” 

Of his experience on set, Hassan said the hit show was like no other he has experienced: "How they work and what they do on that show is just like nothing I have ever seen before. They work incredibly, incredibly hard. You get your page of lines and that is all you see. You have no idea of the script and no idea what's going on and that is what is really magical about it.”

During his 16-year career, the entrepreneur-turned actor has appeared on the silver screen with distinguished actors such as Sir Ben Kingsley, Richard Gere, Ralph Fiennes, and Daniel Craig. Among Hassan's 50 plus film credits are cult classics The Football Factory and The Business alongside Danny Dyer, as well as Clash of the Titans, and Robot Overlords.

Tamer Hassan has also had roles in many hit TV series including Eastenders, Casualty, The Bill, NCIS, Dracula, and 24: Live Another Day with Kiefer Sutherland. His memorable film and TV performances have earned the actor from southeast London a cult following in Britain and beyond.

Game of Thrones is based on George R. R. Martin's books. Season six, which stars Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke, Maisie Williams and Alfie Allen, starts on 24 Apr. 2016.

Sibel Kekilli as Shae in Game of Thrones
Another, Turkish-origin actor – Sibel Kekilli – previously starred in the drama. She made a guest appearance as Shae in series one in 2010, before returning as a regular cast member for Game of Thrones series 2 and was killed off in series 4.


Tamer Hassan helps launchnew Cyprus film festival, 29 May 2014

Sunday, 17 January 2016

'Yassassin’ David Bowie: 7 facts we discovered this week


By İpek Özerim

Few artists have achieved as much in their life as David Bowie. His talents were endless: singer, songwriter, musician, producer, actor, painter, fashion icon... Since first coming into the public consciousness in 1969 with the release of his second album David Bowie/Space Oddity, Bowie has proved to be the master of transformation and innovation, his music, image and assorted personas forever changing and filling our worlds with colour like no other.

Just over a week ago on 8th Jan. – his 69th birthday – Bowie released his 26th studio album Blackstar. There was no suggestion he was seriously ill. So to wake up on Monday morning to news of his death following an 18-month battle with cancer was a total shock.

Bowie’s work had touched and influenced so many people around the world that it was natural to see such a huge outpouring of grief. We mourned the passing of our hero in a myriad of ways: tributes online, leaving flowers outside his New York apartment and former Berlin home, a singalong of his greatest hits in Brixton, South London, where he was born.

It was also a time for quiet reflection and to reconnect with his music. Streaming services reported a near 3,000% increase in people listening to David Bowie songs this week. On Friday, 19 of Bowie’s albums were listed in the UK’s Top 100 album charts, 10 of them in the Top 40, with Blackstar entering at number 1.


The vast number of tributes, anecdotes and articles gave us a fascinating insight into Bowie’s life and career, and an opportunity to discover a host of new things about this great man and his amazing legacy.

Here’s a selection of the many tributes Turks made about this iconic star along with our list of seven lesser known facts about Bowie and the world of Turks.

Seven facts about David Bowie & the world of Turks

  1. Berlin Turks inspired track 'Yassassin'
Turkish migrant workers in Berlin inspired David Bowie's 'Yassasin' track. Photo: Diaspora Turk
While living in West Berlin between 1976 and 1978, Bowie saw Yaşasın scrawled on a wall in Neukölln, a district popular with Turkish migrant workers. He asked about and when he found out it was in Turkish, he asked the Turkish Embassy what it meant. Told it was ‘Hooray! Long Live’, Bowie was inspired to pen a song from the view of a Turkish migrant worker who’d left his homeland for a better life in Germany. A mix of reggae beats and Turkish melodies, Yassassin is the fourth track on Lodger (1979), and was also released as a single in Holland and Turkey.

Bowie’s hauntingly beautiful instrumental track Neuköln, with its faux-zurna sound (Bowie playing saxophone), was also said by critics to be influenced by Germany’s poor Turkish community and their rootlessness. The song was included on the Heroes (1977) album.

  1. Bowie in Bodrum
A few years after the death of her husband Charlie Chaplin in 1977, his widow Oona was said to have struck up a relationship with David Bowie. The two were regular guests on board Theseus of Attica, a Greek private yacht based in Rhodes. Chaplin regularly chartered the boat and during 1981 and 1982, she was seen several times docking into Bodrum with Bowie.

  1. Arif Mardin co-produced the soundtrack to Labyrinth
The multi award-winning producer, arranger and composer helped deliver hits for many musical luminaries including Aretha Franklin, the Bee Gees, Chaka Khan, Phil Collins, and Norah Jones. In 1985-6, he worked with David Bowie and Trevor Jones on the soundtrack to the musical fantasy film Labyrinth, including Underground, Magic Dance and Within You. Released in 1986, the film, which starred Bowie and a young Jennifer Connelly, and its music proved to have enduring quality adored by children from across the generations.

  1. Erdal Kızılçay – Bowie’s “invincible Turk”
Erdal Kızılçay (red jeans) with Nile Bowie (far left) & Nile Rogers (far right), Let's Dance demos, 1982
Turkish multi-instrumentalist Erdal Kızılçay (bass guitar, oud) played alongside David Bowie in the studio and live for over a decade. He first performed on demos for the Let’s Dance (1983) album produced by Nile Rogers, with Kızılçay credited for keyboards and bass on the global number one title track. Bowie then got Kızılçay to play synthesizer, bass, drums, string arrangements, and do some backing vocals on the Iggy Pop album Blah Blah Blah (1986) that he produced. 

His musical talents led Bowie to call Kızılçay“My invincible Turk”. He featured on Bowie’s 17th studio album: Never Let Me Down (1987) and embarked on two mega world promotional tours with the star: Glass Spider, which spawned the Glass Spider (1988) video album, and the Sound+Vision greatest hits tour in 1990. He also played on Bowie’s soundtrack for the TV series The Buddha of Suburbia (1993), and on 1. Outside (1995) – Bowie’s 19th studio album.

  1. David Bowie read Nâzım Hikmet
In an interview with Roll Magazine in Feb. 1997, Erdal Kızılçay talked about buying a copy of a Nâzım Hikmet (pictured) book in Chicago as a gift for David Bowie. When he went to give the singer the book, Bowie said “Thank you. I already have this”, which totally surprised Kızılçay. After this, the two would discuss the profound words of the Turkish poet, playwright and novelist extensively.

Bowie was particularly taken with the romantic communist’s poem Jokond ile Si-Ya-U (Gioconda and Si-Ya-U, 1929) and told Kızılçay he wanted to use some of the scenes in a future musical project. He was also said to have been blown away by Hikmet’s farsighted work in Memleketimden İnsan Manzaraları (Human Landscapes, 1966-67).

  1. Love of Cyprus
Angie Bowie, their son Duncan and husband David Bowie
Bowie’s first wife Angie was born in Nicosia, as her English father George Barnett worked as a mining engineer in the Cyprus Mines Corporation (CMC). An article she penned in 2000 includes details of her and David holidaying in Denizili (Xeros), near Gemikonağı, and Girne in 1972.

Turkish Cypriot businessman Altan Houssein, whose father worked with Angie’s father at CMC recalls meeting Bowie when he was 17-years-old. The singer, who’d hit the big time with Ziggy Stardust, came to the CMC Club House where he shared a few beers with the young Houssein, who said Bowie was “fairly shy”, but happy to express his love of Cyprus.

The island featured in the lyrics of Move On, a song on Bowie’s Lodger (1979) album: Cyprus is my island/ When the going’s rough / I would love to find you / Somewhere in a place like that”.

  1. Bowie the final song at Erol Alkan’s iconic club night Trash
Founded by Turkish Cypriot DJ Erol Alkan in 1997, this legendary club night in the heart of London quickly became a mecca for fans of alternative music. Every Monday for a decade, the capital’s coolest, quirkiest clubbers partied alongside music stars as Alkan and friends played a mash-up of current and classic indie pop, rock, and electro songs. For the last seven of those ten years Trash would always end the night with Rock 'n' Roll Suicide by David Bowie.

Tributes to David Bowie

Artist Tracey Emin posted a picture of her with David Bowie on Twitter, and wrote, “So long my friend. Thank you for the sound track of my life #DavidBowie”.

Producer İskender Paydaş, who has worked with Turkey’s top music stars, wrote on Twitter, “Yazık ki seninle birlikte müzik yapma hayalim cok yaklaşmışken artık bu dünyada gerçekleşemeyecek.Toprağın bol olsun Türk dostu #DavidBowie” (A shame that even though we got real close to realising my dream of making music with you, it will not be possible in this life. Rest in peace friend of Turks #DavidBowie)

Politician, the Baroness Meral Hussein-Ece said on Twitter: “Grew up to the backdrop of his music, style. A one off. V sad.”

Trash founder, DJ & record label boss Erol Alkan posted this on Facebook:

I was a resident Dj at Trash for 10 years, each week for around the last 7 years of it's life I ended the night with...
Posted by Erol Alkan on Monday, 11 January 2016

Producer, DJ and musician Kıvanç K wrote on his Facebook page: “Idols never die! David Bowie is dead; Long live David Bowie! İlahlar asla ölmez. Çok yaşa David Bowie!

Idols never die! David Bowie is dead; Long live David Bowie! İlahlar asla ölmez. Çok yaşa David Bowie!
Posted by Kıvanç Kutlumuş on Monday, 11 January 2016

Murat Ertel of Turkish psychedelic band Baba Zula posted photos of his collection of Bowie albums on the band’s Facebook page and wrote this about their inspiration and hero: “Ilham kaynaklarımızdan müthiş sanatçı devrimci müzisyen David Bowie'yi yitirmişiz/ Eserleri ile yaşatmaya devam/ We have lost The great Thin White Duke/ Condolescences [sic]”

Ilham kaynaklarımızdan müthiş sanatçı devrimci müzisyen David Bowie'yi yitirmişizEserleri ile yaşatmaya devamWe have lost The great Thin White DukeCondolescences
Posted by BaBa ZuLa on Monday, 11 January 2016

Saturday, 16 January 2016

New London play needs young male Turkish Cypriot actors


A British playwright is searching for London-based male actors of Turkish Cypriot heritage to take part in readings of her new play, The Gods are Playing Ninepins, in Hackney next month.

Actress and writer Janie Booth (pictured) will be holding two of the readings at the award-winning Rosemary Branch Theatre on 17th and 18th Feb. The third reading will be at Booth’s agents’ offices on Charlotte Street in central London on 19th Feb.

Two of the boys’ roles in the play, which is 75 minutes long, have been written for male Turkish Cypriot actors. They should be aged about 18-19 years old and have a strong London (‘cockney’) accent. The actors will be paid £50 per reading (£150 in total). Acting experience levels have not been specified.

Those interested in auditioning should contact Müge Çetinkaya by emailing as soon as possible.