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The art of rebellion: how Turkey’s creatives are defying an increasingly authoritarian regime

As publications are shut down and once-loyal film producers arrested, artists in Turkey are finding new ways to work under Erdoğan's government

By Suna Erdem   October 2017

Street-fighting men: Turkish protestors in 2013. PHoto: Bluent Kilic/AFP/Getty

As the Sun shimmered over the Bosphorus on a balmy Ramadan evening in June, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey’s President, stood in the garden of his Istanbul villa welcoming guests. Those shaking his hand included a veteran bottle-blonde pop star, an award-winning Kurdish left-wing folk singer and Hülya Avsar, a beauty queen-turned actress who stood beside the hijab-wearing Mrs Erdoğan in a strapless dress. The Erdoğans also exchanged warm words with the transgender singer Bülent Ersoy, whose extraordinary cheekbones make her…

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