A Coup in Turkey

A Coup in Turkey: A Tale of Democracy, Despotism and Vengeance in a Divided Land (Chatto)




My latest book tells of the 1960 coup, modern Turkey’s first, which deposed the traditionalist Prime Minister Adnan Menderes.  The story of Menderes – to his adoring supporters the country’s founding democrat; to his sworn enemies its most infamous traitor – goes to the heart of the feud that continues to rage between the Western and secular ambitions of a minority elite and the religious and conservative instincts of the small-town majority.  It recounts the events leading up to the coup and the trials and executions that followed, a story of political subterfuge and score-settling, courtroom drama, state execution, authoritarian intolerance and ideological ambition.


‘Lucid and multilayered, backed by brilliant scholarship lightly worn, Jeremy Seal’s gripping narrative moves effortlessly from the personal to the political.  Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand modern Turkey.’  – Jason Goodwin, author of Lords of the Horizons

‘Through the spellbinding career of a single, ill-fated leader, Jeremy Seal illuminates a bitterly divided country.’ – Colin Thubron

‘Turkey’s 1960 coup was a huge event that played out on an intimate scale. Interpreting it requires the tenacity of a reporter, the learning of an academic and the verve of a novelist. Luckily, Jeremy Seal possesses all these qualities, which he brings to bear on one of the most significant calamities of the modern Middle East. Read this book if you’re interested in Turkey. Read it if you’re interested in power, hubris and redemption. Read it.’- Christopher de Bellaigue, author of Rebel Land 

‘A gripping meticulously told political drama.  With great skill, tenacity and genuine feeling, Jeremy Seal reassembles the extraordinary build-up to the coup, its courtroom aftermath and tragic denouement.’ – Philip Marsden

‘A page-turning quest into the greatest judicial murder story of its time, a physical journey across Anatolia and into the violent passions of Turkish politics… this book is not just a revelation, but also a love letter to the contemporary nation, written by England’s pre-eminent travel writer on Turkey.’ – Barnaby Rogerson

‘The parallels between Turkey then and now run throughout this completely gripping book, a blend of page-turning biography, history and reportage… this excellent, occasionally disturbing and very original book.’  – Justin Marozzi, Sunday Times

‘The road from Menderes to Erdoğan is a twisted one, full of shadows, ghouls and strange delights.  And I cannot imagine a better guide to it than Jeremy Seal.’                   – Maureen Freely, Oldie Magazine

‘Seal’s work is an excellent addition to any Turkish bookshelf, offering a beautifully wrought epitaph that Menderes’s contradictory life, and the continuing aftershocks of his death, has long deserved.’ – Hannah Lucinda Smith, the Times



For my conversation on the book with William Armstrong and his Turkey Book Talk podcast, click here:


For my conversation on the book with Max Rodenbeck for the Jaipur Lit Fest, click here:


For ‘Adnan Menderes, Populism and History’, my conversation with Ece Temelkuran, Nihal Özlu and Michael Talbot on Radio 3’s Free Thinking, click here:


For my conversation with Ryan Murdock for his Personal Landscapes podcast, click here:


For Laura Pitel’s Financial Times review (paywall), click here:

For Justin Marozzi’s Sunday Times review (paywall), click here:

For Hannah Lucinda Smith’s Times review (paywall), click here:

For Colin Freeman’s Daily Telegraph review, click here:

For Owen Matthews’ review in the Literary Review, click here:

For the Economist review, click here:

For Marc Martorell Junyent’s review for the LSE Middle East blog, click here: