Who is Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and how did he lead a democracy on the fringe of Europe into dictatorship? How has chaos in the Middle East blown back over Turkey's borders? And why doesn't the West just cut Erdogan and his regime off?
Hannah Lucinda Smith has been living in Turkey as the Times correspondent for nearly a decade, reporting on the ground from the onset of the Arab Spring through terrorist attacks, mass protests, civil war, unprecedented refugee influx and the explosive, bloody 2016 coup attempt that threatened to topple - and kill - Erdogan.
Erdogan Rising introduces Turkey as a vital country, one that borders and buffers Western Europe, the Middle East and the old Soviet Union, marshals the second largest army in NATO and hosts more refugees than any other nation. As president, Erdogan is the face of devotion and division, a leader who mastered macho divide-and-rule politics a decade and a half before Donald Trump cottoned on, and has used it to lead his country into spiralling authoritarianism.
Yet Erdogan is no ordinary dictator. His elections are won only by slivers, and Turkey remains defined by its two warring cults: those who worship Erdogan, the wilful Muslim nationalist with a tightening authoritarian grip, and those who stand behind Ataturk, the secularist, westward-looking leader who founded the republic and remains its best loved icon - now eighty years dead.
Erdogan commands a following so devoted they compose songs in his honour, adorn their homes with his picture, and lay down their lives to keep him in power. Erdogan Rising asks how this century's most successful populist won his position, and where Turkey is headed next.
`A brilliant guide, filled with insights, into Erdogan the leader and Erdogan the man. Not only essential reading for those wanting to understand contemporary Turkey, its politics and those of the wider region; essential reading full stop.' Peter Frankopan
'This book is a comprehensive and nuanced account of Erdogan's rule and the way he has ridden the tides of politics. For anyone interested in Turkey it is a must, but it also roams widely through the study of power and populism, full of revealing detail ... Smith has a subtle intelligence; she deftly weaves the blowback from the collapse of Syria into her contemporary story while never losing sight of the looming presence of Ataturk, the founder of the republic. She writes very well, with an engaging mix of personal anecdote, acute observation, interviews and well-informed research; there's no fat on this book and never a dull page.' Times
'Warm, funny, engaging and always informative, Smith's writing stands among the finest of a new generation of journalist authors. Essential reading - I was delighted by every page.' Anthony Loyd
Hannah Lucinda Smith is The Times` correspondent in Turkey, where she has covered conflicts, a coup attempt and the rise of controversial president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. During her time in the country, she has also reported from inside rebel-held Syria, on the front lines of the battle against Isis in Iraq, and joined the mass movement of migrants on their journey to Europe in 2015.