Tarz-ı Hayat'tan Life Style'a

Since the early 1980s Turkish society has experienced a rapid transformation. The domination of a free market economy and the consumerism that has accompanied it are the principal elements in the transformation of the mindsets and identities of individual Turkish citizens. It has colored their daily lives and has in many ways ‘Americanized' Turkey's economic and social life. Businessmen who had always worked to remain anonymous were given an image ‘makeover', and began to make daily appearances in the newspapers and to be treated as thinkers and opinion makers-even intellectuals. This has served to change the definition of what constitutes journalism (as well as what defines an ‘intellectual') and has produced the type of ‘celebrity journalist' who regularly rubs shoulders with those who are either famous or in power. Those producing articles focusing on the Western way of life, the European and nationalist ‘New Turk' projects and the columnists who write about them: these became the new journalistic elite. The so-called ‘White Turks', who are generally young, urban, well-educated and possessing high incomes, have, like their American counterparts, settled into gated communities. They understand haute cuisine, cigars and fine wines-all of the status symbols of their elite ways of life. A nostalgia for ‘Pera', the old European quarter of late Ottoman times, has also begun to appear, as has a renewed interest in the history of the empire's once sizeable non-Muslim communities. Politicians have also begun to appear in connection with such images. This work represents the author's meticulous study of the country's newspaper and other print media archives of the last two decades, though which he has provided us with a record, up to now of the period under discussion.  As such Tarz-i Hayat'tan Life Style'a presents a clear identification of and warning against the elitist ideology employed by those who are the central power brokers in the process of blurring the lines between the media, business and political power.

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