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Gündüz Vassaf Turkey    PWF 2012

“It’s been years since there were political parties. Those absurd times are gone.”


Storyteller and stark essayist, Gündüz Vassaf was born in 1946 in Boston. Trained as a clinical psychologist, his work—part Socratic, part Nietschean—threatens us with free choice. A cult figure in Turkish intellectual circles, his humanism opposes totalitarianism in everyday life.


“When the state sanctions violence—when the military and the police are the faces of violence—when the oppressed are forced to accept violence—how can we talk of human rights?”


In 1980, Vassaf resigned from teaching in protest against the military coup and the resultant Turkish university law abrogating academic autonomy. The result: an amazing activism from writing a weekly cultural column in the newspaper Radikal—to being a founding member and Head of the Istanbul Group of Amnesty International.


For Orhan Pamuk—Vassaf is “the freest spirit of Turkish prose.”


Vassaf’s work includes: Prisonners of Ourselves, Depths of Heaven, My Mother Belkis, Judging History Judging Us, I Have No Flag, No Religion, No Sex, and Tales Beyond the Bosphorus.


Gündüz Vassaf lives in Istanbul.

Gündüz Vassaf by Petr Machan, Prague Writers' Festival

Gündüz Vassaf | I’m my best enemy

01.06.2012 Interviews

Gündüz Vassaf in conversation with Michael March

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Gündüz Vassaf

Gündüz Vassaf | My Religious Upbringing

06.02.2012 Texts

      I was four when I met religion. I don’t remember the occasion. My parents took me to the seat of the  Greek Orthodox Church  in Istanbul. With my mother and father on either side, I was led  to the presence of a man dressed in black robes with a big white beard. We stood in  line. Everybody was silent. When my turn came, I did as the others before me and kissed the hand of  the Archbishop.

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