Yılmaz Karakoyunlu’s Thessaloniki

Yilmaz Karakoyunlu Scents Out Little Known Events In Recent History In His Novels. We Spoke With Him On The Publication Of His New Book, Purple-Robed Thessaloniki.

How did an Izmir story spill owen to Thessaloniki?
Thessaloniki (Selanik) was the most important Ottoman city after Istanbul. Almost all those who wanted to rule the Ottoman Empire acquired their political identity in Thessaloniki.

What things in Thessaloniki impressed you the most?
Thessaloniki is the most important city of the population exchange in every way you can think of. I went there on various occasions. As I was writing the novel, Thessaloniki ceased to be merely a place and was transformed instead into a rich cultural resource on everything from the Ottoman past to the young Turkish republic.

You say, “The richness of Thessaloniki is missing on the islands.” What do you mean by that?
Thessaloniki is a city that manifests its splendor in everything from the economy to the ordinary problems of everyday life. History, culture and literature are the sources of success that permeate those aspects of the city and elevate them to a higher level. The city has exhibited a superior way of life to all other cities in terms of its political model and implementation.

A view of Egnatia Avenue

The White Tower and its illuminated avenues

A room in Ataturk’s House