Il Reis – Come Erdoğan ha cambiato la Turchia

Il Reis – Come Erdoğan ha cambiato la Turchia tries to describe how the country has changed over the last 20 years for better and for worse. The book is mainly focused on the political ascent and the ruling of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his authoritarian involution. Il Reis is divided into five chapters.
The first one is a summary of the main events in Turkish history, starting from the death of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk to the end of Necmettin Erbakan’s executive. This chapter is mainly focused on the first four military coups and the arise of political Islam in Turkey.
The second one is focused on the first phase of Erdoğan’s political career, from his mandate as Major of Istanbul to the constitution of the AKP party. This chapter looks also into the rift with the secular establishment, the development of a new economic system, better known as ‘Islamic Calvinism’ and above gives a first, comprehensive portrait of Fethullah Gülen and his network.
The third chapter describes the political events from 2007 to 2011. This period is generally considered the ‘golden age’ of AKP ruling in Turkey. The author illustrates the improvement of the conditio of religious minorities not to mention the economic growth, analyzing the reforms AKP implemented in several fields. Nevertheless, the chapter highlights also the massive trial against the so-called Ergenekon organization and the new era in the foreign relations inaugurated with the appointment of Ahmet Davutoğlu as Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
The fourth chapter is about the first phase of Erdoğan’s involution and his transformation from a leader to a increasingly authoritarian despot. The attention is focused mainly on the activity in foreing diplomacy, which shattered all the fragile balances in the Mediterrean region, and on the repression of LGBT community, fundamental rights, perdonal freedoms that have caused the Gezi Parki revolt. The last paragraph is dedicated at the mass corruption scandal called ‘Tangentopoli a la Turka’ and which represents the milestone of the feud in the Turkish islamic right wing, where Erdoğan and Gülen, initially allied against the secular establishment, are now enemies.
Finally, the fifth chapter analyses how Turkey rapidly changed in the last two years, dealing with important issue like the condition of the press freedom and the repression of the Kurds. The books finishes with three most sensitive topics: the accusation towards Turkey of cooperating with Daesh, the agreement with the Eu on migrants, the failed coup and the Erdoğan’s repression.


Marta Ottaviani is an freelance journalist, focused on Turkey and Greece. She contributes to high profile Italian dailies as ‘Avvenire’ and ‘La Stampa’ and is regularly invited as an expert on Italian media, both on radio and television. These includes for example Radio in Blu, Radio Tre Mondo, Radio 24 and TV programmes Omnibus (La7). Linea Notte (Rai Tre), Direttissima (TgCom-Mediaset). Her first two book were published in 2008 and 2010.

She began her career in 2001. Following her degree in Literature and Arts in 2000, she was then awarded a Master degree in journalism from School of journalism ‘Carlo de Martino’ in Milan in 2005. In the same year she moved to Istanbul to nurture her interest in Turlish politics and further develop her expertise. She also worked as a correspondent for several media. She lived for several months in a students’ accomodation, where she often was the only European. This experience gave her the opportunity to understand Turkish youth and quickly learn Turkish language.

During the years she spent in Turkey, she travelled across the whole country, but above all she observed the political scene and the society changing day by day. She has been the direct witness of the ascent of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his authoritarian involution.

Marta returned to Milan in 2013, where she continues working as a jounalist and analyst. In the same time she works as consutant for some companies that invested in Turkey and comes back to Istanbul evenry month. She decided to capture what she had observed in Turkey in the past years in her latest book ‘Il Reìs. Come Erdoğan ha cambiato la Turchia’ (The Reìs. How Erdoğan changed Turkey, 2016). In this book, Marta Ottaviani explains how Turkish internal and external policies changed, describing how this affected the local society and increasingly distanced the country from the European Union.