Istanbul Special: Orhan Pamuk; Magnificent Century; Baba Zula

In a special from Istanbul, John Wilson talks to Nobel Prize-winning author Orhan Pamuk and reports on Turkey's biggest cultural export, the TV drama Magnificent Century.

With John Wilson.

As part of Radio 4's MINT Season, John reports on the arts and culture of modern Istanbul.

Turkey's most famous cultural figure, the Nobel Prize winning novelist Orhan Pamuk, has created a museum full of objects from his latest novel, the Museum of Innocence. He takes John round this museum and discusses the huge changes taking place in Istanbul.

Magnificent Century, a television drama about Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, has become Turkey's most successful cultural export, with 200 million viewers in 45 countries. John meets Selin Arat from production company Tims at Topkapi Palace, the epicentre of the Ottoman Empire for over 300 years and the setting for the show.

John talks to Azize Tan, Director of the Istanbul International Film Festival, about the films that top the Turkish box office, including a stand-up show by the comedian Cem Yilmaz, and reports on the controversy surrounding Turkey's oldest cinema which was knocked down last year after 3 years of protest.

Baba Zula is Istanbul's most popular alternative music act. John meets founder Murat Ertel, who plays an electric version of the traditional Turkish plucked instrument the Saz.

Producer: Timothy Prosser.

Available now

30 minutes


  • Orhan Pamuk

    Duration: 08:38

  • Selin Arat

    Duration: 08:53

  • Azize Tan

    Duration: 05:09

  • Murat Ertel

    Duration: 04:21

Orhan Pamuk

Orhan Pamuk
John Wilson talks to the Nobel Prize winning author Orhan Pamuk at his Museum of Innocence.

Baba Zula

Baba Zula
Murat Ertel, one of Turkey's biggest rock stars and founder of the band Baba Zula, talks to John Wilson.

Magnificent Century

Magnificent Century
Magnificent Century is Turkey's most popular TV show.  John Wilson talks to Selin Arat, Director of International Relations for the production company Tims.

Azize Tan

Azize Tan, Director of the Istanbul International Film Festival talks to John Wilson.


Role Contributor
Presenter John Wilson
Interviewed Guest Orhan Pamuk
Interviewed Guest Selin Arat
Interviewed Guest Azize Tan
Interviewed Guest Murat Ertel
Producer Timothy Prosser


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