Best of 2016: Elif Şafak on the Pain of Living in a Polarized Culture

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Anne here. My conversation with Turkish writer Elif Şafak back in April still sticks with me as the year comes to a close. In many parts of the world, 2016 was the year of the populist leader—especially in Turkey, where Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan launched a crackdown on free speech and all forms of opposition. 120 journalists have been jailed, more than 2,000 academics have been dismissed from universities, and more than 100,000 public workers have been fired. How did Turkey—once a model of new democratic nations—become such a different place? Not only did Şafak see this coming, she warned that the West should not consider itself immune.