Tag Archives: Reading


Jun 17, 2013 By Tags:, ,

Book set in Istanbul: Baksheesh by Esmahan Aykol

İngilizce Kaynaklar: reading resources about Turkey, Baksheesh!



We like to recommend reading resources for Turks learning English. Outside of İngilizce Dersleri, it is important to read English content that is motivating through familiar subject matter. has just discovered a great English language resource for Turks learning English. Baksheesh is a crime novel based in Istanbul! The writing style is concise and simple. It is a perfect novel for upper intermediate to advanced English language students. The content will be very motivating for any Turk learning English because it covers everyday topics in Istanbul. Housing prices, parking your car in the cramped side streets, and dealing with the police and traffic!

About the book

Backsheesh focuses on a character named Kati Hirschel, living in Istanbul. Kati owns a bookstore that specializes in crime stories. She obtains an apartment with the help of a bribe to a government official. A man is found murdered in her apartment, and she becomes the prime suspect! Backsheesh takes us on a tour of Istanbul, from Taksim back streets to Bosphorus villas and beyond. We meet city officials, government officials, police and businessmen.

The language is sometimes a bit abrupt, but it is easy to read. We recommend the novel to our students, especially those living in Istanbul. The subject matter is extremely relevant to anyone who has lived in Turkey or Istanbul. The book was originally written in Turkish and has been translated to English by Ruth Whitehouse (based in Ankara).

About the author



Esmahan Aykol was born in 1970 in Edirne, Turkey. She lives in Istanbul and Berlin. She has written four Kati Hirschel mystery novels. ‘Hotel Bosphorus’ and ‘Baksheesh’ are the first two and have been published in eight languages.

As always, please let us know if you have read this book. Please recommend other books that would be good for a Turk Learning English, as a compliment to İngilizce Dersleri.





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May 08, 2013 By Tags:, ,

Top 5 online English resources about Turkey

online English resources

Turkish map

Discussing Turkey, its history and current affairs in English is important for our students.

For our Turkish students who travel abroad or who host foreign colleagues in Turkey, conversations about Turkey are bound to happen. Reading about Turkey in English can also be extremely motivating as there is an immediate sense of relevance and understanding. For these reasons, we’ve decided to list our favorite online English resources about Turkey. These resources can easily be incorporated into a weekly reading routine, which should include a balance of local and international topics.

#5 Cornucopia Magazine: beautiful magazine focusing on history, culture and travel

Cornucopia bills itself as a “magazine for connoisseurs of Turkey” and it delivers. The magazine includes well written articles about Turkey’s history, travel destinations, culture and food. The magazine has been going strong for 20 years and has three print issues per year. Online there is a significant amount of content available for free, and a constantly updated blog.

#4 Journal of Turkish Weekly: politics and journals

The Journal of Turkish Weekly is a great source of academic articles about politics and current events in Turkey and the wider region (Middle East, Balkans, Caucuses), and it is updated daily. It is published by a leading Turkish think tank, based in Ankara, the International Strategic Research Organization.

#3 Reuters: up-to-date current affairs

For any Turk who likes big topics in current affairs, the Turkey page of Reuters US edition website offers several well-written thought-provoking articles each week that are bound to stretch your mind and vocabulary.

#2 The CIA World Factbook: get your facts right!

Even though it’s written by the US government, and the CIA no less, the CIA World Fact Book has a vast array of information located in its country profiles. It’s a great way to get your facts straight on everything to do with Turkey including geography, demographics, government, the economy and politics. The Factbook is kept meticulously up-to-date and is a wonderful source of facts about all 196 of the world’s nations!

#1 Travel Guides

Online guidebooks such as the Lonely Planet, the Rough Guide, Wallpaper City Guides and Frommer’s offer a great way to learn about Turkey’s key sites that have attracted visitors for centuries. These guides also contain concise historical sections, restaurant recommendations and are a great source of information on logistic matters such as public transport and entry requirements. You can easily become the knowledgeable guide that foreign visitors to Turkey dream of! Much of the content is available for free on their websites.

 As always, let us know what you think and what other topics we should cover!



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Reading Turkish Commute

Apr 24, 2013 By Tags:, , ,

İngilizce Öğrenmek: reading for Turkish professionals

In our first İngilizce Öğrenmek post we suggest weekly English reading.

Many of you are motivated to learn English because you are working for American or European multinationals. Whether you travel abroad or host colleagues, reading is vital to improving your spoken English.

In our İngilizce Öğrenmek series we will focus on providing resources for Turkish students learning English. We will focus on easy to access resources, found online.

For many of you, it is important both to speak English and be knowledgeable about topics that your foreign colleagues discuss. We are often asked for suggestions on what to read. Below you can find a list of our favorite weekly English reading. These English reading resources are great for those who want to stay up-to-date on global affairs, from an English language perspective.

These suggestions are our personal preferences. We have found through experience that many of our working students are far too busy to read novels. Yet, it seems that even for our busiest students, articles are easy to fit in during the daily Istanbul commute.

#1 The Economist: English reading for Turks working in everything from finance to politics

It may be cliche to suggest the world famous Economist, but for a busy professional, it’s a great weekly read. It covers politics, books, science, finance and of course, economics. It can be read cover to cover by an Upper-Intermediate English speaker in about two to three hours. Many people criticize the magazine for not taking strong editorial positions. Yet, there is no denying that a front-to-back read of the Economist is a great way to both stay up-to-date on current affairs and practice reading English. In addition, the magazine is written in clear, everyday English and a lot of the content is available for free online. Following @TheEconomist on twitter can also be a fun way to read articles (let them pick for you).

#2 The Atlantic: English reading for Turks working in American companies

Although more American-focused and liberal-leaning than the Economist, the Atlantic is still a great reading resource. We recommend the Atlantic for our more Advanced students because the language is more varied than the Economist and many articles are longer. Articles cover a wide array of topics, from current events to city planning. The best part about the Atlantic is that their entire content is available online either through or their well designed mobile apps.

#3 Associated Press mobile apps: English reading for Turks with long commutes

The Associated Press mobile apps are our favorite news applications available on tablets and smartphones. They elegantly mix text and photos so that reading is engaging. We often recommend them to our Intermediate and Pre-Intermediate students, as the articles are short (its a news wire) and the visuals make for great word recognition. The Associated Press is global and covers all aspects of current events. Our favorite part? The apps are completely free.


We hope these ideas have been helpful. We would love to hear your suggestions for weekly English reading material for busy Turkish professionals!


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