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French Version

Turkey invades the US : new parody targets best-seller lists

Cover depicts the Statue of Liberty sporting a handlebar mustache

A new novel telling the tongue-in-cheek tale of how a group of Turkish nationalists - and some extra-terrestrial friends - invade the United States is targeting best-seller lists in Turkey, in the midst of a boom in anti-U.S. books.

"America Is Ours" hit the bookshelves this weekend with its cover depicting the Statue of Liberty sporting a handlebar mustache - the Turkish macho symbol par excellence - and the U.S. flag's stars replaced by the triple-crescent symbol of the Turkish far-right.

The parody in political-fiction starts with an alien suddenly showing up as a young Turkish nationalist and saying his prayers.

A spaceman grants the wish of the young Turk - who is exasperated by U.S. interventionism in the Middle East and furious at the (fictional) secret crossing of the Istanbul Bosphorus by two U.S. warships - and helps him invade America using a machine that controls people's minds.

The occupiers immediately bring Turkish things to their new land, organizing "cig kofte" (a spicy Turkish delicacy made of raw hamburger) parties at the White House, proclaiming Turkish as the official language and transforming Madonna into a belly dancer.

"There is some anti-U.S. sentiment at the bottom of the book, but it's really not a war story because no one gets killed," Erdogan Ekmekci, one of the two authors of the book explains.

It is the first novel by Ekmekci, a 27-year-old Istanbul resident and a former sales representative. His partner in the writing of this book is Adem Ozbay.

"The circumstances are right for anti-U.S. books," Ekmekci acknowledged, but he stressed that "America Is Ours" is more a work of "self-criticism" of Turkey's 70 million mainly Muslim citizens and their way of life than it is an anti-U.S. tract.

"The way we [the Turks] run the United States means the end of the country, because we bring along all our troubles and woes," he said, explaining his book.

Among them: a bevy of social problems, such as huge queues of patients waiting outside hospitals and an economy crippled by mismanagement, where a loaf of bread sells for $250. It all ends badly in the book, to the point that the hero has to once again resort to his extra-terrestrial friends' powers to go back in time and pretend none of it ever happened.

Beirut,04 11 2005
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The Daily Star
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