Remzi Gökdağ – Turkish Journalist, Author
Remzi Gökdağ (born 1968, İstanbul) is a Turkish journalist and writer. He is known for his investigative news about Istanbul’s urbanization process and political connections. His first book “Park Otel Olayı” which is the symbol of irregular and lawless building in Istanbul was published in 1992. He has published four non-fiction books and received two major journalism awards from Turkish journalism community. He has been living and working in around the world since 1997.
Remzi Gökdağ studied Journalism at Istanbul University (1988 1992). While continuing his education, he started working as a news reporter for Cumhuriyet Newspaper in 1989 and worked there for six years. He started a new career at “Yeni Yüzyıl Newspaper” in 1995. He took a break from the professional journalism in 1997 and moved to California, United States to study web design and photography. He worked in Moscow as a foreign reporter for “Radikal Newspaper” and Kanal D (1998-1999). He returned to California in 1999 and continued working as a writer and journalist for nine years including the position of editor in chief at “USA Turkish Times”. He moved to Zurich Switzerland, created several online publishing platforms before returning to Istanbul in March 2013. Since 2018, he’s been working and living in Dubai, UAE.
He is the author of 4 books.
- Başka Şehirler (2019) – ISBN 9789753903967 Collection of stories that explores how a person’s physical path affects the city. A special place can sink into your bones, color your thoughts, and leak from your pen. Some places are as closely associated with a person as to be inseparable. Say “Rembrandt” and you immediately think of Amsterdam. How a city would has changed if Hemingway never lived in Pamplona?
- Sevgili İstanbul (2015) – ISBN 9789753903462 Twenty memories by well-known notable Istanbul figures of the last century. These may be extraordinary people, but their experiences and emotions are recognizable as our own. They recollect their memories about the city which is lost today.
- Amerikan Medyasinda 11 Eylül (2001) – ISBN 9789753901741 Summarizing reaction of various networks, mainstream news outlets and internet news websites in the events of 9/11.
- Park Otel Olayı (1992) – ISBN 9789757787143 Timeline story about a huge construction building which had raised in the middle of Istanbul without legal approval and then stopped by people who wanted to protect their historic city’s environment.
He received number of journalism awards including;
Association of Contemporary Journalists (tr: Çağdaş Gazeteciler Derneği Yılın Gazetecisi Ödülü – ÇGD) (1993)
Hürriyet – Çetin Emeç Award (tr: Hürriyet Gazetesi Çetin Emeç Başarı Ödülü) (1993)
1989 | After graduation with a degree in Journalism from Istanbul University he began his journalism career at Cumhuriyet in 1989, specialized of Istanbul also covered national and feature news.
1996 | He moved to Los Angeles for studying web design and development also practiced for broadcast, print and online media to create new platforms for digital journalism. While covering the news, he became convinced that newspapers could do much more to ensure that good journalism thrives in the Age of Information. His weekly journals about daily life in the US have been published on national newspapers and magazines in Turkey.
1998 | Started a new life in Russia… He worked as a reporter for Turkish and International news agencies in Moscow. Living abroad changed the course of his life and he began freelancing for the news industry.
1999 | He returned to the USA, after Moscow “adventure” and lived there for about 9 more years.
2005 | Worked as editor-in-chief at the USA Turkish Times
2008 | Everything has its time and his time in the US come to the end.
2009 | He moved to Switzerland and began working on ideas for using the Internet as a reporting tool for ‘traditional’ media. He created several online publishing platforms during his time in Zurich.
2013 | He returned to Istanbul and lived there until end of 2018.
2021 | Currently living in Dubai, UAE…
“I’VE BEEN A TRAVELLER FOR AS LONG AS I CAN REMEMBER”
“In recent years, veteran journalist Remzi Gökdag has become better-known for his memoirs and travel books. We spoke with Gökdag, whose latest work, Other Cities, takes the reader on a journey through various times and locales, on everything from his travels to his writing career.”
Before I became an author I worked as a reporter for a number of newspapers. As a requirement of the job, I spent years keeping up with daily events. I’ve been writing non-stop since 1989, working in Moscow, Los Angeles, and Zurich. I’ve been living in Dubai for one year, now. News stories you write in a newspaper have a life-span of just one day, so I started compiling the most important stories I had pursued into books to make them more lasting. My first book, “Park Otel Olayı” (The Park Hotel Event), was published in 1992. I then wrote my second work, “Amerikan Medyasında 11 Eylül” (September 11 in the American Media), which sought to investigate how media companies dealt with the 9/11 attacks. It seemed that whilst we had indeed witnessed an event that changed the course of history, no-one seemed to wonder about the media’s approach to this big event.
The book prior to my latest release, “Sevgili İstanbul” (Dear Istanbul), was my attempt to pass down the old culture of the city and talk about what life used to be like here in former times. I interviewed 20 legendary figures about what came to mind with the word ‘Istanbul’ and made the book all about their memories. I learnt a lot of very important details about old Istanbul from these talks. For me, it is a work full of incredible memories. Many of those I spoke to are unfortunately no longer with us, but their memories live on in the pages of the book. Actually, you could consider “Başka Şehirler” (Other Cities) as a continuation, a sequel, to Darling Istanbul. In the latter, we journey through Istanbul with 20 people. In Other Cities we tour 20 more cities guided by 20 other people. Although the locations are different, what unites the two is a remembrance of important events from the past, some well-forgotten. Both books take the reader on a short journey through time. One is set in Istanbul, the other 20 different cities from around the world.
Actually, you could consider Other Cities as a continuation, a sequel, to Darling Istanbul. In the latter, we journey through Istanbul with 20 people. In Other Cities we tour 20 more cities guided by 20 other people. Although the locations are different, what unites the two is a remembrance of important events from the past, some well-forgotten. Both books take the reader on a short journey through time. One is set in Istanbul, the other 20 different cities from around the world.
I first and foremost see myself as someone on the search for knowledge. I used to be a reporter, and I used to get referred to as a journalist sometimes. Since my books, however, people have started calling me a writer. I’m a blogger too, thanks to my internet articles, but I’ve been a traveller for as long as I can remember. The journey started when I was young and would explore beyond the limits of the neighbourhood, and it has continued my whole life – in time taking me across the world. I would always head off in pursuit of what interested me. The cities and cultures I bear witness to broaden my horizons. As a result, the things I learn while travelling are reflected in my writing.
There’s a classic old conundrum: Can one learn better through reading or travelling? A few years ago, I would have answered “both”, but now I realise the value of learning by seeing and observing. I think someone who travels more learns more – or at least learns the truth. However true a book may be, it still reflects someone else’s truth. If the truth is something we’ve seen with our eyes, then it changes everything.
I never set off anywhere without first making a detailed plan. In this endeavour, my wife Yelda is a big help, as she makes all the plans. She organises the tickets and books where we are going to stay, then we leave. Before we go, we have a list of what we are going to see, although we never stick to the plan. We see the beauty in those who set off without a plan. Sometimes in order to find something you have to lose your way, and travelling is the best time to put that rule of thumb into action.
TRT KENT RADYO INTERVIEW – (27.04.2016)
TRT RADYO1 INTERVIEW – (31.03.2016)
VOICE OF AMERICA’S INTERVIEW – (20.06.2005)
Read more about Remzi Gokdag in Turkish