Necla Kelek was born in Istanbul in 1957 and emigrated to Germany with her family in 1968. She studied sociology in Hamburg and wrote her PhD on religious attitudes among young Turks living in Germany.
The publication of Kelek's book "The Foreign Bride" (Die Fremde Braut in German) in early 2005 was one of the turning points in the recent German debate on Turks and Islam. According to her publishing house some 200,000 copies of the book were sold. "The Foreign Bride" turned Kelek into a media star, a regular guest on talk shows, and a sought-after columnist. Two other books followed: "The Lost Sons" (2006) and "Bittersweet Homeland" (2008).
At the centre of Kelek's argument is the claim that the wide-spread practice of forced and arranged marriages has turned tens of thousands of Anatolian women, coming to Germany to marry German-Turkish men, into modern-day slaves. They are repressed by their husbands and receive insufficient support from a largely indifferent German society. To bring the outrage of modern-day female slavery to an end requires a rigorous critique of what Kelek calls "Turko-Islamic culture", a culture which has remained largely unchanged for centuries.
- Frankfurter Allgmeine Zeitung, Necla Kelek: "Wulffs Republik der Gläubigen" (22 October 2010)
- Die Welt, "Nicht Sarrazin, sondern die Diskussion spaltet das Land" (Interview with Necla Kelek und Monika Maron) (2 September 2010)
- Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Necla Kelek: Ein Befreiungsschlag (30 August 2010)
- Necla Kelek, Mr Buruma's stereotypes, signandsight.com, 5 February 2007. Necla Kelek responds to Ian Buruma as part of a debate on multiculturalism and the integration of Muslims in Europe:
"Whether it is headscarves or gender-specific separation of public space, political Islam is trying to establish an apartheid of the sexes in free European societies."
- Lale Akgun and Necla Kelek, interview on Spiegel Online, "We Really Have Nothing to Celebrate", 12 July 2007: Kelek and Akgun speak about their diverging views on the successes and problems within Germany's Turkish community. Kelek: "The Turkish associations don't do anything to promote integration in Germany."
- Michaela Schlagenwerth, Happier without father, Berliner Zeitung, 10 April 2006, interview with Necla Kelek. Kelek defends her criticism of the Turkish community in Germany:
"What is happening there – that is the scandal, and not the fact that someone is making it public. I don't deny that there is an open-minded Turkish middle class. But I'm interested in the losers, those who haven't made it."
- Necla Kelek, Heirat ist keine Frage (Marriage is not a question), Zwangsverheiratung in Deutschland (forced marriage in Germany, Schriftenreihe des Bundesministeriums fur Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend, Band 1, 2007 (German only)
Necla Kelek has written four books (all only available in German):