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Assassins of the Turquoise Palace

3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  231 ratings  ·  45 reviews
On the evening of September 17, 1992, eight leading members of the Iranian and Kurdish opposition had gathered at a little-known restaurant in Berlin when two darkly-clad men burst through the entrance. Within moments, the roar of a machine gun filled the air. Two rounds of fire and four single shots later, four of the men were dead. One of the survivors of that shooting, ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published September 11th 2012 by Grove Press (first published September 6th 2011)
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Mark Landmann
So, I don't know... I feel a bit bad giving the book only 2 stars. I didn't mind reading it. I'm sure it's thoroughly researched and the writing is ok (though possibly not super), and it's a good story it had to tell about the assassination of Iranian dissidents in Berlin in 1992 and subsequent 4-year trial. I think the main problem I had with the book was the way it tried to explore the inner mindset and humanize everyone on one side (the victims, their families and their supporters), while mos ...more
A tremendous story about the assassination of four men who were all members of an Iranian and Kurdish opposition. They had met for dinner at this restaurant in Berlin back in 1992. For days, they had looked forward to this event. All together, it was eight men. In the middle of the meal, two guys walked in and shot them.
The guessing game began the next day concerning the perpetrators. It didn't take long for the federal prosecutor to suspect the regime of Iran. Since 1980, one year after Khomein
Absolutely amazing book! It really is no surprise that the late and great Christopher Hitchens was a big fan of Roya Hakakian and her new groundbreaking book "Assassins of the Turquoise Palace". This masterpiece by Ms. Hakakian is not just a book, it is lyrical poetry mixed together with a historical account in one of the most important trials of state terror of the latter half of the 20th century. Roya takes us on a journey of the assassinations and lives affected in the state sponsored terror ...more
This book was definitely interesting since I didn't know anything at all about Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini, and the persecution of the Kurds. However, I can't say I looked forward to picking it back up each day. It probably would have been a really amazing feature magazine piece, but a lot of the book dragged. The most exciting parts came towards the end when the key trial witnesses were discovered and their back story was revealed. I felt that was much more interesting than the trial itself and al ...more
This is an amazing, tautly written account of an assassination in Germany of Iranian activists. The story follows the crime then the long trial that follows through the eyes of the various participants. The author is spellbinding - several places I marveled at her prose, but always marveled at her moving the story along. This is a true story but reads like a novel.
Very well-written, important and frightening book that honors the courage of those who will hopefully inspire bravery in others who are faced with the difficult task of making decisions about right and wrong, justice and injustice in the face of great threats and fears.
What an epic story! Nonfiction, incredibly researched, retelling of an assassination of members of opposing Iranian & Kurdish members. So beautifully written (think IN COLD BLOOD). Filled with heroes and villains, a court trial--a mini series designed for Law and Order.
3.5 stars. Adequately written and interesting. Not questioning the big picture or overall substance of the work, but do wonder about how the author was able to ensure (if she did) the accuracy of quoted conversations and the like.
James Asante
Intriguing, insightful and mystifying.
More reviews available at my blog, Beauty and the Bookworm.

The biggest problem with Assassins of the Turquoise Palace is that I had no idea what it was about. Having been raised in the good ol' US of A, I have been pretty much perpetually inundated with messages of "Iran is bad. Bad bad bad." While I doubt that's true in its entirety--few things ever are--there are a myriad of areas in which it does seem to have merit. For example, the Iranian government's ordering of the killings in this book.
Ava Homa
Author Roya Hakakian has achieved a remarkable feat: She has written a book about the 1992 assassination of Kurdish leader Sadegh Sharafkandi at a Berlin restaurant, and the four-year trial that followed, without ever really acknowledging the Kurds as a people.

Except the inevitable assassination scene, Kurds are nearly wholly absent from Assassins of the Turquoise Palace, which otherwise offers a compelling read, with vivid imageries and masterful maneuvering among the different characters and p
David James
A story of crime and international intrigue, made all the more compelling because it is true. Roya Hakakian, a poet long before she turned to reporting, writes with beauty and grace as she unveils the account of a political assassination that was ordered by the supreme ruler of Iran and carried out on German soil. What emerges is a work of compelling literary journalism wherein she compassionately recounts the events of a mass shooting that left four dead, its impacts on the survivors and the fa ...more
Feb 19, 2012 Ms.pegasus rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in politics, or the middle east
Recommended to Ms.pegasus by: interview on NPR
Shelves: history, nonfiction
There is a spectrum of political assassination from the fanatic inspired by incendiary rhetoric to the targeting of an individual by a governmental agency. ASSASSINS OF THE TURQUOISE PALACE reaches far beyond that spectrum. Most are aware of and were appalled by the fatwa declared against novelist Salman Rushdie in 1988. That highly publicized event was only a small part of a litany of terrorism orchestrated by the highest Iranian political authorities – a reign of terror waged in Paris, London, ...more
A corrupt theocracy which kills in the name of God... who can take them at their word? Ms. Hakakian traces the assassination of Kurdish opposition leaders in the expatriate Iran community in Germany in a book which reads as well as a mystery thriller. More intense however, since this is history and not fiction. It does however bring to thought the dangers of theocratic rule, and of those who feel empowered with self righteousness, and their lack of moral cohesion, their denial of hypocritical po ...more
This is a detailed account of the assassination of a group of Iranian activists in Germany, the work done by other Iranian activists living in Germany, and the German prosecution team and government to find and convict the Iranian assassins and penalize the Iranian government from which the orders came. Hakakian writes well and the true story holds your interest throughout.
Barbara Ahlquist
This narrative about the assassination of members of the Iranian and Kurdish opposition living in Germany in 1992 and the trial that followed, reads like a novel.Detailed descriptions of the murder scene and the court room; masterful portraits of the characters and their relationships with one another;interjection of the historical context; and a glimpse of how one or two people of unwavering character can make a difference in the world, made this book a compelling read. The story, brought accid ...more
Interesting and mostly very readable. But it did drag in places.
It’s the story of an assassination of Iranian exiles in Berlin in the early 1990’s. The rest of the story is the story of the trial, the politics of it, the personalities of it, etc. It makes you think about the way we organize ourselves. Also, the story of the lead judge and the prosecutor raise interesting questions about how one goes about one’s task in life, both at small for one’s family, and at larger for one’s society and world. There is much good to chew on here.
Outstanding read that viscerally conveys the inner turmoil of Iranian expats while exposing the theocratic regime in Iran as heinous and largely unfathomable to the western mindset. Additionally, this book offers a fascinating looks at the German legal system in which, it seems, "prosecutors" actually do what investigators do in the U.S. and the court proceedings end up being group discussions of the evidence by a panel of judges and myriad testifiers.
Looking forward to reading this book about the Mykonos Assassinations. I read an excerpt here that I found great on Assassins of the Turquoise Palace excerpt with interesting intro on the Mykonos Assassinations.

Can't wait.
An amazing look at the plans of the Iranian government at the highest levels to execute hundreds of dissidents and outside opponents of the regime through the case of five Iranian Kurdish exiles assassinated in Berlin in 1992. Well researched, well told and shocking in how widespread the plot was, and may continue to be.
Normally I would expect a book about a 5-year-long trial to be painfully dull, but this is so well-written it is almost a page-turner. Since I was a teenager when the events occurred, I was not aware at all of the state-sponsored assassinations of Iranian exiles in Europe. An important book.
Jim Houghton
A riveting book about a little-known (to me, at least and I like to think I was paying attention) 1990's episode of Iranians assassinating Iranians on German soil. The characters are vivid and approachable, the politics and the view of how European courts operate are fascinating.
Bish S
An absorbing account of push and pull between the German legal system and the Iranian regime after some of the people behind the assassination of four kurdish exiles in Berlin are arrested. The story progresses like a Grisham novel till an emotionally satisfying conclusion is reached.
Mary Anne
Brilliant and fast-reading. I actually stayed up too late at night on a "school night" reading through to the end. A complicated court case laid out clearly and compelling characterization. One of the better non-fiction books I've read in quite some time.
Excellent non-fiction account of the assassinations of four Iranian exiles in Berlin and the trial following. It made me greatly admire the German legal system; I don't think a similar trial here could have gone the same way. Excellently written and riveting.
Phil Atwood
Very interesting book... I was impressed with the research done for the book... In light of the current situation in Iran... This book gives some real insight into what the governmental leaders are capable of doing... rather disconcerting to say the least..
Fantastically written work on the brutal 1992 Mykonos killings. Puts the depravity of the Iranian regime on full display. Don't think the regime would have assassinated the Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. on American soil? Think again.
Nate Hendrix
This is the story of the murder of several Iranian dissedents, in Berlin, by the Iranian government. The German government tried and convicted the men that did it and found that the Iranian government was behind the murders.
A very interesting book about the l 992 assassinations of Iranian opposition leaders and the ensuing court trial that led a court to find that the killings were ordered by the highest levels of the Iranian government.
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Roya Hakakian (Persian: رویا حکاکیان) (born 1966 in Iran) is an Iranian-American poet, journalist and writer living in the United States. A lauded Persian poet turned television producer with programs like 60 Minutes, Roya became well known for her memoir, Journey from the Land of No in 2004 and essays on Iranian issues in the New York Times, The Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and on NPR ...more
More about Roya Hakakian...
Journey from the Land of No: A Girlhood Caught in Revolutionary Iran

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