Born in South Africa, Turner grew up during Apartheid and experienced tragedy when her father, Rick, an anti-Apartheid academic, was killed in front of her at age thirteen. Her mother soon fled to Great Britain with her children where Turner completed her education there and in the United States, graduating from Oxford University and Tisch School of the Arts.
Her first job in the film business was in 1988 as the receptionist for Working Title Films in London. She worked in various jobs including as an editor for the for television specials at the National Geographic Society prior to directing.
Her first film My Friend Soweto was released in 2001 which was followed by White Wedding and Paradise Stop both which she also wrote and produced. Turner expanded her directorial work into television for shows like The Last Ship, Chicago Fire, Greys Anatomy, How To Get Away With Murder, Jane The Virgin, Chicago PD, Chicago Med, Alpha House, The Fosters, Castle, Scorpion, The Bold Type, The Catch, The Carrie Diaries, Emily Owens MD, and Scandal where she also acted as co-executive producer in its final season.
She is also the author of the books "Home Is Where You Find It," "Heartland," and "Southern Cross."