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Published Articles

PKK has no expectations anymore from the government

Beaconreader, 17 April 2014

The one year old peace process between the PKK and the Turkish government seems to be leading nowhere. The ceasefire is holding, but the government has taken no steps towards democratization and is now distracted by accusations of corruption. The KCK, the umbrella organization of Kurdish groups that also represents the PKK, has stated that they are running out of ...

Dutch Chopy Fatah sings for PKK guerrillas

Dutch weekly Groene Amsterdammer, 26 March 2014

QANDIL – As soon as Chopy Fatah leaves the backstage tent, it starts: girls in guerrilla outfits or in traditional Kurdish glitter dresses want to give her a kiss, journalists want a quote and PKK members can’t wait to get a picture taken with her. Dutch-Kurdish singer Chopy – living in the city of Amersfoort – was born in the Iraqi ...

Kurds who became ‘village guards’ fear a betrayal

The Independent, 16 February 2014

Dressed immaculately in a dark blue suit and with his hair perfectly combed, Seymus Akbulut was sitting in front of a portrait of Kemal Ataturk, Turkey's founding father, and a huge Turkish flag. On his desk were two more Ataturks: one on a silver plate, one a glass statuette in a red velvet box. "We love Ataturk," he said. "Whatever ...

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Mar 14

Free state Okmeydanı

The around two hundred young men and women around a burning barricade in the Istanbul neighbourhood of Okmeydanı joke around, the atmosphere is relaxed. But then an aerosol in the fire explodes, BAM, and the group scatters. Right under the surface, the tension is high. The battle can begin any moment.

It’s Thursday evening, 13 March. The day after Berkin Elvan …

Mar 11

Berkin, and: the exception murder

How devastating to again wake up to a state murder. The victim this time is Berkin Elvan, fifteen years old. During the Gezi protests in Istanbul last year, he went out to buy bread for his family. He was hit in the head by a teargas canister shot by the police. Taken to hospital, slipped into a coma and now, …

Feb 08

Censorship is freedom

‘In my view’, President Gül tweeted, ‘in principal no freedom should be curbed. Everybody who wants to should be able to surf the internet freely’. That was on 28 May 2011. It may give some people hope that Gül will use his veto right to stop the new internet law from taking effect. But I doubt it.

The …

Jan 24

Kurds ain’t sexy

A colleague told me that a few months ago. ‘Kurds just ain’t sexy’, she said. As I knew she couldn’t possibly be talking about the attractiveness of Kurds, I figured she must be meaning it in a journalistic sense. Sexy being sellable. That when you propose a story about Kurds to any media, they immediately jump on you. Kurds! Yes, …

Dec 25

A basket stuffed with rotten apples

The corruption affair is still shaking Turkey. It’s a week ago now that the sons of three Ministers and some businessmen, among whom the filthy rich real estate magnate Ali Agaoglu, were taken into custody, suspected of corruption. That was followed by a wave of policemen getting fired: the government sees the affair as a political game and aneffort to …

Nov 29

Power struggle, or: off the shelf

On Thursday, daily Taraf revealed a document from a National Security Council (NSC) meeting at which it was decided that the movement led by the influential Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen should be finished off. The signature of Prime Minister Erdogan is on the document, which dates back to August 2004.  A long time ago, you would say, so is it …

May 25

A man-made law

It was 2007 and I was in Cappadocia (central Anatolia) with my parents. It was spring and hot, we had taken a walk through a valley and ended up in a small village, Ibrahimpasa. We went to the cafe on the town square for a drink. My dad, not yet a regular Turkey visitor at the time, sat down on …

May 04


How did the lipstick affair make it into the news? Did Turkish Airlines issue a press release in which it stated that as of now red lipstick is forbidden for stewardesses? No, they reacted only after the discussion started. Probably it was the group of stewardesses that protested the ban by putting pics of themselves with red lips online. Fact …

Apr 07

Papers should fire ‘wise men’

It was another victorious week for Prime Minister Erdogan: he managed to get the Turkish media further under his control. And the media are not even protesting. On the contrary, they are willingly and with a smile accepting Erdogan’s proposal to make propaganda for the peace process that the government is (supposedly) initiating. At the same time yet another columnist …

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